The NFLPA has issued a statement Friday signaling strong opposition to eliminating the “hip drop” tackle, urging the NFL to reconsider the thought.
As shared by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the union says banning that type of tackle is the wrong move, saying it’ll too harshly penalize how defenders can tackle.
The statement concludes by saying:
“It places defensive players in an impossible position by creating indecision in the mind of any tackling player, puts officials in an unreasonable situation that will result in inconsistent calls on the field, and confuses our fans.
We call on the NFL to reconsider implementing a rule prohibiting the ‘hip drop tackle.'”
Though no proposal has been made official, the league seemed to be trending in that direction following ankle/foot injuries to Dallas Cowboys RB Tony Pollard and Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes through the hip drop tackle during the 2022 season and playoffs.
The hip drop tackle often occurs when a player is making a tackle behind the player, leaving their feet and falling on their hip to drag the player down. You can see it here on Pollard’s injury with San Francisco 49ers’ safety Jimmie Ward implementing the technique to bring him down.
In early February, NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills says the league was considering changing the rule to prevent these injuries from happening.
“I think it’ll be a very active offseason conversation, to look at the mechanism,” he told the Washington Post via Pro Football Talk. “We have noted that type of tackle that you mentioned. And I think it needs to be a very active discussion point, again, with the competition committee and others this season.”
Players have strongly come out against the change, including T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward. In particular, Heyward blasted the idea, calling it “so stupid.”
Watt had a similar sentiment.
“Nothing is malicious,” Watt told The Pat McAfee Show. “I mean, at the end of the day, we all respect each other in this league and we’re never trying to hurt somebody.”
A rule change could be voted on later this year during the annual owner’s meeting later this year. That will take place March 26th through the 29th. We’ll let you know if there will be a change for next season. Though the union is talking a big game, there’s little they can do to prevent a rule change or modification. If a change takes place, it will only make life more difficult on defenses.