This is the NFL, where you will get fined for wearing the wrong cleats, or eye black, or headphones, or baseball cap. So when Packers WR James Jones played the entire 30-13 win over the Vikings with a hoodie on underneath his jersey, most everyone figured he’d have to cut a check to pay for his coziness. Not so! The NFL is full of surprises.
Jones’s hoodie is perfectly legal under the NFL’s byzantine uniform policy, though only because it was in one of the Packers’ colors, had sleeves of the correct length, and was provided by the team and was therefore made by one the NFL’s corporate partners. Here’s the relevant part of the rulebook:
Quarterbacks will be allowed to wear under the game jersey a solid-color T-shirt, turtleneck, or sweatshirt (consistent with team undergarment color) with sleeves cut to any length, as long as both sleeves are evenly trimmed and the edges are sewn and hemmed. All other players may wear garments under game jerseys only if the undergarment sleeves either (a) do not extend below the sleeves of the jersey; or (b) are full length to the wrist. No other sleeve lengths for garments under jerseys are permitted for players other than quarterbacks. Players may not wear long-sleeved undergarments that include pebble-grip sleeves. Any garments under jerseys that are exposed at the neck or sleeve area and that carry an exposed logo or commercial name must be licensed by and approved by the League office for wear on the field (see Article 7). All members of the same team who wear approved undergarments with exposed necks or sleeves must wear the same color on a given day, which color must be white or a solid color that is an official team color (solid means that sleeves must not carry stripes, designs, or team names).
Former VP of officiating Mike Pereira explained that while the hoodie was fine, Jones ran the risk of being tackled by it—which would have been just as legal.
So why did Jones wear the hoodie? It was cold. With the wind, it felt like it was in the 20s in Minneapolis, and Jones said he just didn’t feel like taking it off after warm-ups.
“When I went out there for warmups, I was warm,” Jones said. “It’s a short-sleeve hoodie. I practice in it every day. I was like, practice how you play. It was team-issued colors, so I felt kind of swagged up out there with it. So I’m like, let me go out there and play with it. I was just hoping nobody would grab me from the back because they might treat it like (dreadlocks).”
It certainly didn’t hinder Jones, who led the Packers with six balls caught for 109 yards, including a touchdown and a two-point conversion.