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Sunday, April 14, 2024

“They Don’t Care”: Mike Florio Reveals Truth Behind NFL’s Stance on NFLPA Resistance to Hip Drop Tackle

Ever since 49ers safety Jimmy Ward’s botched tackle on former Cowboys RB, Tony Pollard, now with the Titans, resulting in the latter’s high ankle sprain and fractured fibula, the ‘Hip Drop Tackle’ has been closely monitored by the league. This particular tackle apparently increases the risk of an injury by 25 times — which itself should be a major concern. In order to deal with this issue, the NFL and the competition committee are preparing to submit a proposal for a rule change that would penalize a defensive player for a 15-yard penalty if he stops the runner with a hip-drop tackle, as per the Bleacher Report. The NFLPA, however, opposed this proposal and emphasized that if passed — this rule would only cause confusion among players, coaches, officials, and, of course, the fans.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk shared his two cents about the whole thing during his recent sparring session and added clarity on what might transpire with the stage set for the Owners’ meet on Monday. The sportscaster explained the Hip Drop Tackle by adding, “Defensive player, typically coming in from behind or in an angle, grabs the ball carrier, twists, and just falls down.” This method instantly stops the runner, since he now has at least a 200-lb man hanging on his backside. While this is very effective, it also results in a lot of injuries, as the defensive player typically lands on the runner’s ankle.

This Hip Drop Tackle has time and time again been brought up on the discussion table as it often sidelines the runner, if lucky, with just an ankle sprain, or, if not, an extended period of missed time on the field with a broken ankle. Florio also recalled Tyreek Hill getting injured with this tackle, coupled with a horse caller tackle during the Dolphins’ bout against the Titans on Monday Night Football. This play wasn’t penalized and Hill ended up missing next week’s matchup against the Jets.

Florio emphasized on his show that this proposal would easily get 24 votes (75%) needed to convert it into a rule. He was this sure, as NFL EVP Troy Vincent recently reiterated that the management wants this to ‘get out of the game’. Florio said,

The Union is against it. That was the development from yesterday — they had a conference call and Troy Vincent was asked about the league’s reaction to the union’s resistance, and he made a pretty good point. They always resist. They resist everything. I don’t know why but they always resist these safety-related rule changes. And I think the NFL just views it as background noise at this point. They don’t care

Florio feels that the league understands the injury risks and so do the fans. So, the question remains: what would be the downsides, if the NFL’s proposal was converted into a rule?

Impact of Removing Hip Drop Tackle

While Florio argues that this certain tackle increases the risk of injury, and the league is only trying not to get its quarterback sidelined, the majority of fans don’t have the same sentiment. Even under Florio’s comment section, fans expressed that the league would have replaced artificial grass in the fields if they remotely cared about the players’ safety.

Now that the Hip Drop Tackle has become the talk of the town, it’s worth mentioning that a Reddit user by the username of MillHoodz_Finest posed a similar question three months ago. Just like the NFLPA argued, this Reddit user was confused about how a player is supposed to stop a runner if they are refrained from using this certain tackle.

There are certainly some interesting replies from fans now speculating that the defensive players would go on to target the knees of the runner. Which sounds even scarier than a Hip Drop Tackle. Another fan argued that if this rule gets passed, clubs will hire tight ends of bigger frames, who would dash with the pigskin to the end zone without a worry in the world. The majority, however, is disappointed that the NFL landscape is changing so extensively and it no longer ‘feels like football.

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