New York Jets Woody Johnson & NFL Owners Unanimously Vote To Ban Hip Drop Tackle

Feb 12, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, US; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson (left) talks with NFL
Feb 12, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, US; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson (left) talks with NFL / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This week's Annual League Meeting had a full slate of proposed rule changes for New York Jets' Woody Johnson and the other NFL owners to vote on. In a controversial and unanimous decision, the owners voted that the hip-drop tackle is officially illegal.

The rule change adds another potential penalty for defenders. However, ideally it makes the game safer. NFL Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay said the technique has a 20-25 times injury rate. The hope is the ban adds more protection for Jets playmakers like Breece Hall, Tyler Conklin, Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard and Mike Williams.

Former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard is a prime example. Pollard was injured in the January 2023 NFL playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers because of a hip-drop tackle. He was carted off the field and suffered a fractured fibula and high ankle sprain.

Officially from the NFL, it is a foul if a player uses the following technique to bring a runner to the ground:

(a) grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms; and

(b) unweights himself by swiveling and dropping his hips and/or lower body, landing on and trapping the runner's leg(s) at or below the knee.

Penalty: For a Hip-Drop Tackle: Loss of 15 yards and an automatic first down.

In total, the NFL's competition committee is presenting six rule changes and NFL franchises are presenting four changes at the meetings, which take place March 24-27.

Johnson's expectations are high for 2024, reiterating it is a must-win year for both GM Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh.

"I mirror the frustration that Woody has," Douglas said. "Woody and I talk every day, just about every day and so we’re certainly on the same page. Again, I like the position we're in. There's a lot of talent coming back to this team, we have to add more to it. We know exactly what we have to do moving forward." 

Currently, New York is focused on the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit. With the No. 10-overall draft selection in their pocket, the Jets are scouting and interviewing prospects with an eye on improving a few key position groups, including offensive line and receiver.

Bri Amaranthus