Over the past few weeks, fans might have noticed that offensive linemen have been getting called for offensive offsides at a rate that’s far higher than usual, particularly in short-yardage situations. And it sounds like there’s a good reason for that.
Green Bay Packers guard John Runyan was called for offensive offsides twice during the team’s game over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when the team tried to use a quarterback sneak to get a first down on fourth-and-1. And he claims the flags are due to a concerted effort to “phase that play out.”
“I guess it was a point of emphasis with the officials,” Runyan said according to SI.com. “I wish I 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 said that after Sunday’s game, he was told that referees are now specifically looking for offensive linemen in the neutral zone on the “tush push” play.
“Apparently, they send out a weekly video talking about that,” Runyan said. “Apparently, that was in the weekly video but I had no idea. I didn’t even know they sent out a weekly video on points of emphasis. That was on it [last] week and you can tell they were definitely looking for it because they called it twice on us.”
It seems like this is an effort from the NFL to get the “tush push” out of the game.