Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh showed support for the NFL banning the hip-drop tackle, saying that defensive players shouldn’t have an issue making stops despite the change.

“It’s really a bad play, and it needed to be out,” Harbaugh said Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “And guys are going to tackle just fine without the quote-unquote hip-drop tackle, because they tackled just fine without it for 100 years of football before that, when you never saw it, really.”

NFL owners unanimously approved to ban the hip-drop tackle last month following several injuries resulting from the technique. The rule change – which will result in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down – seeks to prevent defenders from dropping their weight onto the legs of offensive players. Ravens tight end Mark Andrews missed seven games (including the playoffs) after suffering an ankle injury on a hip-drop tackle made by Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson last year.


Data reportedly indicated that the hip-drop tackle had an injury rate 20-to-25 times higher than that of other tackles.

“When did you ever hear about the hip-drop tackle until like two years ago, three years ago, right?” Harbaugh added. “That’s because it was discovered, probably, in rugby and started being executed as a standalone technique.

“It’s a three-part movement, (and) you’ve got to execute that play. You’ve got to be close enough to that ball carrier to actually get him around the hips, pull him close to yourself, swing your hips through, and drop on the back of his legs. If you’re that close, wrap him up, tackle him, and take him to the ground, like Ray Lewis used to do and everybody did for 100 years before that.”

The NFL Players Association disagrees with the league’s decision to prohibit the hip-drop tackle technique.