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John Harbaugh glad hip-drop tackle was banned: 'It's really a bad play, and it needed to be out'

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh watched star tight end Mark Andrews suffer a severe injury due to a swivel hip-drop tackle last season. As such, he was a strident supporter of the NFL's recent ban on the tackle technique.

"When you drop down on the back of his legs, it's a mass ... and it's 25 times more likely to have a serious injury," Harbaugh said Tuesday, via ESPN. "So, it's really a bad play, and it needed to be out. 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."

A player utilizing the newly illegal hip-drop technique is subject to a 15-yard penalty. However, the league indicated multiple times that it expects more after-the-fact fines than flags for the use of the hip-drop tackle -- similar to how the "use of helmet" rule is monitored -- given how difficult it will be for referees to get the call right in real-time.

The NFL said last month that the swivel hip-drop tackle was used 230 times with 15 players missing time due to injuries. The increased rate of injuries over other plays led to the league outlawing the play, despite staunch objections from the NFLPA and many players (particularly defenders).

While there are protests, Harbaugh believes defensive players will be just fine.

"When did you ever hear about the hip-drop tackle until like two years ago, three years ago, right?" Harbaugh said. "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."

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