NFL owners vote to ban hip-drop tackle at Annual League Meeting

Written by: Miles Jordan

Injury Round Up

NFL Owners Vote To Ban Hip-Drop Tackle

NFL owners met Monday morning to officially ban the hip-drop tackle, which will go into effect at the beginning of the 2024-2025 season.

The decision was made to ensure the safety of all NFL players, but specifically the offensive players who have suffered injuries due to the now-illegal hip-drop tackle. Notably, Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews sustained a severe ankle injury in Week 11, leading to surgery, which required him to miss the remainder of the 2023 regular season due to a hip-drop tackle.

Mark Andrews Suffers Season Ending Injury Week 11 vs Bengals

After Andrews’ Week 11 injury against the Bengals, serious discussions ensued debating whether the hip-drop tackle should be banned in the NFL. The NFL’s player safety statement follows: "The National Football League is committed to advancing progress in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries, enhancing medical protocols, improving how the game is taught and played, and protecting players' overall health, safety and wellbeing.” This gives league officials and owners the right to make rule changes to ensure player safety.

The new rule regarding the hip-drop tackle is as follows:

ARTICLE 18. HIP-DROP TACKLE. It is a foul if a player uses the following technique to bring a runner to the ground:

  • (a) grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms; and
  • (b) unweights himself by swiveling and dropping his hips and/or lower body, landing on and trapping the runner's leg(s) at or below the knee.
  • Penalty: For a Hip-Drop Tackle: Loss of 15 yards and an automatic first down.

While this decision was made for the safety players to help negate injuries, NFL players have criticized this new rule. Former three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt spoke out Monday morning regarding the latest rule change. Current Eagles CB Darius Slay also gave his opinion on the future of the NFL without the use of the hip-drop tackle.

Furthermore, former Indianapolis Colts and current ESPN Broadcaster Pat McAfee expressed dissatisfaction with the NFL’s decision to remove a tackle that has been a part of the league for years.

With the news breaking less than a few hours ago, we can expect more current NFL players to voice their opinions on this new rule and whether they stand behind the NFL owners' decision. With 2024-2025 to be the first season to implement this new rule, we will have the opportunity to see whether this change impacts the number of injuries recorded throughout the league per season.