What Time Does The Nfl Football Game Come On Tonight The History of Riddell Football Helmets – Protecting Your Noggin Since 1939

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The History of Riddell Football Helmets – Protecting Your Noggin Since 1939

In 1929, John Tate Riddell founded his company armed with a vision to provide athletes with better sports equipment. And such an idea has proven to be highly beneficial, not only for JT Riddell but for the players as well, for out of this concept of his came the nation’s leading manufacturer of football helmets.

Removable Cleat — The history of Riddell football helmets began with a removable cleat. Said design was drawn up by Riddell when he was still the Athletic Director and at the same time head of the football coaching staff of a certain high school located in Evanston, Illinois. It was the year 1922 when the first coach saw the need to develop the current leather footwear for his team. With the arrival of the rainy season, such a condition dictates the need to change the cleats and install a longer cleat to accommodate said variable. This process is very time consuming, not to mention that the shoemaker tasked with doing the said task was also hired by a university and thus was unable to finish all the footwear for game time. The invention of removable cleats was well received and sparked a series of innovations that laid the foundation for Riddell football helmet history.

Ten years after the company’s formation, Riddell pioneered the first plastic suspension helmet. This breakthrough caught the attention of the government because it will undoubtedly benefit the brave men of World War II. This is one of the best points in Riddell football helmet history.

With protection as the primary goal, it’s hard to believe that helmets, rather than guards, were the last to be accepted in professional football. The former isn’t even required in football, that is, until 1939, when the NFL mandated that players wear this type of head protection. Before the dawn of plastic helmets, there was leather. Players may be protected from concussion, but not the heat: air can barely circulate inside.

Evolution is inevitable; The same is true of the history of Riddell football helmets. RT-2 was the first helmet designed by the company and sold to the public. Said helmet model was manufactured in 1946, a year after the death of JT Riddell. RT-2 was a three-piece shell using Tenite II with cotton cloth head and neck suspension. Said suspension presents an air bag between the head and the shell of the helmet. Although Riddell didn’t really get to see the evolution and expansion of his company, he will always live on in every head he has protected, whether he is an amateur or professional football player.

After RT-2 there was RK-4. The latter resembles the RT-2 in shape, although the case material is different. RK-4 was made using a chemical called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene made by US Rubber. The cotton tape that was present on the RT-2 was replaced with a combination of cotton and nylon. Both models featured the regular 3-loop 6-point suspension.

The history of Riddell football helmets includes the TK-5 and PAC-44 models. The two shared the same shell composition as that of the RK-4. The difference lies in the interior cushion. TK-5 was originally padded with cotton. However, it was modified from the one inside the RK-4, which was made of cotton and nylon. As for the PAC-44, it was labeled and intended for youth. It featured an indoor air mattress made of vinyl.

From these precursors, the company has progressed along with the game. With its ‘firsts’ like the web suspension, air cushion interior and self-contained head inflation gear, to name a few, it’s really hard to imagine the sports team scene without Riddell.

This is the history of Riddell football helmets… until now. With ingenious minds continually formulating new ideas, it’s easy to say another time is at hand.

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