The Arizona Cardinals helmet history spans across three different cities and four different names. We have the Chicago Cardinals (prior to 1960), the St. Louis Cardinals (1960-1987), the Phoenix Cardinals (1988-1993), and finally, the Arizona Cardinals (1994-present).
Chicago Cardinals Era
When the NFL started using plastic helmets over leather in the 1940s and 50s, the Chicago Cardinals wore two shells from 1948-1957, cardinal red for some games, and plain white for others.
In 1958, the team went with an all-white shell and held the look until 1960, the year after moving to St. Louis.
St. Louis Cardinals/Phoenix Cardinals
The Cardinals added the cardinal head logo in 1961, when it became a trend to add logos to helmets in the late-1950s and early-1960s as a means of providing teams better identities.
The familiar cardinal head debuted along with a gray facemask, which stuck with the team until their move to Phoenix after the 1987 season.
When the Cardinals switched their name from ‘Phoenix’ to the Arizona Cardinals in 1994, the look remained the same.
However, in 2005, twelve seasons after the name change, the team updated their helmet logo for the first time since incorporating the cardinal head. This logo brought a fiercer cardinal with more detail in the outline. This look has accompanied the team since the 2005 season and saw its first and only Super Bowl appearance a few years later in 2008.
You know, as historic of a team the Cardinals are, the logo just never became iconic, unlike most of their NFC brethren. The team never had a great helmet or logo, so I would say that the Cardinals would be ideal candidates for a redesign.
Even if they had to completely change the team’s identity, including the name, it wouldn’t bother me one bit, despite my purist NFL ways. Bouncing from city to city for most of their existence along with four name changes means the team has never had a great identity.
The Arizona Hotshots of the now-defunct AAF had a helmet and uniform more interesting than the Cardinals have had over the course of their existence, and the Cardinals were founded in 1898 as the Morgan Athletic Club.
Maybe it just has to do with the team’s perpetual losing, which it has seen far more often since its last championship in 1947, when they were still playing in Chicago.