The NFL has banned plays or strategies for different reasons through its history.
Sometimes it's for safety reasons. Once in a while it's because a play becomes uncompetitive. Oftentimes the league bans things just for the aesthetics of the game.
The Philadelphia Eagles' "tush push" checks all of those boxes.
When the Eagles have faced a third- or fourth-and-short the past two seasons, everyone knows what's coming and everyone knows it'll work. The Eagles align with Hurts under center, with a couple of teammates right behind him. On the snap, Hurts sneaks it forward and gets pushed from behind by his teammates. Just about every time it's a first down or a touchdown. Even if it's stopped once, good luck stopping it a second time.
It's pretty much unstoppable, and the frustration of it has gotten to the unfortunate point in which people are wishing harm on Hurts.
Eagles run tush push better than anyone else
It's surprising the NFL didn't ban the play last offseason. Like plenty of other strategic innovations, like the shift in Major League Baseball, sometimes leagues tip their cap to inventive teams and ban a play or strategy for the good of the game.
But the play stayed. And the Eagles keep running it. Hurts was asked about it Wednesday, and didn't seem to care if it got banned.
But, until that happens, the Eagles are still going to be unstoppable doing it.
"I have no thoughts on it," Hurts told the media on Wednesday, when asked if the tush push should be banned. "We're the only people that are doing it as well as we are. There was a guy who wanted me hurt for it, too."
Hurts didn't clarify what he meant by the last comment. Though on Wednesday, Chris Simms of NBC Sports said that if he was a defensive coach he'd be asking his players to go "headhunting" on the quarterback. Yikes.
The Eagles' play didn't go anywhere, and it is becoming more of a debate this season.
The debate behind the play
Nobody, except maybe Simms, is saying the Eagles are doing anything wrong. It's within the rules and the Eagles take advantage of it.
Maybe it will take an injury to get the NFL's competition committee to reconsider. There seems to be a reasonable risk of injury when a large man is being pushed from behind into a scrum of much larger men. It's not a play that has a lot of suspense, after the Eagles run it over and over to success.
Then again, maybe if you ban the push, the Eagles would still be as good at quarterback sneaks. Having a quarterback with an insanely strong lower body running behind the NFL's best offensive line is probably going to work too, as former NFL defensive lineman J.J. Watt pointed out.
We're going to see a lot more of the play this season. But let's not insinuate that Hurts deserves to be injured just because the Eagles found a practically unstoppable play.