NFL officials ‘aligned’ on controversial rule change for 2024 season

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the National Football League gathers this week in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine 2024, most are focused on the 2024 draft prospects and trade rumors that will make headlines this week. Behind the scenes, however, another step could be taken towards a controversial rule change.

The NFL Competition Committee is meeting this week to discuss a variety of potential changes for the 2024 season. Among them, the kickoff rules could be dramatically changed and there remains support at the highest level to ban the tush push. However, there’s another rule change under consideration that has far more objectors around the league.

Related: NFL free agency predictions 2024

According to NFL Network’s Judy Battista, the committee and other league officials are “aligned” on getting the hip-drop tackle out of football before the 2024 season.

This has long been the expectation since October. With the league emphasizing player safety, it believes the use of hip drop tackles puts ball-carriers at elevated risk of suffering a major injury when they are unable to protect themselves. There are even recent examples the league can point to as evidence.

One instance happened in the 2022 NFC Divisional Round in a matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers. Shortly after hauling in a screen pass, Cowboys running back Tony Pollard’s leg was rolled over, with the defender’s hip landing on Pollard’s leg as he forcefully brought him to the ground and made the tackle. Pollard suffered a high-ankle sprain and a broken leg, which forced him to spend most of the offseason recovering from the injury.

It also happened to Patrick Mahomes during the 2022 NFL playoffs. Facing the Jacksonville Jaguars, Mahomes was taken down by edge rusher Arden Key and as Key brought him to the ground, Mahomes’ ankle got trapped under Key’s hip and caused an injury that lingered into Super Bowl LVII.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft order, picks by team

While league officials are determined to get rid of the hip-drop tackle, many players are opposed to it. Before Super Bowl LVIII in February, the NFL Players Association released a statement against a potential rule change.

“A lot of rules that were put in place over the last 10-plus years that made the game a lot safer were big adjustments for players. I feel like this particular rule change, I don’t understand how you can police it the right way and allow us to do our job.”

Calais Campbell on hip-drop tackles potentially being banned

While the players’ union has major concerns about the enforcement of the rule and questions then league further limiting what defenders can do, the NFL’s determination to make this change will likely result in the move being banned this year.

More About: