"General principals are the same" - Martin Johnson could be set to swap sports for coaching role - Ruck

“General principals are the same” – Martin Johnson could be set to swap sports for coaching role

Former England World Cup-winning rugby player, Martin Johnson, has expressed his willingness to assist NFL teams in improving their tackling technique, shedding light on the growing concern of concussion issues in American football.

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Known for his exemplary leadership and unwavering determination, Johnson was a respected figure both on and off the field.

His remarkable achievements include captaining the Lions on two tours, including the victorious 1997 trip to South Africa, and being presented with the 2003 World Cup, which England clinched in Sydney.

Apart from his inspirational leadership qualities, Johnson was also renowned for his formidable skills as a player, particularly in his role as a lock for Leicester. A stalwart presence in tight situations, he firmly adhered to the rugby philosophy of advancing forward whenever in doubt.

Since his departure as England’s team manager following the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Johnson has not taken on a full-time rugby position.

However, given his enduring passion for American football and his prior experience playing the sport during his youth, he is open to offers from across the Atlantic. Furthermore, he predicts that other former rugby players may follow suit and offer their expertise to NFL teams.

In an interview with britviewnfl.com, Johnson expressed his belief that NFL teams would be keen to adopt the right measures and seek guidance from rugby professionals.

“I can see a glut of former rugby players offering themselves up as tackling gurus,

Every team will want to be seen to do the right thing and I think the NFL teams will consider getting rugby guys in. I would always offer my knowledge.

“I’m not saying I’m any sort of guru but I would be willing to talk to them if any of the NFL teams were interested.”


He added: “The general principles are the same,”

“You bring the guy to the ground as quickly as possible and knock him backwards if possible. That is the same in both sports. It is a different mind-set in the NFL. The first thing you learn in rugby is head protection. Getting your head to the near side and then wrapping the arms. In the NFL, they often look for the big hit first and that makes you miss a lot.

“When you teach kids how to play rugby, the first thing you do before you have any form of contact is to get their head out of the way. You’ll see kids run into people with their heads down and that’s a very short career because you’re going to hurt your neck and your head. You’ve got to get your head out of the way and then you can still get a good hit on somebody. You’re aiming with your head to brush your ear down his hip, then it’s about gripping and driving through with your legs.

“When I played American football when I was younger, it was very aggressive in terms of hitting and the head was involved a lot of the time. People would say, ‘Well, you have a helmet on.’ But I would counter by saying that we were being hit by somebody with a helmet on as well. I got more head knocks playing American football than I did in rugby when I was younger.”

Martin Johnson’s five worst England call-ups

Martin Johnson’s time as England boss ended over a decade ago but the stories of their disastrous 2011 World Cup campaign seem everlasting.

On 1 July 2008 he became the England team manager. Under his management England won the 2011 Six Nations Championship, which was their first since 2003.

However, he left the post in November 2011 following England’s quarter final defeat at the 2011 Rugby World Cup and has not taken another management position in the game since.

His underperforming England side had five players included in Eurosport’s worst team of the tournament.


#1. Mike Tindall

Eurosport wrote: “The England captain’s antics in an Auckland bar – which involved a mystery blonde who may or may not have been a former squeeze kissing his forehead – overshadowed the entire group stage for England.

“His on-pitch displays were equally lacklustre, and all the signs suggest that he will now retire disgracefully from rugby to a lifetime of negotiating a rocky royal marriage.”