Why Do Football Players Wear Eye Black

Have you ever wondered why players wear eye black under their eyes? The idea behind eye black on athletes is that the dark colouring will help to prevent some of the light from reaching their eyes.

From baseball to football athletes have worn eye black in order to improve their vision during games. Some players wear eye black to improve their vision in the sun while others hope it blocks out the bright stadium lights.

Other accessories often worn by football players include towels in their waistbands as well as fanny pack hand warmers.

Improving Vision With Eye Black

The idea behind eye black is that it prevents a portion of light from reaching your eyes. When light comes into contact with your face a portion of it reflects off of your skin.

Some of this reflected light travels upwards into your eyes ultimately making it harder to see. By using eye black players hope the light is absorbed by the eye black and no longer reflects into their eyes.

For years the effectiveness of eye black was completely unknown. But since the early 2000’s there have been several studies completed to determine how well eye black works.

The results showed that eye black was in fact able to reduce glare but more importantly allowed players to more effectively differentiate light from dark.

This means that the use of eye black will allow players to more easily find the ball in the air. Using the improved ability to differentiate light from dark receivers should be able to track the ball at a better rate when using eye black.

So far no studies have tested the effectiveness of eye black and it’s impact during a real NFL game. So though we know that eye black can improve your ability to see light from dark we cannot say for a fact that this helps you improve on the football field.

Paying Respects

Another reason you may find that football players will wear eye black is because of personal traditions. Tyler Bass the kicker or the Buffalo Bills has become known for wearing eye black under only eye.

Bass has been doing this for his entire NFL career. In his final college football game, Bass decided to wear only a single eye black.

He did this to pay respects to his grandmother as Bass’ final college football game was played for breast cancer awareness.

Since this point, Bass has decided to stick with the single eye black look despite the many questions he has had to answer regarding it.

Look Good Play Good

Looking good and feeling good is probably the most common reason football players really wear eye black.

If you take a look at a high school football teams eye black before a game you will realize that the majority of these players aren’t doing it for glare.

The large and intricate patterns used in eye black often serve as a way for football players to express themselves. Football is a sport in which it can be hard to personalize your look, using eye black is a way for players to do this legally.

Additionally having a personalized look that makes you feel good as a football player is an important part of the game. Feeling confident in how you look on the field can result in great benefits to your game.


I hope you have enjoyed this guide explaining why football players wear eye black.

Remember football players wear eye black in order to block out light and improve their vision. While some players like to wear it simply for how it looks.

If you did enjoy this guide and want to learn more we have plenty of other football articles you may be interested in.

To read more check out our guide to how to prepare for football tryouts or what a trap play is.

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