The Daily Helmet: They Sold Officially Licenced Helmet Decals?

The Daily

Officially Licenced Helmet Decals?

One of the most common questions I get when I post pictures of my custom refurbished helmets is “Where do you got the decals?”. My answer to that question 99% of the time is: eBay. There are numerous sellers that sell full size helmet decals. They vary in quality and price and they are all unofficial replicas of the the real thing. Some guys who make and sell helmets have their own printers who are willing to print up the decals for them, but the risk of being hit with trademark infringement is always there. The NFL controls all of its logos and theoretically could send their teams of lawyers after you and have the legal right to confiscate all of your inventory and have you imposed with fines. The NFL lawyers are scary, so most people cease operations as soon as they get the cease and desist letter. One of the sellers I bought a bunch of decal sets from had a fantastic selection of every NFL team and throwbacks, as well as USFL, college and CFL. Then his website disappeared. He later emailed me that he still had some inventory left, but he was essentially shut down by the NCAA trademark police, who at times can be more ruthless than the NFL. That’s why most decal printers will not publically sell trademarked stuff. That doesn’t mean there is a shortage of available decals. Ebay is loaded with them. Just search for your team followed by “Full Size Helmet Decals” and you should be able to find plenty of options. The quality and price will vary, so if you find a good seller, stick with them as long as you can.

Why Doesn’t The NFL Sell Them?

One thing that would make sense and curb the amount of bootleg decals would be the NFL manufacturing and selling high quality decals. Decals that are to the exact specifications of the ones you see on the On-Field helmets. It makes sense, but I have always said, it will never happen. The NFL isn’t going to sell an item that they could charge for at most $30-$40, that could easily be applied to a helmet and sold for at least triple that price by a helmet customizer. Other leagues, specifically the NHL and MLB, both sell official helmet decals, but the demand for hockey helmets and baseball helmets probably just isn’t as high as a full size college or football helmet. So I have always thought the NFL would never and have never sold officially licenced helmet decals. I was wrong, sort of.

While looking at posts on one of the helmet groups I belong to on Facebook, I saw someone selling this Houston Oilers Authentic NFL Helmet Decal from 1991. The packaging specifically says that the decal is “the same decal used throughout the league”. The package is in excellent shape and the fact that it is an Oilers decal makes it even better. Essentially, they were selling single helmet decals as a decorative sticker for your car or wherever else you would want to put it. Interestingly, no where on the package does it suggest that you put it on an actual helmet. I don’t know how long or how much these were sold for. I haven’t even been able to track down anymore. It is a cool and so far unique item, that I will be displaying in the package. If you see any others or know something about how they originally retailed, let me know. I’d be interested to see if there are anymore out there.

Project Throwback: Major Refurb Job

A while back, I acquired a bag of Riddell VSR4 shells from Medina High School in Western New York. The Mustangs have a SMU look. These helmets, though, were in poor shape. Many of them were repainted and due to that the glue from the decals reacted with the paint, making for a heavily damaged shell. It took a month or so of stripping and sanding before I could prime the shell and sand some more. Finally getting it smooth enough to apply the color coat. I decided to use a mask I had and make a Cortez Kennedy-like Seattle Seahawks replica. All and all the work it to get this helmet in shape worked out.

Collector’s Corner

I still have my scholastic NFL helmet poster. Miracuously I still had it all these years later and it was still in mint shape. A couple years ago I finally was able to frame it and now it is displayed in the Sports Lair. It is from the late 80s, but you can find ones from the 70s as well. I also added to my collection, a 1983 Kellogg’s standings board poster with multiple helmet decals. I love the helmet designs that came with this poster. I believe they were designed to be movable so you could adjust the standings throughout the season. This made it difficult to get them to stay, but i was able to get it framed, using the final 1983 standings.

Ebay finds!

  • Really love this vintage sleeping bag. not sure if I would fit in it, though.
  • Stay dry this spring with this most excellent Chiefs rain Jacket
  • Get yourself a couple Avon medallions. They originally went on an aftershave bottle, but these look good on their own. Bucs and Vikings here.

What I Watched last Night:

Can’t get enough Houston Oilers. I decided to watch the 1988 Thanksgiving game between the Oilers and the Dallas Cowboys. This was pre-Jimmy, Pre-Emmitt, Pre-Aikman Dallas. Irvin was there, but Dick and Merlin were talking about how he is a promising receiver. The Cowboys also had a 37-year old Ed “Too Tall” Jones (best nickname ever). The Oilers would win 25-17 in Tom Landry’s final Thanksgiving game as the Cowboys’ head coach.

That’s it for today.

Coming Tomorrow: 3D Hemet Project Overview and my NFL Stamp Collection!