One of the most distinctive aspects that distinguishes American soccer is the armored look of players sporting well-built shoulders. However, have players always looked this way? The moment that shoulder pads were introduced into the American sport?
What was the date that American Football Players Start Wearing Shoulder Pads?
The first football match took place in the year 1869, between Princeton and Rutgers there was no evidence that any of the players were wearing pads.
The padding for the legs appeared quickly. It was the first pad that was introduced to the best sport.
First shoulder pads didn’t come out until 1877.
Smock was the creator of the very first shoulder pads (pillows)
The man who developed the pads was L.P. Smock. He was an Princeton student who took part in the famous game that is regarded as to be the first American football match. Find out about ourrticle about what it means to be American football came into existence in the latter part of 19 century. century. The shoulder pads of Smock didn’t look similar to those you see today.
There were just two wool and leather pillows which were filled (not sewn) underneath the shirt. These were light and gave minimal protection. The goal of Smock was likely to ease the discomfort of an collisions.
First shoulder pads sewn
Smock’s design quickly developed into an wool and leather pad which was sewn onto the outer edge part of the shirt.
The first reference to these shoulder pads was in an 1899 publication written by Walter Camp ( he is regarded as the first to have invented this sports).
In the beginning, any player who wore padding was bound to receive a smear from friends as well as foe alike. However, the situation was soon to change.
The Walter Camp rules changed took effect, and collisions increased in frequency and violence The padding became a the norm.
Since blocking and tackling was performed with shoulders at the time shoulder pads were actually prior to helmets.
Shoulder pads were originally ordered in the first decade of the 20th century from Pop Warner, the coach Pop Warner for his Carlisle Indian Industrial School teams.
In the decade that followed, there was plenty of experiments with the equipment.
Shoulder pads could be padded jackets, shoulder pads that are sewn-on with an thigh pad that is sewn on over the bone of your collar, or other of the many contraptions.
Some were simply collars that covered the bone of the collar but did not secure the shoulder joint.
Evolution of Shoulder Pad Design
The original design of today’s shoulder pads was first patented around 1906, in 1906 by Abraham Schemel.
He described it as”a “Jacket for Footballers”.
The Schemel’s “Jacket For Foot-Ball players”
The jacket covered the collar bone as well as the shoulder joint’s cap as the modern pad.
It consisted of a slender elastic, cushioned leather vest, which was tied around the neck and covered it with a collar bone.
There were stiff, molded shoulder cups that were made of the same leather as is used to make shoe soles.
The shoulder cups can be moved independently of the vest. This allowed them to be much less restrictive than the earlier designs.
Schemel did not license or mass-produce his design. He made them all by his own and then sold them handful of colleges.
The patent of Schemel expired in 1921.
The Spaulding company began immediately manufacturing Schemel’s designs.
It was referred to as Spaulding QS3. Spaulding QS3.
Protection for Goldsmith’s Football Harness
Goldsmith created the “protective football harness” in 1927.
This design eliminates the strap underarm and included elastic straps that hold the chest piece.
This is the design that has remained even in the present day.
The most significant change is in the material.
Evolution Of Materials
Although it was required by certain teams, many players did not use them until the 1950s.
The reason for this was that the leather materials made them heavy and heavy. They also were not well ventilated.
The 1940s, and 1950s In the 1940s and 50s, leather was replaced with plastic. The result was that shoulder pads became lighter and more comfortable to wear. Then, they became common.
The 1960s were the time when foam padding was introduced into use, making them less heavy and more secure.
In the past decade Composite materials are replacing plastic.
The pads will remain lighter and more durable.
There were shoulder pads with attachments to a cold air pipe to cool down players after they left the field!
Different Pads for Different Positions
Shoulder pads don’t come in a single-size kind of device. They come in a variety of sizes, not just based on the size of the player, however, on the position in which they are used in.
Offensive linemen do not need to to lift their arms above their heads. The pads they are designed for could be larger and more robust than those designed that are designed for quarterbacks or receiver.
A quarterback’s pads should provide unhindered arm movements. They may also include rib protection on the bottom of the pad since quarterbacks are at risk of being struck while standing tall trying to throw an errant pass.
The pads on the shoulders of kickers are small. They are basically there to fulfill the requirements that all players must use shoulder pads.
Why are shoulder pads becoming smaller over time?
The dimensions of shoulder pads have been changing over time, too.
The early pads attached to or put into shirts were small.
Although the shoulder pads made of leather were larger but the weight was still limiting how large they could be.
That is becoming big
Since the invention in the use of plastic and foam constructions, a variety of positions began wearing massive shoulder pads. This includes linebackers, linemen and fullbacks.
Lineman’s pads typically included plates that extended down towards the solar plexus. They could also have neck rolls to restrict head movement.
The odd thing is that recently, things have been going in the opposite direction.
If you watch an NFL game today, and then take a look at an earlier game from either the 1980s, or the 1990s, one thing is immediately evident.
The players are now wearing less padding and what they wear is much smaller.
There are no longer cervical rolls anymore, enormous shoulder pads, hand and forearm protectors or even the massive hip or thigh pads. What’s changed?
What has happened is that the rules have changed and padding has changed as well.
As Walter Camp’s rule innovations led to an increase in padding, the latest rules are responsible for reducing it.
The Rule Changes Have Lead To smaller pads
In the past few years in the last few years, the NFL has altered its rules to improve the offensive. This was specifically designed to improve the game of passing.
The pounding ground of earlier times is rare nowadays.
Under these new rules the most important thing is speed. It is the goal of players to gain an illusion of speed advantage.
The shoulder pads for receivers are now nothing more than an instrument which holds a cup made of composite across their shoulder joints.
Backs on defense who must keep up with them are been trimmed to keep up.
It’s not unusual for defensive linemen to be sporting shoulder pads intended for kickers.
The minimum pads ethic is so robust that the NFL even had to require knee pads and thigh pads due to no one wearing them anymore voluntarily.
Offensive linemen also aren’t as reliant on big shoulder pads since blocking the pass is now performed with arms extended.
If shoulder pads weren’t required most players wouldn’t wear these pads at all!
Other Football Equipment
Football is also among the top sports that has other equipment that has evolved since the beginning.
Find out more about the historical background of American football helmets..