Deion Sanders said it best. And his words apply to football in the UK as much as it does in the NFL.
If you look good, you feel good.
If you feel good, you play good.
If you play good, they pay good…
Well, except that last part. But maybe you’ll get a mention on Double Coverage and your picture on your team’s Facebook page!
Your coaches can’t teach you. There’s no course you can take. Those veterans who’ve dropped hundreds of pounds on accessories will be loathe to let you in on their secrets.
Little do many know that field fashion is one of, no, THE most important thing in American Football.
But never fear young rookie, we at Double Coverage feel we have a responsibility to give you a few tips to avoid any on-field faux pas you might fall afoul of. In conjunction with our friends at EP Sports, one of our worryingly numerous #FieldFashion ‘experts’, #G1, presents our:
Rookie’s Guide to Field Fashion.
1. Team Colours Only
So, you’re in your local Sports Direct, and you stumble across some ultra fresh compression pants that make your legs look like Iron Man or Wolverine. And they’re on sale too! But wait… You are not Iron Man. You are not Wolverine. And your team plays in green and white.
Sure. These pieces might look novel and cool on their own, but poking out the bottom of your blue game pants? Not so much. Spectators will be talking less about the clash on the field and more about the colour clash happening around your knees *shudders*
2. Be Confident
You’ve seen your heroes in the NFL wearing bicep bands. You’ve given some half-baked medical explanation to your parents or better half about why you’ve spent actual money on thin, stretchy pieces of fabric that don’t help you catch, throw or tackle better. Because they don’t understand…
And unless you’re the British equivalent of Robert Turbin or LaRon Landry, your teammates are going to have some questions too. Little did you know, that by wearing these, you’ve opened yourself up to a potential world of pain.
Bicep bands look good on biceps… so if you’re “still looking for a good gym“, you may be best to avoiding them? However, as any true #FieldFashionista will prove, but the most important thing is confidence.
Don’t listen to the comments about your twiglet arms, or the smirks that say ‘do you even lift, bro?’ without words. You’ve made this choice. You know you look good. If you’ve copped three pairs of bands to wear along your arms then wear them until they fall off! (Ideally because you’ve flexed your way right through than because your arms are too skinny to hold them on, mind).
3. Form Over Function
Once you’ve made your choice, live with it. No, more than that. OWN it.
You chose to put a visor on your helmet even though it rains two days out of three and you spend the whole game wiping it away so you can actually see the ball being snapped. You work that visor brah. At least when the club photographer uploads their latest snaps to Facebook, you’ve got a picture worthy of tagging yourself in… Which you’ll need to, because odds are what with everyone else wearing their visors too, you won’t be able to tell who’s who otherwise.
You chose to go with the short sleeve base layer, scientifically designed to keep NFL every-down athletes cool even under the burning Arizona sun…even though you’re not getting much pitch time and you’ll never play in a game warmer than 6°C? Run around a little bit, and look fresh while you do it.
What we’re saying is that when you’re old and broken one day, most likely one day sooner than you’d like to admit to yourself, you’ll still have those SWEET snaps of you looking fresh in all your colour-coordinated glory. Your grand kids won’t know you’re freezing, or that you couldn’t see half the field for your entire career. All they’ll see is their grandad or grandma looking like a tricked out robot from the year 3000. Yup, when you play field fashion , you’re playing the long game.
4. Go Your Own Way
Sure, take a look at what the veteran/MVP/fan favourite running back is wearing. Have a quick peek at that flashy cornerback’s gloves. Note down what the SEC’s receiving yards leader is wearing. Take it all in. But you’ve got to craft your own identity.
Find a look that works for you, and you alone. Find something that makes you stand out from the crowd. Don’t be fooled. Dressing the same as an older, more respected, proven #baller won’t make people feel the same about you. They’ll just think you’re jacking their swag, and as Cher Lloyd warned us, there is nothing worse. Besides: it’s uniball. That vet’ll be gone in a year or two’s time so that’s your chance to pounce and adopt that single forearm sleeve ‘in his honour’.
It can be anything. Something little, or seemingly insignificant, such as how high you tape your wrists, the way you apply eye black (yes, you can use the “it blocks the sun” excuse, but ain’t nobody buying it) or the height of socks you wear. One of our editors wore one sock up, one sock down, and it definitely had nothing to do with the elastic going in one of his socks… … …
5. Justify It
This is probably the most important thing. You’re deep in to the sartorial side of the game now. You spend more time browsing accessories than your playbook and you’re quickly running out of ways to convince yourself that looking as good as you do is worth THAT much money… But you’ve gone too deep, dear friend. You can’t go back now. Now you’ve got the gear, it’s time to earn it.
When you go out on to the field garbed in bicep bands, sleeves, tape, customised gloves, leggings, high tech girdle, no-show socks and boots with your name on them, you’re sending a message.
“Watch out for me.”
Do you know how good you’re going to have to play to justify wearing those white boots? If you tape your fingers like Eric Weddle, you best play like Eric Weddle. You best do your darnedest to make sure the number of points you put up is higher than the number of bicep bands you’re wearing. Performance is the difference between being known for what you wear, or for the playmaker your are underneath all that swag.
Alternatively, get yourself a glory injury as early as you can and then rock your swag from the sideline for the rest of the season. It’s a known fact that each bicep band increases your football knowledge by 10% so that third year vet will really appreciate your feedback about what he should have done differently on that play…
6. A Little Inspiration
Arizona Cardinals Cornerback and Return Specialist Patrick Peterson is almost the perfect field fashion prototype. He rocks a high-necked white Nike base layer underneath a separate red base layer. His team plays indoors. In Phoenix, Arizona, where Autumn temperatures range between 20 and 38°C. Probably why he doesn’t need sleeves. However, he’s still prepared for those chilly 18°C to keep his lightning fast legs warm with full length compression pants.
Arguably the GOAT of field fashion, Hall of Famer and two sport athlete Deion Sanders took swag to a whole new level. The guy is wearing a sweatband round his neck. Sanders made some fashion choices that raised eyebrows in the 90s but he owned it, played with confidence, and justified it with his performance. Neon Deion set the standard everyone else has failed to meet. And he dressed just as well off the field as on.
Current Michigan Wolverine master-of-all-trades Jabrill Peppers is quickly emerging as a field fashion icon. The solid line of eye black shows he means business. He’s not wrapped his wrist, but he’s personalising it with his own message but most importantly, he’s wearing at least eight bicep bands. There could be more. But go ahead, you tell the two-way phenom and future first rounder that bicep bands are stupid.
WARNING: This is by no means a exhaustive guide to the minefield of field fashion. Double Coverage takes no responsibility for the selections you make and the possible fashion faux pas you commit. Be careful Rookie, the choices you make now could dog you the rest of your Britball Life!