Title: Former Rugby Player Matty Johns Supports NFL Commissioner’s Movement to Change Tackling Rules
Former Australian rugby player and Fox League expert Matty Johns is throwing his support behind NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s efforts to change tackling rules in a bid to reduce severe injuries. Johns draws a comparison to the National Rugby League (NRL) in Australia, where a dangerous tackle known as the “hip-drop tackle” was banned due to the high number of injuries it caused.
According to Johns, the hip-drop tackle is ruining players’ careers and resulting in serious injuries such as ACL injuries, broken legs, and ankle injuries. This season alone, several NFL players, including Mark Andrews, Geno Smith, and Tyreek Hill, have fallen victim to this dangerous tackling method.
The hip-drop tackle involves a defensive player using their body weight to bring down the ball carrier while leading with their hip. NFL’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs, and policy has revealed that the injury rate associated with this tackle is 25 times higher compared to other tackling techniques.
In light of these alarming statistics, Goodell has expressed his desire to eliminate the hip-drop tackle from the game. Taking inspiration from the NRL’s success in implementing a ban, Johns supports the commissioner’s movement. Having closely observed NFL games, he understands why the NRL took such drastic action.
However, Johns acknowledges the challenges the NFL may face when implementing this change, particularly needing the involvement of players’ unions. In the NRL, utilizing the hip-drop technique results in an automatic suspension. Hence, one of the difficulties lies in distinguishing between deliberate and accidental use of the technique.
Critics of a potential ban in the NFL argue that it would diminish the sport’s toughness. Johns, however, firmly believes that banning the hip-drop tackle is not about going “soft,” but rather about reducing injuries and extending players’ careers. He predicts that teams will adapt their defensive techniques accordingly.
One important aspect highlighted by Johns is the need for zero tolerance when it comes to the hip-drop tackle, irrespective of intent. He compares it to hits on the head, which often are not deliberate yet lead to suspensions. By implementing a complete ban, defenders will be forced to improve their technique, resulting in safer play.
In conclusion, Matty Johns’ support for Roger Goodell’s initiative to change tackling rules resonates with his firsthand experience in the NRL. By enforcing a ban on the hip-drop tackle, the sport can reduce injuries and ensure players have longer and healthier careers. While challenges may arise during implementation, the NRL’s successful example proves that it is possible for the NFL to make this change.