Tuesday, January 09, 2007

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.


At January 09, 2007 10:02 PM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

A couple I still don't like are Cleveland's and Cincinnati's. I don't know what the deal is, but I guess Ohio sucks at design.

I think Cleveland can go better than just orange with a brown stripe. And Cincy's? I get the whole tiger thing, but doesn't it just make it easier for the opposition to find them and tackle them?

At January 10, 2007 6:58 AM, Blogger Curare_Z replied to my musings ...

I miss the Broncos old Bronco. The current one is too "horsemen of the apocalypse" for me.

I personally am a fan of the CFL logo for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. I mean, what's scarier than a Tiger-Cat? Perhaps a Tiger-Dog?

At January 10, 2007 8:22 AM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

Curare_Z raises a good point about CFL logos/mascots. Perhaps the only name/helmet gayer than the old Buccaneers helmet is the Montreal Alouettes-- the team name doesn't even really inspire fear... I mean not like say... The Ottawa Renegades or heck even the Toronto Argonauts inspire SOMETHING mythic-- which is better than say... a gay pirate or an "alouette" which just strikes a mental image of 2 gay French Canadian fur traders singing (or would "fur trading" make them female?) "Alouette" as they trade their pelts with the Natives up and down the St. Lawrence River.

At January 10, 2007 10:09 AM, Blogger cube replied to my musings ...

Oh, tell me about it. I'm a Bucs fan. I couldn't wait for them to get rid of Bruce, the gay buccanear, and the horrid orange.

I'm happy with the new uniforms.

At January 10, 2007 11:23 AM, Blogger Metal Mark replied to my musings ...

I think the worse thing about the old Bucs helmet was the color scheme more than the picture. It was like "Oh, all of the cool color schemes have been taken so you guys get orange and red. Good luck making that work".
Curare, as a Broncos fan I liked the old logo better. However these numbers are what matters:
old logo - 0-4 in Super Bowls
new logo - 2-0 in Super Bowls

At January 10, 2007 11:59 AM, Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen replied to my musings ...

" Not that silly kicking game you all obsess over."

That made me chuckle...;)

And, it's probably just me...but I always thought that pirate on the Buc's helmets was a hottie.

Apparently I am not getting enough, huh? ;)

At January 10, 2007 2:01 PM, Blogger Jenn replied to my musings ...

Sooo... what happens when the bases are loaded?


At January 10, 2007 3:40 PM, Blogger Tai replied to my musings ...

I dunno, that wink is a little saucy, don't ya think?

At January 10, 2007 8:07 PM, Anonymous Bruce(not the gay Buccaneer) replied to my musings ...

I used to be a helmet freak back in the day, myself. Before last season, the Cardinals "updated" the bird on the helmet, and gave him a sterner look. Too bad the bird is the most ferocious thing about the team.
I know it's a symbol of the city, but I've never liked the fleur de lis the Saints use.

At January 10, 2007 9:22 PM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Here's something for you to research:

Why is the logo on the Steelers helmet only on one side?

(I know the answer, but want to see if you do.)

At January 12, 2007 10:07 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Phoenix: You're right. And it rubs off--Detroit is really close to Ohio, and the Lions' helmet sucks, too.

Curare: I don't know CFL logos. Is it a picture of lumber? I mean ... who's actually familiar with the CFL?!?

Perplexio: Now I know.

Cube: Tampa Bay's uniform and helmet seem pretty good now.

Mark: Your logic on the Broncos is flawless. I guess it's time for the Buffalo Bills to steo their helmets up.

-- david

At January 12, 2007 10:09 AM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

The Steelers adopted that Steel logo from a company that was actually in Cleveland. Ha! Their logo is on one side because Pittsburghians are obviously morons, and didn't know the helmet had two sides.

At January 12, 2007 10:11 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Stacy: Glad to make you chuckle. And Bruce the Buccaneer WAS a hottie ... to Boy George.

Jenn: You're trying to prod me into making a reference to getting to "third base." I'm resisting the urge!

Tai: Saucy? Hmmm, maybe THAT's what they were going for.

Bruce: I agree on the Saints, it always seemed a little too French for football.

Mike: Good question. I heard long ago that the logo was just a trial run, but I'm sure there's some story behind that.

-- david

At January 13, 2007 11:38 AM, Blogger Lee Ann replied to my musings ...

I will say NO to it too!
Have a great weekend!

At January 15, 2007 12:46 PM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

Tampa went from having the worst logo to the best and the color change was inspired.

At January 16, 2007 6:06 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

lee Ann: Good answer!

Fuzz: I agree. Now we need to get the Dolphins to do the same.

-- david

At January 16, 2007 6:07 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

OK, with the playoff results so far, we have these contenders: the Bears, the Saints, the Colts, and the Patriots.

Based on helmets alone, who do you choose?? Let me know ... and I'll weigh in in a couple of days.

-- david

At January 16, 2007 9:45 AM, Blogger Jeff replied to my musings ...

Surprisingly I like the old Pats helmet. As a Jets fan I may have a little bias but I love their helmet, it's classy and simple but not too simple.

If I was to choose based on helmets in the playoffs I would say. Colts over Pats in a close one, then Saints over the Bears, and in the Super Helment Bowl I would pick the Colts. Sort of like how I want things to turn out in reality.

At January 16, 2007 11:03 AM, Anonymous Bruce replied to my musings ...

As much as I've always hated the Colts, their helmet is a classic. And since I've already voiced my opinion on the Saints helmet, I'll have to go with Da Bears.

At January 18, 2007 12:14 AM, Blogger Phats replied to my musings ...

So, the Michigan helmets classic or no thanks?


At January 18, 2007 4:22 PM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

You're right about the logo. It was supposed to be to see how it looked on the helmet. The logo itself was the US Steel's official crest.

At January 18, 2007 5:49 PM, Blogger Layla replied to my musings ...

My life has felt strangely out of balance lately – like some important element was missing. Then it struck me: I somehow had lost connection with The Musings of David A! Thankfully I realized it before further damage was done to my psyche. It’s back in Bloglines where it belongs, I feel so much better!

At January 19, 2007 4:39 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Bruce: It takes a big man to admit something good about a team they hate.

Phats: MIchigan's helmet has never worked for me. Don't know why--maybe because it's from Michigan.

Mike: I heard once that the team got permission to add the "ers" to the "Steel" on the original logo. KInd of cool--a true sign of American corporate influence.

Layla: On my behalf that of my readers, welcome back. I hope you are feeling better now!

MY ANSWERS: By helmets alone, the Bears top the Saints, per Bruce's logic. The Colts trump the Pats, whose helmet now looks eerily like the Seahawks.

Go Bears!

-- david


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