football uniform 1900

In the early days of Football, it seems no one put much thought into the style and safety of the players’ uniforms. Over the years there have been many improvements and changes made. From style to safety football gear has come a long way. Early American football players wore heavy wool uniforms with colors similar to the opposing teams. They didn’t even have names on them, making it hard to tell the players apart. Players also wore no protective gear and the sheer violence of the game resulted in many injuries and deaths. President Theodore Roosevelt even threatened to ban the game, so in 1910 rule changes were made and shoulder pads were introduced. They were made from multiple pieces of leather layered and sewn together. During the 1930’s wearing a helmet became mandatory. Although they were still wearing thick wool uniforms, at least they started putting names on the jerseys during this decade.

football uniform 1910

In the 1940’s teams were changing their colors often trying to find the right combination, and it definitely made it easier to tell the teams apart. One of the highlights in the history of the football uniform came during the 1940’s. That is when the first design appears on a team helmet.

team logo




More protective gear began to appear in the 1950’s like the singlebar face mask. From a style perspective, the 1960’s gave us some of the best and worst uniforms; the powder blue jersey’s of the San Diego Charger’s being the best and the brown and mustard yellow uniforms of the Denver Broncos being the worst.

football helment 1930

protective padding






During the 1960’s and 1970’s they began making shoulder pads with a hard plastic shell over shock-absorbing foam padding. By the end of the 1970’s face masks were the norm and had gotten much larger. The bright colors of the decade could also be found on the uniforms. Many of the team’s uniform designs and logos became finalized during the 1980’s, although somev teams continue to change their designs today.



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