Houston protective gear company's critical role in sports history

HOUSTON (FOX 26) — A Houston-based company has been protecting many of your favorite NFL and college football players for more than thirty years and Houston sports stars like JJ Watt, Deandre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson and Jadeveon Clowney wear the all-important shoulder pads that protect them from injury — shoulder pads developed by Douglas Pads & Sports, Inc., produced in Houston.

At the Douglas Pads & Sports, Inc. headquarters in north Houston, a building lacking anything flashy on the outside, the science behind the company's projects, the material that goes into making the shoulder pads, the craftsmanship that goes into creating the custom equipment for more than half of the NFL and 85 percent of all college football programs, all happens inside.

The Douglas Pads & Sports, Inc. showroom of game-worn shoulder pads, many of them autographed,  is full of a "who’s who?" from the NFL, including quarterbacks like Brett Favre, Troy Aikman, John Elway, Peyton and Eli Manning, Jim Kelly, Warren Moon and Cam Newton, all protected by the company's products.

Beyond the NFL, Douglas Pads & Sports, Inc. has a showroom dedicated to some of the best to ever play college football. The company's products have protected 19 of the last 33 Heisman Trophy winners, including former University of Houston star quarterback Andre Ware, when he won it 1989, and he was one of the first to wear the Douglas product, one that sells itself.

Douglas Pads & Sports, Inc. chief operating officer Ryan Huntsman says the company does not advertise because it doesn't need to do so.

The products are not just featured on football fields. Douglas Pads & Sports, Inc. played a unique role in helping protect two National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, former Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell and second baseman Craig Biggio.

Huntsman also says the one player Douglas Pads & Sports, Inc. has protected who stands out among all of them is former Texans quarterback David Carr. In fact, in the Texans first season, David Carr was sacked an NFL record 76 times and didn’t miss a game that year, a record that still stands today. That says it all about the shoulder pads with the Douglas brand.