The evolution of the football helmet

By Jessica Learish

Football — the American kind — has seen its fair share of eras. The '50s and '60s were bruising and violent. The '70s brought us the super-dominant Steelers. Joe Montana owned the '80s. And we're still living in the Brady era. But nothing illustrates the changing times in football quite like the wild evolution of the football helmet.

The game dates back to the mid-19th century and brought together rules and customs from soccer, rugby and other forms of football played in schoolyards in Britain. And, much like the ins and outs of the game, the helmet has evolved a lot through the centuries.

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Since its invention, the humble helmet has always (theoretically) served one purpose — to protect the heads of the players who wore them. But the football helmet didn't exactly emerge the fully-formed feat of engineering that it is today. In fact, football began with... no helmets at all.

Keep going to see the evolution of the football helmet — from the days of no helmets to the 3D-printed, radio-rigged gear we see today.

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