Washington Redskins 1970-1971

The Worst NFL Helmet Designs for Each NFL Franchise

Okay, so by now you may’ve read my article on the best helmet designs for each NFL franchise. Well, now it’s time to unearth the worst helmet designs for each.

Almost every single NFL team has seen multiple helmet designs, including your traditional teams like the Browns, Steelers, Raiders, Chiefs, Colts, Cowboys, Packers, Bears, and others.

But yes, they too have a best and worst helmet design.

Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

Some of these designs may not have been used, and you’ll see a few here that (thankfully) never took the field.

Without further ado, let’s find the worst helmet for each NFL team.

 

AFC East

The Buffalo Bills whiffed on their uniforms wearing this helmet from 2002-2010.

New England Patriots

The worst helmet for the Patriots is actually their winningest helmet, which is today’s navy/red/silver flying Elvis disaster logo.

Yes, the Bob Kraft Era kicked off with the abandonment of Pat Patriot, but there’s a reason New England fans everywhere booed Proto-Elvis in a 1979 vote at old Foxboro Stadium.

He just didn’t look good, but the red/white/blue helmet looked far better than the silver/navy/red helmet we’re used to seeing today.

If you’re called the Patriots, red, white, and blue have to be the only colors in the color palette.

 

Buffalo Bills

2002-2010 redesign.

Yes, their uniforms were quite a debacle, but the fact yet another AFC East team removed the familiar red/white/royal blue for navy, royal accents, and nickel gray makes this helmet arguably one of the worst in NFL history, save for a few contenders, or pretenders, I might add. It’s a helmet I hope never takes the field again unless the NFL sponsors a worst helmet/uniform throwback weekend.

 

Miami Dolphins

The current helmet design doesn’t rock in the slightest. What’s with the strange shade of aqua and why did they keep navy in the logo when getting rid of navy on the uniforms? I commended the lack of navy, but criticized the fact they kept it on the helmet. Get rid of it entirely and go back to something better.

 

New York Jets

The Jets just updated their helmets and entire uniforms and for good reason. The 1998-2018 helmets were a mere disaster of a look, what I’ve always referred to as cheap knockoffs of their original kelly green and white look.

 

AFC North

From 1968-1980, the Bengals’ helmets looked too much like Ohio’s other and more championed team.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have seen two helmets throughout their entire existence, one of which, the current helmet, is their worst. Had they not been sued for wearing their old helmet logo, perhaps I wouldn’t have to place them in this conversation.

 

Cincinnati Bengals

The original, Cleveland-like helmets are one of two helmet designs in Bengals’ history and they’re by far the worst. Story goes, Paul Brown still owned the Cleveland Browns’ equipment when he was fired, so he packed up his equipment and used it to start the Bengals’ franchise in 1968.

 

Cleveland Browns

The orange, logoless helmet has been a fixture in Cleveland Browns’ history, but the infamous ‘CB’ helmet logo never took the field and for good reason. Could you imagine the Browns wearing that debacle on the field?

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers are known for their iconic Steelmark logo, but many forget the fact the team once wore gold helmets. It has always been a strange look on the timeless black jerseys and yellow-gold pants.

 

AFC South

Critics of all sorts panned the Jaguars’ 2013-2017 two-toned helmets.

Houston Texans

The Texans only had one helmet during their existence. Or have they? Yes, before donning their familiar navy-blue helmet, the team marketed themselves with a white helmet. In fact, even images from Madden NFL 2002 featured the Texans in the white. Personally, I prefer white over navy, as the look is somewhat reminiscent of the old Houston Oilers.

 

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts briefly wore navy blue shells back in the day, from 1954-1955, before settling on white. The team wore these as throwbacks in 2010 and even a modernized version just didn’t look right.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

What do you think? Okay, time to buckle down and get serious for those of you new to the game who may not have realized the Jags thought it was a good idea to wear two-toned helmets for five seasons, as it’s the NFL’s rule for a team to wear the same helmet shells and jerseys for five seasons in a row. Thankfully, they got rid of the mustard-yellow gloss portion of the shell in 2018. Some have stated the Jags’ two-toned helmets were the worst in NFL history.

 

Tennessee Titans

The Titans never had a great helmet, but their 2018 uniform unveiling included an abysmal-looking navy blue helmet. Unfortunately, they’re stuck with them until 2022, and they had a chance for a power play if they adopted Columbia blue shells, reminiscent of the old Houston Oilers. But as I stated in my best of article, I wish Amy Adams-Strunk would just give the rights of the name and uniform to the Houston Texans. My reasoning? The Oilers may be the same franchise as the Titans, but the team will always belong to Houston, just as the Titans are Nashville’s team.

 

AFC West

The Denver Broncos debuted with these helmets in 1960.

Denver Broncos

While I’m not a fan of today’s look, the team’s debut in the 1960s consisted of a godforsaken helmet the team wore as throwbacks in 2009 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the AFL. It’s the only time those helmets should ever take the field.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Honestly, I can’t sit here and say the old Dallas Texans’ helmet, the team’s predecessor was that bad. It was the same helmet, different logo. Therefore, the Chiefs might be the only team on this list to never have possessed a bad helmet.

 

Los Angeles Chargers

Little does anyone know the Chargers actually wore this once upon a time. With the familiar yellow lighting bolt, save for a couple decades between 1988-2006, the blue bolt just looks out of place.

 

Oakland Raiders

Little do fans know the Raiders actually had a different helmet logo back in the day, which made its way back on the field in 2009. This helmet might resemble the current ones, but they’re far less intimidating than what we’re used to.

 

NFC East

The Washington Redskins spent two seasons wearing Green Bay Packer-like helmets before reverting back to burgundy.

Dallas Cowboys

I don’t have the rights to this image, so go ahead and click the link here. All I’m going to say is the team with the greatest helmet in the NFL may’ve gone a completely different direction had these disasters seen the field.

 

New York Giants

The 1975 Giants once wore this helmet, albeit only for a season. Thank goodness they had another design in mind. For a complete article on the One-Year Logo, click here.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

Ugh, I’m not going to be shy in stating the current helmet grinds my gears, even if it is ironically my favorite color. It has never looked good on the team, though it looked really good with a certain MLB team.

 

Washington Redskins

Many may hate on the Redskins’ name, but many more state otherwise. So this article isn’t about bashing the current Redskins’ helmet. Instead, the Lombardi Tribute helmet, as I call it, deserves a deep level of infamy. I’ll leave it there.

 

NFC North

The post-Millen era helmets updated the logo but still retained the infamous black before dropping the color in 2017.

Chicago Bears

Okay, I must’ve lied, because I’ve loved every single helmet the Bears have ever had. I stated earlier the Chiefs were exempt from this list, but now there are two teams, as the Bears also deserve exemption.

 

Detroit Lions

Oh, my goodness, the Matt Millen Era black accented helmets were beyond abysmal. It was during an era that teams across the four major sports leagues introduced the color black in their color palettes. Luckily, the trend seems to have peaked two seasons ago, along with the Lions getting rid of such eyesores.

 

Green Bay Packers

I’ve always stated logoless helmets looked good on the Cleveland Browns, but on the Green Bay Packers, they were a different story. In 1961, Vince Lombardi tasked his equipment manager to design a logo for the team and the rest is history. The Packers have looked good ever since.

 

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings have held the same shell for their entire existence, but today’s shade is a bit lighter than yesteryear’s. After careful consideration, today’s helmet receives the nod due to its black facemask, the only portion of the uniform that contains black. It just doesn’t match up with an otherwise well thought out design.

 

NFC South

This helmet resembles a modernized design of what the 1969 Saints planned on wearing that season.

Atlanta Falcons

Ugh, that current design they adopted in 2003 is just flat out annoying. I get that teams want to be more intimidating with a fiercer logo and all, but when the logo looks like an angry cartoon character, you know they messed up bad. Scrap it and return to the classic dirty bird or red shell look, preferably the red shells.

 

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers made a subtle update to their current logo back in 2012, so I have to go with the 1995-2011 look. I almost gave the Panthers a default here, but the changes, though subtle, are noticeable.

 

New Orleans Saints

Little known fact: The Saints experimented once with black helmets during the 1969 preseason. Luckily, it never panned out as no one from the Saints notified the NFL office of the switch and the helmet was scrapped.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Those current helmets are one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time. The logo update wasn’t too bad, I’ll admit, when the team rebranded in 2014. Only problem is the logo is too big for the helmet shell, which looks abysmal.

 

NFC West

The Rams wore this doom and gloom look during the bulk of their time in St. Louis. Thankfully, the helmet only saw one season in Los Angeles.

Arizona Cardinals

The team has never had a good-looking helmet. But, the pre-2005 helmets were so much classier than the angry bird cartoon, much like the Falcons’ eyesore, seen today. Therefore, by default, the current lid loses out.

 

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams’ helmet logos have been the same since 1948, even if the colors have changed. The team switched to new century gold and millennium blue prior to 2000, which remained until 2016 when the helmet was dropped. When the team played as the St. Louis Rams, the look capped up one that was as gloomy as the Ed Jones Dome the team played in. Thankfully, the “new millennium” colors are all but vanquished.

 

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers unveiled a new logo and new helmet in 1991. Fortunately, the look lasted for a single day due to fan backlash and it never seen the field. If it had, The Niners’ uniforms would’ve gone from iconic to laughingstock overnight.

 

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks held a fan contest to choose the new helmet shell in 2002 after originally planning to wear a silver helmet at home and this weird gunmetal blue helmet, called Seahawks blue, on the road. The fans made the wrong decision and the helmet and color was scrapped after the 2011 season.

 

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6 comments

  1. I have to agree with the Denver Broncos 1960’s look and the Bengals old helmet as some of the worst! They’re classics but man the designs could have been better. It will be fun to see how the logos and designs continue to change in the coming years.

    1. Most definite classics, I can say, but I’d love to see them switch to their color rush helmets for the long haul. While I’m a purist and prefer classic looks, the navy helmet with the orange ‘D’ logo just looks magnificent.

  2. I am not exactly abundant in sports knowledge but from a visual and design stand point I totally agree with you about the Browns helmet! My husband is a born and raised Cleveland Browns fan so I am a bandwagan fan but in my defense my hometown doesn’t have their own NFL team. The closest team is the Chicago Bears. I will have to ask him if he thinks about the Browns helmet. 

    1. I’ve always loved the Browns helmet, being a Browns fan, myself. Their only flaws in their current helmet is the shade of orange, the strange design on their helmet stripe, and the brown facemask. I’m more old school in that direction. 

  3. This is a very interesting article! It is nice to know we can see an unbiased review of the best helmet designs. I found it particularly interesting about the Miami Dolphins helmet. When the color palette isn’t correct the whole helmet design isn’t right. Next, I will read your best helmet design article. Thank you for the great post!

    1. Yeah, when the teams get the color off, the entire uniform, not just the helmet, tanks. The best reference I can give here is the 49ers’ 1996-2008 look, in which the team darkened the shade of red and added black accents. Not my favorite look.

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