Hip-Drop Tackle Ban Among NFL Rule Changes

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NFL Flag | Image by rarrarorro/Shutterstock

The NFL held its annual league-wide meeting in Orlando over the last week, where coaches, owners, and executives from all 32 teams discussed the current and future state of the league.

On Monday morning, the league’s owners voted to pass three rule changes proposed by clubs that will go into effect this fall.

The first, proposed by the Detroit Lions, allows teams who have been successful with one of their two challenges throughout the game to be rewarded with a third challenge.

The Competition Committee’s proposal to enforce “major fouls” on the offense before a change of possession when both teams commit penalties also passed, as did the proposal to ban the hip-drop tackle, making any use of the motion a 15-yard penalty.

The hip-drop tackle became notorious late last season as several players across the league were seriously injured by the practice.

The rule now reads, “It is a foul if a player uses the following technique to bring a runner to the ground: (a) grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms; and (b) 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.”

Current and former players across the league are not happy with the change.

“I understand what the NFL is trying to do by making the game safer, but what they’re really doing is making it unsafe for defenders,” former quarterback Robert Griffin III said on ESPN Monday morning. “How is a defender supposed to tackle a guy from behind now? You’ve got  linebackers, DBs, safeties that are going to be going up against guys that are 30, 40, 50 pounds heavier than they are, and the only way for them to get them down to the ground is to try to use their own body weight as leverage to get them there.”

“… It’s only going to add more flags and more fines, and I don’t think that’s what people want to see,” Griffin III continued. “We want the game to be safe, but it’s got to be an even playing field on both sides of the ball.”

“The NFL died a little bit more today by penalizing unintentional hip-drop tackles,” veteran linebacker Will Compton added on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“These rules getting crazy out here,” defensive tackle DJ Reader wrote. “Two hand tag better fits the game.”

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