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NFL: Knee and Thigh Pads Mandatory in 2013

Fact: Rich McKay's daddy was a Buccaneer - and that makes me nauseous
Fact: Rich McKay's daddy was a Buccaneer - and that makes me nauseous

Hooray! We know we've inundated you with new rules for the past couple of days. But I think this about covers it.

Starting in 2013, thigh and knee pads will be mandatory. It is a playing rule; so in theory, it has to be collectively bargained. What does that mean? It means the knee/thigh pad rule could require Player's Association approval.

"Any change in working conditions is a collectively bargained issue," the union said in a statement. "While the NFL is focused on one element of health and safety today, the NFLPA believes that health and safety requires a comprehensive approach and commitment. We are engaged in and monitor many different issues, such as players' access to medical records, prescription usage and the situation with professional football's first responders, NFL referees."

Let's be honest, the Player's Association can't afford to oppose this rule. About 1,400 former NFLers or their families are suing the league right meow. They want compensation. Why? Because the NFL didn't take enough precautions.

Practically speaking, this doesn't make a big difference. Players will complain about it. That hypocrisy aside, thigh and knee pads are a must in the NCAA. These guys have performed at a high level with them. And they can do it again. If everyone wears them, the playing field is leveled.

I'm ambivalent really. I see both sides of the coin. On the one hand, a league without regulation could be interesting. Steroid use and hard hitting galore. No suspensions, no fines, et cetera; just pure entertainment. On the other hand, there's something to say about a league with integrity. One that cares for its players and tries to preserve their futures.

What do y'all think?