Title:
Football glove for quarterbacks
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is a glove for football quarterbacks. It protects the quarterbacks's fingers against impact injuries, and improves his ability to grip and throw a football with distance and accuracy, especially in inclement weather. The glove is made of a thin, supple, leather-like material which fits tightly to the player's hand. The four fingers of the glove each contain a hollow contoured fingertip insert made from elastomer material. These inserts enclose the player's four fingers from the tip up to, but not above, the first knuckle, and have small drain holes to prevent perspiration build-up. The inserts slightly increase the effective length of the wearer's fingers without decreasing their bending flexibility, and are contoured to conform to the rounded shape of a football so that the player's fingers can make full contact with its surface. The gloves thus enable the quarterback to put firm gripping pressure on the football, while also protecting his fingers against impact injuries.



Inventors:
Mcgough, Charles B. (Savannah, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/726081
Publication Date:
09/25/2008
Filing Date:
03/22/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/163
International Classes:
A41D19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MORAN, KATHERINE M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Charles, Mcgough B. (3 MARSHBRIDGE LANE, SAVANNAH, GA, 31411, US)
Claims:
1. A glove for football players, particularly quarterbacks, which is constructed of thin supple leather or synthetic leather-like material selected to conform tightly to the hand of a football player in a manner similar to the close fit of a golf glove to the hand of a golfer; said glove containing hollow contoured elastomer fingertip inserts in each of the four fingers (the index, middle, ring, and little fingers, but excluding the thumb) of said glove, which completely enclose, support, and protect the glove wearer's four fingers from the tip of each finger up to, but not above, the first knuckle of each finger; and which said fingertip inserts contain one or more small perspiration drain holes; and which said fingertip inserts increase the effective length of each finger of the glove wearer by a predetermined amount without reducing the bending flexibility of the fingers; and which said fingertip inserts are shaped so that the wearer's gloved fingers make contact, indirectly through the fingertip insert and the glove material, with the rounded surface of a football, so that when wearing said glove the football player is able to grip and throw a football even under inclement weather conditions.

2. Hollow contoured fingertip inserts made of elastomer material which are designed to be inserted into each of the four fingers (the index, middle, ring, and little fingers, but excluding the thumb) of a football player's glove, and which completely enclose, support, and protect the glove wearer's four fingers from the tip of each finger up to, but not above, the first knuckle of each finger; and which said fingertip inserts contain one or more small perspiration drain holes; and which said fingertip inserts increase the effective length of each finger by a predetermined amount without reducing the bending flexibility of the fingers; and which said fingertip inserts are contoured so that the wearer's gloved fingers make contact, indirectly through the fingertip inserts and the glove material, with the rounded surface of a football, so that when wearing a glove containing said fingertip inserts a football player is able to grip and throw the football even under inclement weather conditions.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application succeeds U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/291,277, now abandoned.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING

Not applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Endeavor

The field of endeavor of this invention is athletic (or sports) gloves, specifically gloves used by participants in the game of football as played primarily in the United States and Canada.

2. Prior Art

The players of almost all sports use various types of gloves to protect their hands and improve their performance, and literally dozens of patents have been applied for or issued in this field.

For example, U.S. Patent Application 20050251078 (Fleishmann; Nov. 10, 2005) describes two-piece finger protectors containing webs and straps designed to protect the hands of soccer goal keepers. USPAs 20040199978 and 2004002522 (Cass; Oct. 14 and Feb. 12, 2004) disclose an athletic glove having holes in the gripping surfaces of three or more fingers and the palm to allow, primarily, for better gripping and handling of a basketball.

USPA 20040107476 (Goldwitz; Jun. 10, 2004) describes a glove in which two or three of the finger sections are truncated so that, when the glove is worn, the tips of these fingers are exposed. USPA 20040021330 (Percell; Feb. 5, 2004) describes an adhesive film for rubber adhesive tips which, when bonded to fingertips, supposedly enhance the player's ability to grip and throw a ball.

USPA 20030037364 (Albert; Feb. 27, 2003) is an application for a patent on a “grip-enhancing glove”, which contains a plurality of recesses or suction cups on the palm of a bowling glove to enhance control.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,983,397 (Seminara; Nov. 16, 1999) describes a “Batting Glove”, which consists of leather wrist, palm, and finger positions, hook-and-loop fasteners, a raised rubber pad, and other features all designed to enable the batter to cradle a baseball bat handle. U.S. Pat. No. 4,691,387 (Lopez; Sep. 8, 1987) describes a glove apparatus consisting of a non-slip grip and padding on various parts of the hand, which is claimed to provide the wearer advantages in water sports, baseball, weight lifting, golf, cycling, and other sports.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,624,016 (Luevano, Nov. 25, 1986) claims that its laminated cushion “athletic glove with built-in cushioning” provides protection to the user's hand without interfering with flexing of the hand, thumb, and fingers.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,598,429 (Mulvaney; Jul. 8, 1986) describes a glove made of leather in which one side of said leather has been treated with a preferred resin in combination with a synthetic hydrocarbon polymer to create a “tackified” surface which improves the gripping characteristics of said glove.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,577,272 (Fisher, Nov. 26, 1996) describes separate elastomeric sleeves which fit over the full lengths of the individual fingers to extend the effective length of a basketball player's fingers to facilitate one-handed dunks of a basketball.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,881,385 (Hochmuth, Mar. 16, 1999) describes a soccer goalkeeper's protective glove with padded fingers, having lateral edge connections between the upper and inner regions of the hand and fingers regions, so as to simplify manufacturing of said soccer goalkeeper's glove.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,742,190 (Tobelmann, Jun. 1, 2004) discloses a glove designed to enable a pool player to more effectively bridge a pool cue. The four fingers of the glove contain solid insert members (tips) which add length to the four fingers so that, when the finger tips are placed on the surface of a billiard table, they raise the height of the player's hand so that the player may more easily strike the cue ball in a downward manner when it is very close to the billiard ball. The Tobelmann glove, while effective for its intended use, could not be used to grip and throw a football. The solid tips of said glove touch only the tips of the wearer's fingers, but do not enclose nor support the fingers up to the first knuckle. Therefore, a wearer could not put pressure on the surface of a football when gripping it while wearing the Tobelmann gloves, since such pressure would cause the tips to bend (or “hinge”) at the interface between the solid tip and the tip of the wearer's finger, thus making it impossible to effectively throw a football while wearing these gloves.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,981,283 (Kujawski, Jan. 3, 2006) describes a gardening glove with cushion inserts to protect a female gardener's long fingernails from damage during gardening. The fingers of the gloves contain sponge or foam tip inserts which have horizontal slits to receive and protect the long fingernails of the female gardeners.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,065,155 (Sandusky, May 27, 2000) describes a glove for use in football and other games, comprising two regions of material, a front region made of a natural fiber base material to which a layer of soft PVC has been applied, and a rear region made of a man-made non-waterproof material, and having straps to secure the glove to the wrist of the user.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,216,276 (Eibert, Apr. 1, 2001) describes padded athletic gloves, which are thin flexible multi-purpose athletic gloves comprising resilient silicone foam pads attached to the palm side of the glove to provide protection for the hands against shock and vibration during sports activities.

All of the above patents and applications describe gloves, or features of gloves, which are intended to protect the wearer's hand against injury, or to improve his/her ability to catch, grip, or throw a ball, bat, club, or other item of athletic equipment.

However, none of the devices described in any of the above-listed patent documents have anticipated the principal feature of the invention disclosed herein, the hollow contoured elastomer fingertip insert, which is described in detail in this application.

It should also be noted that a number of American sporting goods companies sell gloves designed to improve the performance of football players, including quarterbacks. These gloves are generally made of tacky rubber-like synthetic material which helps the player grip the football, especially under adverse playing conditions such as rain, snow, mud, or cold. In theory, the quarterback should be able to pass the football with greater length and accuracy than he otherwise could if he were handling the football with his bare hands under these difficult conditions.

However, these gloves, while popular with almost all other football position players, are not widely used by quarterbacks at any level (high school, college, or professional). The reason for this is that all football gloves currently manufactured by U.S. athletic glove companies are constructed of a relatively stiff and thick (approximately 0.035 inch) material which does not conform tightly to the quarterback's hand and fingers. The currently-available gloves are designed for ruggedness so that they can be used over and over again in many football games. Their relatively heavy construction causes the quarterbacks to lose sensory tactile “feel” in their throwing hand, which causes them to pass the football with less accuracy and consistency than they normally would with their bare hand. Therefore even in cold, wet conditions, when a glove could provide warmth and improved gripping ability, very few quarterbacks at any level use the current generation of football gloves.

The use of very thin material (e.g. in the range 0.008 to 0.020 inches) for football gloves to give quarterbacks better tactile “feel” in their throwing hands, would seem to be an obvious solution to this problem. However, a thorough search of the prior art, and of products offered by U.S. manufacturers of football gloves, has not uncovered any football gloves made of material in this thickness range.

Testing by the inventor of prototype football gloves has shown that said gloves made of materials in the 0.008 to 0.020 inch thickness range are thin and supple enough to conform tightly to the hand, thus allowing the wearer to grip and throw a football with length and accuracy, while protecting the hands in cold and wet playing conditions.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The football glove described herein has unique and advantageous features which improve upon, and distinguish it from, all gloves which are currently made for football players, including those playing the quarterback position.

The glove is made of a very thin (typical thickness range 0.008 to 0.020 inches) leather or synthetic leather-like material, which conforms tightly to the player's hand similar to the close fit of a golf glove. The four fingers of the glove, which are commonly known as the index, middle, ring, and little fingers (herein designated the “four fingers”, and the excluding the thumb), each contain a hollow contoured elastomer fingertip insert (herein designated the “fingertip insert”) which encloses and supports the player's finger from the tip up to, but not above, the first knuckle. These fingertip inserts slightly increase the effective length of each finger without reducing the ability of the fingers to bend, and are contoured so that the player's gloved fingertips, pressing through the fingertip inserts and the thin glove material, fit tightly against the curved surface of the football when the player grips the ball in a throwing position. The fingertip inserts each have one or more small (typically 0.125 inch diameter) drain holes to prevent the accumulation of perspiration. The fingertip inserts also protect the fingers against impact-type injuries which commonly occur when the fingers strikes a defender's equipment as the quarterback throws the football.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an overall view of the football glove, showing the hollow contoured elastomer fingertip inserts inside the four glove fingers of the player's said glove, and the thin, flexible leather or leather-like glove material of which the glove is constructed.

FIG. 2 is a cutaway side view of one finger of the glove, showing one of the fingertip inserts installed inside the thin glove material. This view shows how the fingertip inserts enclose and protect the fingers from the tip of the finger up to, but not above, the first knuckle. This view also illustrates the contoured shape of the fingertip insert, which allows the player's gloved finger to make good contact with the surface of the football to aid the player in gripping and throwing. This view also illustrates how the fingertip inserts protect the player's fingers against impact injury. A fingertip insert perspiration drain hole is also shown.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The device consists of a tight-fitting glove 1 made of thin, supple leather or leather-like synthetic material 2, having a thickness typically in the range 0.008 to 0.020 inches, which can be treated to provide resistance to water and a surface tackiness, and having hollow contoured elastomer fingertip inserts 3 in each of its four fingers 4 (excluding the thumb) which enclose, support, and protect the wearer's fingers from the tip up to, but not above, the first knuckle 5 of each finger, and which increase the effective length of each finger by a predetermined amount (typically 0.25 inches), and which are contoured so that the gloved fingertips of the wearer can make good contact with the rounded surface of a football 6. Each fingertip insert has one or more small (typically 0.125 inches diameter) drain holes 7 which prevent the accumulation of perspiration inside of said fingertip inserts. The glove will be made in several hand sizes to accommodate all football quarterbacks or other position players. The glove will normally have a closure flap with a standard hook-and-eye (Velcro) pad 8 so that it can be tightly closed on the hand, but other closure types may be used.

The added effective finger length and the contoured shape of the fingertip inserts allow the quarterbacks to get a firm grip on the ball, especially under inclement weather conditions, thus enabling said quarterbacks to improve both distance and accuracy of their forward passes. The fingertip inserts are manufactured from an elastomer material which is selected to be stiff enough to allow the player's fingers to put throwing pressure on the ball through the inserts, but flexible enough to yield and not cause injury if the fingers are bent or struck during play. In fact, the fingertip inserts will protect the quarterback against common injuries which results from striking the hand against a defensive player's helmet while in the act of throwing a pass. The fingertip inserts are first molded into the various sizes needed for the different hand and finger sizes of the players, and then inserted into the fingers of the gloves during the manufacturing process. Gloves with such fingertip inserts are not prohibited under Rules 14.m and 14.b of the 2004 Football Rules and Interpretations published by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

As previously noted, the football glove containing said four hollow contoured elastomer fingertip inserts is made from a thin, supple leather or leather-like synthetic material (typically 0.008 to 0.020 inches thick) which enables the gloves to conform tightly to the quarterback's hand in a manner similar to gloves worn by golfers. These football gloves, which are approximately one-third the thickness of standard football quarterback gloves, will greatly improve the sensory “feel” the quarterback has in his throwing hand. The thin supple gloves are less rugged than the thick-walled football gloves now on the market, and are intended to be replaced more frequently. It is possible that more than one glove will be used in a single game, depending on conditions. This is not seen as a disadvantage in major football, where millions of dollars are riding on the performance of the players, especially the key quarterback position. In golf, by analogy, it is not uncommon for a professional or top amateur golfer to use three or four gloves in a single 18-hole round even in normal weather, so that he/she can maintain a perfect grip on the clubs.

Although football quarterbacks are expected to be the main users of these gloves, other position players (receivers, running backs, centers, long-snappers) may also find that the gloves enhance their gripping and throwing ability, and hence improve their performance.





 
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