Thursday, June 30, 2016

Helmet Oddity: The Off-Silver Color of the Detroit Lions Helmets in the Early 1970s

By John Turney

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 was asked if the Lions ever wore gold helemtshis 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.


  1. Still better uniforms than what they currently sport!

  2. these might be of use

  3. If motorcycle helmets cover all the way to the base of the skull you have a greater chance of obtaining less injury and you are less likely to die from an accident.

  4. It's a great helmet. It's really amazing. I think it's important for everyone.Thanks for sharing

  5. i could never figure out why the color pallet of the Lions was silver in the first place..when thinking of a lion, gold, red and yellow come to mind..but oh well, it's too late now

  6. Indeed these are some amazing vintage helmets. It's really amazing. I think it's important for everyone.Thanks.

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