This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Football uniforms in 1902 at the Tempe Normal School, now ASU


Although this photo of the football team at the Tempe Normal School (now Arizona State University) is obviously posed, especially showing the year on the football, the guys are wearing their full uniforms as they would wear during a game. The main difference during a game, of course, is that they would be covered with mud.

The N on their jerseys stood for "Normal", and although it sounds kind of goofy now, was what a school that taught teaching "norms" was called back then. Yes, it was a teacher's college.

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As you can see, there wasn't much shoulder padding although there was a bit for your thighs. And the helmets, while they may look plastic in the photo, were leather. Plastic wouldn't be invented for decades! Football players at the time were often called "Leather heads". Note the nose guard on the helmet of the player at left.

Then, as now, football was wildly popular. And as the school grew, the team went from being called the Normals, to the Bulldogs, to the Sun Devils of today.