The Daily Helmet: What’s A Hemet without Stripes?
Of the current 32 teams in the NFL, thirteen do not have helmet stripes (I counted the Bengals and Seahawks). One of my favorite elements of any good helmet design is a great stripe. As with anything, there are many different stripe patterns, but I tend to like the classics. All of these newfangled stripes that started to appear in the 1990s just are not to me. I just think overall, a helmet looks better with a nice set of stripes. Teams like the Cardinals, Bears and Chiefs I give a pass, but teams like the Texans, Patriots and Falcons should absolutely add stripes. The new Jets helmet also is missing stripes, but I think overall, I am okay with it, given the connection to the last time they had green helmets.
My Favorite Style Stripes
of all the different variety of stripes my favorite has to be what is commonly referred to as NFL stripes or multi-colored. Normally this stripe is a 1″ center stripe immediately surrounded by two half inch stripes, but the multi-colored stripe can have variations of stripe sizes. This is the classic stripe pattern you will see on the Saints, Packers, Bills (although tapered), Browns, 49ers and Cowboys. Sadly, the Falcons, Lions, Broncos and Buccaneers used to have this great stripe pattern, but abandoned them for new stripe styles like the Lions or completely ditched a helmet stripe like the Falcons and Bucs.
My second favorite stripe pattern is the Auburn stripe or Multi-colored spaced stripe. The only team left that still basically uses that pattern is the Redskins, who use wide variation of the Auburn Stripe. Teams who used the pattern in the past included the Dolphins, Bills, Oilers and Patriots.
Several teams have the minimum number of stripes to make the list of striped teams. I have no problem with a single stripe. It is simple, classic and timeless. The Raiders, Giants, Steelers and Colts all have classic uniforms and single stripes.
In the 1990s teams started to stray from traditional stripe patterns to something that I guess would be considered modern. The first NFL team to have a modern style stripe was the Carolina Panthers. I guess the stripe was meant to be sleek, perhaps a claw mark? I don’t know. While it sort of works on their helmets, I would have preferred something more traditional. A year later the Ravens franchise was born and along came another team with modern Stripes. In 1997 the Broncos would switch from their traditional stripe and go with their own modern style stripe, which never really worked for me, but I could say that about their whole uniform. When the Oilers name was retired and the franchise became the Titans, they would also have a modern style strip. The Seahawks, who traditionally never had a top helmet stripe, because their logo is basically a bird-stripe hybrid, did add a feather-like pattern to their helmet.
NO Stripes For You
I love a striped helmet, but there are many teams that don’t have any stripes at all. There are obvious ones, like the Rams, Vikings and Eagles that make sense. Then there are the historical teams like the Bears, Chiefs and Cardinals, that have never had stripes on their helmets. I have a real problem with teams that decided they didn’t need stripes. The patriots, Buccaneers and the worst offender, the Falcons. To me the Falcons helmet, stripes included was a thing of beauty, but they ditched their awesome logo and stripes for that helmet they wear now. Then there is the Texans, who must have really decided that they wanted the most generic and boring uniform, ever. Going stripe-less. I think a red and white NFL stripe would really upgrade the helmet, which already has a solid logo.
Other Noted Stripes:
When the Falcons debuted in 1966 their helmet has a five stripe pattern, which included two outside gold stripes. It was a tribute to their hometown college team, Georgia Tech, which was in addition to their main color scheme which was inspired by the Georgia Bulldogs. The falcons would remove the gold in 1970 and totally get rid of stripes with their 1990 uniform redesign.
For the 1976 season the Cowboys wore red,white and blue stripes to honor the United States Bicentennial.
Bills Tapered Stripe
In a uniform redesign that was very well received in 2011, the Bills did have a couple missteps in the design. One of those was the helmet stripe, which went back to the NFL stripes and was another element that was borrowed from their 1974-1983 uniforms. At first glance it seemed like a normal stripe, but the back featured a taper that was supposedly meant to simulate the stripe of the charging Buffalo. Pretty pointless if you ask me.
The Many Stripes Of The Oilers
Throughout the Oilers history they changed their helmets several times. During these changes, they also had different helmet stripes. They started out with the single stripe in 1960, switching to a five stripe pattern in 1964. In 1966 they switched to silver helmets and another five stripe variation. Then keeping the Silver, but switching to a three stripe in 1968. In 1972 they changed to another blue helmet with three stripes before finally settling on a white helmet in 1975 with the Auburn style stripes until they moved to Tennessee. and became the Titans.