Evolution of the New England Patriots Helmet

The New England Patriots helmet has gone through quite an evolution since their inception in 1960, from the three-cornered hat logo all the way to Flying Elvis, who we’re familiar with today.

And for good reason. The Patriots have seen success unlike any franchise in NFL history since the retirement of Pat Patriot and the introduction of a logo by the name of Flying Elvis.

The six-time Super Bowl Champions also had a prototype helmet (Proto-Elvis) in their past which I’ll discuss in further depth below. It’s quite the history lesson and one that was relegated to folklore until 2011.

Let’s take a look at the Patriots’ helmets throughout the years from humble beginnings to one of the most iconic in the NFL today.

 

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The Boston Patriots

When the Patriots debuted in 1960, they wore white helmets with a navy blue three-cornered hat as a logo with their uniform number under the hat. The helmet was white, a contrast from today’s silver helmet the team had since 1993.

This helmet lasted one season before switching to the timeless Pat Patriot logo.

 

The Pat Patriot Era

1965-1981 helmet featuring gray facemasks.

Over the next three decades, the Patriots switched to a helmet logo consisting of a minuteman hiking a football, who became known as Pat Patriot.

From 1961 to 1964, Pat Patriot had plain white skin and a facial expression that I call the zombified look which resembled a creature from the Walking Dead.

In 1965, Pat Patriot was given his familiar look with apricot skin along with a gray facemask. The Pat Patriot look carried through and updates were only given for the facemask over the following years, with a white and ultimately a red facemask.

 

The Infamous Original Flying Elvis…Proto-Elvis

The 1982-1990 helmet featuring a white facemask.

In 1979, the Patriots were said to have held a fan vote at halftime to either choose a new logo for the team or to continue using Pat Patriot. The halftime vote was said to be a thing of legend until a reader at UniWatch decided to do some research.

As mentioned, a fan vote was held at halftime at the old Foxboro Stadium. The fans were instructed to vote by either applauding or booing as team officials held up signs for either Pat Patriot, or what I like to call the original Flying Elvis.

Why do I call it the original Flying Elvis, or Proto-Elvis?

Click here and you can see for yourself.

The 1990-1992 version.

Who came up with the logo concept?

A man named Miceal Chamberlain, son-in-law to then-team owner Billy Sullivan. The reason Chamberlain wished for a new logo was due to the complexity of Pat Patriot, which he claimed was too hard to market.

Chamberlain worked closely with NFL Creative Properties in California with conceiving the new logo over the next three to four years, convincing Sullivan to adopt the new logo.

When Sullivan was ready to unveil the new logo, he decided to put it to the test with the fans before officially adopting it. At this point, Chamberlain knew the battle was lost, claiming the fans “booed the hell out of it.”

So, Pat Patriot stayed, appeared in a Super Bowl as fodder to the Chicago Bears in 1985, and remained until 1993 when current owner Bob Kraft bought the team.

 

Flying Elvis

The original Flying Elvis Helmet

Flying Elvis, which many believe was based on the infamous proto-logo from 1979, accompanied the team’s radical redesign. The helmet’s color was changed from white to silver, with a minuteman’s head (resembling Elvis Presley) and a royal blue three-cornered hat.

In 1994, the Patriots tweaked the facemask from silver to red, and the helmet remained in a similar design ever since with the addition of a navy color when the team opted for another redesign in 2000.

Flying Elvis has since won six Super Bowls, appeared in nine, and has since become one of the most synonymous helmets associated with championships in the NFL.

While many fans clamor for the old days of Pat Patriot, it’s apparent Flying Elvis is here to stay, accompanying a team that has become arguably the greatest dynasty in NFL history.

 

Tale of Two Logos

The original Boston Patriots helmet

The Patriots were one of the NFL’s most futile franchises before the 1990s, appearing in the playoffs just seven times from 1960-1995, with a playoff record of 4-6 in that time span. They appeared in the Super Bowl once before 1996 and lost 46-10 to Chicago. It was Pat Patriot’s finest moment.

Since the introduction of Flying Elvis, the Patriots amassed a 33-14 record in the playoffs and appearing in twenty seasons.

The verdict? Flying Elvis is here to stay, and for Patriots fans, for good reason. So, long live Flying Elvis. When one thinks of Flying Elvis, one thinks of winning championships and a dynasty that the NFL has never seen before or since.

 

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10 Replies to “Evolution of the New England Patriots Helmet”

  1. Speaking as someone from the UK, I have to say that anything ‘American’ football is intriguing to me. I love how the New England Patriots logo has changed throughout the years to what we now refer to the Flying Elvis, even though the logo is not at all meant to be an image of Elvis Presley. Still, it’s a great resemblance, and and great story. Who would have thought that what we see today was basically morphed from years and years of history? I like this post a lot. I’ll be reading more from your site 🙂

    1. Thanks! And yeah, the lost Proto-Elvis was something I came across but never looked into until last week, when I caught an old story from the ESPN archives. I was thrilled to see that the story existed in detail. It only makes me wonder about other lost helmet concepts and the stories behind them.

  2. Great article on the New England Patriots helmet history! The process of trying to get that right logo is always one that takes years i guess. Tried and true flying elvis is what became the final phase of the evolution and proved to be worthy of its position as the main logo. Good read

    1. It takes a long time, and some teams have found them while others have not. Other teams have a great logo then adopt something that’s out of this world strange, only to revert back in time.

  3. This is a nice article about the Evolution of the New England Patriots Helmet. It’s funny I guess but i’ve never thought about the evolution of helmets and their appearance. I appreciate that you let us know where we can purchase a New England Patriots Helmet. This will be fun looking thru your website and learn about the pro football apparel articles you have included in your website.

  4. I never would’ve guessed that it was Elvis Presley! That’s shocking, but at the same time, it makes sense because the king’s ghost might’ve struck the Patriots to be the Kings of the NFL! I guess that with the Patriots around, there’s only one thing to say about the Dolphins as the hickey coach said to Happy Gilmore: “Better luck next year!”

    1. That’s a great theory. The Patriots have played in ten Super Bowls since adopting the logo, winning six of them. Tom Brady is the best player in NFL history and the argument can be made for Bill Belichick as well.

  5. What a nice post you wrote! I really enjoyed reading it and I could not be silent about your post so I decided to leave my comment here and say Thank You! For sharing this quality post with others.

    Actually, this is exactly the information that I was looking for about the New England Patriots helmet and when I landed to your website and read this post, it answered all my questions in details.

    So I’m happy that you decided to write about this topic and share it with people. It’s very useful and can definitely be used as a great source for the New England Patriots helmet.

    I will come back to your website again for sure and I’m looking forward to reading your new posts.)

    Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Ali. There’s going to be a whole helmet series made up here as well, so we’re just looking at the beginning as of now! One team down, thirty-one to go!

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