SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Peyton Manning has always done things few quarterbacks do, including wearing a glove on his passing hand.
Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson had more famous gloves, but Manning has a more useful one.
Manning began wearing gloves on both hands after joining the Denver Broncos in 2012 because several neck surgeries left him with numbness in his fingertips.
The tackified gloves similar to those worn by receivers give Manning a better grip on the football. He had three of his best seasons statistically after he started wearing them.
Manning temporarily ditched his glove in training camp this season, but put it back on before the games began.
“Obviously, for 14 years, I never wore a glove in any type of elements, rain or cold,” Manning said. “Due to my injury, due to the nerves, I’ve been kind of forced to wear it. That’s been that whole reasoning for it.”
Quarterbacks have traditionally avoided wearing gloves on their passing hand because they feel they get a better grip on the ball barehanded. But companies are producing far better gloves. The NFL banned stickum decades ago. But advancements in sports science have led to gloves with even stronger built-in stickiness.
Just look at all those spectacular, one-handed grabs Odell Beckham Jr. and other receivers make.
Manning isn’t the only QB who wears a glove on his passing hand. Teddy Bridgewater also does it no matter the elements. Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have worn one in certain weather, too.
Kurt Warner did it late in his career. So did Doug Flutie. Jim McMahon wore them in the 1980s. Joe Montana once threw with a glove in a cold-weather playoff game with the Chiefs.
“I don’t think they had the gloves they have nowadays,” said Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, who backed up John Elway in Denver in the 80s. “John and I tried it. I think some of things they make nowadays are very good.”
Broncos backup Brock Osweiler said he tried it, but prefers to feel the ball with his bare hand.
“I can see the benefits of it, but it’s something I’m not comfortable with,” Osweiler said.
Carolina’s Cam Newton and Derek Anderson don’t like gloves, either.
“No artificial, just straight organic hands,” Newton said after the Panthers beat Seattle in the playoffs.
Anderson tried them when he played in cold-weather Cleveland. The gloves were so tacky that his hand stuck to the ball and altered his release point.
“It wasn’t for me,” he said. “I threw balls super low.”
Several quarterbacks wear a glove on their non-throwing hand to make it easier to catch shotgun snaps.
Trent Dilfer, who quarterbacked the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory over the Giants in 2001, also tried gloves in the cold in Baltimore.
“I played around with it, but didn’t like it,” he said. “They’re better now, or guys wouldn’t do it.”
When Manning ditched his glove in training camp, wideouts Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders said it didn’t seem to affect his velocity or his accuracy. But Manning went back to the glove when the games started.
No doubt he’ll be wearing them in the Big Game on Sunday against the Panthers.
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