Lower body football pads to be required in NFL in 2013

Young football players may have been curious as to why it appears as though most NFL players aren't wearing any padding on their legs, despite playing against some of the strong and most skilled athletes in the world.

They aren't the only ones who think that, though. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been trying to implement new rules that mandate all players wear lower body protection for three years, according to The Associated Press.

Any amateur football player who has been the victim of a hard hit to the leg with youth shoulder pads or a football helmet is probably well aware, that despite the protection of padding, it can be very painful and even cause injury. That alone puts the idea of getting hit similarly by one of the biggest, strongest athletes in the world without any protection into perspective.

But, the rules are about to change. Starting in 2013, any NFL player who enters a game without proper thigh, hip and knees pads will immediately be sent back to the sidelines by one of the game's officials.

While Oakland Raiders linebacker Travis Goethel explained to the media outlet that he hates the new rule, because he believes lower body protection limits his ability to move his legs, Goodell said that these aren't going to be typical football pads.

"I believe the technology has improved, the pads are far better than a decade ago, they allow better performance and are more protective," Goodell told the news source. "Every other level of football uses the pads."

The new rule will not go into effect for another year to give equipment manufacturers time to design padding that both offers optimum protection and is comfortable for players to wear.