In the interest of limiting the spread of COVID-19 during games, the NFL teamed up with Oakley to add a face shield to the traditional NFL face mask.
HOWEVER, NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo reports the league is only recommending — and not mandating — the wearing of said face shields.
All 32 clubs will have them on hand for players to test when they report to camp. But again, the expectation is they won’t be required. Meanwhile, the league and Oakley are already working on version 2.0.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 23, 2020
Back in June, we put together a set of Bullets that included a tweet sharing an image of a prototype helmets NFL players could conceivably wear this season. To me, they looked like next level Stormtrooper helmets that George Lucas was messing around with, but JJ Abrams wasn’t ready to green light. And as recently as last week, we wrote about the actual prototype helmets that included face shields. And to be fair, both mock ups came with incredible creativity in a time where outside-of-the-box thinking will be necessary in order to play professional football.
I imagine players around the league will give these helmets a test run throughout training camp before making a decision on whether to wear them when the regular season kicks off in September. It doesn’t take too much of an imagination to envision mixed feelings. We’ll keep an eye out to see if there are early adapters and if there is significant push back. After all, the lack of requirement suggests both sides have a ways to go before agreeing on the matter.
And yet, while the NFL isn’t mandating players wear face shields on their helmets in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 during a game, I can’t help but if it is something that should be considered. I’m not totally for implementing things on players that they might not want. But if health and safety are as much of a priority as they say, the least both sides could do is give wearing helmets with face shields serious thought.