A September 16, 2016 article by Jeanna Thomas of SB Nation describes rugby-style tackling and its effectiveness in the NFL and college football.
In rugby-style tackling, the player is always leading with the shoulder and never the head. The emphasis is on hitting the ball carrier hard "in the strike zone" -- the area above the knees to the shoulders. Another key component to rugby-style tackling is wrapping up the ball carrier. By wrapping up the opponent and hitting the strike zone, the tackler’s head is positioned behind the ball carrier’s body and the head is never a point of contact.
Ohio State’s Urban Meyer was not initially interested in changing the Buckeyes’ approach, but former defensive coordinator (and current Rutgers head coach) Chris Ash persisted. Meyer soon became a believer, too.
The Rugby Tackling Technique
Many teams in the NFL and college football have shifted to the rugby tackling technique, thanks in part to the video developed by Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks teaching the finer points of the "Hawk tackle."
"I did as much research as I could and ultimately we jumped in," Ohio State’s Urban Meyer said in 2015, via Jon Solomon of CBS Sports. "Tremendous success right out of the get-go. You could see the difference."
During the 2013 season, before Ohio State adjusted its approach to tackling, it was clear that tackling was a concern. Ohio State allowed 377.4 offensive yards per game through the 2013 season.
"It eliminated some injuries, but it also was a lot more effective. And I can tell you honestly right now, as a coach, I could go show you our film and what we teach, what we coach, what we drill and guess what? It shows up on film," Ash said.
Quinn not only thinks it will be easier to incorporate the rugby-style technique at the pro level if college programs are buying in, but he also believes pro teams have a responsibility to set that standard of safety and effectiveness.
"Our responsibility in the NFL it to keep filtering down some trends," Quinn said. "And then it gets down into college, and the college to the high school, and the high school all the way down."
"It’s an awesome game and it provides so many things, so if we can make it better and safer, then it’s our responsibility to get that done."
Hawk Tackle fully supports the NFL in moving forward with teach safe and effective tackling methods. With rugby style tackling, everyone from children to professional can practice safer techniques that will ultimately reduce head injuries and concussions in players.