Hip, thigh, knee pads may be mandatory by 2013

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For several years, the NFL has discussed making mandatory the leg pads that so many players refuse to wear, either because they believe they can run faster without them — or because the absence of the pads makes them look cool or tough or intimidating.

That soon may change, at the behest of the league office.

Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com reports that owners meeting this week in Atlanta plan to vote Tuesday on a proposal that would compel players to wear hip, thigh, and knee pads, beginning in 2013.

It won’t be a surprise if the measure passes.  The pendulum has swung sharply toward safety, and not just as it relates to the organ that resides inside the skull.

Though these pads won’t protect against catastrophic injuries, they’ll shield players against the bumps and bruises that can make a player miss a game or cause him to be less effective.

Next, the owners need to make mouthpieces mandatory, and they should force players to use the best available helmets.

And any player who complains about those efforts should be forever precluded from complaining in any way about his post-football health.

42 responses to “Hip, thigh, knee pads may be mandatory by 2013

  1. Actually from what I understand the use of knee pads will indeed protect against catastrophic injuries to some extent –

    Many concussions occur when an offensive player inadvertently knees the tackler in the head.

    The knee pad would lessen the blow.

  2. It seems to me that would have been the first measure to improve player safety by Judge Goodell. Improved helments and knee pads should lessen the chances of concussions and acl/mcl tears.

  3. Everybody says that half the reason for all these injuries is that the speed of the game has increased. Well, if this stuff keeps them safer AND slows them down just a bit… doesn’t that ALSO keep them safer?

  4. Its about time, its ridiculous that some players don’t. Yeah they don’t prevent catastrophic injury, but will prevent deep bruises and other nagging injuries.

  5. While I don’t deny the potential benefit to wearing these pads, I wonder how mobile a player would be on the field. I don’t see players like Chris Johnson or Ray Rice having the kind of breakaway speed they do now.

  6. The measure further stipulates, that by 2015, all players will be fitted into fake sumo wrestler suits in the name of safety.

  7. I didn’t know the mouthpiece was optional. Whoever doesn’t wear one is an idiot.

  8. probably one of the more annoying things in the last decade has been seeing guys flying around with no pads on their legs….i love guys like Ed Reed and Ray Lewis and all the others….but it is idiotic to not have the padding….personal opinion.

  9. I think that kickers should be excluded from the knee, hip and thigh pads requirements, all that excess does affect accuracy, distance and hang time for all kickers/punters.

  10. thetroofishere says: May 21, 2012 10:10 AM

    It seems to me that would have been the first measure to improve player safety by Judge Goodell. Improved helments and knee pads should lessen the chances of concussions and acl/mcl tears.

    goodell has been saving this league since the first day he was commish. the moves he’s been making probably saved the nfl from getting shut down by 2015 by congress because of all these serious injuries and issues this league that has been around for years. this for sure isn’t the first thing he’s done to help save player safety

  11. It’s about time. I don’t understand why these pads weren’t made mandatory years ago. For a league that talks about safety this is a good step.
    Also, when players dont wear knee and thigh pads they look like they are wearing bad 1990s bike shorts.

  12. Yep…the players started eschewing the old school pads (esp WRs, RBs, and CBs) in the name of speed. I do think that has had some effect on injuries.

    Mike Martz might be a little nutty, but years ago he made a comment about the players’ shoes perhaps being a source of injury tendency too. IE they too are lighter now to help the speed, and may not be as protective (ankle injuries, and the like). I believe shoes need looking into as well.

  13. baddegg says:
    May 21, 2012 10:08 AM
    Queue: the game is full of “wussies” crowd. They are just waiting to put down their potato chip bags first…
    I was literally putting a potato chip in my mouth when I read that.

  14. Can somebody explain to me why knee braces aren’t mandatory for all linemen, especially offensive linemen? Some of these OL have $50 million contracts, and every year a bunch of linemen get rolled up on from behind or sideways, or cut-blocked in games and in practice.

    I know these braces restrict some mobility for the linemen, but the college players seem to do alright with them.

    If I was an owner and I sunk that kind of money into a tackle or a guard, I would want my investment protected. And if I were a player, I would most certainly want the piece of mind protection for my career and my life after football.

    I don’t understand why every NFL OL does not wear knee braces.

  15. @southpaw2k..Who cares if Ray Rice or Chris Johnson is slower with pads? If everyone has to wear them, doesn’t it make sense that the defenders chasing them are also slower? Seems like a wash to me.

  16. from what little I know (my uncle was an amateur boxer) mouthpieces do a heck of a lot in preventing or at least dampening the effects of blows to the head, jaw, etc. Boxers don’t wear them so much to protect their teeth but more to lessen/avoid getting their “bell rung”

    mouthpieces def should be mandatory equipment. Instead of instantly changing rules about style of play enforce rules on wearing as much padding that made for the sport

  17. I hated the hip pads. Bulky and irritating. I imagine they are significantly better now then they were in the early 80s. Never went out without the thigh and knee pads. I know both of those saved me from some pain on more than one occasion. Not sure they ever spared me from an injury worse than a nasty bruise, though.

  18. I think this is a great thing, because hopefully it will lessen the injuries during the season, even one to two game injuries. A team could lose a game when an important players misses only one game. Anything to reduce the chance of that is a good thing. I’d much rather watch teams square off at full strength whenever possible.

  19. Wait, mouthpieces aren’t mandatory? Do we have sources for that. I could have sworn that they were. Either that, or almost all players wear them anyways. A lot of guys don’t wear the mouth pieces as “Concussion Blockers”, though. New technolgy has allowed developers of mouth pieces to make ones that actually improve your on-field performance. It is all due to aligning the body, head-to-toe, and improves your balance, which improves your reaction times, which improves your performance. Here’s my take on pads, if you honstly think the majority of players don’t wear pads, your not an avid follower of the game. The new Nike Battle Armor, it has cushions built into the garment the same places you would usually wear pads. Normally, the only missing piece on a players uniform, is his Knee pads. I havent seen any improvemts in the funtionality of those pads since I played Pee-Wee ball. First, guys who wear knee braces can’t wear knee pads. Second, it is just as difficult to wear that pad if you tape your knees. Third, the rason why it would slow players down is because it restricts movement, in turn, making cuts and sudeden movements more dangerous because of said movement issue. Finally, if you think knee pads will prevent torn MCL’s and ACL’s, you obviously don’t know what those are. Is all a knee pad does is cusion the front of the knee, thats it. It offers no support for lateral impact or at the rear of the knee. If they are going to make this stuff mandatory, they had better make this stuff more functionable, if not, it will only be couter productive. Maybe we can the return of the “yard sale”.

  20. i’m sure the new ones weigh nothing and won’t slow anyone down. the knee pads don’t do much especially to protect ligaments but the thigh pads are very effective in preventing deep bruises.

  21. Mandatory knee pads will cut down on concussions. The other pads may cut down on nagging injuries but they won’t do much to prevent major injuries.

    Mouthpieces need to be mandatory.

    Those 2 simple things would reduce concussions significantly.

  22. The problem with mouth guards (the good ones) is that they make it hard to talk/be understood and also hinder breathing when you’re gassed. Some people (me, for example) have narrow nasal passages and have to be a mouthbreathing cretin during exercise. Having a properly fitting mouthguard really makes that difficult.

  23. Playing ball through high school I always reveled at the pros ability to not wear leg pads and stay healthy. we would practice thursdays without leg pads and I took a inadvertant helmet to the knee, 3 weeks later I played again. Nike and Under armor have developed a different style of leg pads, that a more like spandex, making speed a non-issue. keep these guys healthy – put the pads on.

  24. I disagree with the pads being mandatory. As a College football Coach, and former D1 player, I have seen many players come out to practice without lower body pads, and I have yet to see a significant injury from this. In the NFL, these are grown men making millions of dollars. If someone gets hit by a diving tackle at the knees, pads aren’t going to keep them from blowing out a knee. I agree with the knee braces on Offensive Linemen, since most wear them anyways. Also, the NFL needs to look into Banning the old style helmets, like the Riddel SV4, and the Schutt Air helmet, and mandate that players only wear approved helmets, and Every single player wears a a custom fit mouth guard. That will help greatly reduce the chances of a concussion.

  25. What the league REALLY needs, to do, though, is completely bury this 18 game season nonsense. It makes them look like fools to say, on the one hand, that they’re concerned about player safety, and on the other, let’s replace two preseason games, where more players play and the hitting is less intense, with two more regular season games, where starters play much longer and are more likely to get hurt, and the hitting is more intense.

  26. With players suing the NFL for concussions it would not be surprising to see them suing the NFL for other injuries. People have to start realizing that they can’t have it both ways. Players can’t want to deliver devastating hits and then turn around and sue the league for their injuries and us fans have to realize that if the players continue with their lawsuits then soon there will be no NFL. So the league is just protecting the future of the sport we all love.

  27. Make them wear them watch old film you see them all wearing them. It will help cut down injuries and if all players have to wear them it all evens out as far as speed etc. Kickers should also have to as well. Good old fashioned football.

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