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Semi-Obscure Old School NFL Uniform Details


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Two things about helmets back then that are interesting are how some guys had makeshift face masks - apparently the two-bar wasn't out yet at this point...

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For the longest time, I've been trying to figure out exactly how the numbers were applied onto the KC Chefs' jerseys back in those days--they never appeared heat-pressed, nor did they appear to be tackle-twill to me, probably because they were so "wrinkly". And now I think I see why...the numbers themselves appear to be another piece of fabric with embroidery on the edges. (I know there's another term for this, but I can't think of what it is.) Interesting application method. I can't recall ever having seen any other NFL team's numbers applied that way.

(On another note, I've noticed that I've become pretty obsessed with jersey numbers lately. Don't know what that's about...)

*Disclaimer: I am not an authoritative expert on stuff...I just do a lot of reading and research and keep in close connect with a bunch of people who are authoritative experts on stuff. 😁

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Two things about helmets back then that are interesting are how some guys had makeshift face masks - apparently the two-bar wasn't out yet at this point...

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I couldn't find a picture of him wearing it in a game but I believe Fred Williamson was wearing this makeshift facemask in Super Bowl I.

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All roads lead to Dollar General.

 

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BTW, what about Willie Lanier's vulcanized strip on his helmet?

I have no idea why it was there and I can't honestly recall anyone else who wore one like it but when I was a kid I thought he had the coolest looking helmet in football.

Here it is...

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In this shot it looks like it was bolted on or something. And the facemask is different. I wonder if this was a makeshift prototype for the one that he's famous for. Assuming of course that the photo is correctly indentified. It's from someone's flickr page. The jersey in the shot clearly belongs to someone else which may mean that Willie wasn't the only guy with that type of helmet after all.

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OK maybe not. This is from the Pro Football HOF site....and they say it's Lanier's helmet. And here's what they have to say about it....

Nicknamed “Contact” because of his ferocious tackling, middle linebacker Willie Lanier wore this specially padded helmet during his 11 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1967 to 1977.

No real explanation other than "extra padding."

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All roads lead to Dollar General.

 

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If you have those highlight films can you post them on Youtube? I miss the old NFL Films stuff!

The NFL season highlight films (i.e. NFL '73) are part of the Super Bowl highlight DVD collection that I bought, and those are copyright protected, I believe. That would make it hard for me to pick apart and post on YouTube.

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Cards-Bears, December 1979. Looks like a black armband on #33's sleeve.

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yeah, the armbands were worn in 1979 to honor J.V. Cain, a player who died of congestive heart failure during training camp of that year.

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Two things about helmets back then that are interesting are how some guys had makeshift face masks - apparently the two-bar wasn't out yet at this point...

3414971.jpg

I couldn't find a picture of him wearing it in a game but I believe Fred Williamson was wearing this makeshift facemask in Super Bowl I.

hammer_20006.jpg

Here's 'The Hammer' in SB I with the makeshift three-bar:

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And thanks to the poster of this pic, which well illustrates what I was talking about ref helmets getting torn up but not being retouched or reconditioned:

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Another of Willie and his banged-up helmet:

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Always wondered if his front numbers just looked small because he was such a large man or if the Chiefs' numbers were just smaller:

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And the reverse of the same question with Lance Alworth. What's with the Batman eye black?

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While we're on Bambi, here he is in the Chargers' version of the vanilla no-stripe (or bolt in this case) mesh jerseys. Ignore the date at the bottom of the pic; the caption says "date and place unknown". Don't think those jerseys were around as early as '66.

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Two things about helmets back then that are interesting are how some guys had makeshift face masks - apparently the two-bar wasn't out yet at this point...

3414971.jpg

I couldn't find a picture of him wearing it in a game but I believe Fred Williamson was wearing this makeshift facemask in Super Bowl I.

hammer_20006.jpg

Here's 'The Hammer' in SB I with the makeshift three-bar:

4017013.jpg

And thanks to the poster of this pic, which well illustrates what I was talking about ref helmets getting torn up but not being retouched or reconditioned:

3524925888_d9cef826e9.jpg

Another of Willie and his banged-up helmet:

3271436.jpg

Always wondered if his front numbers just looked small because he was such a large man or if the Chiefs' numbers were just smaller:

2155992.jpg

And the reverse of the same question with Lance Alworth. What's with the Batman eye black?

399.jpg

While we're on Bambi, here he is in the Chargers' version of the vanilla no-stripe (or bolt in this case) mesh jerseys. Ignore the date at the bottom of the pic; the caption says "date and place unknown". Don't think those jerseys were around as early as '66.

3543701.jpg

A couple of things to add on:

If you look closely in that photo Fred "The Hammer" Williamson was acutally wearing a makeshift 3-bar mask - it's a regular 2 bar plastic (maybe positioned a bit higher than usual) with a 1-bar below it.

That padding on the outside of the helmet was evidently an invention of MacGregor - here's a photo of an Ohio State player with one in 1965 from HelmetHut:

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I believe they discovered that this padding added to neck injuries more than it helped with concussions so it was eventually outlawed. I don't know if Lanier used the MacGregor in college or if it was just added to his helmet by the Chiefs. Someone on the Raiders offensive line (Art Shell if I'm remembering correctly) also wore the external padding.

During the 1970s - once they switched to mesh jerseys with screened on numbers - the Chiefs front numbers were smaller than most other teams; I don't think that changed until the early 1980s.

The Chargers only wore those plain mesh jerseys as training camp/practice jerseys. For a couple of seasons they also wore them in their pre-season games. However, I've never come across a regular season shot of the Chargers with the plain jerseys. And you're right; it's not a 1966 shot but it mght be from 1967 or 1968 - you can see the helmet on #45 (behind Alworth) has a yellow bolt; 1966 was the year they had a solid navy bolt on the helmet.

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Cards-Dallas, 1979. Definitely appears to be an armband.

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I wish Dallas would wear that blue jersey again, or at least a modernized version of it.

The shade of grayish blue is so much better than the navy they use now. It's unique. No other sports team uses that shade of blue that I can think of. Also, it seems like the silver they're using on the pants has a bluish tint to it. Is this correct or am I imagining things?

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Cards-Dallas, 1979. Definitely appears to be an armband.

I wish Dallas would wear that blue jersey again, or at least a modernized version of it.

Agreed. The metalic silver-blue and royal blue combo is SO much more interesting and unique than navy and silver.

What I like about those Cowboys jerseys is the mostly one-color trim. Blue and white look great and it's great that there's no visible trim around the numbers and nameplates. I can't remember whether there is black trim around those stripes, but it's not easily visible and that's also a plus.

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According to the Pro! magazine I have - it has a feature on the revolution of the hemet (circa 1974), Lanier's vulcanized strip was for protection.

Exactly! There was a show on the NFL network not long ago about concussions. And he had one and had the equipment manager ad that and never had another for the rest of hes career, so that show said. Now he would be fined $50K per game...

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I do find it interesting that helmets used to get little to no aesthetic touchup attention as the season wore on. Anyone who watched the Jaguars' or Chiefs' Hard Knocks would have noticed that both teams wrapped their helmets in some kind of protective plastic that they players wore over their helmets during practice. I assumed this was so the helmets would keep their shine for when they actually played in a game. Times have changed indeed.

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Cards-Dallas, 1979. Definitely appears to be an armband.

I wish Dallas would wear that blue jersey again, or at least a modernized version of it.

Agreed. The metalic silver-blue and royal blue combo is SO much more interesting and unique than navy and silver.

What I like about those Cowboys jerseys is the mostly one-color trim. Blue and white look great and it's great that there's no visible trim around the numbers and nameplates. I can't remember whether there is black trim around those stripes, but it's not easily visible and that's also a plus.

Yes, there was. Here's a vintage Staubach jersey that was recently up for auction.

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Cards-Bears, December 1979. Looks like a black armband on #33's sleeve.

f3co68.jpg

That's Tim Ryan on the left in the top right photo. If there was EVER an unsung versatile talent in the broadcasting industry, it's him. He announced the second period of Game 6 of the 1980 Stanley Cup while Dan Kelly called the first & third. More than thirty years later he called some of the skiing events at the Vancouver Olympics. Very straightforward, yet professional all the way, he broadcasts some of the things you don't watch first but calls them with class...

What he said. Ryan was NBC's hockey announcer during the 1970s. And then he worked for CBS, and then Fox, and he's done a lot of skiing as well. Always, always solid work.

I wish Fox would hire him to do one NFL game ... with analyst Tim Ryan.

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I do find it interesting that helmets used to get little to no aesthetic touchup attention as the season wore on. Anyone who watched the Jaguars' or Chiefs' Hard Knocks would have noticed that both teams wrapped their helmets in some kind of protective plastic that they players wore over their helmets during practice. I assumed this was so the helmets would keep their shine for when they actually played in a game. Times have changed indeed.

I think that colored helmet-cap is the NFL equivilant of the gym-class pinney, so that "teams" of players can be organized, kind of like how lines have their own colored practice jerseys in hockey. Could be wrong though. It's mostly used for special teams practice IIRC, since it's made up of guys who would be wearing both offensive and defensive jerseys.

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I do find it interesting that helmets used to get little to no aesthetic touchup attention as the season wore on. Anyone who watched the Jaguars' or Chiefs' Hard Knocks would have noticed that both teams wrapped their helmets in some kind of protective plastic that they players wore over their helmets during practice. I assumed this was so the helmets would keep their shine for when they actually played in a game. Times have changed indeed.

I think that colored helmet-cap is the NFL equivilant of the gym-class pinney, so that "teams" of players can be organized, kind of like how lines have their own colored practice jerseys in hockey. Could be wrong though. It's mostly used for special teams practice IIRC, since it's made up of guys who would be wearing both offensive and defensive jerseys.

That's exactly what it's for, at least in the NFL. We had that when I played in high school to differentiate between offense & defense during practice (since, oddly enough, we only had white practice jerseys.).

 

 

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