Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Great 2009 NFL Helmet-Off

Talk about the dog days of summer. Our biggest news right now is old news: Darrius Heyward-Bey needs a cane to walk. Michael Huff is on the hot seat. JaMarcus Russell needs to prove himself. We need to figure out how to stop the run. Blah, blah, blah...

So to help cure our collective boredom, I have devised The Great 2009 NFL Helmet-Off, a blow-by-blow divisional ranking of team helmets followed by exciting postseason action.

Below is my take on the sartorial splendor of NFL lids. What's your take? Where have I gone wrong? Remember, this is for helmets only, so you can't dock, say, the Titans for their Transformers-style jerseys or the Broncos for their pajama pants.

(If you are on Twitter, please re-tweet my tweet on this @RaiderTake with the tag #helmetoff)

Let the games begin...

AFC West
Oakland Raiders - Hands down, the best. Epic.
San Diego Chargers - Gotta love the return to the white helmets
Kansas City Chiefs - Classic and true, no complaints.
Denver Broncos - Awful and many Broncos fans

AFC North
Pittsburgh Steelers - Tough and traditional, love it.
Baltimore Ravens - This division sucks for helmets, grading on a curve.
Cleveland Browns - No, no logo is not cool, sorry.
Cincinnati Bengals - An abomination, someone should be held accountable.

AFC South
Indianapolis Colts - Clean and simple, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Tennesse Titans - Eccentric in a hip sort of way.
Houston Texans - Close to a winner, but something's just not right.
Jacksonville Jaguars - Can't name a single color on that helmet.

AFC East
New York Jets - Sort of ugly, but
Miami Dolphins - A bit wimpy, but classic and unique.
New England Patriots - An update gone horribly wrong.
Buffalo Bills - See Patriots.

NFC West
Arizona Cardinals - Always loved it, and the recent update was sensible enough.
San Francisco 49ers - Pains me to say it, but it's a strong look.
St. Louis Rams - Go back to the blue and white, or even yellow, and you trump the Niners
Seattle Seahawks - My eyes, my eyes!

NFC North
Chicago Bears - The strongest in a strong division.
Green Bay Packers - A bit gaudy, but distinctive and oddly dignified.
Minnesota Vikings - The new sheen knocks them down a notch.
Detroit Lions - Not bad, but last as always.

NFC South
New Orleans Saints - Crisp and classic.
Atlanta Falcons - Helped by a weak division, old helmets were better.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Not great, but better than the original.
Carolina Panthers - Teal should be banned. The lame semi-stripe doesn't help.

NFC East
Dallas Cowboys - Undeniably sweet.
Washington Redskins - It's not pretty, but it delivers the goods.
Philadelphia Eagles - I want to like it more, but I can't.
New York Giants - That's all they can come up with?

Wild Card Weekend
Chargers upset the Colts
Jets beat the Titans
Packers upset the Saints
Bears beat the 49ers

Divisional Playoffs
Raiders trounce the Jets
Steelers beat the Chargers
Cowboys beat the Cardinals
Bears beat the Packers

Raiders beat the Steelers
Cowboys beat the Bears

Super Bowl
Raiders steamroll the Cowboys


Blogger nyraider said...

There's no bias here. Right? Shamefully, I must agree.

IMO, the Browns have the worst helmets, which is understandable since they have nothing to work with accept a color... and a bad one at that.

9:06 AM  
Blogger H said...

Sorry, Bears over the Girls. Otherwise you're on target.


10:08 AM  
Blogger H said...

Gaudy and Dignified?


10:15 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I know, it doesn't make sense. That's why I said "oddly" dignified. So they're kind of loud and gaudy, yet it all comes together in a sort of stately way.

10:16 AM  
Blogger H said...

Ok, I see. How about their fans? They talk about us, but what about an entire stadium filled with folks wearing cheese wedges on their heads. What's up with that?

At least our guys show imagination and individualism. And, we are the most imitated fan base in the NFL.


10:31 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Yeah, or pig noses and dog faces. In Kansas City, they wear clown tights.

10:46 AM  
Blogger ButteryPat said...


Only they don't even work with that color and nonsensically have orange helmets. It doesn't make any sense. The Bengals may have the true worst helmets in the league, but I think the Browns get it for that reason alone. Now, if the Bengals wore black and white stripes, that would be a similar breach of common sense.

Overall, I gotta say, it's certainly our Raider bias, but I'm in perfect lockstep that those helmets are the best. Probably followed by Dallas.

The "update" helmets are sort of a funny thing. Most of them aren't great, but the old ones were so terrible. The Bucs had a gay Frenchman on their helmet. The Pats helmet looked like it was taking a crap. I mean, I hate the Broncos uniforms as much as anybody, but I can't argue that it's worse than what they had before. Even the Bengals. Sure, the stripy helmets are atrocious, but remember that plain orange one that said Bengals? Man that's an ugly helmet.

Most of this, though, I'm in complete agreement on, with just a couple of switches. Scary, though, because I've said almost the exact same thing about the Texans. The colors are fine, the logo isn't bad, but it just doesn't seem to come together, does it? I think it may be the slightly off-center way they have the logo. I'd take the Chiefs over the Chargers, though, and the Dolphins over the Jets. The NFC North is probably the hardest to rank, because those are all simple, classic designs. But I'd probably rank the Lions, Bears, Packers and Vikings in that order. Mostly because I don't really like the purple, and I also don't like the Vikings. :)

1:12 PM  
Blogger RaiderCat said...

After having sifted through all of the helmet information, I was quite pleasantly surprised with your close!

Whether or not your take is pro-con in re: our General Manager (or lack thereof), you're still picking the Raiders to go all of the way...!

Did that glass switch to half-full again my friend? Nevertheless, it's nice to see!

The Jets "...ugly...yet cool"??? Funny thing is, I've often wondered how one could optimally depict a "Jet". Perhaps a cross-section of the Raptor Jet Fighter? Still, "Jets" on the side of the helmet is weak!

I actually like some of the updated designs, where you obviously prefer old-school. Maybe that's because you can't improve on perfection - that is, our one-eyed pirate.

The others? Well, all could use improvement!


2:04 PM  
Anonymous Arkansan Raider said...

R.I.P. Michael Jackson.

Not Raiders-related, nor was I much of a fan of his, but MJ definitely put his stamp, or rather his moonwalk, on musical and cultural history.


4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here are my helmet comments... using RT's rankings (lazy copy and paste)

AFC West
Oakland Raiders - classic
San Diego Chargers - gay
Kansas City Chiefs - moderately gay
Denver Broncos - reminds me of the USFL

AFC North
Pittsburgh Steelers - helmet and towel are weak as hell.
Baltimore Ravens - weird. If Germany circa 1933 had a helmet this would be it.
Cleveland Browns - hands down the worst thing ever designed. They might as well be the "Turds".
Cincinnati Bengals - see chargers comment above

AFC South
Indianapolis Colts - I can almost smell the horse's ass with this one. Stinks.
Tennesse Titans - So weak. Can't even call it a USFL helmet. Weaker. Akron zips?
Houston Texans - So uninteresting that I cannot even think of what it looks like.
Jacksonville Jaguars - Note to the jags... the helmet does not make you tough. Weak.
AFC East
New York Jets - Like this one okay.
Miami Dolphins - Absolutely girlish. No one fears a damn fish unless it's a shark. Try again.
New England Patriots - USFL, but it beats the horribly gay Ethan Allen character they used to have that was bent over as if in prison.
Buffalo Bills - the whole name, uniform, everthing... beyond weak. never understood this franchise.

NFC West
Arizona Cardinals - Cardinals, Orioles, Blue Jays... not intimidating. what's next, the hummingbirds?
San Francisco 49ers - never understood it. A gold reference? Colors are cool, but miners aren't very scary.
St. Louis Rams - Might as well be a damn goat on the side of it. Makes them look stupid.
Seattle Seahawks - They spent no time thinking up the name or the uniforms. A very old person designed the whole thing.
NFC North
Chicago Bears - decent.
Green Bay Packers - Girly and questionable.
Minnesota Vikings - Cool. Ever hear of a Scandinavian being pissed about political correctness here? Nope. Be proud of your heritage.
Detroit Lions - Decent, but they should play outdoors (same for vikes) until then they are pansies.

NFC South
New Orleans Saints - one word: awful.
Atlanta Falcons - try again falcons. It's just not working.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - An upgrade from the old orange uglies, but looks like liberace designed it.
Carolina Panthers - what a hangover looks like. Ugly.
NFC East
Dallas Cowboys - A damn star? Who designed that, a 4 year old? About as weak as the Hardee's franchise star. No creativity at all.
Washington Redskins - do they still have the Chief on the helmets? If so, classic. Like it. mean and nasty.
Philadelphia Eagles - C--
New York Giants - Like it okay since they have the NY on the helmet again.

4:55 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Buttery Pat - That's orange? I've seen better.

One of the great things about the Raiders is that they don't try to reinvent their logo every couple years like other teams do. Don't fix it if it ain't broke.

This all goes back to branding, and the Raiders have it. That's why they can get away with treating their fans as badly as they do, with piss poor PR and marketing. They're sure we're gonna buy it anyway....

5:06 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

My preference towards helmets is a combination of many factors.

* the design matches the uniform colors; sorry Cleveland but the primary color of your helmet should be brown

* the logo is easily identifyable and matches the team's name; sorry Giants, Jets, 49ers but spelling the name isn't the same as an actual drawing of the team name

* it matches the franchise or city's "personality" in a unique way; sorry Indy but a "Colt" isn't exactly a representation of your city

* the helmet has remained the same without major modifications; sorry Bucs, Donkeys, Pats, Titans, Rams but the constant tinkering of your logo, team colors, design is giving me a migraine

* the colors work together and there is a sharp contrast and/or the colors naturally go together; sorry Jags and Fins but your color scheme is too busy or hard to see

My Top 5 Helmets with Comments:

1. Oakland Raiders - Classic design from the color scheme, single black stripe for symmetry, and the best logo in professional sports.

2. Dallas Cowboys - I hate the team but the 'Star' is clean & clearly represents the lone star state. A traditional yet modern look.

3. New Orleans Saints - Black and gold go well together and the french leaf clearly represents the city of New Orleans

4. Minnesota Vikings - I'm not a big fan of the color purple per se but it really fits the Vikings. The nordic horn is simple but bold. The team name, the city, state (cold), and scandanvia influence all comes together and makes perfect sense.

5. Chicago Bears - A throwback, traditional, neo classic where the "C" is the perfect font to represent old school Chicago. Understated yet tough.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Side Note:

It will be interesting to see the Raiders don their 1963 helmet for the opener vs. the Chargers.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Calico Jack, you've raised the game an intellectual notch or three. I was ranking on a sheer graphical basis, but those are good points about matching the character of the city, etc.

By the way, I thought that you'd enjoy this very recent Tweet from Ocho Cinco himself: "Doesnt the guy in the beer commercial for Dos Equis remind of that cool pimp guy in Kill Bill, anybody know who i am talking about"

7:13 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

RT: Thanks. As far as the "most interesting man in the world" ... he reminds me of a very cool, latino version of Charleton Heston.

This whole tweeting world is a very interesting development in mass communcation.

Just recently Ochocinco and Merriman had a "Tweet Trash Talk" session where both tweeted back and forth with some harsh words.

Instead of coaches hanging "bulletin board" material from an old fish wrap, the next progression in the modern world is some coach on his iPhone showing a player what another player tweeted about him. Aye caramba!

One last note on team names ...

I have never quite understood why when some franchises moves from one city to another, why the team keeps the exising team name.

It has never made sense to me why a team wouldn't change the franchise name to fit their new city.

A couple comical examples ...

Minneapolis Lakers for the 10,000 lakes to ... LA Lakers?

New Orleans Jazz for the hotbed of jazz music and clubs to ... Utah Jazz where a mormon couldn't find a jazz club or jazz music if his life depened on it.

9:50 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...


I have to agree with you for the most part on the helmits except for da Bears....All it has is a Big-C and nothing that demonstrates their mascot as a Bear....So it's black...So what...What's the red for...The bleading from being shot...

I would replace it with the "Bucks"...Very cool design and a stadium to match and their pirate haritage is documented....The Frenchman Jean Lafeatte....Home based on Galveston Island and Padrey Island TX but sailed the seas of "NO" to "TB" in search of spoiles...

As a young lad I loved the seas and everthing in it so hense I supported both the Raiders -n- the "Vikes"....But if there had been the new "Bucks" logo I would have been a fan as a child no doubt... That is very shameful to say after the whipping we took from them durring that "Barrit" "SB" but the truth is the truth so I will just say it as it is...

As for the "Hawks" that's where I grew-up and the Gulls are the dominate creature in the area...Their streeming white shit paints everything and it fits their team and fans....Just a buch of crap....

Both the "Dolts" and "Lambs" are ugly...Always have been...And what could posibly be said about the
"Donkos"...The most ridiculas attempt to design a uniform ever...

To be honest I don't understand the "Squeelers" logo so I won't comment but if the "Steel City" is the theme than why not show some "Ïron"...I worked with it for 30 some years so there's lots of designs that could show that theme...

"NO" colors are cool and fit the richness of their artistic history...Atlanta should go back to what they were instead of trying to be the new "Black" team...It just dosen't work for them...

"AZ" is totally out of place with the Cardinal thing...Too damn hot for it to survive...

I was there when the team moved and locals had a naming contest so the winner was the "Phenoex Firebirds" and that would have worked....But there was some stupid contractual agreement with the NFL to block the name change...Latter the Browns chenged their names and the Oilers changed theirs so go figure...

I like "SadFrans" collors as panties on a girls ass but that's about it...Dallas looked better in the old days...

The rest are just un-eventfull but there is one that stands out as a debachery..."NE"....They changed their design just in time to be paraded around the world by "SOB"-Bush as the world champs and symbole of everything American as a savior...Their road there was tainted with the "Snow-Job" and continued help from the "Zebras"...Some could excuse that as coencidence but I can not...Ther was a secreate "Plot" to everything that occoured durring that adminestration and that one is NO exception...

PantyRaider....Savior My Ass!!!!/_

9:51 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

NFL makes this available internationally but it's restricted within US Airspace...But can that be tweeked...

If I buy it when the new season starts I would like to have it when I come back for a few months around November...

Any sugestions...

PantyRaider...The Pirate!!!/_

10:07 PM  
Blogger H said...


See what I mean, Calico – the voice of reason. Though I would move Chicago up to 2 and drop Dallas to 5. But, then again I can’t like anything Dallas. Chicago is simple, understated and Classic. Dallas is a bit too flashy for me.


Sometimes it makes sense to keep the team name. After ’58 and Johnny U’s run it would be a shame to not have a “Colts” franchise in the league.

As far as the Fish go, having Flipper on your helmet doesn’t exactly strike fear like a guy with an eye patch wearing a helmet with no face mask and big swords. I mean Dolphins have been known to gang up and kill sharks, but they are known as the water world version of Lassie.

Seattle is a puzzlement since there is no such bird as a Seahawk. But I guess that sounds better than the Seattle Ospreys. And, the Midgets should remove the Y and replace it with a J until they actually start playing in New York again.


I’ve probably asked this before, but can you get Directv over there? If so, you could just hook up with Sunday Ticket.


5:03 AM  
Anonymous gary said...


If Jruss doesn't throw a single TD next season he will still have thrown 15 more TD's than Rich Gannon did in his first three years in the NFL, and if he reaches his first pro-bowl as quickly as Gannon, it will be in the year 2020.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Nice fun facts Gary.

It is always a matter of perspective. However, it is also the difference in expectations. Gannon was a very nice, pleasant surprise as the #98 pick in the draft (4th round) while Russell is suppose to be the franchise savior based on his #1 draft status and contract.

I personally believe that Russell is right on schedule with his career progression.

This season should be the next big step for Russell. He needs to establish himself as a QB who can not only manage the game but also be a difference maker.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous gary said...

Calico... my biggest hope for Jruss is he has enough field awareness to keep teams honest in stopping the run.

That's really going to be his main job with the Raiders almost certainly a "run-first" team again.

It doesn't seem like THAT hard of a job, but I have never played QB.

Gee... there's 9 in the box, a hot-read is the fly pattern?

11:14 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...


DirectTV would make it easy but here they are a bit behind sechedual on tech...Only now are they running fiber-op to this area and I get such conflicting reports if it's here or not...No one really understand the tech so can't speak about it...What's really funny is when one tries as though I wouldn't understand that they "Know No-Thing"...Pure stupidity...We have grown accoustom to it for what...30 plus years...They have never seen it...I worked with it in 1979 at USU and it wasn't new than...

In Thailand they have some tech but the application of it is very frustrating...So my building has access to 1 or 2 very slow internet providers but the new and improved broad-band system is not allowed in the building...I guess their waiting for a pay-off to allow it to be run...Gotta spike the pot or nothing gets done...

So I have an Air-Card that cost 4000B...$125...And a sim that cost 50B + 200B/mo for 100 hrs which I don't use enough of...So about $6/mo for a slow service threw the GSM Phone network...Somewhere around 70kbs but not constant at that speed...Like 7-8kps is what shows up on the comp at times...For cring out load it takes a min or 2 for this blog to load...

The only option is to go to the internet cafe where they have the service but also have hours of operation...It's cheap...Only $0.25-50/hr...But 10:00am game time is 1:00am here...A 1:00 game is at 4:00am...The 5:00 night game is one hour before they open...8:00am...So you get the picture...

Sometimes I just pay them to stay open for me and sit and wait for the game...Lots of fun...

PantyRaider...Fan Frustrations!!!/_

11:38 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Gary: You are right. We will be a run oriented team BUT Russell will need to establish the Raiders passing attack as a legitimate threat. Probably the biggest difference Russell can make is how he leads the team in their red zone offense. The difference between a FG and TD is huge.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"Jacksonville Jaguars - Can't name a single color on that helmet."

Leave it to a Raider fan to not be able to name BLACK on the Jaguars helmet. How Raider of you.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Yeah, how Raider fan of me to know that the Jaguars have modified their helmets for 2009, adding a glitter effect that creates a morphing color impression:

"But the most radical change is in the helmets, which will now be painted with what's called a Spectra-Flair bright silver pigment that produces a rainbow-like effect, allowing the helmets to change colors, depending on the angle of the light hitting them."

Since Raiders fans are the most informed fans in the NFL, yes, you are right, it is very Raider fan of me to know this.

And it's very Other 31 Team fan of you not to know.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! fantastic topic, but will this really work?

11:44 AM  

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