Yup you heard me. No pads, no helmets. Just 100% man on man action. No need for protection. I like it authentic, as raw as it gets. Just ball and machismo. That’s what football really needs.
Seriously, there is no reason for football to be played with all the pads and helmets that it does now. Having pads removes the ability for the game to be played as naturally and organically as possible. Players would have to rely more on skill and strategic, tactile movement, rather than just brute force to run shoulder first through a defender, which would definitely multiply the amount of juking, hurdling and spin-o-rama highlight reel plays that we all love seeing. I’m not arguing for changing the NFL to flag football- It should 110% be full contact like it is now, just no pads or helmets to get in the way of a truly authentic, sporting experience.
Even with all these helmets and pads, players are still getting CTE, so there’s no real reason to keep it around. It’s ironic that removing equipment would actually probably make the game more safe because players would have to be more careful and implore more strategy of how or where to hit.
Instead of relying on the brute force of thrusting your shoulder through someone’s temples in order to slow them down, defenders would have to figure out how to deal with the flexy finess of a padless runner. The whole dynamic of the game would change. The skill level of runners and defenders would have to improve, we’d definitely see some next level maneuverability.
Upon further digging, I’ve found that there is an amateur league that plays football exactly like this. Just look at some of these insane hits from the A7FL No Pads football league.
Just think of how much it would benefit the marketability of football if you could have your biggest stars play helmetless. For the same reason soccer and basketball stars are the biggest names in the world, just think about how much more popular Derrick Henry or Zeke Elliott would be if he didn’t have to hide his personality behind some nonsensical equipment.
If the NFL were smart, they would at least test this idea out during next year’s preseason. I’m telling you, padless football is the future of the sport.