Title: NFL Considers Banning Dangerous Tackling Technique Following NRL’s Lead
Retired Australian rugby player and Fox League expert, Matty Johns, has thrown his support behind the NFL’s movement to ban a controversial tackling technique known as the hip-drop tackle. This comes after the National Rugby League (NRL) in Australia successfully eliminated the tackle due to its high injury rate.
The hip-drop tackle involves using body weight and leading with the hip to tackle opponents, a technique commonly employed by smaller players against larger ones. However, the tackle has proven to be extremely dangerous, with NFL players such as Mark Andrews, Geno Smith, and Tyreek Hill sustaining injuries this season due to this specific technique.
Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs, and policy, revealed that the injury rate for this type of tackle is 25 times higher compared to other methods. In light of these alarming statistics, Commissioner Roger Goodell expressed the urgency to eliminate the hip-drop tackle from the game during the owners’ meetings.
Matty Johns, who has closely observed NFL games, believes that the league should learn from the NRL’s approach and follow their lead in banning the tackle. He acknowledges the challenge in distinguishing between deliberate and accidental tackles, an issue that initially divided opinions in the NRL. However, Johns argues that the NRL’s automatic suspension for using the hip-drop technique has successfully improved defenders’ tackling technique.
Critics of the potential ban in the NFL argue that it diminishes the toughness of the sport. However, Johns stresses that reducing injuries and extending careers should be the priority. He emphasizes that the NFL should have zero tolerance for the hip-drop tackle, regardless of intent, drawing a parallel with penalties for accidental hits to the head.
Ultimately, the goal is not to make the sport soft but to prioritize player safety. Matty Johns supports the NFL’s consideration to ban the hip-drop tackle, highlighting the success of the NRL’s elimination of the technique. He suggests that teams will need to adapt their defensive techniques accordingly to ensure player safety and reduce injuries. By following the NRL’s model, the NFL can take significant steps towards improving player safety and the longevity of careers.
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