Some of you who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s and followed NFL football may remember that in several product lines that featured helmets the Detroit Lions silver helmet was a different hue than other silver helmets like the Cowboys or Raiders.
We've posted that the Raiders equipment manager liked to tweak the color of the Raiders helmets from year to year, but that didn't occur with the Lions helmets.
Above is a set of cardboard helmets and as you can see there is a different tone, however in our view this is an exaggerated example, but it does illustrate the maker of the product was working with a different hue than Dallas or Oakland's hue.
Here is a display of some NFL game-used helmets. Not the Lions color compared to the Seahawks, Cowboys (that has a blue hue) and Raiders.
And the off-color seemed to be a theme in lots of NFL helmet products as well.
Here is 1970s helmet plaque:
And a Rawlings kids helmet:
There was something to it as you can tell from these shots, there is a slight gold tone or hue to them:
Some we've discussed this with think it may go back the the1950s when there was also a time when the helmets had a gold hue, but that disappeared, as far as we are aware in the 1960s. Here are some shots from the 1950s:
Dr. Del Rye of Helmet Hut.com was asked if the Lions ever wore gold helemts, his answer is found here. Essentially, he says the gold hue was caused by the products in the helmet, when they aged, that caused a yellowing finish.
But, that never explained to us why the 1970s helmets has a similar, but less drastic look.
I first became familiar with Paul Zimmerman's work in 1979, especially when he chose who All-Pro team for Sports Illustrated after that season. I was perplexed because I didn't see the familiar names that were on the AP, PFWA and NEA All-Pro teams, the ones that were usually published in the NFL Record and Fact Book.
Every year after that I'd enjoy looking forward to seeing his teams. In his books he'd mentioned that began his practice of choosing his teams in the New York Post in 1969, I once called him to see if he kept copies of those teams, and he said, "You'd have to contact the Post".
Eventually, through the miracle of Interlibrary loan and microfilm, I was able to get those teams. I first published them in 1999 in All-Pros: The Modern Years.
Zim was proud of picking a guy a year before the rest of the football writers and eliminating those who were All-Pro at the end of a long string, thinking that sometimes a player got honors a year or two after he's lost his effectiveness.
I once sent him a list of his selections that seemingly preceeded the rest of the All-Pro world catching up, here are those from 1969-78:
Vern Den Herder
Lee Roy Selmon
Since Sports Illustrated and MMQB is celebrating Paul Zimmerman this week, we though we'd add our two cents. Here are his selections from 1969-78. (1979 to the end is available in Sports Illustrated Vault)
However, being honest, I had one problem with the book. In my view it seemed to have a slight "Mickey Mantle is better bias" and it showed up in two ways. First, the term "Gold Glove" did not appear in the book. Mays won twelve and Mantle three. Second, in the two appendices Barra used two baseball metrics that favored Mantle. One was Pete Palmer's player rating (TPR) and the other was Bill James's Win Shares (WS). There are other metrics, such as WAR and versions of it that are not so clear cut.
Thus, I've searched the Web and found all the metrics and put them into one chart so folks can take a look and make their own determination as to may have been better (if anyone really was).
Here are the various WAR with TPR and WS in a chart.
(click to enlarge)
With Plamer's total player rating, I added 2.5 to both to make the totals more similar to the WAR numbers, it could also be called TPR above average with 2.5 being average. I did the same for both players so this will still favor Mantle. Most analysis of the AL and NL in that era rated the average player higher in the NL than the Al due to better integration of the NL but I ignored that for TPR. Had a good analysis of what the average player in each league was, the 2.5 number I chose would be different. Perhaps 2.5 for NL and 2.2 for AL, for example.
With Bill James's Win Shares I divided it by 3.5 to make it come out to about the same as others so it would be weighted more evenly. Again, it still favors Mantle.
I also adjusted Mickey Mantle's 1963 to a full season, which helps him in the graphs down below, the 3-year, 4-year averages, etc.
You can click on links to go to source for charts.
With the passing of Buddy Ryan we thought it might be appropriate to show a few pages from Buddy Ryan's playbook, specifically the 46 scheme and a few of the blitzes from that alignment.
Here is the 46 alignment. the "J" is the left linebacker, in the 1985 version it would have been Otis Wilson. The "C" was the right linebacker, moved to the left and Wilber Marshall was that player. By 1985 the SS was Dave Duerson, Todd Bell held out and #46 Doug Plank was long gone. It was Plank's uniform number that the 46 took its name from.
This is the 46 Jayhawk alignment where the SS goes outside to the slot receiver and Charlie and Mike slide to the right.
The is the 46 Hamburger blitz. Both Jack and Charlie blitz and the defensive linemen rush upfield. It's man coverage with the weak safety taking the tight end and the middle linebacker taking the fullback and the strong safety taking the halfback.
This is the 46 Cheesburger blitz. Al most the same as Hamburger, but the strong 3-technique and the nose tackle run a loop (in other defenses it this may be called a "twist".
This one is called the 46 Mike Blitz. Below it there is a short video clip for educational and critical purposes. It is reversed in that the tight end is to the left, and Jack and Charley are to the right and Richard Dent is to the left. You can see Marshall take the tight end man to man and Otis Wilson and Mike Singeltary blitz with Wilson getting the sack.
46 Mike Blitz (for educational and criticism purposes)
This is the 46 59 blitz. In this all three linebackers blitz, but Jack is in a blitz-peel technique, meaning if back releases he takes that back but usually, that back will block him. Again it's man coverage.
This is the 46 SS blitz. Here it shows the SS blitzing through the A-gap, but that could vary depending if there is a line call that would ask the defensive linemen to twist.
This is the 46 Cover-3 when the 'backers or safety may show blitz, but fall back to a four-under three-deep zone and only the four linemen rush.
There are, obviously quite a few more, but this gives us a flavor of the 46 defense.
Here are a few excerpts from the 1993 Houston Oilers defensive manual. In most playbooks there will be goals set and a defensive philosophy and terminology expressed.
Here are the1993 Oilers defensive goals. In red we have added the actual season totals:
LOOKING BACK By John Turney
When Lawrence Taylor sacked Joe Theismann in 1985 and caused a compound fracture in Theismann's leg it was a major event. It was replayed over and over and really, it still is.
However, it shows what a stage the Monday Night Football provides for the great and the grotesque. In 1977 Gary Burley sacked Fran Tarkenton and it also resulted in the same type of fracture, but it didn't get nearly the airplay, likely due to it not occurring on MNF.
Under the player in the orange helmet is Tarkenton and you can see the terrible angle his lower leg takes as Burley's weight applies pressure.