FacebookTwitterRedditShare

NFL players, and not just the kickers anymore, have been spotted recently pulling on soccer cleats and that is not the only instance of the NFL copying soccer this season.  NFL players are increasingly exchanging jerseys after a match.  A soccer tradition for decades.

The exchanges usually happen during the post-game handshakes between players that have a connection (played in high school, college, etc), battled during the game, or sometimes just out of respect for the other player.

The Cincinnati Bengals AJ Green explained what the statement is about at the end of this post-game interview with NFL.com.

Players around the league have been spotted making the switch.

NFL-exchange-2
NFL-exchange-1
But the Dallas Cowboys appear to have taken the tradition to heart with numerous players taking part in exchanges and the team sending out tweets with the handoffs.

Some players don’t stop with the jerseys as Bryant pulled off his shoes as well in this exchange.

The soccer tradition is thought to have started in 1931 after a game between France and England.  French players should be given the credit as they really pushed the issue after that game having beaten England for the first time in history.  The players were hoping for a keepsake from the monumental game.

The first time an exchange took place at the World Cup was in 1954, according to FIFA.com.

It was not immediately accepted and World Cup winning manager for England, Sir Alf Ramsey actually forbid his players from exchanging jerseys after the Three Lions defeated Argentina in the 1966 quarterfinals.

But not surprisingly it was Pele that really made it popular after he exchanged jerseys with England’s Bobby Moore after Brazil’s 1-0 win over England in 1970.

“He was my friend as well as the greatest defender I ever played against,’ Pele said years later soon after Moore passed away in 1993. “The shirt he wore against me in that 1970 match is my prize possession.  The world has lost one of its greatest football players and an honorable gentleman.”

Similar to in soccer, not everyone is pleased with the new trend in the NFL.

The Pittsburg Steelers reportedly banned trades with players.  Wide receiver Antonio Brown, who traded jerseys with the Jaguars Tommy Streeter, said according to ESPN; “Jersey switching has been banned by the Steelers.  Coach [Mike Tomlin] doesn’t want us doing it anymore.”  He added that Tomlin wanted to focus on winning games and not ‘trad(ing) apparel.’

Which NFL players have you seen exchanging jerseys?

“World