The student news site of Casa Grande High School

The Casa Revista

The student news site of Casa Grande High School

The Casa Revista

The student news site of Casa Grande High School

The Casa Revista

NFL, it’s Time to Listen to Your Players

The 2024 NFL season doesn’t officially begin until September, so this current point in time is known as the off-season. Many events happen during this off-time for the league, like star players signing record breaking deals with new teams and new logos/jerseys being revealed. One of the biggest events of the off-season is the league’s annual meeting. This is when hundreds of staff members, team owners, head coaches, and executives meet to discuss last year’s season and to make changes to the league.

One noticeable change that made headlines this year is that the league will be banning hip-drop tackles. This type of tackle is described as “when a defender wraps up a ball carrier and rotates or swivels his hips, unweighting himself and dropping onto ball carrier’s legs during the tackle.” If a player is determined to have performed this tackle, it will result in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down. 

The NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) issued a statement against the ban. “While the NFLPA remains committed to improvements to our game with health and safety in mind, we cannot support a rule change that causes confusion for us as players, for coaches, for officials and especially, for fans. We call on the NFL, again, to reconsider implementing this rule.”

The decision caused a stir within the NFL community with multiple players, both retired and current, voicing their opinions. “Just fast forward to the belts with flags on them…” said former defensive end J.J. Watt. Jevon Holland, a safety for the Miami Dolphins had something similar to say: “Breaking news: Tackling Banned.”

However, not all players shared this sentiment. “I don’t care about popular opinion.” said Green Bay Packers running back Kenyan Drake. “I lost my right ankle and a quarter of the ‘21 season to this type of tackle. Something had to give and I’m glad it’s not anybody legs/ankles anymore.”  

For context, the NFL has already banned several different types of tackles including tripping and horsecollar tackles, citing that they are prone to causing serious injuries. The list of ways to legally bring down a player has dwindled as of late. Defensive players are put in a position where they could either A) commit an illegal tackle, cause a penalty to their team, and possibly get a hefty fine, or B) spend time thinking about what legal tackle they could make and let the opposing player gain yards.

So who’s in the right here? During the league meeting, the NFL used a clip from a game against the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals to showcase what a hip drop tackle could do. This game was where tight end Mark Andrews suffered a serious ankle injury that took him out for the rest of the regular season. After watching the video myself, I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary despite wincing when it was shown in slow motion. But this is common. Most tackles look like bad tackles when focused on.

The thing is players know the risk they are taking when they sign onto a team. American football is a notoriously aggressive sport, so there are obvious chances of possible injuries. I completely agree with the NFL trying to make the game safer but what they should do is listen to the ones actually on the field, the ones that their rule changes affect. 

In a previous article, I talked about another contentious situation happening now in the NFL: artificial turf. The issue has been present for several years but the league has yet to give into the players’ demands to ban turf at all stadiums. Unfortunately this gives the impression that they are ignoring a pressing safety issue, as turf fields are known for causing severe injuries.

While there is no changing the rule for the 2024 season, players and fans wait for the first games of the year to know if this ban will make the league safer or if it was just a step towards turning one of America’s favorite games into flag football.

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