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NFL Uniform Policies: What Players Can and Cannot Wear



In light of the recent news involving Odell Beckham Jr. who wore a $250,000 (others mentioned $350,000) limited edition Richard Mille watch, which is a clear violation of the NFL policies, it is time to brush up on the League’s uniform policies.

The NFL has a five-long page uniform policy. Speaking of which, how far do the uniform policies go? What can they wear during the match? What isn’t allowed? Answers are below.

To start, let’s learn a few things about the SOPs when it comes to the NFL uniforms.

  • All players must dress to the highest level of professionalism
  • All new uniforms must be submitted for approval before July 1 each year
  • All teams must have official colours that must be reflected in their uniforms
  • NFL teams employ an inspector to ensure that all players comply with the codes
  • The League requires certain positions to wear specific numbers (40 to 59 for linebackers; 1 to 19 for quarterbacks; 10 to 19 or 80 to 89 for receivers)
  • Violations to the dress code incur fines accordingly

NFL uniform policies

1) Headwear

The players can only wear the headwear provided by the supplier NFL authorised. No player can wear a bandanna or stocking even when it was to be worn under the helmet. No endorsement deal can be used and reflected in the headwear.

2) Pants

Other than the pants should be pulled over the knees, no player may alter or cut it. The pant leg must be pulled down below the knee.

3) Stocking

Stockings should be white, especially the visible part that is from the top part of the shoe down to the mid-calf. Then, from the mid-calf to the pant leg’s bottom, it should be the approved team colour.

4) Jersey

All players must tuck the jersey in at the waist. The League prohibits the use of tearaway jerseys. The numerals should be 8 inches high and 4 inches wide, and the colours should be a sharp contrast with the colour of the jersey.

5) Shoes

The football team is allowed to choose a dominant shoe, although the style should comply with the styles identified by the League office. A player may choose a football shoe style provided that it must be taped over the entire shoe to reflect the club’s dominant colour. The shoelace must conform to the dominant club colours as well. Shoe accents should be in the third uniform colour. 

6) Mask

If a player needs to wear a non-standard or customised face mask, it must be examined, submitted, and approved by the League officers before wearing it.

7) Tape

The players can only use black or white tape on the shoes or stockings. 

8) Towel

Towels must be 6 inches wide and 8 inches long max, tucked into the front waist. 

9) Pads

Except for kickers and punters, all NFL players should wear shoulder, knee, and thigh pads.

10) Chinstrap

The chinstrap, regardless of how many points it has, should be fastened to the helmet first then the strap.

Other products

Any new product that the club wishes to use must pass through the approval of the Football Operations department. If certain products are used without going through the protocol, the club or player may be subject to significant fines.

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