NFL Veteran/Fox Analyst Chris Spielman’s Perspective on Rugby Style Tackling

Aug 1, 2016 | Defense, Question and Answer Sessions

By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
X&O Labs
Twitter: @MikekKuchar


Having amassed over 1,181 tackles during his 10-year NFL career, Chris Spielman knows a little something about bringing ball carriers to the ground. Now as an NFL analyst for Fox sports, the former All-Pro middle linebacker sees first hand why elite athletes miss tackles. And while he has his own opinion on how he would teach tackling, he reflected on how tackling has evolved from the more conventional methods to emerge with a newer rugby style emphasis. Spielman is as “old school” as it gets (he played part of his career through chronic neck pain), which is why we wanted his perspective on the newer methods of rugby style tackling, all of which were detailed in our study of “Developing a Tackling System.” So we pinpointed what we felt can be six contentious talking points of our study and asked his opinion on them.

On why coaches need to adapt their teaching methods to meet newer rule changes in the game…

“If you don’t adapt you won’t play. Chuck Cecil (safety for the Arizona Cardinals known for physical play) couldn’t play right now. Kurt Schulz (former safety for the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills) couldn’t play because they would lead with their heads. They would be fined out of the league or if they were in college they would be called for targeting.”