Retired Rugby Star Matty Johns has recently suggested that a controversial tackling method used in the National Rugby League (NRL) be banned in the NFL as well. Johns, who is now a Fox League expert, believes that the “hip-drop tackle,” which has caused numerous injuries in the NRL, should not be a part of American football.
The hip-drop tackle involves the defensive player using their body weight and leading with their hip to take down the ball carrier’s legs. Unfortunately, this particular tackle has resulted in injuries for players like Mark Andrews of the Ravens, Geno Smith of the Seahawks, and Tyreek Hill of the Dolphins.
According to the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, the injury rate for the hip-drop tackle is 25 times higher than other tackling methods. This statistic has prompted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to express his desire to remove this tackle from the game in order to protect players.
In Australia, the NRL has already banned the hip-drop tackle after players experienced serious injuries. Matty Johns, who has been closely observing the NFL, suggests that the league should follow suit and address this issue. He believes that the NRL’s strict approach has led to defenders improving their technique, and the same could occur in the NFL.
However, implementing this change may prove challenging at first, as it is difficult to distinguish between accidental and deliberate tackles. Nonetheless, Johns argues that a zero-tolerance policy should be adopted in the NFL, regardless of intent. He believes that this change would force teams to alter their defensive techniques and focus on improving their tackling technique to avoid dangerous tackles.
While some NFL players and coaches have expressed concerns about the potential ban, claiming it removes the toughness from the sport, Johns counters that the ban aims to reduce injuries and extend players’ careers. He emphasizes that making the game safer does not make it softer.
The NFL’s decision regarding this proposed change is yet to be determined. However, with support from former rugby star Matty Johns and the evidence of its success in the NRL, it is possible that the hip-drop tackle could soon be a thing of the past in American football.
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