Football Drip: Definition, History, and Future Expectations

football drip cover photo

Football in the United States has grown to be more than just a game. Whether it be professional players using their millions to give back to their communities, kids participating in the sport as young as five years old, or more recently, college athletes raking in hundreds of thousands in NIL deals, football has become a cultural phenomenon that has captured the hearts and minds of millions of people around the country. From the solidified rituals and traditions throughout its history to the spectacle that is the Super Bowl, it’s no question why this game has become known as “America’s Sport”.

With more and more athletes participating in the sport, there grows an increasing desire to stand out, both on and off the field, to improve exposure, marketability, and sponsorship demand. Over the years, football players have become known not just for their surreal athletic abilities, but for their unique sense of style. This style, also known as "football drip", has become an integral part of the culture of American football.

Football drip is all about how a player looks and carries themselves, from their clothing and accessories to their overall personal style. But where did this term originate, and what can we expect football drip to look like in the future?

Where Did Football Drip Originate?

Football drip, also known as swag, sauce, or style, can be traced back to the intersection of hip-hop and sports culture. In the 1990s, hip-hop music began to grow more popular with athletes around the country, and many started to embrace similar fashion styles associated with what they saw their favorite artists wearing. Baggy clothes, gold chains, and other flashy accessories became more mainstream, creating new, unique, and bold looks that would eventually become known as "sauce" or "swag".

Eventually, football players like Deion Sanders, Eric Dickerson, and Walter Payton started to incorporate their own personal touches into their game-day fits, both on and off the field. As a result, football swag became an essential part of the culture of the sport. Just check out the images below to get a sense of how much of a statement some of those early fits were.

Deion Sanders, Eric Dickerson, and Walter Payton Football Drip
(From left to right: Eric Dickerson, Walter Payton, Deion Sanders)

As for the term “drip”, it’s difficult to determine who or where the slang word originated. Some claim that the Atlanta rap scene in the early 2000’s should be credited with first use, while others argue it could have come from Jersey City in the early 2010’s. Regardless, “football drip” has become the new Gen Z phrase to use when discussing a player’s sense of style. So, what does the future of football drip look like and how will athletes continue to use their sense of style to stand out, both pregame and on the field?

What Will Football Drip Look Like in the Future?

As of recent, football drip has become more mainstream and accepted, with players and fans alike embracing the overlapping industries of fashion and sport. There are a number of professional football players that now have their own personal style brands, promoting merchandise that reflects their unique sense of fashion across their social media channels.

Tom Brady and Tyreek Hill brands

(Tom Brady's brand BRADY and Tyreek Hill's brand Soul Runner)

Players at all levels are also voicing more interest in apparel and accessories that allow them to perform at a higher standard, yet still stand out – think stickier, water-resistant gloves, unique back plates and visors, or football arm sleeves and leg sleeves. But how can athletes and brands take this a step further?

This wouldn’t be a LVLS blog without highlighting the growing demand for fashion-forward, functional sportswear products, which as you may have guessed by now, is our prediction of where the future of football drip is truly headed. Players in the future will not only value how a product makes them look, but just as important is how it makes them feel. Style that compromises comfort simply won’t produce better results for athletes, so it’s important to design products that not only help football players stand out in a crowd, but also feel better and not have to worry about their outfit affecting their gameplay.

If you’ve ever had to readjust your arm sleeve or leg sleeve during a football game, you know what we’re talking about. That’s why we’ve designed our Ace Compression Shirts and Single Leg Tights to serve as more functional arm and leg sleeves for the modern football player. Designed in both sleeveless and short sleeve styles, football players that value their asymmetrical, single arm sleeve look, can still achieve that same appearance with a far more functional product. Did we also mention that you can save money by only having to purchase one product instead of a compression shirt and arm sleeve together? If you’re going to complete the look and offset your left arm with a black compression sleeve, we find that a lot of our customers purchase a pair of black Single Leg Tights with the right leg longer to achieve an even more stylish asymmetrical gameday outfit.

Men's Ace Compression Shirts and Single Leg Tights

Our Final Thoughts on Football Drip

The evolution of football drip, from iconic players like Deion Sanders to modern trendsetters like Tyreek Hill, continues to adapt to an everchanging demand from athletes around the country. The unique styles and products that athletes choose to wear in games has become an essential part of American football culture. Football drip of the future is headed towards fashion-froward, functional sportswear products that not only make players look good but feel comfortable while performing at the highest level. As the popularity of both the sports and fashion industries continue to grow, we can only expect to see even more innovative trends emerge from this exciting intersection.

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