When Patrick Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain in the divisional round of the playoffs, many people questioned the legality of the play. The defender, Jaguars defensive lineman Arden Key, tackled Mahomes by rolling down his body and into his ankle.
That type of tackle is not illegal, but it could be in the future. NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said the league acknowledges that kind of “hip-drop” tackle is associated with ankle and leg injuries.
“I think it’ll be a very active offseason conversation, to look at the mechanism,” Sills said, via the Washington Post’s Mark Maske. “Obviously the 'hip-drop' tackle is not the only cause of high ankle sprains. There are certainly other factors.”
As a result, the league is likely to look into whether those tackles should be legal this offseason.
“We have noted that type of tackle that you mentioned,” Sills said. “And I think it needs to be a very active discussion point, again, with the competition committee and others this season.”
Mahomes was not the only player to get injured on this type of tackle in the playoffs, as Cowboys running back Tony Pollard suffered a broken fibula vs. the 49ers.
The NFL hasn’t been afraid to alter the rules in order to protect players, and this may be the latest instance.