The Seattle Seahawks' 43-8 destruction of the Denver Broncos in February's Super Bowl was perhaps the best defensive performance, specifically in the back seven, I've ever seen given the opponent and the circumstances. Seattle rendered Denver's passing attack utterly useless. The Seahawks allowed Peyton Manning to complete 34 of his 49 throws, but for only 280 yards with two touchdowns - one for Denver, one for Seattle - plus an additional interception. Seattle defenders covered well and tackled even better.
None of this, of course, was an accident.
As Greg Bedard of TheMMQB.com writes, Pete Carroll - like many of his peers - initially resisted the NFL's new tackling rule limiting all contact above the shoulders in 2010. By 2011, Carroll reluctantly embraced the new rules and by 2013, Seattle was one of the best tackling teams in football. Bedard writes that, according to Pro Football Focus, the Seahawks missed one in every 11.94 tackle attempts, second best in the NFL.
Carroll and his defensive staff are now sharing their secrets with the rest of the coaching world. Seattle recorded a video of how they teach tackling and shared it on Hudl. View it for yourself below.
Put simply, Carroll teaches his football players how to tackle like rugby players.
“I’ve always thought it’s an awesome game,” he said. “It’s the most natural game of football in that you don’t have pads on. I think we can make dramatic illustrations of how you can play the game without a helmet.”
The Seahawks teach tackling both in and out of season, in full pads or in shorts and a t-shirt. Through it all, they've executed proper, legal and safe tackling while maintaining their status as the league's most fearsome hitters. Exhibit A:
“Kam Chancellor, who is one of the toughest and most physical players in the NFL, has taken the teachings to heart. [His tackling] demonstrates how you can maintain your physical play and still do it the right way, within the guidelines of the league," Carroll said. "Really, they are the guidelines that all football should be following.”