American football has come a long way since the use of leather helmets in the late 1800s, and through the first half of the 20th century. As athletes have become stronger and faster, the sport itself has also evolved in various forms. A game that started off without pads is now focused on safety and how to keep players from avoiding serious injury. While the sport has seen many new products, the following is a list of The 10 Most Important Gear Innovations in Football History.

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No. 10 - Eye Black

What’s evolved into a fashion statement actually does reduce glare out on the field. Eye black has evolved from Andy Farkas' painted streaks first worn in 1942 to today's attempt at anti-glare stickers.  In a study conducted by Brian DeBroff and Patricia Pahk in 2003, the stickers were deemed less effective, leaving us right back to where we started. 

No. 9 - DonJoy Knee Brace

Back in the day, a torn ACL meant the end of someone's football career. But with today's medical technology came the DonJoy knee brace, clinically proven to protect the ACL. Equipped with a LoPro FourcePoint Hinge, this item has become a key item for the top 25 college teams. Twenty-two programs have made it mandatory for their offensive and defensive lineman to sport the DonJoy.

No. 8 - Wristband Playcaller

In the early 90 the game was changed as the wristband playcaller was introduced, at a time where hurry up and no huddle offenses were all the rage. This obliterated the need for huddles as the quarterback had the plays on his wrist which resulted in faster paced, high scoring offenses, tired defenses and more exciting football.

No. 7 - Battle Sports Sciences “The Indicator” (Concussion Sensing Chinstrap)

In Super Bowl XLVI a new chinstrap was developed, sported by Patriots running back, Ben JarVus Green-Ellis. The chinstrap could sense concussions by measuring the impact of hits to give off a signal when the player suffers a hard enough hit. Since the original chin strap of the 1970s, this new technology keeps players safe on the field.

No. 6 - Moisture Wicking Fabric

In 1996, Under Armour owner, Kevin Plank, was tired of changing his sweaty t-shirts that he would wear under his football shoulder pads. Realizing his compression shorts stayed dry because of their moisture wicking fabric, he started making t-shirts out of the same material. This got the attention of high schools, colleges and the NFL, and eventually the entire industry. The rest is history. Now players are staying dry, cool and comfortable no matter what the temperature.

No. 5 - Flak Jackets

The NFL took a page out of the military’s 1980's handbook with the Flak Jacket. With quarterbacks’ ribs exposed when they threw the ball and defensive players were taking big shots on QBs resulting in injury. These jacke started wearing the jackets under their shoulder jerseys to keep those ribs in tact and the balls in the air.

No. 4 - Performance Gloves

Butter fingers. Not the candy, but guys who can’t catch a football to save their lives. Gloves have arguably been on of the best innovations for football because they’ve been helping keep the ball off the ground and in player’s hands.

No. 3 - Nike Alpha Talon Elite Cleats

As the players get bigger and stronger, the football cleats has gotten lighter and faster. The Nike Alpha Talon cleat is one of the lightest cleats ever made with the first to have three supplemental on-demand TPU cleats in the forefoot for enhanced traction and quick cuts. And with the new array of colors allowed out on the field, this kick looks pretty sharp too.

No. 2 - The 2012 Nike NFL jerseys

In 2012, Nike became the official outfitter of the NFL. The new jerseys look like something you’d see on a European runway in terms of the slim fit because of the zone stretch fabric that gives opponents virtually nothing to grab. The jerseys also have Flywire at the collar that keeps the jersey on and from slipping over the shoulder pads.

No. 1 - Riddell 360 Helmet

With concussions being a big problem in football, Riddell has developed the next evolution of football helmets to help keep players safe and moms secure. The helmet uses Concussion Reduction Technology. It’s the first helmet design that uses energy managing materials and a facemask attachment system that disperses energy of frontal impacts.

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RELATEDREPORT CARD: Week 3 Grade for the Oregon Duck Uniforms

RELATED: SPOTTED: Hakeen Nicks Goes Big in His Jordan Super.Fly Cleats