It’s all here: the pads, cleats, helmet and ball that provide a fascinating look at the evolution of America’s toughest sport. The first game to approximate football as we know it occurred on May 14, 1874 between Harvard and McGill universities. By mistake, McGill sent a rugby team to play Harvard’s soccer squad. The schools compromised with a match that was half soccer, half rugby, employing goal posts and an egg-shaped ball.
Early gridiron gladiators played with a passion that drove football in its glory years. The protective gear was skimpy and inadequate. In 1905 alone, 18 college players were killed and over 150 badly injured! It was not uncommon for a football to explode on contact and many punt returns were accomplished with only a fragmented slab of leather to run back. The lined ball that George L. Pierce introduced in 1925 made a significant impact on the sport; the ball would at least hold its shape to the game’s end.
This design is a tribute to the game, and to the players and inventors who forged its colorful history from the early days to the present.