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NFL owners vote to ban ‘hip-drop tackle.’ Not everyone is happy about the decision

NFL owners officially voted to ban the ‘hip-drop tackle’ from the sport on Monday, after an annual league meeting in Florida.

The tackle has long been a topic of debate and was cited as the reason behind multiple injuries in the NFL.

According to the NFL, the hip-drop tackle in question involves a swivel technique in which a player “grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms” and “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.”

From next season, the tackle will result in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down, the league announced.

However, not everyone is happy with the decision.

“Just fast forward to the belts with flags on them,” former three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt said on X, formerly known as Twitter, in response to the news.

Miami Dolphins safety Jevon Holland also criticized the decision, posting on X: “Breaking news: Tackling Banned.”

Rich McKay, chair of the NFL Competition Committee, defended the rule change.

“We have an obligation from a health and safety standpoint to protect players when there’s unreasonable risk of injury,” he said during a press conference Monday.

“And in this one, there’s pure data that it’s an unreasonable risk of injury. So that’s why we changed the rule.

“We made a lot of playing rule proposals and changes over the year on health and safety. And sometimes, they’re looked at as though you’re making the game softer. I just don’t agree with that at all. I believe you’re trying to make the game safer.”

Baltimore Ravens star Mark Andrews was one victim of the tackle last season, suffering a serious ankle injury after being brought down by the controversial technique in November.

Earlier this year, Andrews said he didn’t blame the player who tackled him and would not weigh in on the conversation over whether or not to ban the technique.

“It kind of was just an unfortunate event,” he said. “I’m just going to let everybody else do their thing. If they want to ban the tackle, fine. I’m going to go hard no matter what. I don’t blame the guy. He was just playing hard.”

The league also voted for two other changes during Monday’s meeting, firstly “to protect a club’s ability to challenge a third ruling following one successful challenge” and secondly “to 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.​”

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