As a 'rough and tumble' competitive sport, some protective equipment in gridiron football is essential. All players should use the proper gear and wear suitable safety equipment during the game.
So, the big question is: what kind of equipment is used in American football games and what is mandatory for the football players to wear?
You need lots of bulky padding equipment to play American Football. You will always see the players decked out in body armour and protective gear. Even so, the bruising game still has one of the highest rates of injury.
And the reason American football players wear pads?
Extra bulk from padding and accessories helps to ensure their safety during the match. American Football padding equipment protects the body as much as possible. But, physical injuries do occur from crunching collisions.
The full American Football kit list depends on personal preferences and regional league rules. That said, wearing a certain amount of approved safety equipment is mandatory... NOT optional.
The brutal truth about American Football uniform parts:
So how do professional football players protect themselves and reduce the risk of serious injury? Here is the run-down of the basic safety items to include in the American Football gear list... and a few accessories too.
Players will tell you that a helmet is one of the most important items in any American Football equipment list. The helmet combines a face mask as part of the actual hard hat.
So, the integral parts of an American Football helmet are:
Head injuries are commonly associated with playing football and rugby games. Wearing a proper fitting helmet and face mask reduces the risk of concussions.
Helmets must be securely fastened to your head using the chinstrap. The chinstrap attaches to both sides of the head protector and it should fit secure and snug under your chin. Fastening the chinstrap prevents the helmet from coming loose and flying off while running.
Note: The American Football regulations state exactly how you should wear your helmet for safety. For example, the front edge should rest one (1) inch above the eyebrows.
We're not through yet:
A mouthpiece is required equipment when playing American Football. The purpose of using a mouthguard is to protect teeth, mouth, and jaw against injury.
All players MUST wear a mouthguard at all times during a game. An American Football mouthpiece should be a bright visible color.
Note: Learn even more about the paraphernalia in our list of American Football terminology used by the players and officials [updated for 2022].
Linebackers, and the defensive lineman, often wear some form of neck collar. For example, you might see them wearing a neck roll to increase protection against whiplash injuries.
In American Football shoulder pads are mandatory equipment while playing the game.
So, here's how American Football padding works:
As a rule, quarterbacks wear smaller and lighter 'flat' shoulder pads. One reason why quarterbacks wear less padding is so their natural throwing motion is less affected by bulky material.
Linebackers and defensive ends usually wear larger cantilevered shoulder pads. They need them to protect their bodies from constant crushing impacts.
American Football safety equipment protects the lower body parts of players too. Wearing leg pads and hip pads is mandatory. Other padded items include hip pads, large thigh guards, knee pads, elbow pads, and tailbone protection.
Players will wear these types of padding accessories inside their pants or a sports girdle. In fact, many of the players use a sports belt to tie the hip and tailbone pads around their waist.
Most male players wear a padded cup to protect the sensitive groin area. This type of American Football protective equipment is standard for almost all males in the game. Wearing a jockstrap helps to reduce career ending injuries from groin impact during play.
Male pants tend to be nylon mesh with four individual pockets on the inner side to secure the thigh and knee pads
Note: Read through the American Football NFL Rule Book PDF version for the full codified regulations and 2022 rules changes.
Gloves are not mandatory equipment, but some receivers will wear gloves to aid catching the football ball. They find it easier to grip the ball with gloves on - especially when playing in cold weather conditions.
Lineman gloves would usually be padded with a thicker linen material to protect the different parts of their hands and fingers.
Of course, you will also need a ball and a kicking tee to have a official American football match. The Ovoid ball is an oval or 'egg-shaped' brown coloured ball.
The football ball measures eleven inches (or 35 centimetres) in length from tip to tip. The circumference, when measured at the centre of the ball, is 22 inches (55 centimetres).
As a rule, an American Football Ovoid ball weighs around 450 grams and should have an inflated pressure between 0.6 and 1.1 atmospheres.
Wearing proper footwear in American Football is most important. You must wear plastic or metal tipped football cleats during the game. But, many youth football leagues stipulate wearing rubber tips.
Football cleats help to protect the midsole area of the foot. They also provide greater support in lateral movement. You need good traction to quickly apply power and accelerate down the field.
American Football cleats (spikes) come in three general styles:
List of Equipment Needed for American Football: Checklist of Accessories