This kids, is how you tackle.
Just make sure your ball carrier is...
1. Not running at you at full steam
2. Not bigger than you are
3. Not angling away from you
4. Standing straight up, ahem, preferably...
This column by Slate's Matt Chaney accurately points out what a complete farce the NFL is pushing out the PR door here. A farce that somehow tries to prove that football is not only NOT inherently dangerous at a basic level, NOR downright insanely violent at the level which the league makes it's zillions.
Got that? “Knuckles up, elbows down like you’re throwing double uppercuts.” As a former head-basher in NCAA football, I can say that this is a technique that I’ve seen precisely no one, ever, use on the field. The way I understand it, tacklers are somehow supposed to launch themselves chest first into their opponents, who damn well better do the same or the tackler gets annihilated. The only way this will work is if tackle football is replaced by a version of the game without bullet-head helmets, in which a player is down if you bang him in the chest.
Even if you focus on juvenile players more narrowly, it should be obvious instantly that nobody plays like this. Over the last week, there’s been a video of a star youth player named Sam Gordon going around. Gordon, a nine-year-old girl, is seen darting through tacklers with great bursts of speed. And also, at the end of the reel, there’s a section titled “taking a hit,” in which Gordon absorbs repeated shots on or near her head. None of these kids are using anything resembling a “knuckles up, elbows down” approach to tackling. They’ve all got the crowns of their helmets forward, ready to strike.
True, true. And here's the real kicker: what happens when a kid gets injured specifically ATTEMPTING to crane their necks up and bow their body backward?
The NFL is fighting a losing battle here. Better to just start pushing liability waivers under players noses, and be done with it.