Wednesday, May 15, 2019

My Favorite Facemask and a New Discovery

By John Turney
I am not sure why but I've always been interested in football equipment, especially helmets and facemasks (cleats, too).  And for whatever reason, my favorite mask is what is known as the 'JOP'. Again, I am not sure why but maybe it has to do with the fact that in 1972 my father got me a subscription to Sports Illustrated and about six months into it the above cover to SI arrived at our door.

Regardless, in all the interim years I have learned that have been many iterations of that mask and they came out in sequence, often about every two years (especially in the 1960s). So, I will try and capture, visually, as many as I've been able to find.

The 1952 JOP Cowcatcher (brown):

This first one is the 1956 JOP "Cowcatcher that Joe Namath wore from 1975-77:

Next is the 1961 Butterfly. It has an attachment of screws at the top and screws on the side:

This is not a production 1964 Dungard JOP, they didn't make it sans a nose bar, rather, the nose bar has been sawed out, giving this a JOP look

Then in 1964, there was the Butterfly clip, with screws on top and clips on the side:

1966 brought all clips:

In 1967, in an off year, I understand this is the thin wires version:

In 1968 it was the square jaw versions:

I don't know the year but we were informed by Helmet Hut that this was a prototype that was never produced, but here it is on JJ Jones in 1975. This is the new discovery. Though I'd seen Jones' football card in 1976, it was not clear enough to see this was a rare mask.

In 1978 Steve Pisarkiewicz wore this, it is similar to the one Jones ware, but appears to be a bit more narrow:

In 1970 this was the version:

Riddell did their own version of the JOP in the 1970s:

This is the late-1970s JOP XL:

If anyone can find the good photo used for this next mask, please post it if you can. It's one JOP I don't have a great shot of. Pretty sure it's a Dunguard "Supermask" NJOP with nose bar sawed out or if Dungard made a JOP version ... I think it is a hacksaw job, but want to confirm. This is a Cliff Spohn artist rendering of it.
Here is a shot of that mask, but it is a screengrab from a television version of a game and is not too detailed. It may be a mask with the nosebar sawed out, but again, I am not sure—

This is the red (normal size) double-wire JOP which is the early 1980s The second DW wire on red dots was straight.. Green dots had the bend on the side connection.:

And this is a green dot version, too:

This is the DW JOP with extra bars:

This is an early version of the DW JOP XL:

Also, early 1980s is a thick single wire:

And later, the same mask, only thin wires:

This is the USFL mask version of the JOP on Otis Wilson:

Howie Long with a double wire and a U-bar added:

And the single wire version with U-Bar:

This was pretty common, a reinforced (double top wire) and the double wire below:

Reinforced double wite with built-in U-Bar:

Reinforced double wire with no U-Bar:

Reinforced (top double wire):

The reinforced single wite with mini U-Bar:

Only thing missing is a Kra-Lite, but they didn't make one but this may be one with nose bar sawed out.

I lost track after that, but this is closest to it now. Others may send me pics to add to the list.


  1. (odd specific topic, but....) John, didn't I read you saying recently that you liked the "6 degrees of separation"? I was playing with it the last couple days and the best I could come up with is a combination of 9 going back to in: George Trafton played with the 1920 Decatur Staleys and was teammates with Bronko Nagurski in 32...Nagurski with Bulldog Turner in 43...Turner with (of course) George Blanda in 49, Blanda with Ray Guy in 75, Guy with Don Mosebar in 94, Mosebar with Chester McGlockton with the Jets in 03, McGlockton with Santanta Moss who in 14 was teammates with Trent Williams in Washington (and a number of others) who are still there going into 19 (and season 100)….is there another path to 9? or better yet 8 or even 7 degrees of separation?

  2. I can find plenty of games on YouTube where Ted Watts of the Raiders is wearing that Dungard mask in the painting of Dave Casper you shared. Unfortunately the best image is the thumbnail for this video where Watts is just behind and to the left of his teammate.