Pads are a topic of contention among many players. That blazing 40 yard dash that Stephen Hill put up during the combine isn’t exactly what he runs once he dons the tail, hip, knee, thigh, shoulder, and (perhaps) rib pads. Some say it slows the players down, gets in the way of tackling, doesn’t do enough to really help, isn’t worth the lack of mobility, etc. The list is seemingly endless.
But with the era of NFL safety under Commissioner Roger Goodell, it may be time for mandatory padding to be enforced.
Come Tuesday, the owners will vote to make knee and thigh pads mandatory for all players.
Many positions place a premium on speed. They sacrifice their knees in favor of being able to put that extra move on the opposing cornerback. Some players think they play better when the lines on their uniform are smoother. Others simply want to look good for the camera.
I always got nervous looking at players without knee pads. Thigh pads were a lesser concern for me, but getting one’s knee blown out never seemed fun and always looked painful.
Of the three initiatives (trade deadline extension to week 8 and the ability to bring back one player from injured reserve during the season) before the owners on Tuesday, it seems most probable that the mandatory pad requirement will pass and is the most necessary.
Especially if the league is going to place a premium on safety.
- Luke N. Sims