Why do college football players wear short pants?

Why do college football players wear short pants

Football is played in the fall and winter, which makes for cold weather. You may watch football take place in the cold and wonder if wearing long pants would make it more comfortable for the players. The history of football players’ uniforms has shown that wearing short pants is the best option.

Football players wear short pants because it gives them more maneuverability. Football players wearing short pants do not have to worry about tripping, and they make their legs feel free and light. Overall, wearing short pants makes them stronger and faster players.

Every little detail can make the difference between a win and a loss. It has taken a long time to come to the conclusion that short pants are the best to wear on the football field.

Continue reading to learn more about the history of football and the pants that players wear.

Knee Injuries

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In the late 1880s, players began to use techniques that involved them falling hard on their knees. As a result, players started to get creative with how to protect their knees, since many of them were starting to get injured.

One of the more famous examples of how players were able to protect themselves was created by a Yale football player named Amos Alonzo Stagg.

Stagg was struggling with a knee injury, and instead of taking himself off of the field, he decided to start strapping sponges to his knees.

Others soon began following his example and started making their own homemade football pads.

Manufacturers were watching players create their own homemade knee pads, as knee pads hadn’t been invented yet.

They decided to make a solution to the problem and created what they called “Football Pants.” They were created in the 1890s, right before the first patented knee pads were released.

These pants were made out of either canvas or moleskin so they would fit football players tightly. They would then put padding that was quilted in the front with a uniform layer of horsehair or felt padding.

This was revolutionary for the football industry. However, these pants were long. They soon changed the uniform so everyone was wearing long pants.

These pants began changing as research was done and more padding to the knees was added for extra protection.

They also added bamboo or reeds into the thighs for mechanical protection. The problem was that even each modification didn’t fix the issue at hand fully because the injury called “water on the knee” was still very common. It also was starting to make their uniforms heavier and heavier.

Players got tired of all the extra weight, and soon these pants were created with interior pockets.

Players were capable of taking out their padding if they didn’t want them or putting in more padding if needed. They could also put in their own makeshift knee pads if they wanted.

The design today can go to the ankle or below the knee, and this allows their legs to breathe and not overheat. It also gives them protection without weighing them down or covering too much.

Plus, it makes it impossible to trip over the pants, both due to the short length and how tight the pants are.

The shorter design also allows for any injuries to be accessed extremely quickly. It helps medics quickly get to the player’s injury if it is on their lower leg.

If they need to access the knee (which often happens, as knee injuries are common) then they can easily see it by cutting the pants a little.

If medics had to start cutting the player’s pants at the ankle, it would take longer for them to administer treatments.

Safety Rules Added

In the 1930s, a systematic study was done on football-related injuries. The researchers began to hear the complaints players had about their knees.

They saw the amount of damage that was done to unprotected knees after years of playing. This made the researchers approach the football board and demand that knee pads should be always worn when football was being played.

This rule was not hard to pass due to the fact that everyone was aware of how hard the game was on their players’ bodies. The rule was officially passed in 1939.

The rule stated that each player needed to wear knee pads that were at least 1.5 inches thick. This bothered some players, though, since they were required to put on knee pads under their thick, long pants.

Nowadays, we have new football pants that have these pads built into them, and if you play professional football, you may even get some of your clothes and gear specifically fitted for you and your needs.

College football team players will just order their size and if one of the knee pads isn’t working well, they can fix that and adjust the pants to the player’s needs.

Many athletic trainers keep up with you and watch the player’s injuries, and if something is wrong with their uniform and causing injuries to the player, the athletic trainer will likely help them figure out how to prevent further injuries.

Lewie Hardage’s Uniform and Update on Football Pants

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Lewie Hardage was the head coach at the University of Oklahoma from 1932 to 1934. He was a big fan of speed during football games.

He believed mobility and speed were the best things for a football team to have and that the only way to improve these skills was through hard training and proper equipment.

He noticed how the long pants with the knee pads underneath were bulky. They were slowing players down. They didn’t like the pants, and neither did he.

As a result, Lewie Hardage created a new football uniform. The outfit was designed to be lightweight. He brought back the short football pants.

They were made with lightweight material, and they were short again, giving the players more mobility. He then made his players wear knee pads below the shorts. The knee pads were no longer pressed underneath a football player’s pants.

This uniform gained popularity very quickly. Ad campaigns were created around Lewie Hardage’s uniform. It became typical for everyone to have short pants after that.

Lewie Hardage’s uniform is what inspires football uniforms to this day. Since then, different protective gear has been added to Lewie Hardage’s uniform, but the basic shape of the short pants and the short-sleeved shirt is still supported in the football world.

The rules for football uniforms are constantly being updated to help adjust to the new equipment and technology available.

One of the latest adjustments that the NCAA is enforcing is that the pants players wear must be below the knee, covering the knee.

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