Have a question about the NFL? Ask Times NFL writer Sam Farmer, and he will answer as many as he can online and in the Sunday editions of the newspaper throughout the season. Email questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve noticed Minnesota Vikings receiver Adam Thielen wears bright yellow gloves when most of his teammates are wearing white ones. Is that so the quarterback can see him better?
La Cañada Flintridge
Farmer: It stands to reason. After all, if he were on the tarmac directing planes into their gate, he’d wear something eye-catching for the pilots to see. But Thielen says he just likes the color combination, and it has nothing to do with visibility. But I wanted to get the perspective of someone who throws the ball, so I asked former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer if noticeable gloves on a receiver would be helpful. The answer? Meh, not really.
“I think it’s fashion,” Dilfer said. “People have asked me, ‘What indicators do you pick up on receivers? What if they made the jerseys a certain way, or if the helmet was different for a receiver? Could you pick them up easier?’ Maybe I just wasn’t good enough. Maybe Tom Brady could. But you’re not really looking for anything specific on a receiver until the very last second.
“Like Steve Young says, the last connection between the ball and the brain is that fingertip, and that’s really when you’re making your decision on where the ball goes and what you’ve locked in on.”
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed an almost universal move by NCAA linemen to wear leg braces during their games, yet I don’t see that among most NFL linemen. Considering the horrendous damage done to their knees when their ligaments are ripped to shreds and the playing time they lose, not to mention the possible end of their careers, why don’t most of them wear braces?
Farmer: Virtually every NCAA Division I program requires its linemen to wear braces during practice if not games, whether those players have had knee injuries or not. In the NFL, it’s up to the players to decide.
“The reason why guys don’t wear them in the NFL is because they’re uncomfortable and make you unathletic,” former NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz said. “There are ones that can be made a little more slim-line, and my brother [Kansas City Chiefs right tackle Mitchell Schwartz] wears one on his left leg because guys will fall into his left leg. He’s done that his whole career. I never did, and I’ve never had a knee injury…
“They’re clunky, they’re huge. You only wear one if you have to, or if you’re worried about getting hurt. Guys will wear them as a precaution, but I was never going to be that guy.”