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NFL to look at ‘mechanics’ of tackle in wake of Tony Pollard injury

Two playoff injuries might encourage a tackle rule change this NFL offseason.

Per the Washington Post, the league’s competition committee is expected to meet and review the mechanics of the tackle from 49ers safety Jimmy Ward that caused an ankle injury to Cowboys running back Tony Pollard.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes also suffered a high ankle sprain in the first quarter of the Chiefs’ 27-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. He exited the game briefly, returned to start the second half and will start for Kansas City in Sunday’s AFC Championship against the Bengals.

Tony Pollard after being tackled against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game.
 Patrick Mahomes is brought down by Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Travon Walker the first half in the AFC divisional round game.

Pollard wasn’t so lucky.

After he was tackled in a similar fashion to Mahomes, the Cowboys star was found to have a fractured fibula and high ankle sprain. He underwent surgery shortly after the Cowboys’ season-ending loss to the 49ers.

The NFL and its competition committee meet yearly in the offseason to address possible rule changes. The plan to review Ward’s tackle of Pollard doesn’t mean a rule change will take place or even be suggested, however, according to the report.

New boundaries have been set in the past before by the NFL, though, including outlawing horse collar tackles and coming down hard on hits to the head. Earlier this season, the NFL and NFLPA announced changes to its concussion protocols in the wake of a scary incident involving Tua Tagovailoa.

Any rule changes do however have to go through all 32 team owners. For change to be enacted, 75 percent of them would have to approve the change.