The helmet has been an ever changing mechanism throughout the rich history of the NFL. From the simple leather helmets of the 40’s to today’s SpeedFlex lids, some teams have made vast changes, while others have been able to stand pact in an era of frequent logo and color combination changes.
1. Oakland Raiders (1964-Present)
A pure symbol of defiance and rebellion, the silver and black Raiders helmet is synonymous with the franchise’s unruly attitude. It also represents the historic lineage of the original AFL and the hard-nosed approach of players like George Atkinson, Jack Tatum and Ken Stabler. The logo has gone unchanged since 1964 and continues to symbolize the spirit of the Raiders organization.
2. New England Patriots (1961-1992)
A very simple yet effective look for the Patriots of old. The quaker getting ready to hike a football through his legs on the clean white helmet is a classic that will never die. The Patriots still go back to this look once a year or so, and the old logo is still revered by Patriots and NFL fans alike.
3. Green Bay Packers (1961-Present)
The Packer “G” was introduced in 1961 and has remained an unwavering symbol of the great Packers organization ever since. You can’t see this helmet and not think about Vince Lombardi and the great Packers teams of the past while also reflecting on the franchises recent success under both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
4. Miami Dolphins (1966-2012)
For unbeknownst reasons, the Dolphins decided to change this historic helmet in 2013 when they took the helmet off the dolphin and made it look like wriggling shark. This helmet was and still is iconic and reminds us all of Miami Dolphins history of yesteryear like the ’72 undefeated team, the golden Dan Marino years, and even…Ace Ventura.
5. Buffalo Bills (Current)
The Bills managed to find a perfect hybrid of both a classic and current design to create one of the better lids in the league today. The small buffalo that adorned the O.J. Simpson era helmet was probably a bit understated yet putting a newer logo on the white helmet was a great decision as the Bills sport some of the best all-around uniforms in the league today.
6. Dallas Cowboys (1964-Present)
The infamous star has been on the helmet since the franchise’s humble beginnings in 1960, but the Cowboys helmet is now the intrinsic symbol of “America’s team” and the star is as recognizable in football circles as the McDonald’s arch. When you add the franchises 5 Superbowls to the situation, it creates even more iconic symbolism to the ageless blue star.
7. Denver Broncos (1968-1996)
The Broncos switched to a new look in 1997 and immediately won two Superbowls. It was, however, these classic helmets that are most synonymous with the Broncos organization and success that it enjoyed under the “orange crush defense” of the late 70’s and quarterback John Elway in the 80’s/90’s.
8. Houston Oilers (1975-1996)
It was tragic indeed to see the end of the Oiler’s stint in Houston after the 1996 season and, sadly, the uniforms and helmet ceased to exist as well. From Billy “white shoes” Johnson and Earl Campbell to Warren Moon and Haywood Jeffries, the Oilers sported an original and recognizable color combination and a classic helmet that perfectly encapsulated the city.
9. Washington Redskins (1972-Present)
Political activists and the NFL alike may try to rid the world of the Redskins name and logo, but it will always be a part of football history. The maroon and yellow color combination is very unique and hopefully the proud Indian remains on the helmet despite political and social unrest.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976-1996)
Controversial choice perhaps, but the original Bucs helmet is quite striking when seen without the creamsicle jerseys, which were certainly a little gaudy to say the least. This helmet may have gone the way of the dodo, but it is still a very recognizable image from football’s past.
Follow Clint Switzer on Twitter: @cswitz77