YEAH, IT LOOKS COOL, AND SURE IT MAY BE IN A TON OF MOVIES.
So why do football players even wear eye black?
The answer to this question is that eye black takes away from the direct glare from the sun or the field lights.
What does that mean exactly?
The black color absorbs reflective light from the sun and prevents excess light reflecting off your cheeks into your eyes. This means that there is less glare in your eyes as you play, which makes it easier to see the ball when it comes your way.
So, who came up with this trend?
The first instance of a player using eye black was Redskins Fullback, Andy Farkas back in 1942 who claims he came up with the idea himself.
No one really knows but the trend caught on and an early technique for applying eye black before the adhesive stickers and grease sticks you can get at any good sports shop, was the burnt cork method. A lighter could be held to the end of a cork and the resulting ash and char could be applied directly to the cheekbones of a player. Since then the trends have changed and although the stickers are the most modern, the grease sticks make the eye black look so much cooler, like modern war paint.
So, are players limited to the standard black stripe?
No not at all, in fact after Reggie Bush famously adorned his face with 619 and S.E. in honor of his hometown’s area code and location.
NCAA student-athletes have even taken to bringing logos into their eye black, however, this would take away from the eye black’s effects. Players at Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, LSU, Ohio State, BYU, Mizzou and many others have taken to sporting uni logos on their eye black. In LSU players either use the LSU logo or the Tiger Head to represent the team name.
Overall Eye black has been a great tool to prevent glare and also been used as something to personalize the player’s look. I think it is only proper to add that this is the last option to utilize if you don’t have your Shoc Visor on your helmet that day for some unforeseen reason.
So where can you buy some eye black?
Well if you are interested in a throwback you could use the old cork method, however, we would recommend grease sticks as they are easier to apply and look more primal and intimidating than the stickers. You can get the grease sticks at most local sports shops but if you want to have a look online, check out eyeblack.com as they have a wide selection of eyeblack and stickers with a heap of different designs.