hip drop tackle ban

Hip Drop Tackle Ban by NFL

NFL team owners have given the green light to a new rule proposal aimed at outlawing the hip-drop tackle, the league announced on Monday. This means that any hip drop tackles called during a game will result in a 15 year penalty.

Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, strongly hinted last week that enforcement of the rule would likely follow a pattern similar to that of the “use of helmet” rule, typically resulting in warning letters and fines in the week after a game, rather than immediate flags during gameplay.

Rich McKay, chairman of the competition committee, explained that the proposed rule specifically targets a subset of the rugby tackling technique that has gained popularity in the NFL in recent years. This style of tackling has been associated with a higher risk of lower body injuries.

The rule requires officials to take note of two actions: when a defender both “grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms” and simultaneously “unweights himself by swiveling and dropping his hips and/or lower body, landing on and trapping the runner’s leg(s) at or below the knee.”

The NFL Players Association, along with numerous current and former players, voiced objections to the proposal last week. In a social media statement, the NFLPA expressed concerns that the rule would lead to confusion among players, coaches, officials, and fans.

Last season, Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews suffered a serious injury due to a hip-drop tackle by Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson on Nov. 16. Andrews endured a cracked fibula and ligament damage, sidelining him until the AFC Championship Game.

Additionally, two other proposals were given the green light on Monday:

  • Teams will now have a third challenge available following a successful challenge. Previously, two successful challenges were required to earn a third.
  • Major fouls committed by the offense will be enforced before a change of possession in situations where both teams commit fouls.