National Football League


General Comments

The images for historical NFL helmets illustrated on the various pages for each division are based very heavily on information derived from one particular web site, Mike Stanhope's NFL Helmet page, and were mostly done in the period 1999- 2000. The dates of use for each helmet and the accompanying comments are also derived primarily from this source, which appears to have been very carefully researched and which I believe to be highly accurate, though I have made a number of additions through the years and have found a small number of apparent errors. As with the colleges, I am only going back to 1960 for the present time, due primarily to the substantially different facemask shapes in use prior to then (I don't have an appropriate "template" on which to base representations of helmets from that era), and due to the scarcity of good color photographs from the 1950s and earlier. Helmets for teams that have changed names or have been relocated are placed in the section for the franchise's current name (i.e, the Houston Oilers helmets are placed in the Tennessee Titans section on the AFC South page), with the exception of the Cleveland Browns.

In 1994, as part of the NFL's celebration of its 75th anniversary, most teams wore for at least a few games uniforms and helmets designed to resemble those from some earlier year in the team's history. While some teams wore the "throwback" uniforms for only a few games, others used them for most of the season, but I do not have information about for which specific games the special helmets were used. The helmet illustrations for these 1994 helmets are labelled as "1994 special" on the various pages. An interesting web site about these 1994 helmets can be found here.

Please click on the links below to see the page for each division.

NFC West * AFC West
NFC North * AFC North
NFC South * AFC South
NFC East * AFC East

NFL History

The links below will open new browser windows presenting lists of NFL Super Bowl, Conference, and Divisional champions in "Helmet Project" format. The Super Bowl and Conference champions are listed since the first Super Bowl game; the Divisional champions are listed back to 1970, the first year of the NFL's six-division format and of the AFL-NFL merger. The years listed refer to the football season in question, rather than the dates when the championship game was played (for example, "2007" is listed for the New York Giants' recent Super Bowl victory (played in 2008), which occurred at the end of the 2007 football season).

After careful consideration, I elected to display the current helmet for each team on these pages, rather than the one used by the team during the year listed, to more clearly illustrate the ebb and flow of power among the teams through the years. The use of multiple helmets for each team in such a display would interfere with the eye's ability to grasp the underlying patterns, such as the prolonged dominance of a small number of teams in the 1970s, and the emergence of great parity since about 1990. Besides, you can always see what helmet design team X wore in year XXXX on the divisional pages at the links further up on this page.

Super Bowl champions
NFC Championship Game winners * AFC Championship Game winners
NFC East Champions * AFC East Champions
NFC North/Central Champions * AFC North/Central Champions
NFC West Champions * AFC West Champions
NFC South Champions * AFC South Champions

The Pro Bowl

At the end of each NFL season since 1939, the league has held an exhibition game featuring the players deemed to have excelled during the previous season. Prior to 1971, the Pro Bowl was a game between teams representing the league's Eastern and Western Conferences; since 1971, the two teams have represented the American Conference and the National Conference.

Apparently from the game played January 29, 1979 to present, the players selected for the Pro Bowl game have worn the helmets of their respective NFL teams during the game, but prior to 1979, a single helmet design was used by all players on each team. Six pairs of helmet designs used during the period 1960 through 1978 have been identified (those shown below). Some of the discrepancies related to the dates of use of these designs may be due to the fact that the Pro Bowl game played in January of Year X is often referred to as the "(Year X-1) Pro Bowl".

Photographs from many Pro Bowl games can be found at this web site.

c.1950s - 1965

Eastern Conference Western Conference

1966 - 1969

Eastern Conference Western Conference

1970

Eastern Conference Western Conference

The logo worn on these helmets commemorated the NFL's 50th anniversary.


1974

American Conference National Conference

1976

American Conference National Conference

1971 - 1973; 1975; 1977 - 1978

American Conference National Conference