Ban on Hip-Drop Tackles
The NFL gears up for a significant shift in its rules by targeting the prohibition of hip-drop tackles, a move aimed at curbing serious injuries to key players.
Commissioner Rodger Goodell emphasized the urgency to eradicate this play due to the escalating number of such incidents, which have led to devastating injuries, not just at the NFL level but across various football tiers.
Impact and Mechanism of Hip-Drop Tackles
Defined as a maneuver where a defender pulls down a ball carrier’s upper body while leveraging their full weight on the offensive player’s legs, these tackles often result in trapped legs at awkward angles, causing severe injuries. Several notable players, including Mark Andrews and Tony Pollard, faced season-ending injuries due to hip-drop tackles.
Increased Prevalence and Injury Rates
The alteration in tackling rules aimed at reducing head injuries inadvertently saw a surge in hip-drop tackles. Official reports reveal a 25 times higher injury rate associated with these tackles compared to other forms of tackling, prompting urgent action from the NFL.
Reviewing the Fumble Out of the Endzone Rule
Apart from the ban on hip-drop tackles, the league is also contemplating revising the rule that treats fumbles out of the endzone as touchbacks, granting possession to the defense. This controversial rule disparity, where a fumble out of bounds elsewhere retains possession for the offense, has drawn scrutiny.
Noteworthy Examples and Controversies
Incidents like Justin Jefferson’s fumble in the endzone during the Vikings vs. Eagles game or the controversial touchdown-turned-fumble by Austin Sefarian-Jenkins in 2017 have ignited debates over the fairness and implications of the current rule. These examples have underscored the need for a potential rule change.
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