The last few NFL seasons have seen a rise in facemasks with more bars than you could ever possibly need. Defensive linemen and linebackers have been particularly creative in this area, and some of them seem to be comic fans.
Brian Orakpo of the Washington Redskins sported a mask not dissimilar to the one Bane wore in The Dark Knight Rises, while former New York Giants and current Oakland Raiders end Justin Tuck named his after the Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for its obvious resemblance. It wasn’t all for effect either, as former Dallas Cowboy DeMarcus Ware said he opted for the extra bars to help prevent his recurring problems with neck stingers.
Alas, as part of its ongoing crusade to remove all vestiges of fun except those it thinks up itself, the NFL has banned non-standard facemasks for the 2014 season, citing the extra weight from the crazy bar configurations as a potential danger to players. That’s a bummer, and a little dubious until the NFL produces some studies or something, but it’s not surprising. Masks like the ones pictured here are no longer permitted going forward:
We can’t help but feel the NFL is missing out on some obvious cross-promotional possibilities here. Happily, there’s an easy solution to ensure the Shredder remains a presence at the highest level of football: just get the folks at IDW to re-design his headgear so the front resembles a normal facemask, or go the extra mile and make it look like the old single-bar masks that punters used to wear. Problem solved!
(via Robot 6)