There are probably few things that the majority of the Jets and Giants agree on in any given season, but a fast-growing tech and protective equipment company is one of them. The company is Hanover, NJ based XTECH pads, and if you have never heard of them, you probably haven’t been around a football locker room of any size in the past 18 months.
What XTECH does isn’t glitzy, but it is effective in helping change protective equipment, especially shoulder pads, for the better. Using patented foam XTECH licenses from a company called XRD Extreme Impact Protection, which is comprised of molecules that condense together and stiffen upon impact, the equipment is meant to offer protection from high-impact tackles without compromising an athlete’s mobility. It is lighter, water resistant and smaller and easier to wear than old school shoulder pads, which have not changed in 40 years and are the only piece of protective equipment worn in football that does NOT have any kind of protective grading system. Plastic was plastic…until now.
The small company is run out of a small warehouse by Bob Broderick and Ted Monica, the former a former Giants ballboy who has spent his career mostly in media, and the latter a longtime equipment manager who Monday Morning Quarterback called “The Steve Jobs of Shoulder Pads,” albeit without the massive dollars, just yet.
What they do have is a grassroots following the includes Jets like Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, Giants defensive tackle, the Broncos Vaughn Miller, the Falcons (and Rutgers alum) Mohamed Sanu and several hundred other devotees who CALL the company and PAY for their pads because they know they are the best. There are not millions in marketing and endorsements flying out the door, and it the same reason scores of colleges, from Rutgers to UCLA to elite high schools like Don Bosco and St. Joe’s, all are having their players use the custom designed pads.
This week Sporttechie featured XTECH extensively, showing the litmus test that Broderick and Monica do to close a sale; take a helmet, put your hand between the pads and smash it down hard; not a scratch, not a whimper. Think back to the 1970’s when an injured Dan Pastorini of the Houston Oilers was the first to try a flak jacket; he put it on and was smashed in the ribs with a baseball bat without any pain at all. That’s what XTECH is doing for shoulder pads.
Now the equipment game is not easy; many still think cheap and old plastic is better, and shoulders are not the source of discussion that heads and knees are on the gridiron. Still when the Giants Brandon Marshall injured his shoulder in the preseason, he was wearing traditional, heavy plastic pads. Would XTECH have made the difference? We will see in the future.
What is easy to see is there is a fast, smart cutting edge company disrupting the equipment industry one shoulder pad at a time right here in the New York area.