Sports Illustrated – The great pylon shortage of 2021

s the holiday season nears, countless businesses, big and small, continue to tackle the challenges of a worldwide supply chain crisis. Inflation rates and shipping costs have skyrocketed as demand outpaces supply, exacerbated by swelling labor shortages and contracting transportation capacities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Ports remain clogged with unloaded cargo freights. Consumers are projected to face shopping crunches on hot-ticket items like smartphones, sneakers and game systems.

And Neil Gilman is nearly out of pylons.

A 42-employee, two-factory operation in small-town Connecticut, Gilman Gear manufactures a wide range of football and other sporting equipment, including tackling dummies, blocking sleds and the first-down measuring sticks hup-hupped by chain crews on every NFL sideline. But, more than any other product, the company has cornered the market on corner markers: According to Gilman, some 9,000 high schools, roughly 90% of FBS programs and all 32 NFL teams—not to mention ESPN, whose Monday Night Football broadcasts feature “line-to-gain” pylon cameras—use Gilman Gear’s signature versions of those fluorescent, familiar-yet-forgettable cuboids.