Friday, March 3, 2017

San Diego Charger Facemask Oddity

LOOKING BACK
By John Turney

THis 1975 Topps card of Joe Beauchamp shows a Dungard-looking mask, from a photo taken in 1974. However, it seems a bit wide to be the normal DG-210, though it very well may be. The bars seem thinner than other masks.

We stumbled across this recently and wonder, in this post, if it isn't the same type mask as the one below. It's a Dungard style but perhaps with steel bars, rather than the traditional aluminum that Dungard used.




Dungard did expand into steel bars in what they called the "Supermask" around this same time:
Perhaps the above Charger mask was part of their attempts to move away from the aluminum masks they were noted for. We would love to see anyone's comments who knows for sure if the mask on the Charger helmet had a reference or part number and if it was actually used. It's something we'd not seen before and are curious as to its origins.

Update: We now think that this is a Riddell mask, that according to Helmet Hut is a 1960s creation. Randy Gradishar wore a NJOP versions, Rob Lytle wore the same is Beauchamp wore and Steve Foley wore a NOP version.

Here is the NJOP version, labeled a Riddell 340 by Helmet Hut who we consider the top expert in helmet sand masks, though there are some others as well who do great work. 

1 comment:

  1. John,
    I was the Business Manager for the Chargers in 1973 the year we hired Sid Brooks as the Equipment Manager. That year a new uniform was designed, including the darker blue jerseys (Harland Savare wanted the team to look more "fierce" like the NY Giants he played for. Also the design included a yellow gold face mask. That year Sid and I went to the National Sporting Goods show in Chicago with the sole purpose of getting Riddell or someone to manufacture a colored face mask. It was a tough sell. Initially Riddell told us it was not possible. I countered with you make them in the color grey why can you make a yellow one? Their answer was they could not change their process. Even though I tried to convince them this would be a great marketing campaign surely every team from Pop Warner to the Pros would want a color coordinated face mask, instead of selling replacements, they would get an order for the whole team. It was not convincing enough for Riddle to agree to do this. So Sid and I went down the aisle and met Dr. Dungard (a Dentist). He was introducing his aluminum face mask. We ask him if he could make it in any color and he indicated it would not be a problem. He agreed to make some prototypes and send them to us. We told him if he could do it he would get a large portion of our business. We promptly returned to the Riddell booth and informed them we would not be purchasing any of their face masks. Of course they were shocked and later that day informed us they would have their production department look into the colored face mask and also send us some samples. As it turned out they were able to produce the yellow face mask in the correct color. We wound up making a deal with both manufacturers to give us a 1 year exclusivity, before they went into production on other colors. Early on the only issue we had was the Riddell double bar and single bar face masks. Although those were being fazed out many of our players were still wearing them. They were made of a non metal composite material, and did not have a "latex coating" applied to them. So we improvised and had some paint mixed by our local paint company, and put into spray cans. Sid and his staff repainted those for every game until they were finally fazed out for a more protective mask. Of course after 1973 my prediction came true and many teams from Pop Warner through the Pros were purchasing colored face masks from both manufacturers. Sid and I always joked we should have received a royalty for our idea, just a nickle a mask would have been a nice check every year. Oh well. We also made a deal with Adidas that year and became the first team to wear a colored shoe.
    Bob Hood

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