In an effort to combat the COVID-19 situation that the world is facing, the NFL and official visor provider Oakley have come up with an interesting solution to prevent transmission. The new mouth shields are designed to allow air to come in and keep spittle from coming out. Oakley and the NFL are rolling out these shields for a trial run to all 32 teams this week. There is currently no mandate that players must use a face mask, but it is heavily recommended as of right now.
If we look back a little, the inimitable Mike Bullock covered J.J. Watt’s feelings about the idea of a face shield. I highly suggest reading the article, but here is a little blurb for you.
“My second year in the league I thought it’d be cool, I put a visor on my helmet. I was like, ‘It looks so cool, I wanna put a visor on.’ I had it on for about three periods of practice and I said, ‘Take this sucker off I’m gonna die out here.’ … So now you’re gonna put something around my mouth? You can keep that. If that comes into play, I don’t think you’re gonna see me on the field.”
Look, it’s understandable that any and all avenues should be explored to find a way to safely bring back sports. However, there’s a growing feeling that players aren’t going to feel comfortable with using these face shields. This is a lineman’s worst nightmare. Even without a visor or mask, these guys are huffing and puffing almost every down.
Hopefully, the players take to this this new safety measure well. However, it still doesn’t quell concerns about player-to-player contact, fan safety, or even if there will be a season at all. What do you think about these new masks? Is it enough to warrant the Texans taking the field? Doesn’t this new mask look suspiciously like a strawberry container?
Update: Looks like the shields may be optional after all.