They were made famous by superstars like Michael Vick and LaDainian Tomlinson.
Now, for the first time in modern NFL history, they’ll be available to all players.
More than two decades after the league started banning tinted visors except for players with approved medical waivers, the NFL will permit all players to wear slightly colored shields thanks to an exclusive new partnership with Oakley, the California-based producer of visors, sunglasses and other sports apparel.
Announced this week, the four-year partnership makes Oakley the first official on-field partner and licensee of the league’s eyewear and will kick off with the 2019 season, when all 32 NFL teams will be outfitted with Oakley’s Prizm Lens helmet shields. As part of the agreement, all players will have the option to wear Oakley’s Prizm Lens Clear shields, which have a slight color tint.
Previously, players could select the shield brand of their choice — whether they wore clear visors or received medical clearance for a tinted shield. Now, all helmet shields will be visibly branded with Oakley’s signature “O.”
Oakley has been producing helmet shields for more than 20 years, providing the product to athletes at all levels of the sport. This season will simply mark its first foray into the NFL on a full-time, exclusive basis.
Strategically speaking, the change isn’t likely to have a dramatic impact on the game, as the tints are not as dark-colored as the visors worn by past greats like Vick and L.T. Still, Oakley’s emergence represents another new implementation of on-field apparel sponsorship for the NFL, which last year renewed its game-day apparel and jersey partnership with Nike through 2028.
Backed by NFL stars and new Oakley partners Patrick Mahomes, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Derwin James, the Oakley agreement will also feature a specially designed NFL eyewear collection for fans. Oakley will produce two men’s-style sunglasses, complete with Prizm lens, official logo etches and team color accents for all 32 teams, as well as a women’s-style design, Low Key, available in seven different teams. Fans can also customize select frames as part of the eyewear collection using Oakley’s Custom Program.