Why Do Football Players Wear Gloves?

When watching a game of football you may notice that a large number of players on both the offense and defense wear gloves. The use of football gloves varies by position and offers different uses to different players.

The most common style of gloves worn by football players are receiving gloves. These gloves offer the receivers a sticky surface making it easier to catch the ball.

Some offensive and defensive linemen also wear football gloves. These lineman gloves are used to provide extra cushioning to protect their hands and wrists.

To learn about other football equipment see our guide to football players wearing towels while they play.

Understanding The Types Of Football Gloves

To get a full understanding of why football players wear gloves you must learn about the two types of football gloves that are worn.

The two styles of gloves that football players wear are receiver gloves and lineman gloves.

Receiver Gloves

Receiver gloves are far and away the most popular style of football glove. These gloves were made with the purpose of offering receivers an easier way to catch the ball.

Receiver gloves have a very sticky surface that grips tightly onto the football. This makes catching the ball easier, especially when securing the ball with a single hand.

Nowadays in the NFL every single receiver in the league will wear a pair of receiver gloves when they play.

But receivers aren’t the only position that uses receiver gloves. Almost all offensive players that touch the ball wear a pair of receiver gloves.

This includes running backs, full backs, and tight ends. All of these positions catch passes from the quarterback which is why these gloves are used. Additionally, these players may find that these gloves also give them a sturdier grip on the ball.

This can help prevent ball carriers from fumbling when defenders attempt to rip the ball from their hands.

But it isn’t only offensive players that use wide receiver gloves. Cornerbacks, safeties and linebackers also tend to wear receiver gloves as well.

The reason defensive players wear these is because of potential interceptions. Defensive players are able to catch passes from the quarterback as well. And since interceptions are a turnover catching a ball as a defensive player can have a major effect on the game.

This is why these defensive players will wear these gloves. Despite a lack of opportunities to catch the ball these gloves give players better odds of intercepting a ball when it does come their way.

Lineman Gloves

The other style of glove worn by football players is the lineman glove. This piece of equipment is used only by a small number of players on the field.

As the name suggests only offensive and defensive linemen use this type of glove.

This type of football glove is used for several reasons. First off they offer lineman padding on their palms and fingers.

football gloves lineman

In each play, offensive and defensive lineman go head to head attempting to push each other in the opposite direction.

The point of contact on these plays is typically the hands. This means these players are often pushing, hitting, and swinging their hands at opposing players each play.

In order to keep their hands in good shape, these players wear lineman gloves. The padding within the palms and fingers reduces the wear and tear lineman will take on their hands.

Additionally, these gloves often come with padding on the back gloves. This is useful as lineman often fall onto the ground throughout the course of a play.

Since these linemen are right in the middle of the formation these players are often stepped on. Having the material on the outside of the gloves ensures that both sides of their hands are protected.

These lineman gloves also tend to have a little stickiness to them as well. In most cases, the center is going to be the only offensive lineman that touches the football. But every so often a fumble will occur around the line of scrimmage and a lineman will have a chance to jump on it.

Having this extra tackiness on the gloves will give the lineman a better ability to grip the ball. Though for the most part, this feature of the glove is only going to be beneficial to the center.

Why Do Quarterbacks Wear Gloves

Though the vast majority of quarterbacks throw the ball with a bare hand there are several throughout the league that use gloves.

These quarterbacks tend to use receiver gloves when throwing the ball. The reason that these quarterbacks use receiver gloves is that they believe it gives them a better grip on the ball.

Kurt Warner was one of the first quarterbacks to bring this trend to the NFL. After breaking several fingers Warner decided to try wearing gloves when he threw.

He stated that the gloves allowed him to throw a better spiral than he could with his bare hands.

Not all quarterbacks that wear gloves have stated their reasons for wearing them but the general consensus is that the gloves offer them a better grip on the ball.

Wearing football gloves in the rain and snow

In football, you may notice that when it is quite rainy or snowy some players may start to take their gloves off.

This can leave football fans confused as they often assume gloves like this can be helpful in inclement weather.

The reason many players take off their gloves is that they become too slick when wet. Most football gloves are meant to be used with a little bit of liquid in order to make them tacky.

The issue is when they become too wet they often become quite slippery. At some point, gloves can be wet enough that catching the ball is easier when not wearing them.

For this reason, you may notice wide receivers taking them off once the ball becomes quite wet.

That all being said the technology used in football receiving gloves continues to improve each year. Some gloves these days are able to remain their tackiness even when drenched in rain or snow.

Additionally, at the professional level, the ball is going to be freshly waxed and will often be dried off between plays. This can allow the receiving gloves to be effective even when wet.


I hope you have enjoyed this article on why football players wear gloves if you want to learn more about football equipment see our guide to cups in football or whether football players can wear glasses.

Leave a Comment