Five Biggest Technological Advancements in NFL History

Image source: Izaac Crayton

We’ve seen a lot of replacements, additions, and modifications to our everyday lives over the years. And if we live long enough, we’ll experience so many more changes. It’s inevitable.

A lot of transformations are happening before our very eyes and in quick succession. At every blink of our eyes, we see a new technological advancement being introduced to us. A lot of things that were considered normal just a few years ago are now outdated.

It’s hard to think that just about four decades ago, we didn’t have the internet, high-resolution cameras, flat-screen TVs, smartphones, to name a few. Imagine telling a bunch of 13 year-olds that there was once a time in the world when all we had to stay up-to-date was the radio and a funny-looking TV; no smartphones, no Twitter, and definitely no Spotify. The shock on their faces!

Improved technology cuts across every facet of human life, so it’s no surprise that the NFL has incorporated quite a lot of changes over the years. New inventions have helped fans across the world to enjoy the sport they love. These changes have also affected the way the game is viewed and played.

Here are some of the biggest technological advancements in NFL history:

Fantasy Football

The NFL partly owes its worldwide popularity to this technological advancement, and they have the internet to thank for that. Fantasy football (which could be a form of betting) involves putting together an imaginary team of real NFL stars, which is done virtually.

Fans serve as coaches by selecting real sports stars to form a fantasy team and earn points based on the collative statistical performance of these players in real-life games. Participants may decide to place a bet and make some money.

There are many fantasy football websites, and interested fans can sign up for free. Bookmarkers set NFL game odds that represent a participant’s chances of winning a bet.

This technology has, in a lot of ways, helped the NFL to gain more fans in and outside the country.

Video Games

If you grew up in the 80s, Nintendo’s 10-Yard Fight was the game to play. It’s widely regarded as the “Patriarch of Football Games,” and it made many kids fall in love with the sport.

Today, we’ve seen many more creations, like Madden NFL, NFL 2k5, and Tecmo Super Bowl, which have helped to push the NFL’s popularity even further.

Image source: Fredrick Lee


Equipment Advances

We’ve seen too many additions over the last few decades. For instance, if Wide Receivers, like Davante Adams, played in the 60s and 70s, you wouldn’t see them wearing gloves.

We’re accustomed to seeing NFL players rock a plastic helmet, and although the adoption of plastic helmets isn’t a new advancement, NFL players never had them on in the mid-1940s. Back in the days, leather helmets were the facial protective gear required by the NFL, but those days are long gone.

Plastic helmets also helped to introduce face masks in the 60s. The helmet technology today incorporates polycarbonate materials and interior paddings.

This may well change in the years to come. Who knows?

HD Film Technology

You don’t know how lucky you are if you grew up watching your favorite NFL games on HD TV. You can look up some old NFL games on YouTube, like the 1982 NFC Championship between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers,  to know just how lucky you are.

Home viewing has become more enjoyable, thanks to this technological advancement. And things could even get sharper as 3D and 4K HD technology is beginning to gain popularity.

Uniform Technology

In the 20th century, NFL uniforms were oversized, loose long sleeves, cotton sweatshirts, and mesh fabrics. But in 1997, teams began to adopt tight and stretchy materials. Today, NFL materials have been modified to include smart materials, like high-density foam, that protect the players from heat and make them less prone to injuries.


We’ve seen a lot of advancements that have helped shape the National Football League (NFL). As the world advances, fans all over the world can expect bigger and more improved changes.

John Boarman
John Boarman
Founder and Owner of Tireball Sports.

Recent News