Football helmets used to be super-weird

Bettmann/Getty Images

Sure, you know the history of football -- the violent '50s, the Steelers-dominated '70s, yada yada. But that's the ordinary side of football. The obvious side of football. But there's an oddball history lurking under all that -- and it involves not the players, not the coaches, not the rules, per se -- but the helmets.

Nothing illustrates the changing times in football quite like the wild evolution of the football helmet.

Since its invention, the humble helmet has always (theoretically) served one purpose — to protect the heads of the players who wore them. But the football helmet didn't exactly emerge the fully-formed feat of engineering that it is today. In fact, football began with... no helmets at all.

Keep going to see the evolution of the football helmet — from the days of no helmets to the 3D-printed, radio-rigged gear we see today.