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The NFL’s uniform rules border on ridiculous

Miami Dolphins defensive tackles Jordan Phillips, Earl Mitchell and Ndamukong Suh don’t have to follow the NFL’s uniform rules in training camp. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
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Nearly every professional sport has uniform regulations, but none might be as extensive as the NFL’s. The league’s full uniform guidelines came out as part of the massive document dump related to Tom Brady’s DeflateGate case and they include more fine print than a used car warranty. It’s five pages long and somewhere around 4,000 words. The paragraph on shoes alone is nearly 400 words, the same length as MLB’s entire uniform policy.

Uniform Policy

If you don’t have time for all that, the league sets out “10 bullet points” outlining the most important uniform rules, including this gem that instructs players about their socks: “The stockings worn by players must be white from the top of the shoe to mid-calf and an approved team color from mid-calf to the bottom of the pant leg, which is pulled down below the knee.”

If that wasn’t clear, there’s an illustration.

To be fair, football players have more gear to worry about than MLB players — or NBA players, for that matter, whose uniform regulations are also just a few paragraphs long. That could explain some of the extra length.

The NFL’s uniform policy doesn’t just talk about stocking color and glove color (that paragraph is nearly 200 words, by the way), but it also addresses things like padding and helmets, albeit with less words than it uses to talk about shoes. Much of the language in those two paragraphs has to do with how large to display the NFL’s logo and hide manufacturers’ logos.

“No visible identification of a manufacturer’s name or logo on the exterior of a helmet or on any attachment to a helmet is permitted unless provided for under a commercial agreement between the League and the manufacturer,” the rules state.

And no, wearing Beats headphones is still not okay.

[NFL bans players’ Beats by Dre headphones on camera because of its Bose deal]

(H/t: Deadspin)