NFL tough on game-day attire

July 16, 2009
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manningThe folks running the National Football League are iron-fisted guardians of the game—and apparently sticklers for details.

Most recently, the NFL mafia has dropped the hammer on the athlete formerly known as Chad Johnson, who wants to Tweet during games. The league said absolutely not. The athlete (not to be confused with The Artist) is threatening to Tweet anyway.

Listening to Tom Zupancic, Indianapolis Colts senior vice president of sales and marketing, this week makes me realize how Gestapo-like the NFL is.

When Zupancic was the strength and conditioning coach, he was in charge of making sure all the Colts players uniforms fit game-day protocol. This is how it went—and still goes for that matter.

When the Colts players came out for game-day warm-ups, the officiating crew would take a close look at all the players, and make a list of anything big or small that went against the NFL's dress code.

A few things—like defensive linemen spraying silicon on their jerseys—had to do with unfair competitive advantages. Most of the issues were cosmetic.

The list was turned over to Zupancic, and after the players returned to the locker room for last minute coaching insturctions, he went to every one on the list to tell them what the problem was and how to fix it.

“I’d tell one player to pull up his socks or another to tuck in his jersey or another that his wrist band wasn’t placed right,” Zupancic said. “Sometimes we’d have to tape over a logo on a pair of shoes.”

Despite the Colts recently selling a sponsorship patch on its practice jersey to Indiana Farm Bureau this year, Zupancic doesn’t think that will ever spread to game-day uniforms.

“I just don’t see that happening in the foreseeable future,” he said. “They’re just so protective of the integrity of this game.”

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  • It is little things like this that makes the NFL America's #1 sport. They run a very, very tight ship and don't let anything spin out of control. Call it totalitarian if you want, but standardized uniforms does nothing to take away from my enjoyment of the game. Actually, it would probably get annoying seeing a bunch of players bending the rules to extremes and take away from just watching the game.
  • I am sorry, if I was a Bengals fan, I would be demanding the removal of Johnson/Ocho Cinco. He is the antithesis of a team player. It is all about him. Wants to tweet during games? Should be paying attention to the game. Would any of your bosses like it if you tweeted during work?
  • Agreed.

    I also wonder why rules haven't been established about the length of players' hair. I recall a Colts/Steelers game where it nearly became an issue of Troy Polamalu's hair being out-of-bounds. Some of these guys look absurd with hair streaming out of their helmets.
  • Actually, I do Tweet during work. Oh, but it is for work purposes that I'm Tweeting. I agree with you Indyman and Finchbot for the most part. I'm not sure what I think about the hair issue. That's an interesting one. Of course, the Yankees and Dodgers have rules on hair lengths and for years the Reds didn't allow facial hair. I guess anything is up for governance. Thanks for reading (the blog posts and the Tweets).
  • Anthony,

    The Dodgers must have thrown the hair length rule out the window when they acquired Manny. But we know Johnny Damon didn't go marching into Yankee territory with that mop he had. I must say he does look more professional in a Yankee uniform with his hair at normal length. As for Manny, that guy is and looks ridiculous, I guess he's just being Manny.

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