Football For Dummies
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In a high school game, you may see a player wearing a torn jersey or exposing his midriff area, or you may see five different styles or brands of shoes on 11 different players. None of this occurs in the NFL, where violations of strictly enforced uniform codes can lead to players being fined. Here are some of the NFL rules:

  • The NFL shield or logo must be visible on pants, jerseys, and helmets.

  • Tear-away jerseys, which would make it more difficult for defensive players to grab and tackle their opponents on the other side of the ball, are prohibited.

  • All jerseys must remain tucked into the uniform pants.

  • Sleeves can’t be torn or cut.

  • Stockings must cover the entire leg area from the shoe to the bottom of the pants and meet the pants below the knee. Uniform stockings may not be altered, and they must be white from the top of the shoe to about mid-calf.

  • Size and locations of shoe logos must be approved by NFL Properties. Players aren’t allowed to wear shoes from companies not approved by the league.

  • All tape used on shoes, socks, or pants must be either transparent or a color that matches the team uniform.

  • Towels can be only 8 inches long and 6 inches wide and must be tucked into the front waist of the pants. (Quarterbacks and wide receivers often wear towels tucked into their waists to wipe their hands clean of mud and moisture between plays.)

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Howie Long is a former Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders defensive end with eight Pro Bowl appearances, a Super Bowl victory, and a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is a commentator on FOX NFL Sunday. John Czarnecki has reported on the NFL since 1979 and consulted for FOX NFL Sunday since it began in 1994. He has received four Sports Emmys.

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