Seahawks’ Pete Carroll Calls Eagles Out for ‘Evolutionary Opportunity’

Pete Carroll

Getty Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll sounded off on facing one of his former teams in Week 17.

The Philadelphia Eagles converted 92% of their quarterback sneaks with Jalen Hurts. It was an unstoppable play that Jason Kelce lobbied for the team to employ on every fourth down, especially down when they were knocking on the goal line. Now the NFL’s Competition Committee is voting to outlaw it.

That’s right. The so-called “tush push” has received public push back from rivals who can’t find a way to scheme against it. Or, more likely, they are just jealous they didn’t think of it first. The play has been a topic of great debate this week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis where various coaches and executives gave varying opinions. The most interesting comments arguably came from Pete Carroll.

The Seattle Seahawks leader admitted he hadn’t understood the level of innovation involved. You see, the Eagles’ vaunted offensive line pushes the pile forward and Hurts jumps on their backs (or butts), like a surfer riding a wave into shore. The “tush push” has resulted in a slew of easy touchdowns and first downs over the past two years. Carroll likes the ingenuity and calls it an “evolutionary opportunity” for the NFL.

“I didn’t understand or didn’t realize how far they had gone with their commitment in terms of it looking like a rugby play in a scrum,” Carroll told reporters, via Stephen Holder. “That was an evolutionary opportunity for the league. I thought it was an exciting part of the game, but other people might think that it’s such a departure from what we’ve done in the past that we can’t go with that. We can’t do that. I don’t think like that. I think it could be a really cool thing.”

Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni Defend ‘Tush Push’

The Eagles didn’t invent the quarterback sneak, but they definitely perfected it and irritated a lot of people in the process. They aren’t doing anything illegal or dirty. They are simply taking advantage of the rules in place. General manager Howie Roseman had a wry smile on his face when reporters asked him about the “tush push” earlier this week. He made sure not to ruffle feathers with his response.

“All I know is everything we’re doing is legal and it works,” Roseman said, “and just because people do something that’s really good, doesn’t mean it should be outlawed.”

The Eagles went for it 35 times on fourth down during the 2022 campaign, with a 73% success rate. So, obviously, the outcries to outlaw it are coming from defensive-minded coaches.

“I think some defensive coaches are bringing that up right there,” head coach Nick Sirianni joked. “No, we’ll play with whatever rules they have. I think that it was obviously a very successful play for us.”

The NFL Competition Committee will take an official vote on the “tush push” at the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix in late March. All 32 NFL owners will get a vote. Coaches can’t chime in.

“Hey, I don’t get a vote. They don’t ask me,” Sirianni said. “I thought that there was a lot of hard work that went into it. There is a lot of the technique and fundamentals that go into it as far as how our guys block it and the specialty of our guys, like Jason Kelce.”

Sean Payton: ‘I’m a Little Jealous’

Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton is responsible for escalating concerns over the “tush push.” He told Dean Blandino – former referee and current rules analyst – that he would use the play “every time next season if they don’t take it out.” That’s to say he’s a huge fan of the play. In fact, Payton seemed upset that he didn’t dial up the new wrinkle on the old-school football play.

“I’m a little jealous we didn’t come up with the idea,” Payton said. “It’s just a version of the quarterback sneak, but with a little more to it. Everyone is pushing, and it’s a scrum. Here’s one of the things you learn. You can’t control — if they vote to not allow it, then great. If they vote to leave it alone, then great. We’ll study it.”

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