The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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COLUMN: The hip-drop tackle ban is good for the NFL

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Luther Yoder

This past Monday, the NFL banned the hip-drop tackle, making the tackle a flag for 15 yards and an automatic first down.

According to USA Today, in a hip-drop tackle, “The defensive player approaches from behind or the side, wraps his arms around the offensive player and becomes dead weight while dropping to the ground. Often, the defensive player’s body lands on the offensive player’s legs.”

The risk of injury with a hip-drop tackle is 25 times higher than a normal tackle. Some notable injuries this past season were Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews and Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard. Both of those injuries were caused by hip-drop tackles.

These hip-drop tackles don’t happen very often in each game. According to NFL executive Jeff Miller, the NFL saw 230 instances of these tackles all of last season, which comes out to around one per game.

This penalty is also only called if the defender lands on the player’s legs. The defender can still tackle a player from behind, as long as they don’t drag the player down using their dead weight and land on the player’s legs.

Dr. Robert Glatter, a former sideline physician for the New York Jets and assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, Northwell Health in New York said, “A hip-drop tackle is so dangerous. The defender essentially swings their full body weight as they fall on their ankle, leg or knee. This leaves the lower body at risk for serious ankle and ligament damage.”

Another way of tackling from behind that I was taught when I played high school football was to tackle a player around their legs and roll to bring them down. Tackling in this way is still able to bring someone down from behind while decreasing the chance of injury.

The NFL has also banned other ways of tackling before to protect players.

In 2005, the NFL banned horse-collar tackles, which is when a defender grabs the inside collar of the back or the side of the shoulder pads or jersey and pulls the runner down.

In 2018, the NFL banned head-to-head contact in a tackle, which happens when a defender lowers their head to initiate contact with the offensive player.

Eastern football head coach Chris Wilkerson said that the defense will figure out how to tackle like they’ve had to when other rule changes were made.

“It will just eventually make its way down to our level, and then to the high school level, and then to the Pop Warner level. As those players come up, they don’t know any different,” Wilkerson said.

Over time, the hip-drop tackle will probably be viewed the same as the horse-collar tackle, not happening often because players are trained to tackle in other ways that won’t draw a penalty.

Right now, people are up in arms about the rule because it’s new. But over time, it will become normal.

Like every time before, people will get used to it.

 

Luther Yoder can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Luther Yoder, Assistant Sports Editor
Luther Yoder is a sophomore journalism major. This is his first year at The News.

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