This week, the NFL bid farewell to a drill many of you may be familiar with: the Oklahoma drill. The drill is now banned from the NFL practices along with several other high-contact drills.
For those of you unfamiliar with the drill, it has several variations, all with one consistent theme: a collision. A typical drill has a ball carrier, a tackler and a blocker and the idea is to shed the block and get the ball carrier. There are other variations of it. A popular one is with a tackler and a ball carrier, both are on their back and at the whistle they get up and collide.
It’s not just for safety of the NFL. Per Pro Football Talk, the NFL is hoping that the ban will trickle down into all levels; college, high school, youth football.
The Oklahoma drill has always been seen as a right of passage in the NFL and football in general, but man is it painful. Many people reading this site who play/played football may remember doing it or a variation of it in optimist/pop-warner leagues and it’s a great way to get your bell rung.
I remember doing a variation of it in middle school football. There wasn’t much in deciding opponents, coaches just cut us into two lines and one line was the defender, the other the ball carrier, and we waited our turn to dominate the other. On one side, you’d look at the opposite line and by process of elimination, quickly figure out who you would be up against in the drill. If it was someone roughly your size, it wasn’t so bad, but when you went up against some of the monsters that had you by 15-30 pounds thanks to the magic of puberty, it was a a one-way ticket to Concussion City.
The NFL can ooze all the toughness it wants, but that’s one city that doesn’t need inhabitants.