John Simmons  1982 Super Bowl
(game worn)

Start with a clear shell. Apply, facing outward, "model airplane" type or "waterslide" team logos and striping to the inside of the transparent shell. Paint the inside of the shell in team colors then apply a medium gray colored final sealer coat. Glue Velcro strips in predetermined areas to the inside of the shell over the paint and install seven separate sections of Velcro backed leather padding onto the Velcro strips. Finally, snap in the leather jaw pads. The result is a glorious Maxpro clear shell helmet that theoretically never needs repainting or team logos replaced because they are permanently protected by the outside surface of the clear plastic shell.  

It has always been a treat to discover a Marietta Maxpro clear shell helmet complete with team markings. These stunning helmets were produced in numerous college and professional team designs during the 1970s and up until the early 1980s when the Marietta Corporation went out of business due to insurance cost issues. Of all of the different team designs that we have experienced over the years this is the very first Cincinnati Bengal Maxpro clear shell we have ever seen, game used or otherwise, and this beauty made it all the way to the Super Bowl!
The Maxpro clear shell helmet has been worn by some notable players during past Super Bowls. Hall of Fame stars such as Roger Staubach, Randy White, Terry Bradshaw and John Stallworth could easily be identified wearing this interesting helmet in the big game. For the helmet aficionado, the Cowboys and the Steelers teams of the 1970s are best remembered for both their numerous Super Bowl appearances and their propensity for wearing the Maxpro clear shell helmet. When we think of other Super Bowl teams from that era such as the Dolphins, Vikings, Raiders and Broncos the image of Maxpro helmets does not come to mind. Noting that Marietta, the company that produced the Maxpro helmet, was based in Dallas it makes sense that they might have a closer relationship with the Cowboys compared to other teams based on proximity alone. It is less apparent why this helmet was so popular with the Steelers. Perhaps Tony Parisi, the legendary former Steeler's equipment manager, ordered Maxpro clear shell helmets so that he could avoid replacing helmet logos and striping (Gee Tony, the Steelers only used one decal per helmet anyway!). Parisi was known for taping the backside of the facemask t-nuts to the inside of the shell the helmet so that he could replace a facemask without having the t-nuts fall out and having to replace them also. Instead of spending the extra time to apply the round Steeler helmet decals without creasing them Tony would simply slit the decals so that they would easily lay flat on the helmet. What was the reason for ordering those Maxpros, Tony -- player or equipment manager comfort?
In addition to seeing a more familiar Steeler or Cowboy clear Maxpro helmet the always well informed Helmet Hut readers also love to savior that rare or "oddball" variety. This month's featured helmet certainly fits that description. This stunning Cincinnati Bengal clear shell Maxpro helmet was actually worn in the 1982 Super Bowl by John Simmons (The Joe Montana led Forty Niners won that game, their first Super Bowl victory, and they went on from there to become the team of the 1980s). This was a most unique helmet worn in a most unique setting. The 1982 Super Bowl was played for the first time at a cold weather site -- Pontiac, Michigan. Fortunately, the game was played indoors at the Silverdome as a severe winter ice storm paralyzed the surrounding metropolitan area outside the dome. The Bengals had just redesigned their helmets prior to the start of their Super Bowl season. They replaced their conservative block style arched "BENGALS" logo that original Bengals owner Paul Brown chose for the then new expansion team in 1968. The new multi striped design was quite controversial; loved by some, hated by others. Even today, this unorthodox design is a common topic of discussion among helmet enthusiasts whenever the Bengals appear on television. 
This helmet was manufactured in 1981 and has all the original leather padding still intact. The number "25" rear helmet numerals are the correct 2" tall, black colored, NCAA font style numbers that are still used by the team. The facemask is also unique. It was introduced by Riddell in the 1977 and represents one of their many failed attempts to overtake the facemask market from Schutt (see 1/14/2005 Dr. Dell Rye or click here: This was Riddell's stainless steel full cage version dipped in black vinyl. The Bengals first started using Black colored masks in 1980 after switching from standard gray. The upper portion of the vertical protective bar was sawed off on this helmet's facemask to increase the players field of vision. The frugal Bengals have always been known to primarily wear the Riddell facemasks that come supplied on each Riddell helmet at no extra charge rather than substitute the more popular Schutt facemasks that other teams purchase separately and routinely use. If you look closely you will find that the team still wears quite a few of those "no extra charge" Riddell masks.
The Maxpro clear shell helmet is a significant part of 1970s (and early 1980s) helmet history. This rare Bengals Maxpro worn in the Super Bowl by John Simmons is certainly a very unique representation of that period and a previously hidden treasure that we hope you will thoroughly enjoy.