Competition Committee is expected to look at mechanics of tackle that injured Tony Pollard

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers
Getty Images

Cowboys running back Tony Pollard injured his ankle during the divisional round of the playoffs and the NFL is expected to look into the mechanics of the tackle that led to the injuries this offseason.

49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward grabbed Pollard from behind and then pulled the back down while dropping his own body to the turf. Pollard’s leg got trapped underneath, resulting in a high ankle sprain and fractured fibula. Pollard had surgery this week.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes also suffered a high ankle sprain on a similar tackle last weekend. Both plays were legal, but there’s a similarity to the “hip drop” tackle that the National Rugby League in Australia has banned because of the injury risk it carries and the Washington Post reports that the NFL Competition Committee is expected to discuss the “mechanics of the tackle in Pollard’s case” when they meet this offseason.

The NFL has made rule changes to ban things like low hits on quarterbacks and horse collar tackles in the past because of the injuries that they can cause. Any discussion this offseason does not mean they will follow the same path, but it looks like it could be under consideration for the future.

41 responses to “Competition Committee is expected to look at mechanics of tackle that injured Tony Pollard

  1. They’re going to have so many vague rules and definitions that absolutely any tackle of any kind will potentially be illegal somehow. Then they’ll arbitrarily throw flags and wonder why everybody accuses them of fixing the games.

  2. The game moves at an incredibly fast pace, these RB’s can hit 21-22 mph going through a hole, im not sure how a db or an lb in similar weight class can take the offensive player down without “anchoring”.

  3. The “hip drop tackle”, “National Rugby League” of Australia….I am all for player safety, but might the pendulum have swung too far? We are not far from bubble wrap.

  4. I get it… that was an ugly injury. So are those caused by horse collars, which are already illegal even if inconsistently called. If it gets to the point where there’s no way to tackle a guy from behind without penalty though, then the whole nature of the game changes and speed will become even more important for skill players than it already is.

  5. This is ridiculous. Why didn’t this come into play in the 2011 AFC Title game when Bernard Pollard did this to Gronk?

    It’s because Jerry Jones controls Goodell. That’s why.

  6. How do you ban this though? “Wrapping up a player and falling to the ground will no longer be allowed”.

  7. Football is and always has been a game where you can get injured. And due to timing, speed and direction your are approaching the ball carrier it is IMPOSSIBLE to legislate out injuries.

    There are things which can be done (and have) to enhance safety (the no ‘horse collar’ tackle and head shots are good examples) but at a certain point there is nothing more you can do and trying adversely impacts the game (you can see it happening in rugby).

    The question that has to be asked, before you run down the silly ‘this has to be fixed lane’, is how many times did a ball carrier get a high ankle sprain by being tackled compared to the number of tackles. Wanna bet it it is significantly less than .1%?

    That isn’t a problem folks.

  8. So we are on the road to flag football or just letting RBs run wild without fear of being tackled or WRs run free to catch and run because defenders aren’t allowed to tackle. HOW on earth are DEF players supposed to get the ball carrier to the ground if they cannot pull them down, can’t hit them high, can’t hit them low, can’t grab the ball carrier from behind, etc.

  9. Players aren’t going to want to (or be able to) play defense anymore. What’s the point in trying to tackle someone if there’s a really strong chance you’re just going to get fined for doing your job?

  10. New Rule: If a player runs past you, you are considered out of the play and cannot chase them down for a tackle.

    They will put that in for blocking too. Once the runner is past you, you can no longer block – just stop where you are.

    I play flag football and it is very similar.

  11. It is a preventable issue, there’s a difference between tackling a guy from behind and pulling a runner down and landing on him. Preventable measures can be made easily.

  12. touchback6 says:
    January 26, 2023 at 10:50 am
    This is ridiculous. Why didn’t this come into play in the 2011 AFC Title game when Bernard Pollard did this to Gronk?

    It’s because Jerry Jones controls Goodell. That’s why


    Jerry Jones hates Goodell.
    Jerry Jones was the only owner to vote against Goodell’s contract renewal.

  13. Rule changes to increase player safety are not new. Grabbing the facemask, leg whipping, hitting player out bounds, slamming the QB after he threw the ball, hands in the face, and 1000’s more all used to be legal in the game. A runner was not ruled down until his knee touched the ground and forward progress stopped was actually in the game. I really don’t know what to say.

  14. Cry baby Cowboys as usual. Jerry still in his office crying. So tired of that clown organization.

  15. So Jimmy……just try to reach your arm out and trip up one of the best athlete’s in the league and let him fall for 3 more yards if you do happen to trip him up at all, or put your head infront of his knees and see if your concussion will trip him up for 3 more yards if you get him down at all. those are his only options if he can’t tackle him the way he did.

  16. So weak. I hate that players get injured but not every tackle can be with the defender lined up perfectly square; a perfect form tackle. Guys get hit from the back and side as well. Outlawing horse collaring is right but this is absolutely wrong.

  17. Why not change the rules to where when a DEF player has 2 hands on the ball carrier, the ball carrier must stop moving (in any direction)? OFF players would rebel against such a rule but since there are no rules that limit what an OFF player can do, it seems appropriate in this situation.

  18. Leave the game Alone! This isnt flag football and unfortunately players get hurt. This game is fast and there was nothing wrong with the way ward tackled pollard.

  19. I don’t mind this. If a tackler grabs high and then leaves their feet intentionally to fall down with all of their weight then it cause devastating injuries just like horsecollar tackles. Watch a replay of CJ Mosley’s interception vs LSU in the 2012 title game. The way he got tackled is bad for football in the same way horsecollar tackles are.

  20. Maybe, just maybe, the NFL should force players to actually “tackle”. Head up, wrap the body, and pull to the side. Dropping straight down is a desperation tackle and if you can’t make the tackle correctly, then yes, there will be more success for running backs. Why is that so bad? Watching teams average 3 yards a carry is about as fun as watching paint dry.

    All of you criers out there don’t seem to understand the physics. Dropping straight down, i.e. the hip tackle is pretty much the same as the horsecollar. Or launching oneself like a missle, leading with the shoulder and leaving the ground with their head down? These aren’t tackles. It is BAD football, regardless of result.

    What you all want is just violence. Sheer, utter, violence. Not that ANY of you would survive an average NFL tackle, let alone any of these bone-shattering ones.

  21. Arik Armstead tackled Dak Prescott in the end zone – a play, that should result in a safety. He clearly didn’t tackle with full force in fear ob being penalized for. And Dak escaped and went out of the end zone. It was not a game deceiding play, but what if it would change the outcome?

  22. Patriots fans complaining about Jerry Jones owing Goodell is rich. Does Goodell attend parties at Jerry’s house? He does at Kraft’s…

  23. Rugby is not comparable to NFL. I watch quite a bit of rugby. There are many tackles that are prohibited in the rugby, but allowed in the NFL. This is why nfl players wear a lot of equipment and rugby players do not.

    Rugby players protect themselves when they know they have been wrapped up. They will bring in their own legs to avoid injury and prepare for the ruck.

    Meanwhile, NFL ball carriers risk injury while fighting for every blade of grass. The cultures of each sport are very different.

  24. I think this is one of those things that “if” they create a rule, it will have to be one of those rules that only applies in certain circumstances. For example, a QB in the pocket, there is absolutely no need to tackle the QB like this, perfect example as Caleis Campbell on Mac Jones, resulting in an ankle injury. There was no reason for Campbell to grab him, and then just drop all of his weight into Jones’ ankles. He basically had him in a bear hug, could have just kept in the bear hug without “anchoring” down and injuring him.

  25. touchback6 says:
    January 26, 2023 at 10:50 am
    This is ridiculous. Why didn’t this come into play in the 2011 AFC Title game when Bernard Pollard did this to Gronk?

    It’s because Jerry Jones controls Goodell. That’s why.

    2558Rate This
    or maybe because that was 12 years ago in virtually a different age

  26. About time! “Hip drop” tackles are intended for one purpose, and that is to inflict serious injury on another player. This is why the NRL (Australian rugby league) has banned it and is now suspending players for using it. This isn’t about Cowboy or Chief fans being crybabies! It’s about protecting NFL stars from being seriously injured by defenders who are targeting them. Deebo Samuel was the victim of a hip drop earlier this season, and now in one weekend both Mahomes and Pollard were badly hurt for the same reason. It’s obvious to me that the word is out on this tackle, and that it’s being used to take out star players. Banning it has become a necessity, and no, this isn’t about putting “bubble wrap” around QBs or anything like that. I understand why the fans are skeptical, but it’s entirely appropriate for the NFL to ban the hip drop.

  27. I’ll be fascinated to see where this goes. Looking through a bunch on internet videos on this subject, this “hip drop” tackle looks like what used to be referred to as good tackling.

    Looking at the Mahomes injury (speaking as a KC fan here), I don’t really see what the defender who injured him was supposed to have done. He got his arms around Mahomes and fell down, landing on Mahomes ankle. It’s not even clear to me that the defender intentionally fell prior to being taken of his feet by Mahomes running and linemen blocking into him.

    I am all in favor of player safety, but I hope that if the NFL comes up with a rule, it will be clear and not create a number of arbitrary personal fouls.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.