It is that time of year, “Super Bowl”® time. “Super Bowl” parties, food, and the highly anticipated commercials are all the talk, but many do not know there are a lot of patents that are a part of football’s history and the big game as well. The helmet for example, has advanced significantly since the first model, said to be made of moleskin, in 1893. This first helmet was made out of necessity during the annual Army-Navy game. A Navy admiral was told he would risk “instant insanity” if he took one more hit to the head. So he had a shoemaker make him a helmet. One of the first patents for a leather helmet was granted to Allen Kennedy in 1927 for FOOTBALL HELMET (U.S. Patent No. 1,648,850). Leather helmets were in use until the 1940s, when plastic helmets were introduced by John T. Riddell, Sr. (U.S. Patent No. 2,293,308). Riddell is still one of the top leading manufacturers of helmets today. With concussions as an ever growing concern for players, helmets have become more advanced in their design and protection as well; this model, MULTILAYER AIR-CUSHION SHELL WITH ENERGY-ABSORBING LAYER FOR USE IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF PROTECTIVE HEADGEAR (U.S. Patent Application No. 2006/0059606), integrates three levels of compressible air chambers that produce a rate-sensitive response that corresponds to the force of the impact.

Rod Carey, head football coach for Northern Illinois University, said “football has always been a first-down game” and coaches and fans alike can attest to the fact that a first down can significantly impact the outcome of a game. Thanks to a 1927 patent, the standard 10-yard measurement for a first down became much easier to determine. Moses Winkler, inventor of the TEN YARD LINE (U.S. Patent No. 1,684,566), hoped his invention would prevent “ugly situations” from arising over disputed calls. It is debatable if this invention has prevented yardage disputes, but it is where we get the popular phrase “moving the chains”. A more recent invention to help officials with disputed calls is the PYLON MOUNTED CAMERA SYSTEM (U.S. Patent Application No. 2014/0063260). The pylon is fitted with a video camera, audio microphone, wireless transmitter, and battery so that sound and images from the plane of the goal line are transmitted to a receiver where they can be reviewed by officials and/or television broadcasters.

Those who prefer to view football games in the comfort of their own home were grateful when the BLENDING A GRAPHIC patent was granted (U.S. Patent No. 6,229,550). This patent displays the Virtual Yellow 1st & Ten® technology that shows where the first down lines are during the game. The Skycam™ (U.S. Patent No. 4,710,819) is another great patent that has changed the way people watch games; it allows the viewer to get a bird’s eye view without having to be at the game. If watching the game from home, why not enjoy a seat with style such as this INFLATABLE AMERICAN FOOTBALL CHAIR (U.S. Patent No. D620,268); it is equipped with footballs as hand rests and a helmet affixed to the top of the seat.

The “Super Bowl” is not only a place where diehard fans come together to cheer on their team, it is also a chance for fans to show off the fun crazy items that come with fandom. A must have for a diehard Patriots fan would be this electric guitar, LOGO GUITAR (U.S. Patent Application No. 2006/0096439), which is shaped in the likeness of the team’s logo, the so-called “flying Elvis”. This fun design patent, FOOTBALL FAN’S NOVELTY HAT (U.S. Patent No. D311,267), is a design for a hat shaped like a football and will be worn by fans all over. If fans want to get the whole family involved in the big game, this design patent, FOOTBALL INFANT BODYSUIT (U.S. Patent No. D731,755) will do nicely.

Whether you watch the game, are there for the commercials or just to sample the mouthwatering food, have fun and enjoy!