The various issues on which the NFL and NFL Players Association continue to haggle include whether and to what extent the use of full face shields will be made mandatory.
Many if not most (if not all) players don’t want them. The league wants players to wear, basically, an extension of the visor that many players currently wear, with the rest of the inside of the face mask covered by a plastic barrier.
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has no interest in wearing a full face shield, because he determined long ago he has no interest wearing half of a face shield.
“My second year in the league I thought it’d be cool, I put a visor on my helmet,” Watt said during a Wednesday visit to #PFTPM. “I was like, ‘It looks so cool, I wanna put a visor on.’ I had it on for about three periods of practice and I said, ‘Take this sucker off I’m gonna die out here.’ . . . So now you’re gonna put something around my mouth? You can keep that. If that comes into play, I don’t think you’re gonna see me on the field.”
That’s one of the primary disconnects between practices aimed at keeping players safe and the realities of playing football. It won’t be football if players can’t play it as comfortably as possible, which illustrates how difficult it will be to strike the balance between maximum virus protection and maximum football capacity.