Nice Helmet: Redux!
While my brain is otherwise occupied this week, I offer you a slightly reworked post from long, long ago.
(Well, it's only about a year and a half old, but it's from those early days of this blog, before I had the honor of hosting comments from all of you—OK, maybe except for you, Phoenix and Curare.)
The original post contained some of my thoughts as the NFL began its 2005 season. Here it is with only minor updates. Enjoy.
I spent much of this weekend doing my duty as a decadent, lazy American. I sat on my ass for most of 10 hours watching football.
(For our foreign readers, that’s the game with the oblong, brown ball. Fútbol americano. Not that silly kicking game you all obsess over.)
But instead of commenting on the Colts' surprising run defense or the Cowboys' humiliating meltdown, I will cover a more heady issue.
It all started as when I was a kid, growing up in the 1970s with NFL sheets. And NFL drapes. Don't forget the NFL pajamas.
And all of them had team helmets.
Yes, that's right. My misspent youth was wasted neither on video games nor pre-criminal mischief (except for that one egging incident—sorry Tau Kappa Epsilon), but on contemplating NFL headgear.
Sure, there are some bad helmets in today’s game. But most teams have changed their logos over the years and settled on one that at least is not embarrassing. The Jaguar, the Panther, and the Raven are each a bit silly, but not humiliating to wear.
In general, today’s helmets are simply more aggressive versions of their old ones. The powers that be have made the pose of the Bronco more menacing, the Eagle’s wing better defined, and the profile of the Cardinal just downright mean.
Now everyone feels that they are at least in the same league.
Not the case back in the day. From the late 1970s into the early 1980s, three distinct categories emerged in my little boy brain: the classy helmet, the cool helmet, and the stupid helmet.
There was Elegant Simplicity. Examples: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers. Nothing fancy here—a letter said it all. Classy.
There was Simply Awesome. Example: San Diego Chargers. A single lightning bolt—a symbol said it all. Cool.
Then there was the Horribly Heinous. The inconceiveable. The downright stupid.
Take the Patriots.
Unlike today, they were an embarrassment. Their play bested only one thing: their headgear. To make things worse, they represented a whole REGION—not just a city or a state. It's New England, folks, so at least five states were “represented” by a comically bad helmet.
Maybe it was my childish point of view, but their logo in the 1970s—a hunched patriot—looked like nothing more than a waiter at Long John Silver taking a dump, smirking, and grabbing his turd.
Exhibit B: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Ahh, the team that could not buy a win well into the 1980s. If you ever wondered why they were not-so affectionately called the “Suck-aneers,” examine this helmet—an enormously gay pirate, biting a saber and coyly winking.
Maybe they were going for “Grrrrrrr,” but what they got was “Toodle-oo!! Has anyone seen the trolley??”
Not that there is anything wrong with that. Unless you actually want to win football games.
In which case, gentlemen, just say no to the homoerotic headgear.