Revolutionary Shoulder Pads Make Their Way Into the NFL | Sports

EAST HANOVER, NJ – NFL players watch in disbelief as Bob Broderick puts his hand between a pair of XRD foam pads, then slams a helmet at full force. He doesn’t even wince, then takes her hand and shakes each player’s hand.

This scene has been repeated dozens of times by Broderick and Ted Monica, whose XTECH company manufactures and distributes the shoulder pad that may well become fashionable throughout the league.

Hear from New York Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon:

“Oh man, do you believe that? The 10th year veteran says of the slamming technique which may seem like a trick to some, but it’s clearly a great selling point for the pad that players who use it can’t help but rave about. . “It’s an incredible product, very comfortable, especially for a D lineman. It is not bulky, gives you freedom of movement for the shoulders, arms, hands.

“It protects you everywhere, absorbs all the blows,” McLendon adds, pointing to the upper body. “And it’s going so well, there is nothing for [blockers] to catch. I wore other pads and felt a hit in the shoulders every day. Not with these, there are none of those aches and pains. “

The NFL allows each player to choose which shoulder pad they wear. Often, players consult with equipment managers or team coaches.

“This is generally a collaborative process,” said Jets equipment director Gus Granneman. “We discuss what they’ve worked with before, what they’re looking for, and then we discuss how to get them there with the most protection, while still providing them with a low profile and a good fit.”

Recently – XTECH is in its sixth year – players like McLendon have spread the word.

2017 Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack wears XTECH.

“Tuck put me on them,” Mack says of Justin Tuck, an outstanding defensive end for a decade. “He said to me, ‘Brother, take this. Shut up, take them.’ I was like, ‘OK.’

“They are light and I can hit people hard without feeling it.”

Adds All-Pro Broncos Von Miller, who barely lost to Mack for the best defenseman award last season:

“I like XTECH. I like how they feel. You know my position isn’t as difficult as a security fort or a linebacker, an offensive lineman or something. the way they make me feel and I love the way they protect my shoulders. As for the shoulder pads, you always want to be comfortable and protected, you want to be able to play, you also want to be able to move. And they give me the best of both worlds. “

Specifically, players like the way the pad remains unobtrusive as it does not rise or affect line of sight when a player turns their head left or right; the swivel belt and buckle that allow the shoulder pad belts to pass under the ribs or slats to keep them tighter and prevent the shoulder pad from rising; and a three-part adjustable body system allowing what Broderick calls a “natural channel” for the AC joint to sit, so that each pad adapts to the player’s body and the slope / angle of the player. his shoulder.

Monica has worked in the football equipment business for 36 years. He custom designs each pad, making adjustments, whether it’s for an NFL star or one of the hundreds of college players who have switched to XTECH.

If this is a standard custom XTECH pad, it might take 10 minutes to build it. If this is an elite NFL custom “hand” pad developed after speaking and measuring the player, Monica’s design or modifications can take 30 to 45 minutes, then 10 to 15 minutes to build.

For example, Vikings running back Latavius ​​Murray had additional custom padding placed on the back of the pad that protrudes a little more to cover the back of his ribs and the outside of his back.

The whole unit is not assembled in a huge facility the size of a football field, but in a warehouse perhaps the size of a goal zone.

XTECH has an exclusive agreement with XRD for the use of its pads in the NFL, college football and junior football. Monica and Broderick estimate that 28 NFL teams have at least one player using the product, and the professional team average is 27.

Monica measured wide receiver Eric Decker for the pad and the next day, he says, the Jets cut Decker, who then signed with Tennessee. Decker then told the Titans he wanted the Notepad, and soon several other Titans called Monica and Broderick to place orders.

If a player has a history of shoulder issues, Monica says he can tell just by seeing how a cushion rests on the player. Then, after discussions with the player and Broderick, Monica makes an XTECH cushion which is adjusted accordingly to provide even more protection in specific areas. That’s what he recently did for 49ers Reuben Foster in the first round, a linebacker who fell low in the first round in part due to shoulder problems.

Monica’s ear cushions design includes XRD foam pads – which he calls “smart foam” – which are water resistant as well as highly protective and durable. He says the shoulder pads also have more airflow and the ability to pivot, which provides a greater range of motion.

“For ventilation, we went from slits to holes in the plastic and then holes in the foam,” he explains. “You can imagine how hot the shoulder pads could be with really big guys, in particular.”

XTECH pads weigh 3.5 pounds to 4.2 pounds, depending on size and options. They start at $ 425 before personalization. For guys who are six digits, and in many cases seven digits, that’s about the cost of a nice dinner with friends or family.

Monica and Broderick’s first NFL team partner were the Giants, followed by the Dolphins and Redskins. Now, pretty much on a daily basis, they answer calls from players and equipment managers in the league.

Jets’ Granneman says players on the team using XTECH tell him they are very satisfied.

“There is usually immediate positive feedback after a day of practice,” noted Granneman. “Good range of motion and mobility while providing a high level of protection for their shoulders. XTECH is very good at working with any custom requests we’ve had. We have several players that we’ve had custom attachments made for. for their pads – back plates and extensions, for example – and XTECH has always been very responsive in making these custom parts. “

Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who started using them in 2015, adds, “I liked them from the start.”

Apparently, hundreds of other NFL players are going through the same thing. – (AP)

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