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NFL At 100: From head to toe, players equipment has evolved

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Posted at 4:10 PM, Jan 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-28 16:10:34-05

MIAMI (AP) — Red Grange looked more like the pilot of a single-engine airplane than a dominant halfback who once thrived in a single-wing offense.

From the crude, oblong leather helmets to the sparsely padded brown and blue vertical-striped uniforms of the Chicago Bears, it’s easy to see how equipment has drastically evolved in the NFL since the days of The Galloping Ghost in the 1920s and ’30s.

From their heads to their toes, the players’ looks through the decades have changed so much, it’s tough to believe it’s all the same sport.

Well, sort of.

“Man, it looks like an outfit you’d wear in the wintertime,” former running back Thomas Jones said while looking of an Associated Press file photo of Grange. “I mean, I personally can’t imagine playing without a facemask, No. 1. As much as we crash into each other, the full-on collisions. It just goes to show how tough those guys were — how fearless those guys were.”

And, really, how under-equipped.

“When I see the 1920s pic, I think, they’re playing rugby,” said former offensive lineman Damien Woody, who played with New England, Detroit and the Jets from 1999-2010 and is currently an analyst for ESPN. “It doesn’t look like much protection.”