The "Tush Push" is dead. Long live the "Brotherly Shove," the Philly-centric name given to the Eagles. The "Tush Push" was a more appropriate, generic, league-wide nickname, but it appears the rest of the league isn't capable of pulling off the play.over the last few years for the
In Week 4, three other teams tried and all three failed. Which is only making the play more controversial and causing more defensive coordinators to try and find ways to stop it. And maybe the NFL as well!
Not really, but on the latest episode of "New Heights" -- the wildly entertaining podcast featuring brothers Jason Kelce and Travis Kelce -- the Eagles center claimed the NFL "warned" the Eagles before their Week 4 game against Washington that left guard Landon Dickerson had been lining up in the neutral zone on several of the short-yardage plays.
"Landon has been lining up in the neutral zone," Jason said as the video cut to a shot of the Eagles right before a QB sneak attempt. "So they warned us before the game."
"I mean that's close," Travis interrupted. "He's still a hair behind you."
It's not unusual at all for the NFL to call a team and tell them they're monitoring something particular the team is doing that might violate the rules and/or that might be flagged. You see this at all levels of football, especially when there's a play the whole league is focusing on. In fact, on this play in particular, the Eagles were flagged for offensive offsides, something you almost never see. The fourth-and-1 became a fourth-and-6, and instead of the Eagles going for it on their own 49-yard line, they ended up punting from their own 45-yard line
But here's where things get really interesting, and in two completely different ways.
"The reason they called this, though, they said that his hand was in the neutral zone," Jason continued to explain. "And you see that hand in the neutral zone ..."
"I also see a defensive player...," Travis jumped in, before trailing off and laughing at the location of the defensive tackle's hand.
"Yeah, well, dude, they were actually -- DaRon Payne was putting his hand under the ball, so that's a whole 'nother thing," Jason replied. "Regardless, whatever. Everybody's going to be jockeying for position. I don't give a crap. Let's just run the play."
"Listen, man. You already know, you gotta do something," Travis added on. "That play is already unstoppable. If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying."
The neutral zone is defined as "the space between the forward and backward points of the ball," with the NFL Rulebook noting those "planes" extend all the way to the sidelines. As you can see above, Payne is clearly in the neutral zone, with his hand directly under the ball, basically touching the ball. It should have been a five-yard penalty and an automatic first down for the Eagles. Or, in this particular case, offsetting penalties for Dickerson's offensive offsides.
Except there's another plot twist!
"But the problem is ... that's not Landon's hand. That's my hand!" Jason exclaimed. "I get in a four-point stance on goal-line sneak. That's my left hand and they called it on Landon, but Landon's hand is behind the ball. So I think they messed that up actually."
When you see the screenshot on YouTube -- see: above -- it totally looks like Dickerson's hand. Plus, oftentimes centers snap the ball from the three-point stance to make blocking easier. In this case, we have to assume Kelce is using the four-point stance in order to drive himself low and get leverage on the defense in order to create more space for Jalen Hurts to push/be pushed forward.
Dickerson's right hand is next to Kelce's, but a good distance back and clearly outside the neutral zone to the point it wouldn't be flagged.
In other words, not only did the Eagles not commit offensive offsides on this fourth-and-1 play, but the Commanders should have been flagged for defensive offsides (a neutral zone violation) and the Eagles should have gotten a first down instead of being moved back five yards.
At the time, the Eagles were moving the ball, around midfield and trailing 14-7. Ultimately, the Eagles would win the game in overtime, so the missed call didn't technically matter.
But it's a perfect example of how aggressively the NFL and officials in Eagles games are monitoring this play and how aggressively defenses are working to defend it. Jason Kelce emphasized as much on the show.
"Defenses are doing a MUCH better job of defending this play. ... There's an emphasis being made," Jason added at the end of the conversation. "We have always gotten QB sneaks very easily, if I'm being honest, against the Commanders. The Commanders came up with a much better attempt at stopping this play than they've ever had.
"Teams are doing a better job this year. Defensive teams. They've been figuring it out."
The "Tush Push" became the "Brotherly Shove" for a reason -- the Eagles were leaders at the forefront of this play. And now they're being chased by the rest of the league ... and maybe even the league itself.