Football Players Have Tails During Games Purely to Make a Fashion Statement

During Super Bowl LVIII, Brandon Aiyuk seemed to be wearing a tail. Does it serve a purpose? The NFL has pretty strict uniform rules.


Feb. 12 2024, Published 11:18 a.m. ET

Brandon Aiyuk wearing a tail during Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11, 2024
Source: Getty Images

Now that another year of NFL football has come to a close, and the Kansas City Chiefs are once again Super Bowl champions, many are looking back at the season with some pretty specific questions in mind. For some, those questions about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce or about the future of their particular team.

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For others, though, the questions focus more on specific details, as is the case for fans who have noticed that some players seem to have tails attached to their uniforms during games. Here's what we know about what these tails are, and why so many people seem to have them.

Brandon Aiyuk during a game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Source: Getty Images
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Why do some players wear tails during games?

When fans first began to notice these tails, some wondered whether they were some sort of accessory that players wore either because they thought it looked cool or because it gave defenders something to grab that wouldn't actually impede their ability to run. As it turns out, though, the first explanation is much closer to the truth than the second. The tails don't have any real purpose, but some players wear them to look cool.

Of course, these tails are distinct from something like a waist towel, which many players have and use to keep their hands dry from sweat and rain. These tails are just thin strips of fabric that can fly behind a player when they're running. The tails certainly offer an impression of speed, but their main purpose seems to just be that the people wearing them think they look pretty cool.

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Brandon Aiyuk seems to have been an early adopter.

Part of the reason this got so much attention during the Super Bowl is that Brandon Aiyuk, one of the 49ers best offensive receivers, has been wearing this kind of tail for more than a year. The tail can be hard to see, in part because it usually matches the color of the pants that a player is wearing. From certain angles, though, you can clearly see that he has something attached to his pants.

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Unfortunately, the tail wasn't enough to help the 49ers outlast the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2024 Super Bowl. They lost in overtime after the Chiefs scored a touchdown to end the game.

Of course, because the tail has no actual purpose, it wasn't really designed to help them win.

NFL players make all sorts of fashion statements every time they take the field. Everything from what color cleats you wear to whether you put a sleeve on is both necessary to play the game and also a statement about how you want to look on the field.

Tails seem like a pretty crazy evolution of that trend, but that's where players are in the modern league. Everyone wants to stand out. Of course, what helps you stand out most of all is winning the biggest games of the year, which is something most people don't get to do.

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