While I was reading over some of the league’s new rules last night, there was one thing that really caught my eye. Starting in the 2013 NFL season, it will be mandatory for players to wear thigh and knee pads. You read that right and it is not a joke. Roger Goodell thinks it will be a good idea to make that padding necessary.
Goodell has been all about the “player safety” dog and pony show, but this latest rule would be taking it a step too far. Make no mistake about it, making thigh and knee pads mandatory would be nothing more than a PR stunt.
Players have long spoken out about the padding and how it slows them down on the field of play. In today’s game, football is all about speed and every tenth of a second counts. To force players to wear padding that is uncomfortable to them and unnecessary, just so you can appear good in the public eye is absolutely absurd and irresponsible. Goodell is in the wrong here.
If there is any common sense out there, the owners and NFLPA will not let this rule go through.
New San Diego Chargers linebacker Jarret Johnson spoke out about the issue today and made his opinion very clear. It is nice to see another reasonable voice out there about this issue.
“It’s a bunch of guys who never played football before,” Johnson said. “You hear it all the time. They’re saying, ‘Why do players always complain about player safety if they’re not going to wear thigh pads?’ Well, thigh bruises and knee bruises aren’t ending careers.
“The repetitive amount of hits we take, day in and day out — this, to me, is a P.R. stunt. . . . If you get hit in the legs, you’re doing something wrong. You’re either getting cut or standing there. Usually, when guys are aggressive and they’re hitting back, the legs aren’t usually getting hit.”
If the NFLPA agrees to the absurd rule, it is likely that fines will be handed out to players that do not abide by the rule. Like other fines for uniform violations, it’s unlikely that it would prevent players from doing as they please.
“There’ll probably be a lot of fines in 2013,” Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer. “A lot of guys won’t wear them. It’s dumb. Ridiculous to me. I don’t think anybody should be required to wear [them]. I don’t get hit, so I don’t need to worry about pads. Offensive players should wear them because we hit them, but I don’t think it should be mandatory.
“You play this game because you want to play this game, and the risks you take are the risks you take. If you don’t want to wear hip pads, knee pads or thigh pads, you shouldn’t have to. It should be a choice.”
It is very likely that many other players share the same view point. There is no need for this change to go through and I hope it doesn’t. Player comfort and speed is more important than Goodell receiving a minimal boost in his ego for an irrelevant “accomplishment.”