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NFL bans controversial hip-drop tackle despite objections

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The NFL made a significant rule change on Monday that will significantly impact defensive players and anyone else trying to make a tackle during games during the 2024 season and beyond.

The league’s competition committee voted at the annual league meeting to ban hip-drop tackles and penalizes anyone who decides to use the technique during play. The committee was unanimous in its decision, according to the NFL Network.

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Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews, #89, is injured with a fractured tibia after a reception when Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson, #55, falls on his ankle during the Cincinnati Bengals game versus the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 16, 2023 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. (Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

If a flag comes out for the tackle, ESPN reported a team will be assessed a 15-yard penalty. Players may also receive a fine and a warning from the league.

The controversial tackle, where a defender wraps the ball carrier with their hands or arms, and then drops their hips, causing the other player’s legs and feet to get trapped, has been a hot topic around the league. 

The tackle has caused injuries to numerous players, and Commissioner Roger Goodell has led the way for the rule to be voted on.

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Tony Pollard vs 49ers

Tony Pollard, #20 of the Dallas Cowboys, is tackled by Jimmie Ward, #1 of the San Francisco 49ers, as he runs with the ball and gets injured during an NFL divisional round playoff football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium on Jan. 22, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Michael Owens/Getty Images)

One of the main examples being used for the hip-drop is former San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward’s tackle during the 2022 postseason against then-Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard. Ward’s tackle forced Pollard to suffer an ankle injury that eventually needed surgery to repair.

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews was also a victim of the hip-drop tackle this season. He suffered a significant injury against the Cincinnati Bengals, and it cost him most of his 2023 season.

Since then, the NFL has found 105 hip-drop tackles out of 20,000 tackles reviewed since 2022, per Pro Football Talk. They have also found the tackle increases the risk of injury 25 times the standard tackle injury rate.

The NFL Players Association pushed back on the idea of banning the tackle last week.

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NFL logo at Super Bowl 58

The NFL found that hip-drop tackle injuries are 25 times more likely than the standard tackle injury rate. (Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

“The players oppose any attempt by the NFL to implement a rule prohibiting a ‘swivel hip-drop’ tackle,” the NFLPA said. “While the NFLPA remains committed to improvements to our game with health and safety in mind, we cannot support a rule change that cause confusion for us as players, for coaches, for officials and especially, for fans. We call on the NFL, again, to reconsider implementing this rule.”

Fox News’ Scott Thompson contributed to this report.

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