There’s no question that the NFL wants to do away with the “tush push,” and it’s actively looking into ways to make it happen.
But Green Bay Packers guard Jon Runyan thinks the league has not only found its solution for the modified quarterback sneak, it’s already implemented its plan to phase it out — only nobody else has seemed to notice.
Jon Runyan said he was called offside twice because he lined up over back of football at LOS. Much to his surprise. "I didn't know that was a rule. That's how I've been lining up on short yardage my whole life." Runyan figures it's NFL emphasis resulting from tush-push crackdown.
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) November 5, 2023
“I guess [calling penalties on that play] was a point of emphasis with the officials,” Runyan said Wednesday, via SI.com. “I wish we would’ve been told that for the first one. It’s something that’s got to be communicated better. That’s the NFL trying to phase that play out slowly.”
Runyan seems to believe that referees are encouraged to throw flags when teams run the “tush push” as a way to deter them from using it. His theory may not be completely farfetched either.
Runyan was flagged twice in Green Bay’s 20-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Both times it was fourth-and-1, both times the Packers ran the “tush push,” and both times the penalty negated a first down.
“You can tell they were definitely looking for it because they called it twice on us,” Runyan said.
While the play isn’t specific to the Eagles, they are the most effective team at running the play with a success rate of 84%. The NFL claims its issue with the “tush push” is the high probability of an injury occurring because of the rugby-like nature of the play. It was reported at the Fall League Meeting in mid-October that NFL officials are re-evaluating the legality of the play, which could be banned in 2024.
“It’s an effective play,” Runyan added. “I think defenses are going to have start trying to game plan. I really don’t know how you can stop it; it’s tough. It’s going to be difficult to cover and I feel like as long as it worked, we’re going to keep doing it.”