Originally Posted by Phoenix-Talon
NFL won't horse around with this issue
Notice ...this has absolutely nothing to do with Roy Williams!
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, a former member of the competition committee, said he was in favor of banning that tackle. "It's strictly a safety issue," Jones said. "It was shown that the combination of stopping a player's progress plus following on through with the tackle was more risky than we wanted it to be."
Not all NFL coaches voted "no!" T
he horse-collar tackle needed to go. It's a dangerous play in a game that places a premium on player safety. The NFL has discussed that tackle at length at its annual owners meeting this week. The league's competition committee showed the head coaches examples of such tackles and the injuries they have caused.
[View Full Quote]But actually authoring a rule was a tricky proposition.
"This needs to be addressed because it's for real," San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "But it's a very difficult thing to effectively define and, more importantly, to administer."
The problem is clear to see – a tackler grabs a ball carrier from behind by the neck collar of his shoulder pads and jerks him down, thus horse-collaring him. The backside of the offensive player's legs then crumble upon contact from the defender's body.
"We are not singling out Roy Williams," said Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher, the co-chairman of the NFL competition committee. "We're talking about a technique that's become dangerous."
"I don't think it's his intention to hurt anybody," Schottenheimer said. "It's just the technique that he's using."
Green Bay linebacker Hannibal Navies had the other tackle on the horse-collar highlight film, ending the season of Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith in the opener.
All four of those tackles came in the open field. And therein lies the problem. Quarterbacks in the pocket have been brought down with one-handed horse-collar tackles. The same with running backs at the line of scrimmage.
"There's a 325-pound defensive linemen in there, and a 225-pound back runs by," Schottenheimer said. "The defender reaches out and pulls him down. The defender makes a good play. Is that a personal foul?
"This is not an easy thing to define so that you have a chance to officiate the rule."
Some coaches wanted to limit the rule to open-field tackles. Others wanted the rule to require the contact of a defender's body on backside of the ball carrier's legs. Still others wanted to define it as a two-handed tackle.
"Any time you write a rule you may solve one problem," New England coach Bill Belichick said. "But there are other residuals to it. We need to look at those carefully."
The rule change was presented to the full ownership by the competition committee Tuesday, and it will be discussed today. If the wording isn't satisfactory, there's a chance the issue could be tabled until the May meeting.
It wouldn't be the first time the art of tackling has been altered.
In the 1950s, tackling by the face mask was legal. But the face mask tackles of Hall of Fame cornerback Dick "Night Train" Lane forced that practice to be outlawed. Then, in the 1960s, the clothesline tackle was in vogue by defensive backs such as Fred "The Hammer" Williamson." That, too, became outlawed.
And so ends the saga of the horse-collar tackle. Will we still see it? Probably, but it won't be legal. Is Roy Williams still a awesome defender -- you'd better believe it!
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was one of the five league owners to vote against the rule change, along with owners from San Francisco, New England, Detroit and New Orleans. For me as long as it is called fairly and consistantly then I have no problem but when I start seeing it call one way in one game and differently in another then yes I'll have a problem with it just as I do with the 5 yard bump rule.