Smaller NFL Shoulder Pads

shoulder pads

Have you noticed over the years that NFL shoulder pads have shrunk? This isn’t because of strange budget cuts, it is because of advancement in technology. The pads are now able to be smaller yet more protective. Over the past 15 years the pads have shrunk by 50%, which is much better than the 1980 pads that nearly engulfed the player’s head.

Players often skipped over leg and thigh pads but then the NFL made them a requirement. Technological breakthroughs in the plastic and the foam harnesses used allowed manufacturers to create lighter and smaller shoulder pads. The NFL stated that there has been no change in shoulder related injuries due to the smaller pads and the manufacturers stated that they have maintained the same commitment to safety.

Shoulder pads today weigh less than four pounds, compared to six to eight pounds 15 years ago and are thinner, flatter, more flexible and more resistant to becoming waterlogged with sweat.