Indianapolis Colts Helmet

Indianapolis Colts Helmet History

The Indianapolis Colts helmet history dates all the way back to 1953 when an expansion team known as the Baltimore Colts returned to the NFL after the previous incarnation folded after the 1950 NFL Season. This version of the Colts could actually trace their history back to 1913 as the team was really the remnants of the 1952 ill-fated Dallas Texans.

The team kept an identical color scheme as the Texans and changed their name to the Colts as a nod to the previous franchise who wore green and silver.

The helmet, while the iconic horseshoe has remained throughout the team’s existence, had seen its fair share of changes, but they grow more subtle as time ticks by.

 

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1950s

When the team debuted in 1953, their helmets were white with a blue stripe. Come 1954, the Colts had a unique look around the league at the time, placing their helmet logo on the back of their navy blue shells. The navy blue remained until 1956, when the team switched to their now-familiar white helmets. The look would’ve become even more unique these days had the Colts decided to ultimately keep the look, but was soon dropped in 1957 to the familiar helmet we see today.

 

1960s to Present

The 1956 helmet featuring the logo at the rear.

The only things that have seen changes to the Colts’ helmet were the shades of blue and the facemask. Some state the horseshoes on the helmet were thinner and wider from 1957 until 1977, which can be evidenced with this visual.

The team’s facemasks were also gray during this 20-year stretch before switching to white from 1978 until 1994, by which time the Baltimore Colts became the Indianapolis Colts. Also in 1978, the team switched from a navy to royal blue, which remained so until the early 2000s.

In 1995, the Colts switched to a royal blue facemask, matching their jersey and logo and finally in 2004, reverted back to gray and have remained so ever since. The team did revert to a darker shade of blue called speed blue, which is a hybrid of navy and royal blue.

 

My Take

The royal blue facemask seen from 1995-2003.

By far and away one of the best helmets in pro football and the best helmet in the AFC. I love looks that stand the test of time and are iconic across NFL cities and fan bases. The Colts’ helmet is one of those helmets and I’m glad to see the few changes that’ve been made.

The team has resisted temptation even if they did relocate 35 seasons ago. It’s refreshing to see things like this in a time when teams are trying to get “too cute” with their uniforms. This look should remain the same fifty years from today.

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8 comments

  1. This is awesome Todd. I love seeing the old uniforms and helmets from the NFL. Love when I see old helmets with the single bar on the. Can you imagine playing with that? I certainly can’t . I really think the colts have one of the better color schemes and my favorite helmet of theirs would have to be the one with the royal blue face mask you show in the picture. Really looks cool. All in all, doesn’t seem like they have gotten too far away from their original style as some teams have.

    1. Those old single bars were classic, but have since been outlawed. I believe Scott Player was the last one to wear the single bar facemask. Colts definitely have one of the better color schemes in the league and I’m a fan of the royal, I can tell you that much.

  2. I gotta be honest. I definitely prefer the Colts helmets of today. The simplicity of that helmet seems pretty timeless to me. I think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to teams trying to be “too cute” and changing their look constantly. That white background with the logo is something that’s instantly recognizable and satisfying. I also think that adoption of the royal blue was a good move on their part. Thanks for the awesome read!

    1. Hi, Christian. They’re trying to be WAY too cute these days, but the Colts are definitely an exception to that rule. The simplicity, as you said, has stood the test of time from the 1960s onward, over the course of two different cities, mind you. I prefer the royal over the navy and speed blue as well.

  3. ‘Too cute’ is something that the teams should steer clear of! This is a tough game for tough guys…. cute has got nothing to do with the game.
    The royal blue facemask from 1995-2003 as shown in your picture above is definately a winner. It’s clean and clear and straight to the point. Nothing cute and nothing unnecessary about it. It’s a winner for me.
    Cheers.

  4. I’m not so much a football fan but as a designer I appreciate your article. For sure the helmet with the royal blue face mask of the 1995-2003 version is the most distinctive. I hope it stays that way. Simple and easily recognizable. How does it come about that a team decides they need a new helmet design?

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