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Banning Hip-Drop Tackle Among NFL's 10 Rule Change Proposals

TE Mark Andrews
TE Mark Andrews

The hip-drop tackle that injured Ravens tight end Mark Andrews may be banned soon.

The NFL competition committee has put forth a rule proposal to penalize the controversial tackle, which will be voted on at next week's Owners Meetings in Orlando, Fla.

The league has defined a hip-drop tackle as using the following technique to bring a player to the ground:

  1. grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms; and
  2. 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.

That tackle would result in a 15-yard penalty and automatic first down.

Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson used that kind of tackle to bring down Andrews short of the goal-line in the teams' Week 11 meeting last season. Andrews suffered a cracked fibula, which sidelined him for the next seven games. He returned for the AFC championship game.

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh was critical of the tackle, saying "It's a tough tackle. Was it even necessary in that situation?"

The NFLPA released a statement Wednesday afternoon opposing the rule change.

Here are the 10 new rule proposals for this year:

  1. By Detroit: Protect a club's ability to challenge a third ruling following one successful challenge.
  2. By Philadelphia: Eliminate the first touch spot after the receiving team possesses the ball.
  3. By Philadelphia: Permit a team to maintain possession of the ball after a score by substituting one offensive play (4th and 20 from the kicking team's 20-yard line) for an onside kickoff attempt.
  4. By Indianapolis: Permit a coach or replay official (inside of two minutes) to challenge any foul that has been called.
  5. By Competition Committee: Allow for an enforcement of a major foul by the offense prior to a change of possession in a situation where there are fouls by both teams.
  6. By Competition Committee: Include a ruling of a passer down by contact or out of bounds before throwing a pass as a reviewable play.
  7. By Competition Committee: Allow a replay review when there is clear and obvious visual evidence that the game clock expired before any snap.
  8. By Competition Committee: Eliminate a potentially dangerous tackling technique (hip-drop tackle).
  9. By Competition Committee: Expand the crackback prohibition to players who go in motion and move beyond the center to block a defender at or below the knee.
  10. By Competition Committee: For one year only, create a new form of a free kick play that is designed to: (1) resemble a typical scrimmage play by aligning players on both teams closer together and restricting movement to reduce space and speed; and (2) promote more returns. Permits the Replay Official automatically review whether a free kick legally touched the ground or a receiving team player in the landing zone.

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