HomeSportsNFLNFLPA is Prepared to Fight NFL Over Controversial Rule Change

NFLPA is Prepared to Fight NFL Over Controversial Rule Change

by Dustin Schutte
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(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Typically, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is in favor of the league making rule changes in the effort of player health and safety. But there’s one potential alteration the league is considering that might receive some resistance.

In a statement released on Friday, the NFLPA said it opposes the NFL’s consideration of banning the “hip-drop tackle.” The league’s competition committee decided to take a look at this particular tackle following an injury to Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard in a playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network shared the NFLPA’s statement on Twitter.

“League members of the NFL Competition Committee have indicated it is considering instituting a new playing rule prohibiting a tackling technique it described as the ‘hip-drop tackle.’ Despite this intent, the NFL also acknowledged they were having a difficult time defining a ‘hip-drop tackle,'” the statement said.

“While the players have consistently advocated for health and safety advancements, any prohibition on the ‘hip-drop tackle’ technique is unfair to players and unrealistic to implement. It places defensive players in an impossible position by creating indecision in the mind of any tackling player, puts officials in an unreasonable situation that will result in inconsistent calls on the field, and confuses our fans.

“We call on the NFL to reconsider implementing a rule prohibiting the ‘hip-drop tackle.'”

NFL Considered Change to “Hip-Drop Tackle” Following Tony Pollard Injury

In the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs, Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard sustained a significant injury. A 49ers defensive player brought Pollard to the ground using a “hip-drop tackle.”

Pollard suffered a fractured fibula and a high-ankle sprain as a result of the play. In January, The Washington Post reported that the NFL Competition Committee planned to take a closer look at the play.

The NFLPA makes some good points in its opposition. If the league struggles to define a “hip-drop tackle,” how can officials make proper calls? The NFL takes a lot of grief already for inconsistent officiating. Adding another controversial piece to the puzzle seems like a disservice.

But the NFL continues to work towards protecting its players as best it can. So, if it can eliminate the frequency of major injuries, it will take necessary steps to do so.

If it includes banning the “hip-drop tackle,” the NFLPA plans to step in.