In January, Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice said he used to put stickum on his gloves. Now that the gloves are so good that the stickum is already on them, the NFL may be talking a look at whether the built-in stickiness has gone too far.
“I think it’s time to go back and look at the gloves and see if, with what’s going on here with sports science in the past 10 years, if there isn’t too much of an advantage being gained,” recently-reinstalled Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.
It sounds like it’s a look that’s long overdue.
“No one looks at those gloves,” Hall of Fame coach and legendary broadcaster John Madden told Farmer. “I saw them when I was at a meeting in Indy. They passed them around and somebody made the comment that, ‘Pretty soon, these gloves are going to be able to catch a ball without a hand in them.’”
Those gloves also may be able to throw the ball without a hand in them.
“You know something’s up when guys like Tom Brady and Kurt Warner and Peyton Manning are wearing gloves to throw a football,” former NFL quarterback and 2002 league MVP Rich Gannon told Farmer. “You’re starting to go, ‘Wait a second here. . . .’ Guys for years dreaded bad weather, cold weather, and they didn’t want to have anything that would take their hands off the football. Now guys are like, ‘These gloves are better than the human skin.’”
And to that many will say, “So what?” With the following of the sport dramatically enhanced by fantasy football, fans want to see passes caught, not dropped. And another Hall of Famer thinks one of the best catches in recent years wouldn’t have been possible without the gloves.
“You have to be careful about the way you analyze that play because you don’t want people calling you a hater or whatever,” Tim Brown told Farmer regarding last season’s three-fingered grab by Odell Beckham Jr. “But you can’t make that play without those kind of gloves. It’s just impossible.”
It will be impossible for the NFL to build on its momentum as the must-see sport if it reverses the advances that have occurred right under the league’s nose.
“I think if they took the gloves completely away from the guys, including the quarterbacks at this point, it would have a major impact on what the game looked like on the field,” former NFL receiver and Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth told Farmer. “And not for the better. . . . Every Sunday we say, ‘Oh, my goodness! Look at that!’ That’s a good thing. It’s an entertainment business. Why not make it as entertaining as possible?”
By paying no attention to the development of gloves, the NFL has allowed the game to become as entertaining as it is. It would make no sense for the NFL to suddenly declare that it has allowed the gloves to go too far.
Nike, the company that pays the NFL a lot of money to make and market the gloves, would probably agree.