Another NFL rule change is reportedly being discussed concerning the way that defensive players tackle offensive players and specifically from behind. Players are not happy about that discussion as well.
According to multiple reports the last few days, the NFL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, said recently that the techniques used on “hip-drop” tackles, in which the defensive player grabs the ball carrier from behind and then pulls him down while dropping the tackler’s own body to the ground, could be eliminated from the game. Why? Well, that type of tackle, which got its name from the rugby game, was reportedly banned by the National Rugby League in Australia because of the injuries it caused.
“I think it’ll be a very active offseason conversation, to look at the mechanism. Obviously the ‘hip-drop’ tackle is not the only cause of high ankle sprains. There are certainly other factors,” Sills said, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post.
It seems as though this most recent discussion about possibly eliminating the hip-drop tackle comes from the recent tackles that injured Kanas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard during the playoffs. While Mahomes has been able to play through the ankle injury that he suffered, Pollard wasn’t so lucky as he fractured his left fibula during the Cowboys’ 19-12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
With this possible rule change now being considered, several defensive players have taken to social media to voice their opinions on the matter and not surprisingly, most seem to be against eliminating the hip-drop tackle from the game. Even Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward has made his opinion known on the topic on Twitter.
“This is so stupid,” Heyward tweeted. “How the heck are we ever going to get guys on the ground. They thinking too much.”
The NFL’s competition committee, which Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is a member of, is reportedly expected to look at new rules during the offseason, and Sills and the NFL’s medical staff would likely be involved in those discussions as well. We’ll see how those discussions go, if they are indeed had, but you can bet that in the meantime, we have not heard the last of this topic as more and more NFL players seem to be upset about hip-drop tackles might be considered illegal and possibly even as soon as next season.