When it comes to the NFL, the uniforms are really part of the show. It’s the first thing we notice when teams first step onto the pitch and die-hard fans all rush to get their favorite player’s jersey to wear for the games.
Each uniform has a rich history and it has become a key part of each team’s identity.
But one aspect of the uniform that is particularly important is the helmet.
Not only does this define the image and brand of each team, but it is also a key safety element, something that has become particularly relevant in recent years as modern science better understands what playing football can do for it. the brain.
Today, helmet technology is more advanced than ever and there is a huge effort to keep innovating. However, there was a time when football players didn’t wear helmets at all.
Let’s see how we got to where we are today:
Football dates back to the late 19th century, as does the history of the helmet. After being hit in the head so many times and hearing from his doctor that another collision could lead to “instant insanity,” US Navy Admiral Joseph Mason Reeves made a leather helmet with flaps on it. ears. He wore it during the Army-Navy match of 1893.
The helmet was rudimentary at best and offered little protection. But it was the first form of head protection used in a game, and Reeves loved it so much that he brought it back to the Navy and made it a standard item for paratroopers. This also did not last.
Helmets become mandatory
Over the next forty years, more and more gamers began to wean headsets off in games. The first versions were in soft leather and offered little protection. Later models were harder and included straps and flaps for the ears.
However, during all this time, wearing a headset in games was optional. It wasn’t until 1943 that the NFL instituted a rule requiring all players to protect their heads.
Plastic helmets and masks
A major change in the history of football helmets came in 1939 when John T. Riddell introduced the first plastic helmet. It immediately became popular, but production then plummeted as all the plastic in the United States was destined for the war effort.
After the end of World War II, plastic became more readily available, and in 1949 the NFL required all players to wear helmets made of this more durable material. The days of leather helmets were over.
Plastic mask bars were added in the 1950s, and by 1962 all players in the game wore a helmet.
Over the following decades, helmet technology changed, but not that much. Pads were added, shapes were changed, and more complex face masks were installed. Single bar face masks remained in use until the 1990s, with the NFL officially banning them in 2004.
The Riddell Revolution helmet
In response to the growing body of knowledge about the dangers of professional football to the brain, in 2002 Riddell completely redesigned his helmet to try and make it as effective as possible at reducing concussions. This headset, the Riddell Revolution, remains one of the most popular headsets in the game, although it has been improved several times since its inception.
Many of these improvements include adding technology to the helmet to track how many hits a player receives so they can better monitor their own health.
Until 2007, all NFL players were required to wear Riddell helmets due to an agreement between the league and the company. But that has since changed and players can wear any helmet they want, as long as it meets the league’s safety requirements.
The future of NFL helmets
Much like NFL teams and their uniforms, NFL helmets have a long history. And the story is still unfolding. As part of the ongoing efforts to make gaming safer and more accessible, headset technology is constantly evolving. Soon we will be able to write the next chapter in NFL helmet history.