Nike is taking over the NFL as the new manufacturer of teams’ uniforms, right down to the gloves. And with these new gloves comes a new synthetic material that makes the gloves stickier than traditional leather or other synthetic gloves. The gloves were premiered during the Pro Bowl, and I wonder how many little bonuses players get if they make ‘the symbol’ at the cameras after scoring a touchdown (see Greg Jennings).
Well, just chalk that and the performance enhancing aspect of the gloves up as another annoying change to the game.
The gloves and their sticky synth material causes the football to slow in it’s spin, making the ball easier to catch – which plays right into Commish Rodger Goodell’s hands (Pun intended? You be the judge). More catches = more offense = more points = more $$$. Remember how you would say, ‘No way! How the hell did he do that?! That was impossible!’ for those one handed sick catches. Well guess what, now most of them could be considered impossible were it not for the gloves.
I understand that sporting equipment evolves over time. And usually, I don’t have a problem with it because they usually promote health and safety. But with the introduction of these gloves – well it’s like allowing a hockey player to have too much bend in their stick or a pitcher to use vaseline or a basketball player use flubber on their shoes. There’s a point when you allow the equipment to eclipse the raw athletic ability of an athlete (see drivers and golf balls). It takes the ‘rawness’ out of the sport. It’s a part of evolution that is not really evolution at all. It’s messing with the DNA of the game and placates the masses longing for a one-ups’manship that is disingenuous to the fans and the sport itself.
Should I be getting my panties all riled up over this? Is it really that big of a deal? Eh, maybe not for these gloves. There is still the strong need for a receiver to have the ability to catch a football – with or without gloves. The gloves can’t overcome that. But on 4th and goal with :05 left in the game and a team needs 6 to win, and a receiver makes a sick grab while falling out of bounds – do we put an asterisk next to that play? Just think if Santonio Holmes was wearing these gloves in SB XLV…. how many out there would say that the gloves gave him the unfair advantage in making that amazing catch?
Gloves to take the ‘sting’ off? I can buy that. But gloves with a synthetic material to help slow the spin and have a ‘sticky’ effect to them. I kinda draw the line there.
Well I’m sure the Steelers’ receivers won’t complain too much about these gloves. They will certainly aid them in hauling in Big Ben’s throws. Hell, they could have used these gloves earlier this season….. At some point I hope I forget that they are wearing them, so I can get over it… that is until I see the Steelers symbol flash across my TV screen on a pair intertwined hands.