Why Do Football Players Wear Towels?

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If you’re a newcomer to football, you might be confused as to why you’re constantly seeing these big, tough athletes dripping in glitz and glamour bring something as mundane as a towel onto the field. 

Indeed, it can be really quite jarring, in fact. 

Let’s take that even further. Sure, you’re a keen football fan, but do you really know why football players wear towels? For many of us, it’s just something we’ve gotten used to, rather than something we know. 

Well then, fear not, fellow football fans. If anyone is going to really run the rule over why towels are so prevalent in this great game, it’s a coach who has worked in the game for longer than you’d care to imagine. 

Football Hand Towels

Basically, the point of these is rather obvious and, sadly, doesn’t have a wholly scientific reason behind it. 

Elite sport is about marginal gains. When you get to a certain level, your opponents are unlikely to be considerably lower in terms of talent on a consistent basis, so it’s about trying to capitalize on the little wins that ultimately push you towards your goal. 

With that in mind, football hand towels are important. The fact that they are largely just to keep the players’ hands dry might seem a little boring and, well, far too obvious, but – the fact is – having dry hands can be vitally important in throwing and catching to perfection, which are two of the main facets of the game.  

Why else is it important to have dry hands? 

Well, it’s largely to help provide better control. 

GIven football is a sport played up and down the country from coast to coast in all manner of climates, moisture is always likely. Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to avoid the rain or snow on occasion but, if you’re training correctly, you’re going to be sweating. 

They can be particularly important for quarterbacks, along with running backs and wide receivers. In those areas, it’s especially key that you’re not dropping the ball and fumbling the ball, so getting an absorbent hand towel for your practice sessions is definitely worth doing as soon as you possibly can. 

Grip of the ball is the name of the game in football. Towels help the grip of a football. You do the math. 

NFL Football Towel

So, we’ve got the base reason sorted; it’s time to move onto matters off the field. 

Given the huge amount of commercial opportunities available to NFL players – much as they are in the NBA – an NFL Football Towel can be customized to match either the team’s colors or whatever can be advertised, within reason, of course. 

The only rule is that a player may wear no more than one towel. Also, they’re prohibited from being discarded onto the field of play. 

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What American football positions need towels the most?

To be honest, most footballers could do with a towel to try their hands. That’s just the nature of the game. 

Still, there are some positions where they will be more useful given how often they will need to throw and catch the ball in high-pressure situations. 


Usually, the star player, quarterbacks will don a towel on their hips to ensure they have easy access to dry hands. Clearly, these players need to throw from the snap with pinpoint accuracy, so you’ll often see them using towels in order to get their hands into prime condition. 

Running backs 

With running backs, they will need clean and dry hands to make sure they’re in a great position to receive hand-offs or passes from the quarterbacks. Not only this, towels and/or hand warmers will also keep their main tools warm, meaning they are less likely to tense up and therefore providing a much better surface on which to catch. 

Wide Receivers 

Outside of the quarterback, towels are probably most useful for wide receivers. 

Obviously, the point of these players is to catch forward passes from a quarterback, so having their hands in the best possible shape is of the utmost importance. Not only that, the towels can be used to wipe stray mud off of their visors, keeping their vision in check. 


Considering a center’s job is to quickly transfer the ball to the quarterback, they will need clean and dry hands in order to facilitate the play being launched quickly. 

It’s also worth mentioning that players who play as punters or kickers are unlikely to use football towels. Not only do they do most of their work with their feet, but the towels can get in the way when it comes to kicking. 

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

So, frankly, there isn’t a hugely scientific reason as to why football players wear towels. 

In the heat of competition, finding marginal gains is hugely important, and the bare minimum you can get your team doing is to make sure they’re keeping their hands dry in order to give them the best chance of throwing and catching the ball accurately. 

Outside of the obvious commercial avenues having another piece of equipment to sell, that is pretty much the main reason as to why you often see towels all over the place when watching any given football game. 

Hopefully, now, it won’t look quite as confusing, and you can share this information with anyone wondering. 

Imagine how smart you’ll sound!

In all seriousness, towels might seem like an everyday tool not sophisticated enough to make much of an impact in one of the elite sports on the planet, though they truly can. Remember, the slight gain you can possibly make on your opponent could lead your team to victory, so why not try and ensure you’re the one getting it? 

If you don’t, your opponent will. That is for certain.  

Brad Smith
Brad Smith
Brad Smith has been coaching high school Football for 6 years in Florida. He and his wife have 3 beautiful children who he hopes will become the first Jaguars to win a Superbowl. Other than Football, Brad loves American litterature, parenting, gardening, and home remodeling.