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HomeNFLThe Controversial “Hip-Drop” Tackle: Why the NFL Wants to Restrict It

The Controversial “Hip-Drop” Tackle: Why the NFL Wants to Restrict It

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The National Football League (NFL) is taking a stand against a dangerous tackling technique known as the “hip drop.” This move, while potentially effective in stopping ball carriers, increases the risk of severe injuries for both the tackler and the runner.

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What is a Hip Drop Tackle?

Unlike a traditional tackle where the defender wraps up the ball carrier and brings it down to the ground with controlled force, the hip drop tackle employs a different approach. Here’s how it works:

  • The defender wraps one or both arms around the runner.
  • They then swing their body around the ball carrier, aiming to get behind them.

Instead of tackling low and driving the runner to the ground, the defender essentially “drops” their body weight onto the runner’s legs, often targeting the knees or ankles.

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NFL: Why is the Hip Drop Dangerous?

The hip drop tackle concentrates a significant amount of force onto a small area, typically the runner’s lower leg. This can have devastating consequences, including:

  • Torn ligaments in the knee (ACL, MCL, PCL)
  • Broken bones in the leg or ankle
  • Severe ankle sprains

The risk of injury isn’t limited to the ball carrier. The defender performing the hip drop tackle can also suffer from knee and back injuries due to the awkward twisting motion involved.

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Statistics speak volumes. According to the NFL, the hip drop tackle increases the risk of injury by a staggering 25 times compared to a standard tackle. This alarming statistic prompted the NFL Competition Committee to discuss a potential ban on the technique.

The NFL has made player safety a priority in recent years, implementing stricter rules and regulations to minimize injuries. Banning the hip drop tackle aligns with this ongoing effort to protect players on the field.

Eliminating the hip drop tackle might pose challenges. Defensive players need effective techniques to bring down ball carriers, and coaches must adapt to alternative tackling methods.

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