The Chicago Bears helmet history started to get really interesting in the 1940s and continues to hold one of the most iconic looks in the NFL today. From the classic plain helmets of the 1940s to the wishbone ‘C’ of today, the traditional Bears’ look continues to stand the test of time.
Whether it was Dick Butkus or Brian Urlacher or Roquan Smith, Gale Sayers or Walter Payton, or even Jim McMahon or Mitchell Trubisky, the traditional helmet links both old and new versions of the Chicago Bears.
The Chicago Bears’ first modernized plastic shell consisted of plain navy with no markings. The helmet which lasted until 1961 is now worn today as part of the team’s alternate throwbacks, which are worn at least twice a year. Now that the NFL has allowed a third game in third uniforms, there’s now an option to wear the helmets three times throughout the season.
The Bears first added their wishbone ‘C’ helmet decal in 1963. This version of the ‘C’ was white, in contrast to their now-traditional orange.
In 1974, the Bears added burnt orange to the interior of the ‘C’ and white was now relegated to an outline.
In 1983, the Bears, like many teams, abandoned the then-traditional gray facemasks in favor of blue. Since then, the helmet has seen zero change.
It has become one of the most recognizable helmets in the NFL.
As mentioned earlier, the Bears do remove the decal at least twice during the NFL season, bringing back their old, plain blue shells to pair with their classic uniforms.
Navy and burnt orange is a look with perfect color contrast. It contains longstanding tradition and as an NFL purist, I feel the look should only change if the Bears decide to revert back to the classic white wishbone ‘C.’
There are a lot of (NFL) teams trying to get cute with their helmets and uniforms. The Bears are one of the few exceptions to this trend, and rightfully so. Paul Lukas’ Uni-Watch had repeatedly ranked the Bears’ uniforms as one of the best if not the best in the NFL.
You can’t go wrong with tradition and the Bears are one of few teams to realize if something isn’t broke, don’t bother to fix it. The Bears are right in refusing to fix their already near-perfect helmets.
May the classic wishbone ‘C’ live on.