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NFL Rule Changes

Is The Reaction Justified?
Pro Football Network
San Francisco Safety Jimmie Ward hip drop tackles Dallas Cowboys Running Back Tony Pollard

On March 25th, the National Football League passed a vote, changing some crucial rules of the game. Decided by a ruling of 29-3 between the owners, the changes include banning hip-drop tackling, and changes to kickoffs.

These changes have caused an uproar among players. Many fans see these changes as ridiculous,  joking about how the league is going to use flags in the future like the Pro Bowl. Potential Hall of Fame Defensive End J.J. Watt tweeted, “Just fast forward to the belts with flags on them…” Many other players responded as well, Patrick Mahomes tweeted a facepalm emoji and Miami Dolphins Safety Jevon Holland responded with a tweet saying, “Breaking news: Tackling Banned.”

In response to the outrage, Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “Listen, it’s a play that has 20 times the injury factor, from that standpoint, you can’t allow that. We’ve been very effective and very clear when we see a technique that we think is going to increase the safety of our players, particularly at that kind of rate. I’m not sure we’ve had anything at that kind of rate; we’re going to work to try to remove it from the game. I think we’ll be very effective in doing that.”

This rule change, and its explanation, seems to confuse many, as only 230  hip drop tackles were performed out of 22,469 tackles, resulting in a 6.5% injury rate amongst those 230 tackles ultimately disproving Goodell’s statement. But what is hip-drop tackling? According to the NFL, hip-drop tackling, “occurs when a defender wraps up a ball carrier and rotates or swivels his hips, unweighting himself and dropping onto the ball carrier’s legs during the tackle.” This type of tackling has caused injury to notable stars, such as Titans’ running back Tony Pollard, and Ravens’ tight end Mark Andrews. This new rule change will result in a 15-yard penalty if performed.

The new kickoff rules have also sparked controversy with Detroit Lions Head Coach Dan Camble, saying, “What has people spooked about it is the unknown, but that’s what excites me.”New Orleans Saints special teams coach Darren Rizzi said, “This is going to be must-see TV. It’s going to be brand new to everybody… whether you like it or don’t like it, you’re going to watch it.” The new kickoff rules will be adopted from the XFL, kickoffs will remain on the 35-yard line but 10 players on the kicking unit will be lined up at the opposing 40-yard line the return team has the 35-yard line to the endzone to set up and return the ball. If the ball lands in the 20-yard line or further, it must be returned. Onside kicks must be declared before the kick, which has made fans angry because one of the best moments in recent sports history is the surprise kickoff in Super Bowl 44 when the Saints did a surprise kickoff coming out of halftime, causing a game-shifting momentum that gave them the Lombardi trophy over Payton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts.

The NFL is becoming less and less favorable over time with its absurd rule changes and ridiculous safety changes to “protect players.” Fans want to see the contact and big hits in a contact sport, so when you take out the contact and still try and convince fans it’s still a physical sport, it doesn’t go over well. While many will still watch despite the reaction to the news to see their favorite teams it’s unclear whether we will further progress down and eventually play flag football or return to the old NFL days.

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About the Contributor
Jackson Evans
Jackson Evans, Journalism
Jackson Evans is a Football Player and a big theater nerd. He loves to play video games and hang out with his friends. Jackson always tries his hardest no matter the situation,he tries to be a better person every single day.

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