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The Early Evolution of the American Football Uniform

Football jersey and reeded pants, circa 1910.
Football jersey with sewn-on leather pads, quilted pants, circa 1905.
Jersey advertisement, A.G. Spalding Fall & Winter Catalog, 1911
To Be Continued.....
The introduction of the lightweight combination shoulder pads and collarbone protector (the precursor to the modern shoulder pads) in the early-1910's led to a decline in the popularity of the union suit. Shoulder pads worn beneath a jersey offered more protection than a union suit could provide. As a result, a uniform consisting of shoulder pads, jersey, and pants with built-in hip and thigh pads became the uniform of choice by 1915 and has remained standard football equipment for the past 106 years. Sporting goods manufacturers stopped carrying union suits in their catalogs altogether by 1915.


Uniform advertisement, A.G. Spalding Fall & Winter Catalog, 1915