By John Turney
|Casares with Navy blue mask
We know that the first facemasks with color in the NFL were in 1974 when the Chargers (yellow) and the Chiefs (white) wore non-grey facemasks as a team. Soon after others teams followed.
However, in the late-1950s and early 1960s individual players wore masks with color that seemed to not be painted but manufactured that way. We think they are WIlson masks.
Among those who wore them were Johnny Unitas and Rick Casares. Later, it seems the mask Casaras wore was passed down to Billy Wade and perhaps even Ron Smith in the early 1970s, though we cannot be sure.
Here are some shots—
|Unitas with blue mask
|Billy Wade, early to mid-1960s
|Rom Smith in early 1970s