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Sun Devil Football Style: From 1902 Leather Heads to 2015 Trend Setters
DieHard Sun Devil Apparel
By DieHard Sun Devil Apparel, DieHardDevil.com
July 22, 2015 3:41 PM
The Old, the New.... and now the Newest

The Old, the New…. and now the Newest

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Sun Devil Football Style by DieHard-Apparel and Brad Hall

Below is an actual photo of the 1902 Tempe Normal Football team (now the Arizona State University Sun Devils). The students are obviously posed, making sure to show the year on the football so that 113 years later, you and I knew who they were. What isn’t staged are their official uniforms.

 

1902 Football practice at Tempe Normal School (ASU), Tempe, Arizona

1902 Football practice at Tempe Normal School (ASU), Tempe, Arizona

 

Yes, you’re looking at some turn of the 20th Century swag. The N on their jerseys stood for “Normals,” which served as the identity of the school in Tempe which was a teachers college at it’s inception. “Norms” were the required standards by which students would earn a certificate to teach.
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In the early 1900’s, active sports like football and baseball were becoming more popular. Soon enough, people figured out they needed more flexible clothing in which to play.
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The Normals dressed in style. They were up to speed with the recent trend in football uniforms which had become turtle necks or pullovers with knickers, long socks, and sports shoes.
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Wisconsin vs Michigan in the 1902 College Football National Championship

Football styles when Wisconsin played Michigan in the 1902 Season

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Modern uniforms on display. Arizona State University vs USC in 2011. Photo- Peter Vander Stoep for DHD

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At the time when Teddy Roosevelt became our 26th President, the only padding on American Football uniforms could be found at the thighs and knees, though some players also wore leather shin protectors. Finally, the helmets, while they may look plastic in the photo, were leather. Plastic wouldn’t be invented for decades.
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Now let’s step ahead a century. Football uniforms have taken on a life of their own, and there is a constant need to stay relevant. Innovations in both style and performance have become a part of the game.
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Case in point– Adidas, Sun Devil Athletics’s new apparel sponsor to the tune of $33M over 8 years, describes some of their newest uniforms here:
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        “Made with a cutting-edge, proprietary yarn blend that increases durability and abrasion resistance, Primeknit is the newest generation of the adidas TECHFIT football uniform system. Primeknit keeps players cool and increases range of motion, giving athletes an unrivaled level of comfort and allowing them to perform at their highest levels. The jersey’s redesigned padlock system improves tension over the shoulder pads, while the compression fit adheres to the player, making it difficult for opponents to grab, hold or tackle.”
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In 1902, football players were called “Leather heads,” and the uniquely American sport was just beginning. Today college football is wildly popular and is one of, if not the most lucrative sport in America.
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As Todd Graham and the Sun Devils work to establish a consistent top-20 program, it’s important that we continue to do it in style. Nike catapulted the Sun Devil look into one of the most recognizable and progressive brands in the sport, and despite the justifiable concern of many fans about what’s on the horizon, we believe that Adidas will come through. Perhaps it will be a work in progress.
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Ideally, we will remain the envy of many universities forced into a never-ending game of catch-up with the guys in Tempe. Forks Up.

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In anticipation of Adidas’ unveiling of Arizona State’s new football uniforms tomorrow, here’s a look at their two most recent releases for Miami and Nebraska:
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MIAMI

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NEBRASKA

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Check out some of the newest Sun Devil Lifestyle gear at DieHard-Apparel

Check out some of the newest Sun Devil Lifestyle gear at DieHard Sun Devil Apparel

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