It looks like the age of the big facemask is finally over. According to a memo obtained by NFL.com, the league is going to prohibit the use of non-standard/overbuilt facemasks for the 2014 season.
The reasoning behind the decision is that larger facemasks have been deemed less safe compared to standard-sized ones.
According to the league memo, a larger facemask is characterized as one with "more bars, smaller spaces between the bars, and a generally larger coverage area."
Research from the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment showed that the non-standard facemasks more frequently fail safety and certification tests and aren't up to NFL safety standards.
According to a study by the University of New Hampshire, one of the problems with the larger facemasks is that they can cause neck fatigue. Players with larger facemasks can also be more inclined to lead with their head when tackling.
Any player who had medical approval to use a larger facemask in 2013 has to be re-evaluated before they're approved to wear one in 2014.
This isn't the first time the league has banned a facemask. The single-bar beauty below was banned in 2004.
Hopefully the NFL is banning large facemasks because its bringing back the single-bar pic.twitter.com/3fS0nwnqt6— John Breech (@johnbreech) July 1, 2014