Green Bay Packers Helmet

Shadows of Lambeau: Green Bay Packers Helmet History

Here it is, arguably the most storied franchise in the NFL, and one of the most recognizable brands in sports. The Green Bay Packers helmet history is nowhere near as long as the franchise’s existence because, well, like many of our traditional franchises, the Packers’ look just hasn’t changed all too often.

That’s from 1959-onward.

There has been a little bit of change, though, but ones just subtle enough for us helmet enthusiasts to see and share with the masses.

But, if you count those turbulent days of the early NFL, I suggest you strap in because the early part of this timeline is going to take a while to read.

Okay, not too long; just our usual quick hits before we dive into the modern era.

So, let’s get started.

 

Prior to 1961

A modernized rendition of the Packers’ helmet prior to 1961.

As with many of our oldest franchises, the Packers being the second oldest having been founded in 1919, the team wore old leatherheads from 1921 to 1951.

Alright, let’s get this timeline cracking.

In 1921, the Packers stuck with dark beige leatherheads until 1932.

In 1932, the new look consisted of a blue base with a yellow and blue pattern at the crown. Click here for a better look at all these early helmets.

In 1934, the Packers went with a yellow base with a vertical yellow-blue striping pattern at the crown.

1935 saw a switch to light beige base with a green-beige striping pattern at the crown.

1936 kept the same look, but added an inverse helmet as well, featuring a green base with light beige and green striping patterns.

Finally, from 1937 all the way until 1950, a plain yellow leatherhead was used.

The original plastic-shelled helmet contained a gray facemask when the facemask came into existence in 1951, which was light beige with a single green helmet stripe.

In both 1957 and 1958, the Packers wore white helmets with a blue stripe, sort of resembling the Penn State Nittany Lions.

The first modern-looking helmet came in 1959, when the team switched to metallic gold (yellow for purposes of this article). The crown stripes were also modern, with green-white-green on the logoless helmet, as shown at the image above.

 

==> Click Here for the Packers Team Profile <==

 

1961-1979

The Packers’ original logo. Notice the ‘G’ carries more of a football shape than the logo used today.

In 1961, then-coach Vince Lombardi asked equipment manager Gerald Braisher to design a helmet logo for the team in a time logos were becoming more and more of a trend due to the league’s increasing popularity on TV.

Braisher then asked his assistant, John Gordon, to conceive a final draft of the design.

The pair came up with a football-shaped ‘G’ within a green football-shaped field, which Lombardi later approved and the logo was added to the helmet that season.

Green Bay Packers 1961-1979
Green Bay Packers 1970-1979 helmet featuring the modern oval.

There has been speculation on the meaning behind the ‘G,’ with Tiki Barber claiming the ‘G’ stands for Greatness, while most believe it stands for Green Bay, which is unique among the other professional teams in the four major sports leagues due to the fact it’s by far the smallest city containing a pro sports team, the population being roughly 105,000, the 286th largest city in the nation.

Following the 1969 season, the football-shaped green field was later rounded at the points to resemble an oval, giving the Packers a modern touch that it has held over the past five decades.

 

1980-Present

Between 2010 and 2011, the Packers wore brown helmets to stimulate the old leatherheads on throwback weekends.

The only change the Packers would make to the helmet since 1979 is the facemask color, which also became a trend in the late-1970s.

Today, the color is the same shade of dark green as the jerseys, with the team never having gone back to the gray facemask since.

The only other helmets the Packers have worn since are on throwback weekends. Prior to the NFL’s mandate banning multiple colored helmets in 2013, the team wore brownish helmets with a navy and gold throwback to mimic the leatherheads of the uniform’s era.

Now that multiple helmets are abolished, the Packers now simply remove all markings from the helmet when wearing the throwbacks. However, such a helmet can also, in a way, stimulate the leatherheads the Packers wore from 1937 until 1950, since such helmets lacked markings of any kind.

 

Shop for Green Bay Packers Team Gear at FansEdge.com

 

My Take

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and the Packers have done just that. While I crave gray facemasks, the Packers may be an exception to the rule, with the green looking in place with the current (and practically only) uniforms the Packers have worn since incorporating the plastic shells.

These days, few teams get it right when it comes to their helmets and jerseys, and the Packers are fortunately one of those teams.

 

==> Click Here for the Packers’ Jersey History <==

 

Conclusion

The Packers sure have the iconic logo of the day, but very few realize that even Green Bay decided to switch things up at the turn of the decade starting in 1970 with the less-football shaped logo. This is very reminiscent to what the New York Jets did with their own uniform change back in 1998 when they reintroduced the 1965-1977 logo and uniform set.

Despite a collage of different colors early in the team’s existence, Green Bay found a look and for the most part, stuck with it. For years to come, it’s my prediction that the Packers will continue to do what works for them and make little if any change to a look that has become one of the league’s more international brands.

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6 comments

  1. I love history and I really enjoyed reading about the Green Bay Packers Helmet History. I did not realize the Green Bay Packers are 100 years old! That is very interesting. I also liked that they have not changed their look too much over the years. You are so right, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

    The Green Bay Packers colours are very similar to the local football team in the city where I reside. The team here is called The Edmonton Eskimos, similar look with regard to colors.

    I was curious how long our local team has been in existence and it appears the Edmonton Eskimos (as we know them) began in 1949. There were other clubs prior to this with the same name however. These clubs existed as early as 1895.

    Thanks for the interesting article and motivating me to learn some history about the team that resides in my city!

    Take good care!
    Angela

    1. Very true, Angela. The Pack are as old as the NFL itself (also turning 100 this season). The Eskimos have a very similar look to the Packers, and there may be a correlation there, much like the Duke Blue Devils football team has with the Indianapolis Colts and the Iowa Hawkeyes have to the Pittsburgh Steelers. A local area high school team called the Brooke Bruins’ uniforms are based on the Packers’ uniforms as well, something I didn’t learn until 2010.

  2. What a great article on the Packers.  They are one of my family’s favorite teams to watch and cheer for.  I especially enjoyed reading about the history of the logo.  That’s information I had not heard before, and adds something i can share with friends and family.  

    Although it’s likely the “G” stands for Green Bay, I’m going to bow to Tiki Barber’s claim.  The idea that Vince Lombardi was involved, and that the “G” stands for greatness, is a much more romantic story.  Romantic, and, as their reputation proves, it’s true, too!  Thanks for a great read.

    1. I always thought it stood for Green Bay, as it makes perfect sense, but Tiki’s claim definitely can’t be ruled out for the NFL’s most championed franchise, much to the dismay of recency biases posted by New England and Pittsburgh fans alike! 

  3. Todd, I enjoyed reading about Packer helmet history. The Pack has always been one of my favorite teams dating back to the days of Bart Starr, Jimmy Taylor, Ray Neishki, and Sam Magee…now I’m showing my age! Hah…..and by the way, Starr passed away last weekend, after a long amazing life. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I saw that about Starr, and he’s one of the reasons I rank the Packers’ helmet so high. For the helmet itself to stand the test of time from Starr to Favre to Rodgers, and so on, shows a timeless icon of a helmet and logo that few teams in the NFL can match.

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