7:03 AM ET
Tori Z. Royespen
When the last seconds of the game of the Kansas City Patriots against New England, in the fourth minute of the game, were over. At the end of the week, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomez knelt down and won 26:10.
When he got up, a handful of patriots approached him, who wanted to acknowledge and honor the MVP Super Bowl in place.
After Mahomez quickly grabbed the defensive line Byron Cowart and then linebacker Anfernee Jennings, Mahomez turned around and ran into the corner, waiting for Stephon Gilmore to take his turn. While Mahomez bent his right shoulder over Gilmore’s chest, both players did the unthinkable.
After the usual post-match ritual, the hug was cancelled during the coronavirus pandemic. Gilmore then tested for KOVID-19, and Mahomez was not infected with the virus despite the contact.
Positive personal contact is not the only casualty in the war against Kovid-19. The NFL put an end to another favorite tradition of the players: the exchange of T-shirts after the game.
The NFL announced in July that trading in T-shirts for players will be banned in 2020 and players responded quickly.
The San Francisco 49ers corner Richard Sherman on Twitter (with several LOL smileys): It’s a perfect example of NFL thinking in a nutshell. Players can go to the game in continuous contact and do so safely. However, they think that exchanging T-shirts after this game is unsafe.
It’s ridiculous, said Deshawn Watson, a quarterback from Houston, Texas, when he learned the league forbade replacement jerseys. You mean we can fight for 60 minutes or more, and we can’t change our shirts after the game? It doesn’t make any sense.
After another fight with the players, the competition came to a compromise. A few days before the start of the 2020 NFL season in September, the rule has changed so players can exchange their shirts, but this has to be done through the team’s equipment managers. Players who want to change their shirts are washed and sent inside.
Fault! The file name is not specified. The Las Vegas Raiders walk backwards, Josh Jacobs shows his T-shirt, which he sent to Stefon Diggs for a large receiver of Buffalo Bills Les Courtois Raiders de Las Vegas.
It’s a great opportunity to continue [exchanging sweaters], said Josh Jacobs, the manager of Las Vegas Rayders, who told his equipment manager, Bob Romansky, that he wanted to exchange sweaters with the Buffalo Bills’ broadband receiver, Stephon Diggs, for the fourth round of the game.
Defense of the law kept Jacobs in 48 racing yards on 15 aircraft carriers, the lowest level of the season in eight weeks, but receiving a T-shirt in the mail a few days later may have helped Jacobs temporarily forget the loss of Buffalo at 30:23.
Honestly, it’s like a trophy when you get his shirt, Jacobs said. When it arrives, it’s presented in a box. It’s like it’s almost Christmas.
Sign of respect
Just like the small high-five or the punches that Mahomez performs after the game, an opponent’s freshly signed jersey is the highest sign of athleticism and respect between rivals.
Or, in some cases, doing business means recognising the excellence of your colleagues.
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Starting the new 2017 season, Caroline Panthers, Christian McCaffrey’s running back and Austin Eckler’s Los Angeles Chargers are two of the four NFL players who have at least 1,500 yards on offense and 1,500 yards on touchdown. The others are New Orleans Saints, inspired by Alvin Camara, and Atlantic Falcons, inspired by Todd Garley II.
There must be something sentimental behind it, Eckler said about the selection process for the replacement T-shirts.
McCaffrey and I practiced together [in Colorado]. He had a good perspective, and I was the guy on the Austin Eckler side of second division school. I’ve always compared my measurements and myself with her and tried to figure out how Ok, how can I compare her to these guys? It only helped to push me mentally and physically.
Whatever the reason or relationship, players have their own protocols regarding the transaction.
If you’ve never had a conversation like the DMs, let them know before the game: Hey, man, if you want to change your sweater, that’s fine with me, says Colt linebacker Darius Leonard, who added a Derrick Henry, Watson and McCaffrey sweater from Tennessee to his list of most popular pieces in his collection.
Sometimes you may not know you’re dealing with someone who’s under the radar. You can go to him and say: Hey, man, you played a great game. I want to trade T-shirts. They show nothing but respect.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Derrick Henry of Tennessee and Christian McCaffrey of Carolina exchanged shirts after the November 2019 match. Players are not allowed to change shirts this season until the team takes off and returns the shirts. AP Photo/Mike McCarn
Usually biological exchange
You look so inorganic! Cameron Jordan’s defensive end said with laughter when he was asked to describe the process of changing the sweater. Then he designed it.
It’s mostly organic: Hey, brother. I wanted to buy this shirt. Start the engine.
I really like your game.
Hey, brother. Let’s turn the shirts inside out.
Jordan is the proud owner of dozens of t-shirts he has ever worn by those he considers legends of the game: Jason Witten’s near end, Adrian Peterson’s escape and von Miller’s defensive end at the beginning. However, his prized possessions are the final game of the former Panther defense shirt and the future indoor professional football champion of the Julius Peppers.
But no matter how simple the exchange of T-shirts with opponents may seem, the code remains silent.
Unilateral adultery is generally not part of the job: otherwise it’s all… awkward.
Fault! The file name is not specified. – set
Players throughout the league are used to exchanging T-shirts after games on the field, but the coronavirus protocols have completely changed the tradition of exchanging T-shirts in the NFL.
Every once in a while Jordan said some bad guys would ask you for your shirt. Defensively, you’re not very inclined to ride in that T-shirt, but as a man you have to do it somehow.
Or you’re the guy from the training team and you didn’t take any pictures. It’s you: Hey, man, can we trade shirts?
Jordan slowly and abruptly shrugged his shoulders and stopped. Well, uh… You put me in a bad position. I don’t want your shirt. I don’t know you. So I guess it’s a one-way ticket.
You can’t just approach a legend like that: Hey, take your shirt off. There’s an order.
Like asking peppers to trade his shirts?
Oh, I made sure my papers were right, Jordan. I’ve been in three or four Pro Bowls.
I wanted to make sure I wasn’t a scrubber.