Retired Australian rugby player and Fox League expert Matty Johns has expressed his support for a controversial change to tackling techniques in the National Football League (NFL). Johns, who witnessed the impact of the “hip-drop tackle” in the National Rugby League (NRL), strongly believes that this tackle is causing severe injuries and ruining players’ careers.
Having seen the effects of the hip-drop tackle in the NRL, Johns is concerned about the similar situation developing in the NFL. He emphasizes that the tackle has led to injuries such as ACL tears, broken legs, and ankle injuries in rugby league. The tackle, which involves using body weight on the legs of the ball carrier by leading with the hip, has been attributed to the injuries sustained by several NFL players this season, including Mark Andrews, Geno Smith, and Tyreek Hill.
The alarming injury rate associated with the hip-drop tackle has caught the attention of NFL officials. Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, stated that the injury rate for this particular tackle is 25 times higher compared to other techniques. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has also expressed the need to eliminate the hip-drop tackle, raising the question of whether the NFL should follow the NRL’s lead.
Johns, who recently attended NFL games in Vegas, supports the change and draws from his experience in the NRL. He acknowledges that implementing the change may face initial challenges, as the NRL encountered resistance when banning the hip-drop tackle. However, in the long run, it led to improved technique and reduced injuries in rugby league.
One of the difficulties in implementing the change lies in distinguishing between deliberate and accidental hip-drop tackles. In the NRL, any use of the hip-drop technique results in automatic suspension. Despite potential complaints from NFL players and coaches about potential bans, Johns believes that reducing injuries and extending players’ careers outweigh any inconvenience brought about by the tackling change. He suggests that NFL teams will adapt their defensive techniques in response to the ban.
To address concerns about accidental hits to the head resulting in penalties and suspensions, Johns argues that the same should apply to the hip-drop tackle in the NFL. As the NFL seeks to prioritize player safety and reduce injuries, the ban on this particular tackling technique may be a necessary step for the future of the sport.
Overall, with the support of Matty Johns and the recognition of the NRL’s success in tackling technique reform, the NFL may soon see a change in tackling regulations to protect players from the devastating consequences of the hip-drop tackle.
“Zombie enthusiast. Subtly charming travel practitioner. Webaholic. Internet expert.”