It’s a trend that’s easy to understand — players not wearing thigh or knee pads in their football pants. Those things are bulky. Unfortunately for players who prefer to go without, the league plans to quash the trend in the 2013 season.
Football players take fewer hard hits to their legs than most people think. The legs being as muscular as they are, they provide some cushion and give. And most players claim they can get up and down the field faster when they don’t have any pads in their pants.
Going padless used to be something only wide receivers and defensive backs would do, but now running backs and linebackers are opting out too. Frank Gore, Ray Lewis, Patrick Peterson, Anquan Boldin, Lance Moore: these guys have played with little or no padding in their pants.
In a move to really hammer player safety into the heads of owners, coaches, players and fans, the NFL released a statement Thursday that all players are required to wear thigh pads and knee pads in their pants. It’s going to be a nuisance for a lot of players, but it’s high-time the NFL started cracking down on some of these rules. If the league is going to be sued for player-safety issues, it only makes sense that all players should be held to the same protective equipment standard.
What does this mean for the aforementioned standouts (with the exception of the retired Lewis), as well as a host of others? Nothing really. Just a minor inconvenience.
It’ll be fun to see how some of these players modify pads to fit their pants. And if equipment providers are as savvy as I believe them to be, we’ll probably see some new, lightweight, super-low-profile pads that are designed for WRs and DBs.