The History of Football Uniforms
When creating custom football jerseys for your team, you might look to the classics for influence, try to replicate the most modern looks in the game, or even a mixture of both. But, don’t you wonder where your inspiration got its inspiration? From safety to style, team uniforms have been key players in every second of football history, which makes them just as important as the rules and regulations that keep every game in line.
So, whether you’re looking to create your team’s history, take it to the next level, or just learn more about the deeply rooted past of football uniforms, you can learn a lot from looking at what each team has worn over the years. Let’s take a look at the highlights and low-lights in the history of football uniforms.
The game of football that we know and love today wasn’t always quite as organized. The first players of the game didn’t have team jerseys or uniforms, and they were still wearing fairly casual clothes on the field. The bright, flashy colors and patterns that lots of teams currently use wouldn’t be a part of the game for years to come.
At the tail end of the 1800s, players started coordinating their teams with dark-colored clothes made with thick, wool materials to protect themselves from impact and the harsh northern weather. But, these weren’t even similar to the protective and functional uniforms that players wear today.
Players started wearing the first version of football helmets in the latter years of the 1800s. Of course, helmets wouldn’t be required until the 1940s, but these early versions set the foundations for the headgear that protects players today.
The first wave of helmets was made of thick, soft, leather padding designed to protect players from head trauma. Although those helmets weren’t nearly as safe as modern headgear, they were a solid prototype to influence the way we manufacture helmets in the modern football era.
Setting the Tone
To better protect players, hard leather helmets would take the place of the soft, padded ones. However, these designs didn’t last long before the controversial introduction of plastic headgear. Plastic helmets went through a lot of trial, error, and manufacturing to create a protective piece that wouldn’t crack or shatter on impact.
Helmets finally became a field requirement in 1943, but plastic helmets weren’t an official part of the game for many years afterwards.
Around the 1940s, football uniforms also started to take on more personality. In 1948, Fred Gehrke of the Los Angeles Rams painted horns on his helmet to permanently put his team’s mascot on his uniform, and the Rams would use this design across every helmet in later years.
Just as manufacturers figured out how to perfect plastic helmets, players and fans started seeing headgear as a way to both protect and accessorize. Redesigned with internal shock absorption padding, plastic helmets finally made their way back into the league in the 1950s.
In the 1960s, team uniforms began to use more color and design. Teams decorated their uniforms with bright yellows, oranges, and blues to make players and fans stand out. Many teams re-branded their logos and found new ways to use their team colors on uniforms. The 1960s also brought up a new era of protection as manufacturers put face-masks on helmets to give players even more security on the field.
The 1970s ushered in a decade of iconic uniforms that players and fans still admire today. Design was no longer an afterthought on the field, because fans were excited to see the colors and patterns that would represent their favorite team.
In fact, some teams, like the Pittsburgh Steelers, are currently sporting uniforms modeled after the ones their team wore during this era. However, the following decade would have the sport hitting a design plateau.
Teams weren’t redesigning or trying to add more personality to their jerseys, but improvements were still being made to keep players safe as poly-carbonate helmets became the new standard on the field.
Innovating the Game
In the 1990s, jerseys became a staple wardrobe item off the field. Everyone wanted to represent famous players and sport their love of the game wherever they went. Custom football jerseys started to become more popular in the coming years, but the 90s truly started the trend in athletic apparel.
The 2000s brought much more freedom to how players looked on the field. With multiple alternate jerseys and colored accessories, players were able to represent causes beyond their team to show support and spread awareness.
Today, football uniforms come with equal parts performance and design. Safety has always been a focus in the sport, but athletic apparel now focuses on boosting player performance in every way possible. The latest materials used in football apparel bring long-lasting comfort and protective durability.
This trend has bled through every aspect of team gear. From head to toe, players have protection with performance technology that keeps up with every second of the game – even when it heads into overtime.
Create Your Custom Jersey Legacy
The best way to start your team’s history is by creating custom football jerseys. At Imperial Point, our goal is to make American-made, high-quality uniforms easily accessible to every team. You create a design that fits the look of your team, and we craft the apparel with quality materials.
We use sublimation printing to put high-definition colors and images on our uniforms, so you don’t have to worry about your design cracking or fading.
Combine our quality design techniques with our quality materials, and you’ve got a solution that will stand out. Our breathable, flexible, and durable products will give your players ultimate comfort without breaking your budget. And, with resistance to tearing and ripping, you don’t have to worry about constantly replacing your jerseys.
There are endless options available to give your team the unique look they deserve. To give your players the confidence and comfort that will bring out their best game, contact the team at Imperial Point or start building your team’s look online.