The NFL has a problem.
And there may not really be a great way to fix it.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will likely be at less than 100 percent for this week’s AFC Championship Game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Dallas Cowboys star running back Tony Pollard is on the mend after having surgery on a fractured less fibula, and San Francisco 49ers star Deebo Samuel missed a good chunk of the regular season.
All of this is due to injuries suffered from a controversial move called a “hip drop” tackle. The move involves a defender tackling a ball carrier by wrapping them up at the hips before dropping their body weight down on to the lower leg area of the offensive player.
The technique originated in rugby and has become more popular in the NFL in recent years. Now it appears that the NFL is at a crossroads and has decided to explore what to do about the tackling technique.
NFL Could Make Rule Change In The Midst Of Injuries From Hip Drop Tackle
Des Bieler and Mark Maske ofthe Washington Post report that the league is reviewing the tackle that caused Pollard’s injury specifically and is at least considering whether it needs to implement a new rule.
Maske then points out that the National Rugby League began to levy fines and suspensions for the type of tackle in 2020.
An official with the NRL said that decision came after the Sydney-based organization “saw an increased occurrence of these types of tackles, some of which resulted in serious injuries to attacking players including a broken ankle, ACL tear and many high-ankle sprains.”
Though the NFL already significantly limits how a defender can bring the ball carrier to the ground legally. Any further limitations would likely face significant push back. But if injuries continue to rise, the NFL may not have a choice.
Allen Sills, the league’s Chief Medical Officer, says an “active conversation” is likely over the tackling technique.
The #NFL is planning to have an "active conversation" this offseason about possibly banning the “hip drop” tackles, according to NFL's CMO Allen Sills. pic.twitter.com/9g66NULgby
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) February 4, 2023
Defensive were not happy about the news.
Ain’t no way 😭 https://t.co/ceioPTg2jV
— Michael Carter II (@mcarter2nd) February 4, 2023
It’s getting outta hand now 😂😂😂 https://t.co/GrtAZeTl1e
— Jevón Holland (@HollywoodVon) February 4, 2023
There will be no legal way to tackle from behind in the next 5 years. Already can’t tackle up high, horse collar. Want to eliminate the mid section now, “hip drop”. Soon they’ll take away the legs, “gator roll”. NFL script writers working hard to eliminate tackling from storyline https://t.co/pmJ909fTZH
— George Iloka (@George_iloka) February 4, 2023
😂😂 they about to have us getting dragged down the field like we trying to tackle Spike from the Little Giants https://t.co/npSQcMUihV
— Adrian Amos (@_SmashAmos31) February 4, 2023
Even offensive players seemed a bit puzzled.
What 😂😂😂😂😂😂 https://t.co/EZM3T2CZjD
— Reid Ferguson (@SnapFlow69) February 4, 2023
Oh stop it https://t.co/ZoEJdNuHg3
— Kerryon Johnson (@AyeyoKEJO) February 4, 2023
It’s sage to say the potential change isn’t exactly popular. But that’s never stopped the NFL before.