To tackle or not to tackle

In my mind, to tackle someone is to grab them and bring them to the ground while in your grasp.

To me this means that to just trip someone somehow, or to hip check them as in hockey, is not an actual tackle.

I would like to see rules in all north American football to be changed so that if a person is knocked down in any way, they are not considered down by contact unless an opposing player is actually touching them when they hit the ground. Otherwise, a ball carrier should be free to roll, crawl or get up and run to further advance the ball until they are downed by being touched while more than just their hand and or feet are on the ground

In that case, sir, pray that a mighty linebacker or safety does not smite thee with his mighty shoulder pads, as did Bo Lokombo in this memorable clip from last September.

Back to the Future!

Years ago in the CFL, the rule was that the play didn’t end until the ball carrier’s forward progress had been stopped. So defenders had to not just knock the ball carrier to the turf, but had to wrap him up and stop him from moving. From what I gather, that’s what made Normie Kwong so great, the ability to keep moving with the ball while under a pile of 23 other players. Not sure when the rule was changed to today’s version.

Actually, I could support this change.

Don’t get it … how does the proposed rule change make it any difference?

Also, video wouldn’t play for me … is it this hit?

…would be interesting to try a game with this forward-progress wrinkle added to it in all instances…so a receiver catches a ball, gets hit and falls (presumably grounding elbows and knees all over the place) but if he’s able to get up can still keep going…basically the D has to pin and hold a ball-carrier for a second or two before the whistle is blown…bet scoring would go up…

Lions RB Wayne Moore gets popped by his former teammate, falls to the turf, play is whistled dead.

Proposed rule would instead allow him to jump back up and continue running with the ball, since no defender was touching him while he was on the ground. Could be that he got sufficiently popped that he resumes running, except in the wrong direction, and gets jacked up a second time, even worse. Thus proving that the safety of the players is optimized by not changing the definition of a tackle.

Yes, it was the same play. Here is the link again (2nd try)

Yep, like Wobbly stated, the injury risk would be insane. Way too dangerous.

Such were the rules in the NFL until about 1955 as well as are similar to rules in rugby. In fact, a player was not down until forward progress was stopped.

Due to increased risk of injury, there is no such going back in gridiron football.

What about just using the current rugby rule, and enforcing an attempt to wrap with the arms. Safer tackles, smaller collisions.

Above and beyond safety considerations, I have always been for this change also tactically, for when you wrap the chance of a missed tackle is not only far less but also the chance your mates can assist increases as well.

The first step was to eliminate far more hits to the head, which were not only unsafe but also poor form for tackling.

In 2010 I was three years ahead on advocacy for both changes here on this forum and elsewhere.

Thankfully all pro leagues plus amateur have made reforms but only after costly litigation and a number of lifelong injuries including deaths influenced by CTE.

Also the “in the grasp” rule for QBs needs to come back but with stricter criteria for the play to stop than decades ago.

how about all the times the ball carrier just gets flipped over and lands on his head?

A proper tackle is actually safer much of the time

The speed at which players collide in rugby is far slower than gridiron primarily because blocking is illegal in rugby.

Don’t like the forward motion suggestion because I have seen too many situations where players are still moving and the officials have blown the whistle while others the player has not advanced for at least 2 seconds and the play continues.

I could go with the ball carrier having to be touched while down so a forearm trip or knocked down by a block would not end the play.

Not certain I get why an unimpeded line to the ball carrier slows down the tackler.

Having played both, I do not buy that logic either. If anything, in gridiron football the ball carrier pauses behind blockers sometimes and is sitting even more vulnerable for a tackle at a higher difference of speed than in rugby…

In rugby at or near the gain line (i.e. the line of scrimmage), certainly the tackles often are not at full speed. In the run of play or when receiving kicks, it’s about the same speed for collisions minus the pads and no helmet.

Never played rugby … but I expect the absence of padding makes tacklers somewhat more responsible … football pads have to return to being “pads” and stop being battering rams

Yes for sure there is less impact in those regards in rugby because one cannot simply launch at the ball-carrier and must ATTEMPT to either wrap or bind when making any contact with a ball carrier. The key word is ATTEMPT.

On the other hand the shoulder and body placement often are more focused and improved such that the impact is often the same, if not more, yet below the neck barring a serious and almost always costly penalty in rugby.

I think there are many variables in any given case pads and helmet or not, but the end result in either sport is a good, clean tackle with a hard hit is just that.

For example in rugby I’ve been on the receiving end taken to ground hard after fielding a kick that went over my head before, and well, I sure was woozy for a few minutes.

By contrast I had delivered in a match several hard hits in attempts to tackle a much larger yet slower tall dude (I was 5-11 and only about 160 at the time and he must have been at least 6-4 and 200), and I had flipped him over in one of the attempts after grounding him a few times. Of course my mates piled on to try to regain possession every time.

Remember you need not succeed in your wrap to tackle in rugby so long as your arms are in a position to wrap. To many onlookers who did not know the rules unlike the referee, my hits looked much like any given cut by a defensive back on some tight end in gridiron. And yes my hits then were not delivered without my own pain as is the common case in pads.