The NFL wants to penalize defenders for a tackle it just made up

Must read

The NFL is getting its signals crossed about player safety. Fans, as well as the guys on the field, don’t like seeing carnage as much as the next war vet. If you’re of the notion that injuries aren’t the worst part of football (then, boy, do I have a slideshow for you), but also you’d be in the minority. It sucks seeing a physical specimen writhe on the ground in agony, surrounded by 100-plus peers who know the feeling, and tens of thousands of spectators, as well as millions of viewers, simply hoping for the best.

The season might already be over for these two

However, the difference between fans and players and the league when it comes to safety is the former two groups know this is a violent game, and readily acknowledge the inherent risks of putting on pads.

The NFL? It seems to believe all danger can, and should, be eradicated from the sport. Case and point is its newest venture: The “hip-drop tackle.” Described as a cousin of the horse-collar tackle, it’s when a defender, often coming at the ball carrier from behind and at an angle, grabs his prey around the waist and uses that momentum to swing the ball-carrier to the ground. That swing drops the runner’s hip and the injuries come when the defender falls on the plant leg, trapping it while the tackler twists the ball-carrier’s body, but not his ankle or leg, to the ground.

“It is an unforgiving behavior and one that we need to try to define and get out of the game,” said Jeff Miller, executive vice president of communications, public affairs, and policy for the NFL.

“The defender’s encircling, tackling the runner, and then swinging their weight and falling on the side of their other leg, which is their ankle or their knee,” said Rich McKay, NFL competition committee chair. “You can see what they do, because it can be a smaller man against a bigger man, and they’re trying to get the person down. That’s the object of the game.

“But when they do it, the runner becomes defenseless.”

There’s so much nonsense here, I merely hope to keep your attention spans long enough to debunk it all.

First, a hip-drop tackle is not a cousin of the horse-collar tackle, because a horse collar is a cousin of the face mask. Latching on to a piece of an opponent’s uniform like a handle and wrenching on it to rip them to the ground is a lot different than grabbing a guy by the hips and swinging him down.

I thought you were supposed to see what you hit, wrap up, and drive through the tackle? What are they supposed to do now? Wrap up, but try to hold up the ball-carrier at the same time? It doesn’t make any sense.

I know the hip-drop whatever is how Patrick Mahomes and Tony Pollard got hurt in the playoffs last year, but it’s not “unforgiving behavior.” It’s football and ankles get snapped and twisted when humans posing as demigods launch themselves at each other for a living.

Miller saying, “We need to try to define” a term that he just made up is equally stupid. The NFL has been trying to define a catch for over a decade and now it’s trying to define a tackle?

We’re nearing the point of a league official declaring “flamingo tackles” a problem and describing them as, “I know them when I see them.

“It’s outrageous behavior for the sake of violence and we need to rid it from the game, because it doesn’t give a ball-carrier a chance to defend himself, and those are players people pay to see.”

Read this McKay quote again but without the accompanying context, and tell me what the f*ck he’s talking about.

“You can see what they do, because it can be a smaller man against a bigger man, and they’re trying to get the person down. That’s the object of the game.

“But when they do it, the runner becomes defenseless.”

THE RUNNER HAD A CHANCE TO DEFEND HIMSELF BEFORE THE TACKLE! The reason he’s carrying a football is so he can’t use both hands to fight off defenders on the way to the end zone. However, we could change that and give Tyreek Hill a mace instead of a ball and let him impale cornerbacks and safeties on the way to a celebratory dance. No? That’s called medieval combat? OK.

The NFL’s player safety strategy seems to be: Find a breaking point for its supporters and employees and make them push back so vehemently that the media relents on injuries altogether and never talks about CTE again.

Yes, football fans and players want increased safety, but even more than that, they want the appropriate medical response when injuries happen, because it’s not an if. That’s why the NFLPA wants to ban artificial turf, airs concerns about a lack of recovery time during an increased schedule and gets pissed when concussions go undiagnosed.

I can’t wait until the league switches to these oversized helmets — that don’t negate head injuries, by the way — and the game is a flurry of flags, played by bobble heads running into each other upright, afraid to tackle because it might be illegal, but also the new 3-foot diameter helmets are popping ACLs like Orville Redenbacher. 

More articles

Latest article

Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade let the No. 3 keep them from teaming up in Miami

When an opportunity comes along in life, sometimes you just throw caution to the wind and go for it. That’s what Chris Paul should...