In recent years, we've seen an increasing amount of incredible catches from NFL wide receivers. While football's best pass catchers undoubtedly have an innate ability for catching the ball, recent advances in glove technology may be due some credit too. The increase in spectacular, physics-defying catches is undoubtedly correlated to new gloves. These new gloves are certainly effective, but are they too effective?
That's the discussion that league officials are going to partake in this offseason as they discuss rule changes for the upcoming season. The issue is the tackiness of the gloves, and many believe that this quality makes the gloves detrimental to the game and skill set needed to play football.
"We have been working with our partners — Under Armour, Nike — to see how we could adjust and have some minimum standards. The challenge is the tackiness, and the gloves now are so tacky that it’s taking away from the true skill level."
NFL Executive V.P. of Football Operations, Troy Vincent
Per Vincent, the NFL has been considering glove benchmarks for some time now, almost 18 months now, and believes that changes to policy could be coming in the next year.
The whole glove situation playing out is very reminiscent to that of Stickum in the 1980s. The substance that had been practically ubiquitous throughout the league for almost a decade was suddenly banned in 1981, due to the fact that it gave players an unfair advantage when it came to gripping the ball.
Coach John Madden, who coached Lester Hayes, perhaps the most infamous Stickum user, agrees that something must be done to get the relatively new gloves under control.
"I saw them when I was at a meeting in Indy. They passed them around and somebody made the comment that, ‘Pretty soon, these gloves are going to be able to catch a ball without a hand in them.’"
- John Madden
It will certainly be interesting to see how the game of over 100 years adjusts to Moore's paradigm and the new technology that is changing sports as we speak. While the process of integrating ideas such as placing GPS chips in the footballs will certainly be long and arduous, the league needs to be careful as it adjusts from its low-tech roots. That's exactly why the NFL needs to make sure that these gloves don't transform your average Joe into a receiver with the hands of Odell Beckham.