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NFL's Growing Concern Over the Hip-Drop Tackle


Uncrowned Guard

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TL;DR Summary: The NFL is seriously considering banning the hip-drop tackle following recent incidents, including the injury of Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson. This move, which involves gripping, rotating, and dropping the player to the ground, has been linked to a high rate of severe injuries, including some that are season-ending. Key executives within the NFL are pushing for its prohibition due to the significant risks it poses to player safety. The league believes that enforcing a ban on this tackle would be feasible, as it can be easily identified and flagged during games. While the idea of banning the hip-drop tackle was contemplated after the 2022 season but not implemented, the momentum for its prohibition has significantly increased, and discussions are expected to intensify in the offseason. For the rule change to take effect, approval from 24 team owners is required, and given the tackle's impact on player health, a ban seems increasingly likely.

Recent Injury Highlights the Dangers

The hip-drop tackle, a controversial move in the NFL, has come under increased scrutiny following a recent incident where Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson suffered a severe lower-leg injury. This incident has intensified discussions about the safety of the play. The growing concern revolves around the injury rate associated with this tackle, including several instances of season-ending injuries. The nature of the hip-drop tackle, which involves gripping the player, rotating, and dropping to the ground, is seen as posing a significant risk to player health and safety.

League's Response and Potential Ban

The NFL is reportedly considering a ban on the hip-drop tackle, with discussions planned for the offseason. Sources indicate that key executives at the league's headquarters are advocating for its prohibition. The league's leadership believes that identifying and penalizing illegal hip-drop tackles during games would be a straightforward process. Although the NFL contemplated eliminating this tackle after the 2022 season, it ultimately decided against it. However, the recent incidents have prompted a more decisive response, and the league is expected to pursue the matter more vigorously after the current season.

Owners' Approval Needed for Rule Change

For the hip-drop tackle to be officially banned from the NFL, the consent of 24 team owners is required. Given the tackle's significant impact on player health and safety, there's a strong argument for its removal from the game. Defensive players, while needing effective techniques to tackle offensive players, must also consider the safety implications of their actions. The hip-drop tackle, similar to the previously outlawed horse-collar tackle, is increasingly viewed as a technique that poses an unacceptable risk of injury, making its prohibition a likely outcome in the interest of player welfare.

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