NFL thigh, knee pads to be mandatory

December 11, 2012

About 70 percent of NFL players appear to be in for a change after the three final regular season games and the playoffs.

The NFL will make thigh and knee pads mandatory in 2013, a regulation the league’s owners will be updated on when they meet in Dallas on Wednesday.

“For over a year we have been getting input, including from players, on what the padding will be like,” said Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations. “But starting in 2013, thigh and knee pads will be required, like they were before 1994.”

The NFL Players Association pushed to make thigh and knee pads optional that season. The most recent survey (conducted in 2010) showed that only 30 percent of the players chose to wear such protection with wide receivers, defensive backs, linebackers and defensive lineman the most likely to go minus the pads.


The owners approved a rule change to make thigh and knee pads mandatory in May. The NFLPA said at the time that “any change in working conditions is a collectively-bargained issue.”

The union did not immediately respond to

Those involved with player safety on the league level will take the owners through the new padding, designs that Nike and Under Armour have proposed to allow for added mobility while still protecting the player.

“For some players, they need to pass the mirror test,” Anderson said. “They like to look good, look sleek. They want to move unencumbered. It was important for us to address the performance and the aesthetics of the new pads.”