Fans on the New Heights podcast will let you know the play works 92% of the time. The play has many names: the Tush Push, the Cheek Sneak, or the Brotherly Shove. However, most defenses just know it as indefensible.
Is the Brotherly Shove bad for the sport?
Last season, when the Eagles began running their vaunted QB sneak, it seemed like the new fad in play calling. The league has a new trend each year that takes the league by storm. The Chiefs have started trends of their own, with the push pass/ sweep plays they ran so effectively in 2018. Of course, with every trend in offensive circles, there is a counter-action by defenses and they figure out how to stop it. This was not the case with the Eagles.
Chiefs fans know firsthand how dominant the Brotherly Shove can be in a game. You could argue the Chiefs might have been able to win Super Bowl 57 by double digits had it not been for the Eagles' ability to instantly convert 3rd/4th down-and-short. The play is so effective that it essentially forces the defense to hold the Eagles' high-powered offense to 7 yards or less in a set of downs. The threat of the Eagles running the play back to back (which they've done) makes 3rd-and-4 seem hopeless.
After the Super Bowl, it seemed that the NFL's competition committee would look to make the play less effective or illegal altogether. I assumed all 31 other teams would spend the off-season reviewing the tape to implement the play for themselves. Why not right? It works 92% of the time. However, the 2023 season has shown why the play is football at the highest level.
Why it's the Brotherly Shove
This year we've seen numerous teams try to imitate the Eagles' signature play. While some have been effective (like most QB sneaks are), nobody has reached the level of automatic conversion as they do. The fact that the Eaglessn are able to run it so effectively and ONLY they can run it this effectively shows that this comes down to coaching and physicality.
Football is one of the few sports that knowing the opposition is going to do doesn't mean you can stop it (yes, even teams facing Michigan). There is something so "football" about knowing exactly what play is coming and not being able to stop it. The Eagles have an excellent offensive line, a quarterback who can squat 600 pounds, and a head coach who is as aggressive as any in the league on fourth down. The "Brotherly Shove" is Philadelphia Eagles football.
Can the Chiefs stop the Eagles' Brotherly Shove?
The simple answer is to keep the Eagles' offense out of 3rd-and-short distances. Despite the 35 points allowed, the Chiefs' defense played well against them in the Super Bowl. They forced them to convert 3rd and 4th downs repeatedly in the game and to their credit they converted on almost all of them. But, it's impossible to play the Eagles and not encounter the the play a few times. In the Super Bowl, the Chiefs tried going over the top of the scrum by jumping up to try to tackle Hurts. This has proven to not be an effective strategy. The Chiefs will have to try to out-leverage the Eagles' offensive line.
Ultimately, the Chiefs are just going to have to keep their foot on the gas offensively. Besides the dominance of the Eagles in short yardage, they also have one of the best wide receivers in football and a dominant running game. Their offense can beat you without ever using their signature play. The Chiefs offense will need to be aggressive by going for fourth downs, getting touchdowns instead of field goals, and not generating any short fields via turnovers.
Like it or hate it, the Brotherly Shove will be incredibly frustrating for Chiefs fans on Monday night. However, as football fans you have to admire one of the most dominant plays in recent memory.