Since 1949, plastic helmets have been the standard in the NFL. They were previously banned due to a lack of access to plastics during World War II.
The first plastic helmet was introduced to the NFL in 1939 by what is now the Riddell Company. The models were later developed using polycarbon plastic construction complemented by technologically advanced cushioning systems for extra protection.
Face masks also continued to evolve along with the helmet shell, with the tubular bar introduced to models in 1955. The bar eventually evolved into the vertical cage. It wasn't until the mid-1980s when visors were also added to the helmets to prevent eye injuries.