The New Orleans Saints helmet has become one of the few timeless ones for teams in the NFC founded after 1960. The fleur-de-lis, a symbol of New Orleans, has donned the sides of the Saints’ helmets since their inaugural season in 1967. The team founded on All Saints Day has since used nothing but subtle updates to their helmet and logo, which I’ll outline in the following sections.
The original Saints’ helmet consisted of an old gold shell along with a black fleur-de-lis along with a gray facemask.
New Orleans initially switched to black helmets during the 1969 preseason and planned to wear them for the regular season, however, the team failed to notify the NFL of the switch, prompting then-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle to bar the Saints from wearing the helmet, forcing a return to gold.
In 1976, as with many NFL teams, the Saints switched from the traditional gray facemasks to black and held this look until the 1999 NFL Season.
2000 and Beyond
In 2000, the Saints modified the fleur-de-lis, thickening the logo and adding a black outline to the white, allowing the logo to become more visible. The shade of old gold was also darkened.
Some superstitious types state this was the best move the Saints have ever made, as they won their very first playoff game in team history in 2000. While the team returned to their old struggles shortly thereafter, culminating with a 3-13 finish in 2005 when they were forced to play in various cities due to the damage done to the Superdome in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the greatest era in Saints history followed.
Starting in 2006 when future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees signed, New Orleans climaxed the team renaissance in 2009 with their very first Super Bowl appearance and subsequent victory in Super Bowl XLIV.
While I’m a fan of the older look, it’s understandable the team will not switch back any time soon. Why would they? Since the subtle logo and color change, they appeared in Super Bowl XLIV, defeating the Indianapolis Colts and nearly returned to the Super Bowl in 2018 after a highly controversial call ended their season.
To their credit, they didn’t make any drastic changes to the helmet or logo, except the simple updates so for that, I applaud them. I’m not happy with many modernized changes NFL teams make, but I can more than live with this one.