January 17th, 2016

Grab the beer and buffalo wings-football season is upon us! There is nothing like a Sunday afternoon planted in front of the TV, watching your favorite team annihilate the opponent. Follow that up with an evening spent tossing the pig skin around in the leaf strewn yard, and you’ve got the perfect fall day.

Football is an awesome sport. Chances are, you know the history of your team inside and out, and you could recite the stats of your favorite players at the drop of a hat-but how much do you know about the materials that actually make football possible? This hard-hitting sport wouldn’t be the same without protective equipment, uniforms, cleats, souvenirs…. The truth is that plastic football equipment is an essential part of the game we love. Check out all the areas of football in which plastic plays a crucial role:

1. Protective gear. The hard outer shells and foam interiors of helmets and pads are made to withstand explosive hits and vast amounts of force-they are made from polycarbonate alloy, carbon fibers produced from different types of plastic, and a combination of polyvinyl chloride and nitrile rubber. Without these plastics, professional football would be about as exciting as a game of touch football in your backyard.

2. Uniforms. We can all agree that it would be pretty confusing to watch football games where all the players were wearing cotton t-shirts. Football uniforms are designed specifically to fit over all the protective gear a player requires, plus be durable, comfortable, and expandable at the same time. Plastics make this possible, as uniforms are made from nylon, polyester, and spandex. The base of these materials is-you guessed it-plastic.

3. Cleats. You can’t very well just strap on a pair of running sneaks and hit the field for a game of football. Great cleats help players make those astounding tackles and run like the wind. Cleats are made of a variety of materials, which varies between brands. However, the upper portion of most cleats is made of synthetic leather, polyester, or nylon. Shoelaces are sometimes made of nylon, while the insole and midsole often contain polyurethane. The cleat portion itself is usually made from a combination of steel and nylon polymer.

4. Fields. While not all stadiums have it, artificial turf is made from nylon, polypropylene, or polyethylene. Artificial turf has been improved over the years, and now looks more like real grass while providing players with a more cushioned surface.

5. Football. Well, it certainly goes without saying that the game could not be played without a football… While the outside of a football is made from leather, the bladder is made of butyl rubber.

As you can see, many of the major components of football are created using plastic. Plastics are also used to make many of the items in souvenir shops at stadiums, stadium seats and dome roofs, and countless pieces of NFL merchandise. The game would just not be the same without the use of this versatile material. Please feel free to contact us for more information about the use of plastics in football.