The Super Bowl

This weekend is one of the biggest shows in America, Super Bowl LIII. The Los Angeles Rams will be going head-to-head with the New England Patriots for this year’s title. The Patriots are returning for their record eleventh Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Rams are taking up the challenge for the first-time in 19 years. But behind all of that, the players, the coaches and the fans, are the inventions that have enhanced the game and protected the players.

Gridiron football has been around since the 1860s, but it has continuously evolved as new innovations and technologies have been introduced over the last 150 years. The football, also known to Americans as, “pigskin,” has gone through many designs. Originally made from a pig’s bladder (hence the slang term), the football began to change in 1867 when Henry A. Alden patented a new rubber covering and interior that provided more effective moisture resistant. Since then, multiple designs have been patented, some having the tech to measure the speed and rotation of a quarterback’s throw, deceleration of the ball and a wireless transmitter to transfer the data collected and analyzed for optimal reception.

A similar evolution happened to the football helmet as well. One of the earliest helmets, invented and patented by Samuel Hipkiss in 1913 was made of leather, felt, and wool. Helmets today have thick padding, hard plastic, metal and integrated technology that allows players to communicate with coaches and coordinators. A recent patent filing  latest patents, allows the capture of audio, video and other data to create dynamic plays.

Many hundreds of improvements have been made to the game since its inception.  The patents behind these improvements have propelled the game to its current exciting point.  Here’s hoping for an exciting game, pleasing commercials, and a fun half-time show.    Footnote The author was born and raised in Buffalo, New York.   The Buffalo Bills hold a record that perhaps will never be broken – four straight Super Bowls losses – and has no routing interest in the game.  But maybe it is time for the next generation to take over.


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