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NFL bans ‘Oklahoma Drill’

The former “Right of Passage” practice drill is no more.

Denver Broncos /

In an effort to promote a safer culture for professional football, the NFL has banned the famous / infamous (depending on your own experience) “Oklahoma drill.”

The NFL acknowledged the ban on Tuesday during its annual meeting in Florida. The league had previously analyzed data concerning high impact drills. Research showed a high rate of concussions early in training camp.

There are several variations of the Oklahoma drill.

The drill itself consists of two to four players. Usually, there is a defender matched against a blocker, and ball carrier.

The drill is confined to a small area of space, resulting in high impact hits. Teammates and coaches alike create an intense atmosphere full of taunting, testosterone, and the anticipation of the whistle. Surviving the brawl is a feat on its own.

Ask anyone who played football at any level about this drill and you’ll get one of two answers - either they loved it or hated it.

The results from the drill come in pride, or humiliation. Traditionally, the drill was implicated to teach players toughness.

In 2015, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick explained the Oklahoma drill answered specific questions for him when evaluating players:

“Who is a man? Who’s tough? Who’s going to hit somebody?”

But for the Broncos, the ban won’t affect practice or weekly preparation.

The NFL has recently worked with the NFL Players Association promoting a concussion reduction plan.

The plan consists of three fundamentals: prohibiting underperforming helmet models, instituting a series of rule changes rooted in biomechanical research, and intervening in early training camp practices.

“I think removing some of these drills across all 32 teams is the right way to do that [make greater improvements],” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We also believe by prohibiting some of these drills, that will happen at the college and high school and youth football levels, which we believe should happen.’’


By banning the Oklahoma Drill...

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Tackling on all levels (Youth, High School, College, NFL) will diminish.
    (320 votes)
  • 60%
    Players will be protected from unnecessary trauma.
    (492 votes)
812 votes total Vote Now