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Each professional league has some bylaws that prohibit players to do things that make us question the reason for the rule. For example, the NFL is very strict on the cleats that players are allowed to wear.
Because they are so strict on footwear, many would believe that they would be strict on everything that players wear, like jewelry, but that is not necessarily the case.
Yes, NFL players are allowed to wear jewelry during games. However, the league does prohibit the wearing of “hard objects”. For example, watches, rings, and any other pieces of jewelry that may put the opponent at risk of an injury are not allowed.
Many players in the NFL have taken advantage of the NFL’s rules which allow them to don their bling during games. Some wear jewelry with sentimental value. Some wear it for superstitious reasons. Others wear it for style.
In this article, we will look at some of the most common pieces of jewelry worn by NFL players as well as nuances to the NFL’s uniform policies.
Can NFL Players Wear Chain Necklaces?
Baseball players are known for wearing jewelry around their necks during games, but there are some NFL players who have taken to it as well.
NFL players are allowed to chain necklaces as long as they do not have a “hard object” attached to them. If that is the case, the hard object is not allowed to be visible.
Most players that wear chain necklaces tuck them under their shoulder pads to avoid being ripped off. The number of players who wear jewelry around their neck is not as high as in other non-contact sports, but some still choose to do so for various reasons.
Can NFL Players Wear Earrings?
There is another piece of jewelry that is popular among NFL players to wear during games, and it may not be that noticeable to fans because of the helmet: earrings.
Again, like other jewelry, earrings are allowed to be worn during games. Many players actually do wear earrings under their helmets.
The logical response to this would be, “Wouldn’t earrings classify as hard objects?” The answer is yes, most of them would. However, because they are worn under the helmet, they do not pose an injury threat to the opponent.
Is it dangerous to wear earrings during games? One would think, but many players have worn earrings during NFL games and have never had any issues.
Can NFL Players Wear Rings During Games?
When it comes to wearing rings during games, the rules are a bit trickier.
NFL players can wear rings during games as long as the rings do not qualify as a “hard object”. For example, a diamond-studded ring would probably qualify as a “hard object” because it could inflict pain on an opponent who comes in contact with it.
In 2013, when the Cincinnati Bengals were featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks, quarterback Andy Dalton caught some grief from his teammates for wearing his wedding band on the field.
Dalton may have worn a wedding band during practice and games, but it was not the one his wife gifted him on their wedding day. It was a ring made of silicone, much cheaper, softer, and more durable during athletic events than a gold or silver ring.
Since then, silicone bands have become more popular among professional athletes who want to continue wearing their wedding bands during games.
What is the NFL’s Rule on Cleats?
One of the most controversial uniform rules in the NFL over recent years has been its rule on cleats, thanks mainly to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
In the NFL, all players on a team must wear cleats of the same base color. In 2017, the NFL loosened the cleat requirements to allow players to wear custom cleats during pregame warm-ups only. These custom cleats must still be approved.
Beckham made headlines in 2019 when he and teammate Jarvis Landry were forced to change out of a pair of cleats at halftime. Their white cleats, although the same base color as the rest of their teammates, had designs on them that were not approved by the league.
This caused Beckham, other players, and many fans around the league to question the intention and wording of the league’s rule. Beckham did not feel his cleats needed to be approved because they were of the same base color as the rest of the team.
All of the spotlight on the league’s rule caused the NFL to start the “My Cleats, My Cause” movement. Each season, the NFL picks one week where players are allowed to wear custom cleats that represent a cause that is important to them.
Players don cleats with designs that raise awareness for cancer, injustices, mental health, non-profit organizations, and many more. For this week and this week only, players are allowed to wear these custom cleats during pregame and the game itself.
Was this week inspired by the uproar about Odell Beckham Jr.’s cleats? Possibly. At the end of the day, the league and the players had to compromise to give the players some sort of freedom of expression in their cleats while maintaining uniformity in apparel.
Which NFL Players are Famous for their Jewelry?
Sometimes, even the best players may get a reputation – good or bad – for something other than their work on the field.
Players like Marshawn Lynch, Alvin Kamara, Deion Sanders, and several others are known for the jewelry they either wear during games or on the sidelines.
One of the most powerful running backs in recent memory is former Seattle Seahawk and Oakland Raider Marshawn Lynch. Lynch was known for his bruising style of play – on top of his interesting post game interviews – which gave him the nickname Beast Mode.
This nickname developed into a brand name for Lynch. He started his own clothing line called Beast Mode. He could often be seen before games wearing a large gold chain that said Beast Mode on the pendant.
Saints running back Alvin Kamara often wears a diamond studded grill in his mouth during games. One might think this would cause issues with his mouthguard, but the running back has shown no signs of a grill holding him back throughout his career.
Deion Sanders, an all-time great defensive back and kick returner was known for his jewelry accessories during his playing days and has also gained attention for it in his post-playing coaching career.
Sanders often sported large gold chains in interviews and sometimes on the sidelines. He has also been known to wear them on the sideline as a head coach as well.
What is the Turnover Chain?
The University of Miami has a storied history of dominating its opponents, winning National Championships, and producing NFL talent. It is also known for one of the most famous celebrations in all of college football: the Turnover Chain.
The Turnover Chain was given to a defensive player to wear on the sideline after forcing a turnover. It was a large, chain link chain with a large green and orange U pendant.
The chain was not to be worn in the game, only on the sideline. When head coach Mario Cristoball took over the program, he got rid of the turnover chain celebration in order to restore a more business-like mentality to the team.
Are Players in Other Sports Allowed to Wear Jewelry?
Players in other sports are allowed to wear jewelry depending on the sport. The MLB allows players to wear jewelry in games, but the NBA does not.
This is likely because of the nature of the two sports as basketball involves more physical contact than baseball, making the jewelry potentially dangerous. Many players balked at the jewelry ban when it went into practice in 2005, but it still stands today.
What Happens if a Player is Caught Wearing Illegal Jewelry?
If a player is caught wearing illegal jewelry, he is typically asked to remove it. If he refuses to remove it, then he may face penalties from the officials such as ejection. In some situations, leagues may get involved and fine players for jewelry violations.
Does the NFL Have a Gameday Dress Code?
The NFL does not have a gameday dress code for players before and after games. Most players take advantage of this and express their individuality through their choice of clothing.
For example, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is known for his stylish pregame clothing. His fur jacket and sunglasses that he wore before Super Bowl LVI made headlines because of his unique style.