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NFL Penalizes 'Hip-Drop,' Adopts Rule Amendments

Harbaugh Brothers at the NFL Annual Meeting
© Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports



In a sport known for its constant evolution, the NFL has once again pushed the boundaries of innovation with its latest series of rule changes approved for the 2024 season. These amendments promise to revolutionize the game, bringing a fresh wave of excitement to players and fans alike.




These groundbreaking rule changes represent the NFL’s unwavering commitment to innovation, competitiveness and fan engagement. As the league continues to evolve, one thing remains certain: the thrill of NFL football transcends borders and generations, captivating audiences around the world with its unparalleled excitement and drama. So buckle up, football fans—the 2024 NFL season promises to be a wild ride filled with game-changing moments and unforgettable memories.


 

Coach Challenges

The NFL has introduced significant amendments to replay review rules for the upcoming season. Teams will now have a minimum of two challenges initiated by the head coach with a red flag. However, committing a foul preventing the next snap forfeits the right to challenge. Challenges can contest on-field rulings except those reserved for the Replay Official. Each challenge requires a team timeout, with penalties for unsuccessful challenges. Teams may earn a third challenge if successful on previous ones. The aim is to maintain game integrity while adding strategic depth to gameplay.





Double Foul Amendment

The change focuses on addressing scenarios involving double fouls during downs with changes of possession, ensuring consistency and fairness in officiating. It clarifies that if the team last gaining possession commits a major foul before establishing possession, it retains the ball after enforcement for its foul. Exceptions and guidelines are provided for various game situations to maintain competitive equity. The amendment aims to enforce major fouls consistently and promote fairness across all teams in the league.




Exceptions to this rule:

1. If Team A commits a foul during a kickoff, punt, safety kick, fair catch kick or field goal attempt before a change of possession, Team B can choose to replay the down from the previous spot.

2. If a safety is the result of a foul by Team B, the down is replayed from the previous spot.

3. In case of double fouls after the last change of possession, or if the offense commits unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct before the change of possession, penalties offset. The team last in possession retains the ball at the spot where its foul would be enforced, with adjustments for touchback or safety. If Team A fouled before a change of possession on a kicking play, Team B has the same option as in (1) above.


If the team last in possession doesn’t have “clean hands” when it gains possession, penalties offset, and the down is replayed from the previous spot.


New Rule Against Swivel Hip-Drop Tackles

This is where the controversy comes into play. In a bid to prioritize player safety, the NFL has amended Rule 12, Section 2, by adding a new Article 18, addressing the use of the swivel hip-drop tackling technique. The updated language defines a swivel hip-drop tackle as when a player grabs or wraps a runner with both hands or arms and unweights themselves by swiveling and dropping their hips and/or lower body, resulting in landing on and trapping the runner’s leg(s) at or below the knee.


Amik Robertson tackling Jameson Williams
© Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Under the new rule, executing a swivel hip-drop tackle will result in a penalty of a loss of 15 yards and an automatic first down. The submission of this amendment by both the NFL's Competition Committee and the Health and Safety Advisory Committee underscores the league’s commitment to eliminating potentially dangerous tackling techniques and prioritizing player safety on the field.


This proactive measure aims to reduce the risk of lower-body injuries for both ball carriers and defenders, aligning with the NFL’s ongoing efforts to enhance safety protocols and protect the well-being of its players.




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