Top 10 Neck Rolls in NFL History (PICS)
Inspired by this recent New York Times piece, which examines the disappearance of neck rolls from the game of football, we decided to compile a list of the greatest neck rolls in NFL history.
The neck roll apparatus – which theoretically protects against injuries by helping to stabilize the neck – was a standard part of the uniform for anyone playing youth or high school football in the 80s or 90s. And although sports science seems to have proven neck rolls to be relatively useless as an injury prevention tool, they will always hold a warm place in our football memories.
From the Times piece:
It goes by names like cowboy collar and butterfly restrictor, can look like a cut-up life preserver, a miniature washboard or a tube of cookie dough and, depending on whom you ask, is incredibly effective or about as necessary as an appendix.
Much like Spandex did not, in fact, make everybody who wore it look thinner, neck rolls became another disappearing fad because they were probably more style than substance, said Stephen J. Straub, a professor of athletic training and sports medicine at Quinnipiac University.
Straub was involved in a 2003 study that examined three different types of neck rolls and ultimately concluded that “they’ve never been shown to be effective,” he said, adding: “In a lab, they seem to be able to control the head, at least a little bit. But no one has been able to show that on a football field.”
If nothing else, they at least helped make you look more intimidating on the field (well, except on Grogan, that is), and we’ll continue to hold out hope for a comeback as we pay tribute to the once-ubiquitous neck roll with the following glorious images.
TOP 10 NECK ROLLS IN NFL HISTORY
(If you think of any other players who donned a neck roll during their career and we may have omitted from our list, please let us know in the comments)
1. Steve Grogan – New England Patriots
2. Bryan Cox – Miami Dolphins/New York Jets
3. Jack Lambert – Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Willie Lanier – Kansas City Chiefs
4. Wilber Marshall – Chicago Bears/Washington Redskins
5. Howie Long – Oakland Raiders
6. Eric Dickerson – LA Rams/Indianapolis Colts
7. Brian Bosworth – Seattle Seahawks
8. Christian Okoye – Kansas City Chiefs
9. Mike Alstott – Tampa Bay Buccanneers
10. Carl Banks – New York Giants/Cleveland Browns