Football flak jackets, otherwise known as rib protectors, are pieces of protective equipment that are attached to the shoulder pads and wrapped around the abdomen/rib area. Flak jackets have a hard exterior and a soft, padded interior in order to protect the wearer from hard contact while also preventing any discomfort from wearing an additional piece of equipment. While flak jackets are used by players at various positions, quarterbacks are the most frequent wearers due to the fact that they take consistent hits to their stomach and ribs throughout the course of a game.
While flak jackets are often overlooked relative to other equipment in football (i.e. knee pads, shoulder pads, helmets), they are nonetheless incredibly effective at preventing injury. Without a flak jacket, the stomach/rib area is the one part of the body that is not protected by safety equipment. With helmets and shoulder pads posing a number of injury risks should they contact an exposed part of the player's body, a flak jacket provides a simple fix. Numerous quarterbacks have been seen wearing flak jackets in recent years, including none other than Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.
The CHAMPRO Adult Rib Protector is a rib protector/flak jacket designed for football players. The rib protector has wrap-around padding to cover all sides of the wearer's body, as well as adjustable loops and hooks for a custom fit. The CHAMPRO Rib Protector also comes with additional hardware to attach to standard football protection, like shoulder pads. The protector also has a high impact plastic outer layer for improved protection, which you won't find with some other brands.
Schutt is one of the most reputable and famous football equipment brands in the world. Schutt equipment is used by players of all levels, from little league football to the NFL. The Schutt Varsity Ventilated Rib Protector is a top of the line flak jacket for players of all levels. The protector is made with breathable fabrics to provide the most comfort for the wearer, while also maintaining the utmost protection. The protector is also sleek, so as not to be bulky underneath the wearer's uniform. This protector comes with equipment to connect to all Schutt brand shoulder pads and equipment and most other brands of football equipment.
The Schutt Hard Shell Rib Protector is a rib protector built to last. This particular style of protector is made with heavy protection in mind. Though there is a little less flexibility when it comes to sizing, this is traded off for more protection. This protector covers the ribs, as well as the lower back area. There are also straps for adjustments on the lower half of the protector for sizing and comfort. The Schutt Hard Shell Protector fits underneath standard football padding and uniforms.
The Douglas CP Series Rib Protector is a heavy plastic rib protector. This rib protector has a wrap around design for all around protection and multiple grommet holes for adjustments. This protector was also built to last, able to withstand multiple hits without losing any durability. A minor flaw however is that this series does not combine all brands of football pads. You may want to learn if this protector is compatible before purchasing. This protector is also slim enough to not restrict movement, which is essential for most positions in football.