Owners vote to make knee, thigh pads mandatory starting in 2013

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NFL players will be required to wear knee and thigh pads starting in the 2013 season, after the league’s owners voted on the rule change today.

In announcing the vote, Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay said union input is still needed, according to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal. Some players have complained that leg pads slow them down, and the owners agreed to drop a proposal to require hip pads as well out of respect for those players’ opinions. Now the league has the next year to discuss the specifications of the mandatory knee and thigh pads with the union, as many players will surely want to wear the smallest, thinnest, lightest pads they’re allowed.

Troy Vincent (pictured), the former NFL defensive back who is now the NFL’s head of player services, didn’t wear leg pads during his playing days but said players will learn to adapt and ultimately be safer for the new rule.

But at the players’ request, that safety measure won’t start for another year.

26 responses to “Owners vote to make knee, thigh pads mandatory starting in 2013

  1. In the end, all these safety rules are because of the players’ lawsuits against the league.

  2. What a Sham! Nike just happened to take over uniform design this year and just coincidentally Nike has a line of new Pro Combat uniforms that have redesigned knee and thigh pads that feature prominently.

    Goodell once again shows how much he cares about the players in a way that once again helps the bottom line. What a guy.

    Does this means they can safely play 18 games now Rog?

  3. And the NFLPA will complain, further weakening their multiple lawsuits against the NFL.

    What a bunch of nimrods.

  4. Wow. Groundbreaking.

    It shouldn’t take too long to make the adjustment. A decent amount of players probably do wear most of their pads, and every guy in college is required to wear them, so they should be used to it.

  5. I thought that the new uniforms had hip pads already built into the pants. Those pro combat hexagon looking doodads.

  6. I have to reserve my opinion on this until I find out what types of pads they are. If they are soft, fine.

    But if they are hard shell pads all the league is creating is more hard surfaces that can collide at high speed with other players heads.

    I’ve said it a hundred times- how can the league not realize that hard plastic helmets and pads CAUSE injuries, not prevent them?

  7. rarelyclever what the knee pads do is protect the other player who is tackling or blocking the player. A knee to the head can be as bad or worse than a hit to the ground, because it is moving also. This is a small step, the NFL needs to require the players to wear mouth guards, and the concussion helmets too. Only then will I believe they are concerned with player safety. I am sure they don’t want to get sued, but they bow to the whims of the players too much. They should have come out and said this is the parameters of the pads you will wear, no debate. If you do not like it, do not play.

    Baseball was going to make all the players wear the new batting helmets, but the players balked because they looked funny. So what if everyone wears them, what does it matter? The NFL Players do not want to wear the conc helmets, because they look funny. Would you rather look funny, or drool when you get older? The NFL needs to protect these mach men from themselves, and protect the game we all love.””

    Good for them for taking the little step. Now it is time to take the big one and make the wear all the safety gear out there.

  8. They should have made the hip pads mandatory as well. I am always hearing about wide receivers missing a game due to a hip contusion, yet they refuse to wear them. Those hip pads would prevent most of those hip bruise injuries. And, if everyone was forced to wear them, then they would all be on the same level as far as any issues regarding slowing them down.

  9. If you’re faster and shiftier than the opposing player then you’ll still be faster and shifter than the other when you’re BOTH wearing pads.

  10. Because we all know that if Peterson had a little piece of plastic covering his knee that would’ve prevented it from going 6 inches sideways when it got blasted. Yeah right.

  11. I’ve said it a hundred times- how can the league not realize that hard plastic helmets and pads CAUSE injuries, not prevent them?


    Because if you have a soft outer portion of the helmet, you’ll get head and neck injuries.

  12. I don’t disagree with this rule change it won’t change the game in any way but will help stop certain injures. But one thing I think they should make mandatory is that every players wears a proper mouth guard that is proven to Reduce impacts (such as brain pad and im sure there other ones on the market that work in the same way)therefore reducing concussion risk because sometimes you see players either not wearing one or one that is not designed to support impacts.

  13. Hip and knee pads are not hard pads. And really these pads don’t do a hell of a lot for the player wearing them. They may stop a few bruises but they won’t stop catastrophic injuries. Wearing knee pads will help the guy who takes a knee to the head.
    Until the NFL declares mouthpieces mandatory this is all window dressing.

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