Back to Gang Green: The New York Jets Helmet History

The New York Jets helmet seems to change every two decades and now that the team underwent an entire uniform redesign in 2019, the trend continues. The Jets wore white shells starting in 1963 and it held true until 1977 when the team opted for green shells. The green remained a fixture from 1978-1997 before returning to white. From 1998-2018, white dominated the helmet scheme before a new design came about starting in 2019.

A Word on Nicknames

The Jets not only have a long helmet history, but they also have had two names, the first being the Titans of New York, a name which I wish they would’ve kept as it made for a perfect counterpart for the New York Giants of the then-rival National Football League, hence the name being chosen in the first place. The name Titans has since been revived with the arrival of the Tennessee Titans in 1999, a team that has featured navy blue helmets since 2018.

Navy blue?

Yes, unlike the hunter green and white look the Jets possess today, the Titans of New York held a navy and gold color scheme.

So, what is the history of the New York Jets’ helmet?

Take a look at my timeline below!

 

1960-1962

Debuting as the Titans of New York, the team had a plain shell with a gold stripe running down the middle. This uniform was the same one revived under Jets ownership in the mid-2000s until the NFL implemented a one shell helmet rule supposedly to lower the risk of concussions.

In 2009, the Jets wore this look on multiple occasions, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the old American Football League (AFL) which now consists of the American Football Conference (AFC) minus the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Houston Texans, all of whom joined the AFC in 1970, 1995, 1996, and 2002.

 

==> Click Here for the New York Jets Team Profile <==

 

1963-1977

New York Jets 1965-1977 Helmets.
Click Here to buy the Jets’ 1965-1977 helmet.

In 1963, the Titans were renamed the Jets since the team played in Shea Stadium at the time, located near LaGuardia Airport, the same home as the National League’s New York Mets of the MLB.

This was the year the Jets switched to kelly green and white, with the wordmark Jets residing inside a green airplane. This logo remained until 1964, when the first version of the oval with the Jets wordmark appeared, a white decal with the Jets wordmark written in green.

In 1965, due for fans’ difficulty of seeing the logo from a distance, the color scheme flip-flopped, with the football turning green and the Jets wordmark, white. This logo was shaped more like a football than their 1998 successors and accompanied the team when they defeated the Baltimore (now Indianapolis) Colts in Super Bowl III.

This helmet lasted with the Jets until a radical uniform design took place in 1978.

 

1978-1997

The Jets 1978-1989 Helmet
Jets 1978-1989 Helmet.

In 1978, most likely to separate themselves from other teams in the AFC East, all of whom wore white helmets at the time, the helmet changed to kelly green with a modernized Jets wordmark on the sides, written in white. The kelly green and white look stayed for the next decade before 1990.

In 1990, black outlines were added so TV audiences could better read the numbers on the players’ jerseys. The white facemask was replaced by black during this time as well, and this look remained until 1998 when head coach Bill Parcells took over head coaching duties.

 

==> Click Here for the New York Jets Jersey History <==

 

1998-2018

The Jets’ one-year helmet from 1963

In 1998, a modernized version of the 1965-1977 uniform returned, with the team reverting back to white helmets. The football-shaped oval was now curved at the edges and hunter green was used in favor of kelly with sports teams finding darker colors to be more marketable at the turn of the 20th century.

This helmet remained until the 2019 uniform redesign, and only with the introduction of the NFL color rush in 2015 did the team modify their helmets somewhat, with the kelly green returning in chrome, a very modernized twist to the old kelly green look of the past.

 

2019-Beyond

Jets 1998-2018 Helmet.
Click Here to buy the 1998-2018 helmet.

The Jets unveiled their latest uniforms along with a new helmet on April 4th, 2019. The kelly green shells return, officially known as Gotham green, according to Nike.

The helmet logo is a completely new one but features elements of the team’s 1998-2018 look. While the ‘NY’ script and oval are eliminated, the ‘JETS’ wordmark was retained with an identical font, along with the underlying football.

The Jets have become known for switching their uniforms and helmet shells every twenty seasons at a rough estimate, so we’ll see if the team decides to keep the new helmets for the long haul or will give them up after five seasons, which is the minimum number of years a team must wear a new uniform and helmet combo.

 

Shop New York Jets gear at FansEdge.com

 

My Take

Jets 1990-1997 Helmet.
The Jets’ 1990-1997 helmet design featuring black facemasks.

While I’m not a fan of black, I like what I saw last night as the Jets incorporated black facemasks in 1990 along with black outlines on the jerseys so audiences could better view the team’s uniforms. Therefore, the Jets are the only NFL team to get a free pass on this, unlike those who incorporated black in the late-1990s-early-2000s.

The team would be smart to stick with this look, as the Gotham green provides a decent upgrade reminiscent to the team’s 1978-1997 uniform designs; almost a modernized upgrade that entwines tradition with innovation.

 

Conclusion

Jets current helmets.
Click Here to buy the Jets’ current helmet.

From the Titans of New York Navies to today’s Gotham green, the Jets like to mix things up seemingly every two decades, giving their fans a fresh look to see and cherish. I expected a return to green since the team previously held green helmets for twenty seasons before spending two decades back in white. Now, we’re back in green until at least 2039 if things are going in the direction they’ve been over the past forty seasons, if one is willing to keep up.

I’m excited to see the new look in action and I know Jets fans are longing to see the look come about as well, so while we won’t know what it’ll really look like once on the field, early returns for me at least, are seemingly positive.

 

Please follow and like us:
error

10 comments

  1. I cannot wait to see the unveiling of the new helmet, even my birth year is represented for one of them, showing my age lol. I love the breakdown of the history that you give. It saves me time having to research and dig up these facts and it fact I probably would not do it for myself. Here I am blessed with the information at my finger tips.

    The new York jets helmet history is most intriguing and it will be nice to have a collection. Is it possible to get the very old helmets?

  2. Hey Todd,

    An interesting piece of history and information. It’s fascinating to see the NY Jets helmet has such a long history and how they changed over time. Also the reasons have been changing over the years.

    Nice site, useful content and pretty neat visually.

    All the best,

    Tim

  3. I am not a fan of black either, but I do like the new look of the helmet.  There are other teams, whose uniform colors are horrendous, in my opinion anyway.  The Seattle Seahawks comes to mind for me LOL.  I don’t like their colors that they have.  Also the Pittsburgh Steelers could use an overhaul.  Great information here,  I am going to take a look and see if you have any information on my team, the Dallas Cowboys 🙂

    1. I love how they practically modernized the old 1978-1997 helmet. I was always a fan of it and while the shade of green is no longer kelly green, it’s a new shade called Gotham green which works rather well for this team. And yes, I’m not a fan of the Seahawks’ colors; I feel their original 1976-2001 look was far better. Being a Browns fan, I’m anti anything black and yellow, so I have to agree on that front, even if most won’t, especially most in Pittsburgh. The Cowboys are my dad’s team and half my family backs them. I just did an article on their jersey history as well. 

  4. Hey, I enjoyed reading your historical presentation of New York Jets helmet. The colors of their outfit kept changing over the years. Now a new outfit has been unveiled. Some are saying the colors are of worse combination, for it does not have the energetic qualities of the Kelly green. Of course everyone has his own taste as to good and bad. What can you say about that?

    1. I think I’ll echo acting owner Woody Johnson. The fans won’t care what the team wears if they’re winning games. With the Patriots falling to 11-5 in 2019, despite winning the Super Bowl, to me shows the team’s vulnerability. I think if the Jets win, the look will become an instant classic. 

  5. I think teams that continually change their uniform and helmet designs risk muddying their brand and image. Although if the Jets and other teams don’t change their uniform look now and then, they won’t have many “throw-back” uniforms to wear for nostaglia purposes. For the Jets helmet, I prefer the solid kelly green version. I have never been a fan of a white helmet.

    1. Hi, Glen, I think the Jets hit a ringer with the new helmets, and it’s rare that I say that because I’m biased in favor of the older, classic looks. However, the team missed big when they tried to readopt a logo with modifications with their 1998-2018 set. The rounder oval and hunter green just didn’t look right. For that, I love the updated versions of the 1978-1997 design with Gotham green. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *