Sunday, July 17, 2011


One of my favorite photos because of the tenacity of the runner
combined with the swarming determination of five or six outlaws.
If you're playing defense, your goal is to put the ball carrier on the ground.  Simple enough. 

But not easy. 

The runner doesn't want to be on the ground.  She resists tacklers.  Most runners are small and quick but some are big and strong.  A big strong runner can be hard to tackle.  A smaller shifty runner can be hard to catch.

Tackling is sometimes elegant but more often messy.  If you've visited this blog before you know I like to find and post funny photos.  Messy is more fun than elegant.  In my next post I will feature some elegant tackles but today, just for fun, I'm going with funny.  Messy. 

As I do this, I want to be sure you understand that I totally admire messy.  The whole game of football is a battle of wills, of speed against speed, strength against strength.  It is rare that one player has the perfect set-up, a clean shot at a runner, an opportunity to make the elegant tackle.

Most of the time, the tackler is fighting off blockers.  Most of the time the tackler is trying to get a solid hold on a shifty runner.  Most tackles aren't elegant. 

I selected the tackles here because they aren't elegant but also because they get the job done.  In every photo, the ball carrier landed on the ground.  And that's what tackling is about.  Even though tackling sometimes looks more like wrestling.

Grab her, wrestle her to the ground.  Tackles don't have to
elegant.  Just have to get the runner down. 

This is Soho.  In a future posting I'll repost some shots of her elegant
tackles but I like this one.  Look at the strength in her right arm.  If she
grabs you you're going down.  And she is willing to
sacrifice her body, bringing a runner down on top of her.
Sometimes you meet the runner head on but just don't have the right position for a clean shoulder-in-middle tackle.  So you grab and hang on and drag the runner down with you.  Sometimes down on top of you.

Other times you may not get a good hold on the runner.  She's moving one way and your body is moving the other.  You're slightly off balance.  Blockers, even teammates get in the way.  So you grab what you can.  Like a leg.

I think the tackler is CPR Benitez.  I love her style of play, always aggressive
always around the ball.  Here she couldn't make the elegant tackle
so she grabbed a leg and hung on until help arrived.

Mary Nguyen weighs 100 pounds.  She is tackling a 200
pound runner who is also a gifted athlete.  Mis-match, right?
But Marry grabs a leg and hangs on until help arrives.
Photo by MaryLou Spence 

My favorites are the the tackles of total determination.  The runner almost escapes but the tackler isn't going to let that happen.  Can't grab the body for a wrestling take-down, can't grab a leg, so grab what you can.  Like a foot.

This is a Dallas player grabbing an Outlaw foot in the last game of 2011.  Not elegant. But it stopped the runner.

One of my favorite photos of one of my favorite Outlaws - This is Ski Tejeda refusing to let the runner
get away.  In my next posting on tackling I'll include Ski doing an elegant tackle.  That is another of
my favorite photos - but I like this one better. 

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