odell beckham jr wearing a watch

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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NFL sarah thomas

How the NFL Rules Have Changed Over the Years

Founded on August 20, 1920 (nearing its 100th inaugural season), the National Football League (NFL) has its ups and downs–rules-wise. 

A bevvy of rule changes often had effects on both the game and the players. But for the NFL, can you imagine American football–or Super Bowl–if the rules had never changed at all?

Let us look at what changed in the league.

  • The catch rule

The catch rule was–historically–a convoluted rule that can easily confuse the players. In today’s rule, a catch can be completed by controlling the ball, getting two feet in bounds, and making a football move.

The player need not ‘survive the grounds,’ although if he falls butt-first, it is still considered a catch. If the receiver was pushed out of bounds through a defensive play and came down in bounds, the catch is counted.

  • The targeting rule

In 2018, a 15-yard penalty was implemented against players who intentionally lower his head to initiate contact using his helmet. The rule applies to all players on the field regardless of where he is or they are at on the field. 

The violation may also lead to an ejection, though the criteria for ejection are not cleared yet as of this writing. As such, players must come up with new tackling strategies. And speaking of removals, players can be ejected based on non-football acts other than the facemask infraction.

  • The kickoff rule

Considered as the most dangerous part of American football, the NFL Football Operations decided to introduce new kickoff rules. The primary goal is to minimize the dangers involved, including the numbers of players colliding at one another at full speed. 

In the most recent rules, there would be five players on each side of the ball (with at least two players outside the numbers and another two between the numbers and hash). Only three players are permitted to remain outside, but they cannot perform a wedge block. Running start is no longer allowed. Everyone must follow the no-blocking zone as well.

  • The horse-collar tackle rule

In protecting the players further, especially a defenceless receiver, the Roy Williams rule was introduced in 2005. Players have a habit of pulling down another player by grabbing the collar and producing avoidable injuries in the first place.

When a player is taken down in this way, the legs are trapped underneath in an undesirable angle. This may lead to potentially serious injuries from the neck down especially the spine and lower back. 

  • The PAT rule

PAT stands for point(s) after touchdown wherein if a team scores, they won’t be forced to perform a PAT. It means shortening a game since a PAT play would require at least three minutes of the game.

In connection, a player off the line of scrimmage is prohibited from running and jumping over the scrimmage line for blocking a PAT attempt or a field goal.

The defensive and offensive strategies are altered continuously to reflect the teams’ workaround when new changes are introduced. Likewise, there remains the fact that the NFL has become a more pass-friendly league.

The plays are also more specialized now wherein teams plan a game around a specific opponent on the field depending on his play or talent (specialized skill).

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