The NFL instituted several rule changes for the 2024 season, but two stood out in particular.

On Monday, the league made the hip-drop tackle illegal. This comes after the Competition Committee back in October revealed that their data showed that type of tackle resulted in a “25 times rate of injury as a typical tackle.” 

The hip-drop tackle involves a defender wrapping up a ball carrier from behind and dragging him down, to the point where the ball carrier’s lower body can be crushed by the defender when both land on the ground. This tackle technique risks the injury of a player’s ankle, lower leg and knee. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was injured on the tackle during the 2023 playoffs, 

While many people came out in favor of the rule change for player safety, some criticized the NFL for continuing to make the game soft. Some also railed against the league doing more to restrict defensive players from executing tackles. Chiefs defensive back Justin Reid called the decision to ban the hip-drop tackle “terrible.”

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter!

A week of sports news in your in-box.
We find the sports news you need to know, so you don't have to.

“Horrible… making it difficult for the defense to make a play,” Reid wrote in an X post. “…Especially when a defensive player is running a guy down from behind. Players don’t make the rules [tho] so just gonna have to play and let the chips fall where they fall.”

The NFL introduced a second rule change this week, this one redesigning how kickoffs function. There are several key changes that the Competition Committee outlined, which include:

  • The kicker is not allowed to advance past the 50-yard line until the ball touches the ground or player in the landing or end zone.
  • The 10 other players on the kicking team can not move at all until the ball touches the ground or the player in the landing or end zone.
  • The new “landing zone” is between the goal line and the 20-yard line. If the kick falls short of the zone, it is immediately blown dead. If it falls inside it, a player must return the ball.
  • Only two players are allowed in the landing zone to return a kick
  • Fair catches and surprise onside kicks are not illegal

This new kickoff format may be more complicated for many NFL fans, but like the hip-drop tackle ban, player safety was the main driving force in the rule change. Collisions during kickoffs had high rates of injuries due to the blistering speeds that both kicking and return players showed off, and the XFL has already incorporated a similar rule to much positive feedback from fans and higher-ups in the NFL.

Read more about:

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Listen to the uInterview Podcast!
Get the most-revealing celebrity conversations with the uInterview podcast!