NY_CFL_fan

My personal Continental Football League -- EFC Central teams

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Continuing with the teams in the WFC North Division of my fictional Continental Football League, we have the Edmonton Eskimos. Another original CRFU team that became part of the Canadian Football League, in my alternate timeline the CFL merges with the remnants of a couple of U.S-based leagues as the Continental Football League. Edmonton joined the rest of the Western Canada teams in the Western Division of the Canadian Conference, which became the WFC Northwest in the 1970 realignment, then the WFC North in 2002.

Like their real-world counterparts, played in old Clarke Stadium until the mid-1970s, when they moved into Commonwealth Stadium. I toyed with the idea of giving the Eskimos a domed stadium in the 1990s, when they were a resurgent power in my Continental League, but only if I kept the league playing a fall schedule.

For this timeline, the Eskimos were one of the teams of the '70s, playing in five CanAm Cups in the decade (winning two) and earning an international following -- plenty of U.S. kids were wearing green and gold after watching the Alberta Crude defense and Tom Wilkinson willing teams to victory. The team was still solid in the 1980s, but the dynasty grew old, as retired stars were not replaced with players nearly as talented, and the Eskimos bottomed out in the late '80s. However, the high draft picks turned into the foundation of a new Eskimos dynasty in the 1990s, and the team won three more CanAm Cup titles. However, in the 2000s, Edmonton found far less playoff success despite solid or promising teams, although they are usually a contender.

And here are the Eskimos' helmets from the 1960s to the present, thanks to MG's Helmets:

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Moving on in the daily helmets-over-time renderings of teams in my fictional Continental Football League, the next WFC North team is the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Located in one of the smallest markets of teams in my league, they have nevertheless gained a rabid following regardless of how the team fares on the field, much like the other Canadian teams in the league. Like the other Western Canada teams, the 'Riders played in the Western Division of the Canadian Conference until the 1970 realignment, when it became the Northwest Division of the Western Football Conference, and then the WFC North in the 2002 realignment.

Like their real-world counterparts, these Roughriders played in Taylor Field for decades, before moving into a new, modern Mosaic Stadium around 2005 (I gave them a new stadium several years before it was built for the real-world team). In my Continental Football League timeline, Saskatchewan was one of the top teams for most of the 1960s, but by the early-mid 1970s the Roughriders were on the decline. They surged back into playoff contention in the late '70s, winning their first CanAm Cup title in 1981. However, the Roughriders could not sustain their strong play, and they slipped again for most of the '80s. Saskatchewan was up and down in the '90s, either mediocre or a playoff contender, but finally became a challenger in the early 2000s, but unable to get over the hump in the West, and when the 'Riders did, they lost a CanAm Cup to Montreal in 2005. After a mediocre span in recent years, Saskatchewan appears to be a team on the rise.

And presenting the Saskatchewan Roughriders helmets over the time period from the 1960s through the modern day, thanks again to MG's Helmets:

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And wrapping up the WFC North teams with the final Western Football Conference team -- the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Like their real-world counterparts, the Blue Bombers were one of the original CFL teams, and in my fictional Continental Football League, they moved into the Western Division of the Canadian Conference at the start of the league in 1956. Like the other Western Canada teams, they moved into the WFC Northwest Division in the 1970 realignment, and the WFC North in 2002.

Also like their real-world counterparts, the Blue Bombers were one of the Continental League's early powers, winning a couple of early CanAm Cup trophies. They remained a playoff contender in the 1970s, losing a CanAm Cup early on, though an aging roster cost them in the late '70s, before they rebuilt into one of the teams of the '80s, winning two of three CanAm Cup appearances in a six-year span, and added another victory in the early 1990s. However, over the last 25 years, they have been mostly mediocre, with the occasional playoff berth.

In my fictional CFL, these Winnipeg Blue Bombers generally followed the real-world team's helmet development, but changed to the navy blue version with the lightning bolt football earlier, around 1990, and kept it since, before changing back to the original royal blue a few years ago -- but retaining the lightning bolt football.

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Time to move on the teams in the Eastern Football Conference of my fictional Continental Football League, beginning with the other familiar four teams from Eastern Canada that make up the EFC North Division -- Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. When my CFL began as American and Canadian conferences, the four teams made up the Eastern Division of the Canadian Conference, joined by the expansion Michigan Panthers in 1966. Putting a Detroit-based team located just across from Ontario and in close proximity to three division rivals made the most sense, so the Panthers remained part of the EFC's Northeast Division in the 1970 realignment into Eastern and Western conferences.

So we begin with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, which of course bring a rich history into my Continental Football League, coming out of the old ORFU and the original Canadian Football League. Like their real-world counterparts, the Ticats were one of the powerhouse teams of the 1950s and '60s, winning a couple of CanAm Cups in the 14 seasons before the 1970 realignment. They remained a solid team in the 1970s, but struggled in the late 1970s/early '80s before rebuilding again. After making the big switch from gold helmets to black helmets, they lost a CanAm Cup to the LA Express in the mid-'80s. Struggling into the early '90s, the Ticats rebuilt again into a contender, losing another CanAm Cup, to Colorado in 1997. However, since the early 2000s, Hamilton has been mediocre and seemingly stuck in rebuilding mode.

As in the real world, these Ticats played in Ivor-Wynne Stadium forever before moving into the new Tim Hortons Stadium in 2014. Uniform-wise, they have not departed much from the black and gold classic uniforms over the years, and switched from gold helmets to black helmets in the mid-1980s.

Here are Hamilton's helmet designs from the 1960s through the present, credit to MG's Helmets.

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Continuing with the teams of the EFC North Division of my fictional Continental Football League, I'll skip over the Montreal Alouettes because of their strange history in my alternate timeline that needs a little more time to tell, and jump to the Ottawa Renegades. In this reality, the Ottawa Rough Riders of the old Canadian Football League changed their name to the Renegades soon after the formation of the Continental League in 1956, to differentiate from the Saskatchewan Roughriders. As the Ottawa Renegades, they played in the Eastern Division of the Canadian Conference and were one of the league's better teams in the 1960s, playing in old Lansdowne Park under legendary coach Frank Clair. The Renegades remained a mediocre to solid team through the 1970s, made the playoffs in the early '80s, but struggled through the mid-'80s. They slowly rebuilt into a power, splitting back-to-back CanAm Cups in the early 1990s and remaining a playoff contender until tailing off in the late '90s. Since then, the Renegades have been consistently mediocre, missing the playoffs on a regular basis for most of the last two decades, though they are starting to show some signs of life.

Unlike the real-world Ottawa teams, this one has always been known as the Renegades and obviously there have been no periods of zero football in Canada's capital (though some fans might argue that about the team's lack of on-field success over the last 15 years or so). The Renegades played at Lansdowne Park/Frank Clair Stadium for years before moving into modern TD Place Stadium several years ago (I gave them a newer stadium earlier than the real-world team, as well).

Black and red have always been the Renegades' colors, and they started out with the classic R logo through the '60s and '70s before switching to the tomahawk logo in the mid-'80s (a recolored version of the Orlando Renegades' logo). They switched to the Ottawa Renegades' logo around 2000, and then to the slashing R logo (recolored Chicago Rush logo) about 10 years later. I'm mulling over a move to the current Ottawa Redblacks' logo, so I added that helmet on the end of this presentation of Ottawa Renegades' helmets from the early 1960s to the present:

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Continuing with the EFC North teams of my fictional Continental Football League with the Toronto Argonauts, who probably have an even more frustrating history in this timeline than the real-world team. Playing in a league with 28, 30 or 32 teams makes it even more difficult for teams to claim championships, especially teams with up-and-down management. The Argonauts, being one of the original ORFU and Canadian Football League teams, joined the Eastern Division of the Canadian Conference in the new Continental League when it formed in 1956. Toronto generally struggled in the 1960s and were mediocre through most of the '70s, before developing into a playoff contender in the 1980s -- reaching their only CanAm Cup final in the early '80s, but losing to Winnipeg. They struggled through part of the '90s and have remained inconsistent and generally mediocre for most of the last 20 years, other than a handful of seasons where they challenged for the EFC title.

Like their real-world counterparts, these Argos called Exhibition Stadium home before moving into the SkyDome in the late 1980s -- I might even give them the domed stadium a few years earlier, especially if the Continental League plays a summer-fall schedule.

This version of the Argos would wear the same Double Blue uniforms and helmets over approximately the same time periods as the real-world club. Using Mike Gordon's excellent MG's Helmets as a presentation, here are the Continental Football League's Toronto Argonauts' helmets from the 1960s to the present -- with few differences, other than skipping a couple of one-season helmet versions to simplify the timeline. The Boatmen logo is always one of my favorites, and in my timeline the Argos wear it from the mid-'70s to about 1989. The "Jason" helmets last from the mid-'90s to the mid-2000s, before giving way to the A shield they have worn since.

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Next up, the convoluted tale of the Continental Football League's Montreal Alouettes.

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And now for the convoluted tale of the Montreal Alouettes of my fictional Continental Football League. When the Montreal Alouettes/Concordes/Alouettes-again of the Canadian Football League folded, I decided that since my league was a robust, profitable league on a par with the NFL, there wouldn't be folding franchises, but there could be movement. And that's what happened to these Montreal Alouettes (who never became the Concordes) -- when fan support faded from this original league franchise, the team was sold and moved in the mid-1980s. When I first came up with my league concept in the '80s, I originally moved the Alouettes to Boston to become the Breakers -- but when the Baltimore Stallions of the CFL made their appearance 10 years later, I decided that the Alouettes moved to Baltimore and became the Stallions, thereby replacing the Colts when the NFL team moved to Indianapolis.

So therefore, in this timeline, the Montreal Alouettes are one of the original Canadian teams that form the Continental Football League, though they were mediocre through the 1960s, they became a playoff contender in the 1970s and won a CanAm Cup. However, their fortunes faded by the end of the '70s and they struggled into the '80s. Failing on the field and at the box office and saddled with the oversized, overpriced Olympic Stadium, the Alouettes were sold to a group intent on bringing football back to Baltimore -- the birth of the Baltimore Stallions of the Continental Football League.

Montreal had started off playing in the Eastern Division of the Canadian Conference, which turned wholesale into the EFC Northeast Division in the 1970 realignment. The Baltimore Stallions played for a few years in the Northeast Division, before swapping places in the late '80s with the Boston Breakers and moving to the Atlantic Division (Boston was deemed a better geographic fit with the Northeast Division). Baltimore spent the 1990s as a fairly mediocre team before bottoming out at the end of the decade, drafting a future Hall of Fame QB, and building into a championship contender in the 2000s (splitting a pair of CanAm Cup appearances). In the 2010s, they have faded back to mediocre to good status. They called Memorial Stadium home before moving into the new M&T Bank Stadium in the mid-'90s.

Here are the helmets over time for the Montreal Alouettes/Baltimore Stallions in my Continental Football League, starting with the early '60s, the late '60s, the dark blue helmets of the '70s (they wore them for the entire decade in this timeline), the white helmets of the early '80s, and then the Baltimore Stallions, and their more recent updated logo (a recolored Boise State horse head).

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But that is not the end of the saga of the Montreal Alouettes. To complete the story, we have to look at the history of the Washington Sentinels, one of the original teams in my fictional Continental Football League from the start in 1956. The team wore blue, white and red with white helmets, at first blank with red and blue stripes, then with red jersey numbers. In the late '60s, they began using the Washington Federals logo, but rendered in blue and red on white helmets, still wearing blue jerseys. Starting in the late '70s, they changed to silver helmets and red jerseys -- the familiar Sentinels' look made famous in the move "The Replacements." They kept this look until 1996 -- the year the Sentinels left Washington, D.C. and moved to Montreal, as the new Montreal Alouettes!

As the new Alouettes, they kept the red, blue and silver concept for their uniforms and helmets, but with the familiar "angry bird" logo they have used ever since. I may or may not switch them to white helmets in the mid-2010s, I'll have to see, but I will post the white version of the Alouettes' helmet.

As the Washington Sentinels, the team was solid in the 1960s, but faded to mediocre status in the 1970s. They played in the Eastern Division of the American Conference, before moving into the Atlantic Division of the EFC in the 1970 realignment. Washington's fortunes shifted in the late '70s as they challenged for EFC supremacy with division rival New York, but success was fleeting and they struggled in the early '80s. Drafting a strong QB in the mid-'80s, the Sentinels became a regular playoff contender for a decade, reaching a CanAm Cup but losing to the San Antonio Toros dynasty in the late '80s. Despite the on-field success and an entertaining brand of football, the Sentinels still found difficulty with direct competition from the NFL's Redskins. That prompted the move to Montreal, at first playing in old Olympic Stadium, then success brought a brand-new Molson Stadium -- not at McGill, but a completely new outdoor stadium in the early 2000s, befitting a championship team that has gained a huge following in both Canada and the U.S. As the new Alouettes, the team was solid at the end of the '90s, but found a future Hall of Fame QB and have turned into a dynasty in the 2000s, winning five of six CanAm Cup appearances over 15 seasons.

Here are the helmets for the Washington Sentinels/Montreal Alouettes, starting from the 1960s white helmets, to the '80s/'90s silver helmets, then the new Montreal Alouettes helmets in silver (and a possible white version).

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Now, moving on to the EFC Coastal Division of my fictional Continental Football League. I have actually already covered the Baltimore Stallions -- who started life as the Montreal Alouettes before moving to Baltimore in the mid-1980s. You can see their silver and blue helmets in the above post.

So I'll move on to the Boston Breakers, which in this timeline actually began as the old Philadelphia Stars in the early 1960s, a generally solid team in that decade that had to share stadium space and a fanbase with the Eagles of the NFL. By the early 1970s, the Stars chose to move to Boston and rebranded as the Breakers -- tossing aside the scarlet and metallic gold uniforms in favor of Breaker blue, dark blue, silver and white with the distinctive "waves" helmet. In Boston, the Breakers were more successful, especially with the Patriots moving out to Foxborough. The Breakers were a fairly competitive team in the 1970s, and were a playoff contender for much of the 1980s (with a new suburban Boston stadium), losing a CanAm Cup to San Antonio in the early '80s.

The Stars played in the Eastern Division of the American Conference, and moved to the EFC Atlantic in the 1970 realignment. They continued in the division until the late '80s, when they swapped divisions with the Baltimore Stallions and went to the EFC Northeast Division. However, the Breakers' fortunes began to slide in the '90s as they struggled more often than not on the field, but they did adopt snazzy black and teal uniforms and black helmets with teal waves. The Breakers have not been any better in the 2000s -- they have generally been mediocre to awful, making the playoffs once since the 2002 realignment, when they became part of the EFC Coastal, along with Baltimore, Carolina and New York.

Here are this franchise's helmets over time -- the Philadelphia Stars' metallic gold helmets from the early 1970s (they had a different version in the 1960's that I'll post soon, basically the North Stars/Dallas Stars logo in red and gold), then the classic Boston Breakers' look worn from the early 1970s to the early 1990s, and the black and teal version from the mid-'90s to the present.

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The next team in the EFC Coastal Division of my fictional Continental Football League is the Carolina Hurricanes, who started life as the expansion Indianapolis Racers in 1970. I actually had created a Carolina (originally Houston) Hurricanes concept several years before the NHL club existed, using the WFL’s Portland Storm logo in black and red. I also originally had a team in Indy, the Blazers, but in the Western Conference before moving some teams around. 

The expansion Racers played in Indianapolis until the early 1980s, mostly a mediocre to decent team that occasionally reached the playoffs. Moving to Charlotte, N.C. as the Hurricanes— and keeping the red and black colors but with white helmets — they had the foundation of a stronger team. The Carolina Hurricanes found more success on the field and reached a CanAm Cup in the late ‘80s. After fading in the early ’90s, the Hurricanes built a strong defense and became a regular contender, winning two CanAm Cups in the 2000s. 

Here are the helmets used by the Indianapolis Racers (hugevolsfan’s wonderful wraparound logo), followed by the Hurricanes’ 1980s white helmets, and the red helmets since the 90s:

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Finishing up the teams of the EFC Coastal Division of my fictional Continental Football League with the New York Knights. The Knights were one of the original teams in the Continental Football League when it formed in 1956, but were originally black and silver. However, they transitioned to black and metallic gold during the mid-'60s, changing logos from the knight on a horse on silver helmets, to an early version of the black chess piece logo on metallic gold helmets. The more modern knight chess piece logo debuted in the early 1970s and stayed through the '80s, before the Knights changed to the familiar sword logo they have used since. The Knights started off playing in the old Polo Grounds in Manhattan, before moving to Shea Stadium until the mid-70s, when they moved to the new Meadowlands Stadium that they have shared with the NFL's Giants ever since.

The New York Knights were a mostly mediocre team in the 1960s, but turned into one of the teams of the '70s as they reached four CanAm Cups and won three, developing a strong rivalry with the Edmonton Eskimos of the WFC. After a lackluster '80s, they built into a regular playoff contender, reaching another CanAm Cup in the '90s, and winning two out of three in the 2000s. With five CanAm Cup titles, they are second only to Montreal for most championships.

Here are the New York Knights' helmets over time, from the 1960s (the Stallions from the movie "The Replacements", and I still have to load in the silver and black helmet from early in the '60s), to the iconic 1970s/'80s helmet (recolored NY/NJ Knights from the WLAF), and the helmet they have worn for the last 25-plus years (recolored Scottish Claymores helmet)

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A couple of weeks ago, I brought up my dilemma of what color combination to use for the Mustangs and the Thunder -- purple/silver/black or dark green/silver/black.

So in between displaying the teams of the Eastern Football Conference of my fictional Continental Football League -- I have decided to go with dark green for the Milwaukee/St. Louis Mustangs, and purple and silver for the Houston Thunder. Both teams play in the WFC Central Division of the CFL.

So the Mustangs would have the following helmet progression, from white and dark green in the 1960s/'70s, moving from Milwaukee to St. Louis; then the dark green and silver look through the 1980s and 90s, and then more modern logos in the 2000s. I love the horse head logos, all credit goes to the designers of the logos -- the original St. Louis Stallions NFL proposal, the Western Michigan Broncos logo, and two more logos, one by the great CJ Zilligen, one of my favorite artists. Again, this is just a league I created for fun in the early 1980s, a mashup of CFL, USFL, WFL and a few of my own team concepts, using established logos to represent some ideas. I own none of the logos. For uniforms, the Mustangs would have gone with dark green jerseys and white pants in the '70s and early '80s (adding dark green pants for away games in the '80s), then going with the dark green and silver look in the mid-'80s, with silver pants, or an all-green look at home. They added black to the dark green and silver mix in the 2000s with the newer logos, with an alternate third jersey in black -- think Hawaii Warriors for the overall uniform look.

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The Houston Thunder, the team that bounced from the WFC to the EFC and back to the WFC, would go with the purple and black concept after rebranding from the old Houston Gamblers of the 1960s. In the post-Gamblers era, they would have used purple helmets in the 1970s, then silver in the '80s and early '90s (think Kansas State), to the hammer of Thor logo (of Berlin Thunder fame) they have used for the last 25 years -- changing from silver to purple helmets around 2010 (think TCU or Northwestern for uniforms). They would have started off wearing black jerseys in the 1970s, then purple and white jerseys in the early '80s when they dropped black in favor of silver. They would have picked up black again in the switch to the hammer of Thor logo in the mid-'90s.

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Next up, the teams of the EFC Central Division.

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Now for the EFC Central Division of my fictional Continental Football League, beginning with the Columbus Gladiators, who were one of two expansion teams in 2002, along with the Nashville Nighthawks. This team wears the black and red uniforms and black/red/silver helmets of the Las Vegas/Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena League, basically -- mostly black jerseys but also an alternate red jersey as a third option. With the addition of Columbus and Nashville bringing the Continental Football League to its current 32 teams, the the league realigned into eight four-team divisions, with Columbus and Nashville both joining the EFC Central because of geography -- proximity to the Michigan Panthers and Indiana Blazers, the other two teams in the newly created division.

The Columbus Gladiators were a mediocre team for the first 10 years of their existence, before finally building into a playoff contender over the last few years. They have worn the same black/red/silver helmet, seen below, and uniforms since their inception.

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Continuing with the teams of the EFC Central Division of my fictional Continental Football League, we come to the Indiana Blazers. The Blazers were one of the two expansion teams in 1995, along with the San Jose Storm of the WFC Coastal Division, which brought the CFL to 30 teams. The Blazers have always had black, orange, flame red and gold in their color scheme, black helmets with orange jerseys and black pants for home games.

The Indiana Blazers were added to the Continental League more than 10 years after the original Indianapolis Racers moved to Charlotte to become the Carolina Hurricanes. This Indiana team, which has played in the Hoosier Dome and Lucas Oil Stadium, has no connection to the original Indianapolis franchise -- that team history went to Carolina. The expansion Blazers found success quickly, becoming a playoff contender early on and reaching the CanAm Cup in just their fifth season, losing to the surprising Las Vegas Miners. However, after this early run, the Blazers ran hot and cold, before entering an extended period of mediocrity that they are only beginning to come out of.

Here are the Blazers' helmets from their first several seasons (another Arena League logo), the flaming helmet they have worn since (another concept helmet that I thought looked great), and a possible update with a flaming horse head (from the Arena League's Milwaukee Iron, for some reason I like horse head logos). There's also another flame helmet concept helmet I'm planning to add.

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Now we come to the EFC Central team in my fictional Continental Football League with the most interesting history. While this particular division is made up of three teams with fewer than 25 years of history, the Michigan Panthers have been around since the league's 1966 expansion. Because of Detroit's proximity to three Ontario teams -- Hamilton, Toronto and Ottawa -- they were moved into the Eastern Division of the Canadian Conference to even off the conference's two divisions at five teams each. When the CFL opted to change to a complete East-West format in the 1970 realignment, the Panthers stayed with their division rivals (Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal) as the Northeast Division of the EFC. Eventually, in the 2002 realignment, the Panthers moved to the new EFC Central.

The Michigan Panthers started out, as most expansion teams do, as one of the more mediocre teams in the league. But with excellent coaching and an influx of Hall of Fame talent on both sides of the ball, the Panthers quickly grew into one of the teams of the 1970s, a powerhouse not easy to defeat, and winner of two out of three CanAm Cups in the first half of the decade. As one of the teams with a national following, the Panthers remained a playoff contender through the 1980s, with the addition of prolific Hall of Fame QB Bobby Hebert, losing a pair of CanAm Cup appearances, one in the mid-'80s to the San Antonio Toros' dynasty, another to Edmonton in the early '90s. The Panthers continued to be a playoff contender through the mid-2000s, before falling off until the early 2010s, when they again built into a solid team.

The Michigan Panthers have always worn the unique plum-and-champagne look -- kind of purplish-maroon with light metallic gold helmets and pants, and a bit of light blue trim. They started off with plain champagne helmets before adopting their signature panther look around 1970. They went with another version of the popular panther look in the early 2000s (the Jacksonville Jaguars original concept, recolored), before adopting the current unique panther head logo (a recolored Houston Cougars look) a few years ago. Here are the helmets over time, with the exception of the plain champagne helmet with the gray facemask they wore in the 1960s. I just have to fix up the 2000s helmet.

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We're going to call it a day here.  90% of the helmets here are existing and the others are recolored versions of other existing logos.  There's no original concept to warrant this thread's continued existence.

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