Why Football Players Wear Towels

Why Football Players Wear Towels


Football is one of the most popular sports across the world. Players wear a variety of protective equipment, from helmets and shoulder pads to mouth guards and footwear. One piece of equipment you may not have noticed on the field, however, is a towel. So why do football players wear towels?

Though towels are typically used in bathrooms or kitchens, they play a unique role on the football field as well. A football player’s towel serves both functional and stylistic purposes, making it an essential item for any serious athlete’s game day attire. From keeping their officers clean to staying dry in rain and snow, football players rely on towels for many key reasons. In this guide, we explore why football players wear towels and how they use them throughout a practice or game.

History of Football Towels

Football players have been using towels to accessorize the uniform since the early 1950s, but where did it come from? Football towels were originally used for sweat absorption and to keep the uniform dry not only for football players, but for athletes across sports. Today, football towels are used for a number of things, from practical to ceremonial. To understand why football players wear towels, let’s explore the history of these special pieces of cloth.

Early Use of Towels

While the exact origin of sporting towels is unknown, records indicate that they were widely popular in competitive sports by the late 19th century. The use of towels in football has been documented since 1894, when the University of Chicago made them part of their uniform.

At first, towels were used only to dry off sweat on players’ faces or with their hands. However, teams quickly discovered that the material provided footballers with several advantages on the field. The extra padding on a towel often served as a way to protect against scrapes and bruises during tackles, and it was also used for a better grip on wet balls.

Football helmets also became part of the game in 1893; however, there was debate over how effective they actually were at protecting players from serious injury. Teams began adding towels to helmets as an extra measure of protection against head injuries during collisions. They would be tied around the base of helmets—something we still see today—becoming standard equipment by 1930. Towels have continued to evolve alongside football over time and are now commonly used both for protection and as a part of fan support systems worldwide.

Modern Use of Towels

While the modern use of football towels by players remains mostly unchanged from their original purpose, the use of ornamental towels has become more common. Teams have started to incorporate their own logotypes and designs into football towels for an added level of player and fan identification. Towels are imprinted with team nicknames, player endorsers, team mascots, manufacturer logos and other slogans.

The current trend for players is to adorn their waists with brightly colored towels which feature a signature name or logo on them. This helps to identify themselves when out of uniform either in the locker room or during special press conferences or events. Advertising deals have also been made between teams and manufacturers which offer their own customized cloth wiping products known as “towelettes.” Fans can also purchase customized team or player logo branded cloths to take home and collect as memorabilia.

Benefits of Wearing Towels

Football players wear towels for a variety of reasons. The towel serves both a practical and psychological purpose, helping players stay focused on the game. Wearing a towel can provide a variety of benefits for players, including improved performance, increased confidence, and a stronger sense of camaraderie.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of wearing a towel while playing football.

Keeps Players Dry

Football players often use towels before, during and after games to stay dry and maximize their performance on the field. As athletes become sweatier, their performance can significantly decrease due to a decrease in grip strength and range of motion. Towels provide a buffer between football players’ hands and the ball, which helps them maintain proper grip levels.

In addition to its immediate benefits, wearing a towel also helps keep football players from getting chilled on the sideline. This is especially important because NFL player uniforms aren’t made with the same insulation as ski wear or winter jackets. Players can wring out their towels throughout a game in order to speed up evaporation rates and help them regulate their body temperatures more effectively. With cooling towels in place, players are able to lower body temperatures by simply wiping away moisture gently – without excessively cooling by removing layers of clothing altogether.

Towels also provide an added layer of compression within football players’ uniform systems, which helps keep loose fabric away from their bodies. When towels are placed around arms or legs it restricts unnecessary material from flapping in the wind while running or during blocking/tackling drills; reducing drag around joints for smoother playability on the field. Furthermore if quarterbacks decide not to go with gloves as footwear protection they can wrap fine/terry cloth headbands or wristbands around their arms instead for increased friction when throwing that extra spiral!

Prevents Sweat From Blocking Vision

Football players often wear towels to keep sweat from running down their face and impairing their vision. Towels provide a great way for players to dry their face without having to use their hands and risk the ball slipping away. Alternatively, sweatbands do similar but less effective jobs as they cannot fully absorb all of the moisture.

Towels prevent sweat from running down into an athlete’s eyes and blocking vision while in play. This is especially important in football because plays often involve sprinting or quick transitions, so being able to see is essential. The towel presents a barrier that prevents moisture from impairing vision and allows players to stay focused on the game at hand. It also helps add grip, which can help especially when tackling or catching passes.

Allows Players to Wipe Away Dirt & Mud

Wearing a towel during the game allows football players to easily wipe away dirt, mud, and sweat from their bodies, leaving them clean and fresh. These towels also provide extra padding on certain weather days, like days when it is particularly wet or cold. Additionally, wearing a towel during the game can increase team unity as each player’s towel will have their team flag or logo prominently displayed. This helps to create a sense of pride and belonging among the members of the team.

Often times these towels are also frequently requested by television broadcasters for promotional purposes due to their visibility on the field during play. This further enhances the public’s visibility of not just the teams but also sponsorships that are so critical in financing modern day sports leagues.

In summary, wearing towels on game days serves multiple purposes for football players such as:

  • Helping keep bodies clean and fresh;
  • Providing extra warmth;
  • Encouraging team spirit; and
  • Increasing marketing opportunities with television broadcasting companies.

With all those advantages accompanying wearing towels, it’s not surprising this has become such an established part of everyday football apparel in today’s professional sports leagues!

Different Types of Football Towels

Football towels are an important tool for any player on the field. They are used for a variety of reasons, from wiping off sweat and dirt to carrying items. From terry cloth towels to microfiber towels, each type of football towel can provide different benefits.

Let’s take a look and see the different types of football towels and what advantages they offer players:

Traditional Towels

Traditional towels are perhaps the most commonly used type of football towel among NFL players. These towels range in size, typically starting at 28 inches and ranging up to 33 or 36 inches. They’re typically made of terrycloth, cotton or microfiber – all materials that are highly durable and highly absorbent when wet. Most traditional towels come in several colors so that teams can keep track of their equipment more efficiently.

Utility towels are also sometimes used by football players. These exceptionally large towels – often 40” x 40” – are specifically designed for sweat absorption and cleaning purposes. The larger size allows them to be draped over the helmets in order to catch sweat before it reaches the eyes and helps keep players cool during long practice sessions in warmer climates. Additionally, these bigger-than-average dimensions provide a more efficient cleaning surface than traditional towel fabric for teams on a tight schedule between games or practices.

Many teams opt for split hand/head towels as well – these feature a small slit through the middle which accommodates multiple uses at once, such as being worn on both arms while also wiping off sweat or dirt from the face area with either end of the towel simultaneously. Many brands also have added options such as sewn logos or customizations on the fabrics, making it easy to stand out during team photographs or promotional events while still having one’s personal style intact.

Microfiber Towels

An increasingly popular choice for football players are microfiber towels. With their ultra-soft material and fast-drying capabilities, microfiber towels can be great for athletes who want to stay dry on the sideline or practice field. These lightweight yet absorbent towels are available in a variety of sizes and fits comfortably into any football player’s equipment bag.

Unlike cotton towels, microfiber quickly wicks away sweat and dries rapidly which helps prevent bacteria from growing and spreading germs. Microfiber towels also last longer than other units on the market due to their highly durable construction that isn’t susceptible to stretching or shrinking. Furthermore, they are machine washable making it easy to maintain the high quality and cleaning of them without too much hassle.

Embroidered Towels

Embroidered towels can provide a special finishing touch to any football fan’s collection. These towels are often adorned with the team’s logo or colors, and some even include special messages to commemorate major games or events. Embroidered towels offer the distinctive look of a custom order without the wait time or expense that can come with ordering custom-made items.

Some retailers specialize in providing embroidered items to fans and players, from aprons to polo shirts and beach towels. When choosing an embroidered towel for your favorite team, make sure it is 100% cotton for optimal absorbency so your favorite fan won’t have trouble wiping away sweat during an intense game.


So why do football players wear towels? It turns out, there’s a method to their madness. It’s not simply a fashion statement – towels serve multiple purposes. They absorb sweat, provide protection from the sun, and can even be used as an improvised tourniquet in case of a major injury. They also block out peripheral distractions, helping players stay focused on the game.

But one of the most important uses for towels is psychological: when players wear them, it lends an air of professionalism to the sport. Tossing a towel around your neck emblemizes being part of a team – one with rules and expectations that need to be followed. By adorning all athletes with hand towels before each game, it reinforces the idea that no matter how hard you work or how strong you become, ultimately you are only as good as your team’s performance – making them understand their responsibility to perform for both themselves and their teammates.

In summary, football players use towels for multiple beneficial reasons including:

  • Sweat absorption
  • Sun protection
  • Improved focus
  • On-field safety measures
  • Adding professionalism and mental preparedness within team dynamics before taking on an opponent in competition.