why do football players wear eye black

Why Do Football Players Wear Eye Black?

Why do football players wear eye black? On the surface, they seem to serve no purpose, aside from aesthetics. But there is actually a deeper meaning to it.

Wearing eye black was thought to be an old tradition, and players used it out of superstition.

There are, however, a few more theories as to why the custom started. One of them is that the players believed the hearts of their opponents could be read in their eyes and that painting over the face was an advantage in intimidating defenders.

What Is The Purpose of Eye Black In Football

Eye black is a greasy substance that football players wear under their eyes. It’s made from carbon soot, which is rubbed into a base of petroleum jelly.

There are several reasons why players wear eye black, and I’ll be listing most of them below:

When Did Football Players Start Wearing Eye Black

When did football players start wearing eye black?

player wearing eye black carrying football

While it is not clear when the trend actually started gaining traction, some sports literature refer to the 1800s when baseball players began using coal dust to keep dirt out of their eyes during a game. The idea caught on and soon other athletes started wearing eye black as well, including boxers and soccer players.

At some point in time, another quest then began for both athletes and manufacturers, and that is to find a solution that made it easier for athletes to apply their own eye black without having to use coal dust or grease.

Some people also think that eye black was inspired by traditions passed down from Native American tribes, who wore war paint on their faces to scare their enemies.

Others think that eye black got its start because it protects against sunburned eyes caused by spending too much time outdoors playing sports or working.

Whichever decade it was in, ever since its first use, people started applying the black stuff in different ways: some used it under their eyes to cover up bruises from getting hit in the face during games; others put it around their eyes instead of using it directly on their skin because they thought it made them look more intimidating on the field, and I’m guessing that worked!

How Effective is Eye Black in Playing?

Aside from the practical uses of eye black mentioned earlier in this post, this cosmetic addition to any player’s visage isn’t just used for these purposes—it’s also used by some athletes as a way to make statements about themselves or their teams.

Some players choose to wear it because they want people around them to know what they stand for, while those in the audience do so because they want people around them to know who they support, usually their favorite team.

Read Also: Take a look at why football players wear visors, as well as the different types of helmet visors and their benefits, in this article.

What Type of Eye Black Do They Use

Eye black is a cosmetic that has been used by football players for decades. It is typically worn by players on the field, but it is also sometimes used by quarterbacks and other positions that are in close proximity to the camera during games.

Eye black can be worn as a way to personalize a uniform or as an inspirational message. They can also be used to cover up injuries or scars, or just as a way of expressing yourself.

There are many different types of eye black, ranging from basic designs to more elaborate ones. Some players choose to wear eye black that says something about themselves or their team; others like to wear their favorite sports team’s colors and logo on their face.

player wearing eye black holding the football

Some players even go so far as to have custom-made designs made specifically for them, which can range from simple geometric shapes to more complex drawings and paintings.

Roll On Eye Black –  Stick

This type of eye black is a liquid that comes in a tube and can be applied by rolling it on your face. Roll-On Eye Black is designed to be used by football players who want to cover up the entire area of their face and eyes.

This type of eye black is usually made out of petroleum jelly or silicone gel and is great at reducing glare when playing outdoors in sunlight.

Eye Black Sticky Strips

Sticky strips are another option for applying your eye black. They’re strips of fabric that have been coated in adhesive so they stick to your skin when you place them on your face before play time begins.

They come in different shapes and sizes so you can find one that fits best around your eyes without causing discomfort or irritation during play time activities like running around chasing after balls or tackling other players.

NFL Players Who Wear Eye Black

Here is a list of some famous NFL players who wear eye black:

  1. Dez Bryant, wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys
  2. Julian Edelman, wide receiver for the New England Patriots
  3. Antonio Brown, wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers
  4. Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the New England Patriots

What Are The Best Eye Blacks for Athletes?

There are many different kinds of eye blacks, but not all of them are created equal. Since there’s no such thing as “the best” black out there, you’ll want to choose one that will work best for your situation.

If you’re just looking for a temporary solution, we recommend using stickers or markers. They’re easy to apply and remove, and they’ll do the job when it comes to reducing glare from the sun.

If you need something more long-term, try using a cream or gel formula instead. These products will last longer than stickers or markers, but they’ll be harder to apply correctly. If you’re worried about getting it right, ask someone else to help.

Is it Safe To Use Eye Black in Football Games?

Yes, but always take precaution when using eye black. Eye black is made up of a combination of carbon, zinc oxide, and water. It is not meant to be ingested and should not be used by children under the age of 12 because of its high zinc oxide content.

player wearing eye black standing o the field

It has been reported that eye black can cause irritation when it gets into the eyes or on the skin. Because eye black is applied directly to the face and not washed off after each game, it’s important to use caution when applying this product. Eye black can be purchased at most sporting goods stores or online.

Why Do Football Players Put Black Under One Eye?

There are several known reasons players put eye black, but the most common one is to prevent glare from the sun while they are playing. It also helps to keep their eyes cool and reduce eye fatigue during practices and games.

Do Referees Wear Eye Black?

NO, referees do not wear eye black.

What Sports Don’t Wear Eye Black?

Some sports do not use eye black because they are played indoors or at night and the players do not need it. Examples of these sports include basketball, hockey, soccer, volleyball and baseball.


The eye black is by no means new. Eye black is a common fixture for many decades in professional football, but it actually serves several purposes beyond just decoration. It can help protect players from glares from the sun and keep their eyes from drying out.

In addition, the dark eye makeup can help them better distinguish between players on the field, which allows them to better read the plays as they develop. And while other athletes have started to follow suit, eye black still remains standard issue for many football players.

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