Examining the NFL’s uniform rule

Football Uniforms 1
Football Uniforms 1

The National Football League more commonly referred to as the NFL (its acronym) is a multi-billion dollar American football league that consists of 32 of America’s finest teams. Like all the other professional sports leagues, the league too has very strict policies regarding the dress-code & attire of the athletes.

As a matter of fact, there are nine pages in the league’s rule book that tell us what every player should be wearing. Violation of any one of the rules can have the player out of the match.

The NFL, in an attempt to make everyone follow the dressing rules, has increased the fines. The charges that previously started from $5,250 went up to $15,000. The maximum fine is worth a $100,000.

You must be thinking that what is the need to be imposing such hard rules and regulations? The answer is simple. It is for the protection and well-being of the players. The League has a contract with a different sponsor. This is why a clause that “the players cannot wear equipment or gear that has branding or rival brands” is mentioned in the contract. 

The NFL is very strict about the number on the back of the player’s football jersey as well. The numbers on the back of the jersey have to be according to the playing position. Otherwise, of course a fine.

The Punter, Quarterbacks and Placekickers can choose their number from 1 to 19.

The Backs can choose their numbers from 20 to 49

The Centers can choose their numbers from 50 to 59. However, if those numbers are unavailable the centers may choose from 60 to 79.

The Tackle and the O.G. (Offensive Guards) can choose their numbers from 60 – 79

The Wide Receiver can choose their numbers from 10 to 19. However, if those numbers are unavailable the centers may choose from 80 – 89.

The number preference for Tight Ends is from 80 to 89. If those numbers are available they may choose their numbers from 40 to 49.

The defensive unit of the team consisting of Defensive Ends, Guards, and Tackles can choose their jersey numbers from 60 to 79. However if those numbers are unavailable the centers may choose from 90 – 99(Offensive Guards and Offensive Tackles excluded).

Lastly the Linebackers can choose their numbers from the range of 50 to 59. If those numbers are unavailable they may choose their numbers from the range of 90 to 99.

Originally the number options were even lesser than the ones allowed today. But as some teams retired some of the jersey numbers in respect to the exceptional performance of the players who wore them. That posed a problem as there were already very limited options, and then the retiring of the jerseys meant that the options became even less. Although The League discourages the act of retiring jerseys (so that they don’t run out of numbers) they still changed their jersey number selection rule, making it a bit lenient.

External substances like Stickum that helped the athletes grip the ball are also banned. Till 1981, the infamous Raiders team used this substance on their hands and uniforms called Stickum. This adhesive gave an unfair advantage so it was disallowed. The rule then found its place in the coveted football rule book

Some other attire related com

  •       Wearing bandanas, stocking, and other headwear of these sorts are not allowed. Not even under the player’s helmet.
  •       All the protection gear should be covered by the football team uniform and shouldn’t be exposed.
  •       Football jerseys should always be tucked-in into the football pants. Even while playing.
  •       The player towels should be of the regulated size (4” x 12”). The towels cannot be larger or smaller than this and if they are being used by the player during the game, they should always be tucked in in the front.
  •       The stocking should always contain the team’s colors and should be till the lower part of the leg.
  •       The shoe tape should not be contrasting with the shoe.
  •       Putting on face paint or playing with and un-buckled chin strap is also counted as an offense and is fined heavily.

The posters containing the dressing-up rules are put up in every locker room so that every player would follow the guidelines.

All these rules may seem like a pain in the butt but the uniform policy is there for the safety and true competitiveness of the sport. All these rules protect the players and the sponsors who invest heavily in the game. The rules are there to be followed, and anyone who does not comply with them will have to pay hefty fines for their acts.

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