Rules governing uniforms in some sports affect how the game is played. Football is definitely one example. The standard under scrutiny in this piece is the NFL’s mandating of facemasks in the 1960s, which finalized the modern football uniform into what we generally identify as normal today. But, in doing so, the NFL turned the football player into a full-fledged zord (as in Power Rangers), losing a bit of humanity in the process. Players now look and act like bionic beings, and their padding makes the game less competitive.
Overall, the notion of the football helmet evolved over a long period of time. At the turn of the 20th century, players didn’t wear helmets at all, and the first widely used helmets were of the famous “leatherhead” style we see in old photos. Equipment outfitters then developed plastic helmets with new padding, like dense vinyl foam. The helmet we know and associate with the sport today didn’t become commonplace until the 1950s with the one-bar facemask (worn by stars like the Rams’ Norm van Brocklin) and wasn’t standard for all players until the early 1960s.