And it’s pretty much exactly the explanation we expected, but there’s a few wicked/scary/petrifying details thrown in. For example, anyone blocking Justin Tuck this year will have a face full of titanium rushing into their grill.

The purpose of the 12 new diagonal bars added to Tuck’s face are to prevent opponents from grabbing his facemask and aggravating his neck injury sustained last August by cranking his head into an alignment that isn’t healthy. Surely no one would ever intentionally target a pre-existing injury in football, but an extra precaution never hurts.

Giants equipment manager Joe Skiba worked with manufacturer Schutt Sports on the project, and he said that to make Tuck look like a pleasant blend of Shredder and Bane, some ingenuity was required.

From Giants.com:

“The idea is he doesn’t want to get grabbed. But then it becomes one of those situations where when you make a facemask with so many bars like that how much weight is going to be too much weight. So what Schutt did was we made that out of titanium, which is light as a feather. You can feel his helmet now, it feels just as light.”

Tuck is now more creature than defensive end, and he may have created more work for Skiba. Athletes turn into giddy school children at the sight of new equipment that’s cool and awesome, a jolt of excitement that starts during adolescence when some kid on the basketball team gets shiny new kicks, and it never stops.

So now that Tuck has a personalized mask, everyone else wants one too.

“Just like anything else, players want to be, not individuals, but they kind of want their own creative look…All of a sudden this is like the evolution of the goalie mask.”

If that evolution continues soon we’ll have a league filled with space beings. I welcome and embrace our football overlords.

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