NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport obtained a league memo from NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent that states the NFL will prohibit the use of non-standard/overbuilt facemasks for the 2014 season.
According to the memo, research from the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment showed that the non-standard facemasks more frequently fail safety and certification tests and aren't up to NFL safety standards.
Among the characteristics of the banned facemasks are "more bars, smaller spaces between the bars, and a generally larger coverage area," Vincent wrote in the memo.
A study conducted by the University of New Hampshire for the NFL states that the added weight of the masks negatively affects the structure of the helmet, can cause neck fatigue that could lead to a more head-down posture during contact and can provide a false sense of security during tackling.
Four players wore what would now be considered illegal facemasks in 2013, Rapoport reported. Players with medical approval for facemasks in 2013 must be re-evaluated prior to the 2014 season, and strict guidelines for future medical exemptions in regards to facemasks will be enforced, the memo stated.
While we enjoyed the diversity of the inventive facemasks, player safety is paramount when it comes to the head and neck.