How NFL Equipment Works

Equipment Management

Professional football puts incredible physical stress on the players -- imagine what it would be like to be regularly hammered by a 230-pound object (like a linebacker) moving at terrific speeds! Without the protective equipment, the game would be nearly impossible -- injuries would wipe out the entire team immediately. Even with the equipment, the players have to be in incredible shape to handle the pounding they endure.

Atlanta Falcons equipment manager Brian Boigner

Thanks to Atlanta Falcons equipment manager Brian Boigner, Carolina Panthers equipment manager Jackie Miles, and Falcons cornerback Juran Bolden for all their help with this article.

Equipment is an integral part of professional football, and an NFL team uses a huge amount of it! You see some of it at each game -- the balls, helmets, jerseys, shoes and so on. Much of it, however, is invisible -- the pads are a good example. There's a good bit of equipment that most people never think about, like the cleats that screw into the bottom of the players' shoes, or the sweats that the team wears during practice. Some of it is just plain unexpected, like the chemical hand-warmers, heated benches and chewing gum the team uses. And all of it has a multiplier of 53, the number of players on a team's roster during the normal season.

Inside the Atlanta Falcons equipment room

That multiplier is what changes the job of equipment management into an incredibly interesting logistical position for any team. For example, a typical NFL team consumes somewhere around 2,500 pairs of shoes in a single season! Someone has to keep track of everything or the team can't play.