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Super Bowl: NFL Players Are Sporting Slimmer Shoulder Pads

Big '80s shoulders be damned -- wearing lighter shoulder pads means better style and speed for the Super Bowl's competitors.
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Like the iPads and iPhones that continue to get thinner, shoulder pads for NFL players also are getting a slim-down for Sunday's Super Bowl.

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The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will take on the big game in thinner, flatter shoulder pads, according to The New York Times. The pads have gotten lighter by as much as 50 percent over the past 10 to 15 years.

Several factors have led to this change, including technological improvements to the plastic and foam harnesses; a decrease in shoulder-to-shoulder collisions as a blocking technique; and a heavy emphasis on speed.

"I think that’s what the league has moved to -- guys want smaller pads. Some guys don’t even want to wear them," Terrance Knighton, defensive tackle for the Denver Broncos, told the Times. "The game is more about speed now and making plays."

In addition to the NFL's requirement that players wear shoulder pads, they also had to use thigh pads and kneepads this season.

Look out for the improved gear when Super Bowl XLVIII airs Sunday on Fox at 3:30 p.m. PT.

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