Florida State

1964 Seminoles
(Authentic Reproduction)






Peterson introduced a helmet design change for 1964, simplifying the helmet to a gold shell, one-inch garnet center stripe, and the capitalized word STATE, also in garnet, on each side of the shell. However, the most significant change occurred on the staff prior to the 1964 season as Peterson hired his former Mansfield, Ohio High School assistant coach Bill Crutchfield away from the University Of Miami. Causing some dissension on his own staff, Peterson brought Crutchfield in to make the full time and complete commitment to a pass-heavy offense that would feature aerial fireworks from every part of the field. This was meant to attract fans as the team competed against SEC schools in a limited-population region, and to attract players as the Seminoles cast a nationwide recruiting net. The emphasis was still present on the defense, the coaching philosophy being that if you defended well you could make some passing errors and survive them. The Seminole defense really referred to the front seven and its colorful members enjoyed the well-publicized "Seven Magnificents" nickname since taking it on midway through the 1963 season, and they were, more often than not, magnificent! A take off on the Magnificent Seven movie, the defensive linemen and linebackers shaved their heads like Yul Brynner, the starring actor in the movie, and literally stoned opponents. DT’s Avery Sumner and Frank Pennie, NG Jack Shinholser, leader-of-the-pack Dick Hermann who later played LB for the Raiders in '65 and for the Orlando Panthers for three, and the other defenders have remained the premiere defensive unit in FSU history. This excellent group of players shut out their first three opponents, four total for the ’64 season, and held three others to only a touchdown while ranking high nationally in all defensive categories. The offensive line, led by future seven-year New Orleans Saints standout Del Williams, and Joe Avezzano who later became Oregon State head coach and a long time Dallas Cowboys assistant, provided the excellent pass protection for Tensi as their Spanish-speaking center made his line calls in Spanish! The 8-1-1 record included a win over then number-five ranked Kentucky and their very first victory over Florida, a 16-7 celebration that sent the Gators, and their "Go For Seven" emblazoned jerseys back to Gainsville thoroughly defeated and dejected. Of significance was that this was the inaugural Florida vs. FSU game played in Tallahassee and in addition to the "Go For Seven" jerseys, the Gators had gone through a week of practice with helmets bearing the phrase "Never FSU Never" on them, a cry that the Gators would have to live with at least until their next annual meeting. With young assistant receivers coach Bobby Bowden tutoring Biletnikoff and the other flankers and ends, the Seminoles capped the year with a 36-19 Gator Bowl stomping of Oklahoma. Tensi moved on to a disappointing pro career, spending six years with the Chargers and Broncos while Biletnikoff became one of the pro game’s all time greats.




According to his head college coach Bill Peterson, Fred Biletnikoff was “a great athlete who could have played any position for us” and he was named Florida State’s first consensus All American. A two-way starter, Biletnikoff was injured early in his sophomore season, thus delaying his rise to national prominence. In an era of “run first” football and two-way players, Biletnikoff stood out on both sides of the ball, not playing offense exclusively until his senior year when he was an All American flanker. He completed his collegiate career with very big numbers for the day, but was known primarily as a clutch player who always came up with the necessary catch or key block. Coming from Erie, PA’s Tech Memorial High School, Fred was a tough customer on the field as was his brother Bob who quarterbacked the University Of Miami squad. Fred closed his FSU career with a Gator Bowl performance against Oklahoma that resulted in thirteen receptions for 192 yards and four touchdowns. He was the Oakland Raiders second-round choice and starred for them from 1965-’78, named to two AFL All Star squads and fourteen AFC-NFC Pro Bowls. He led the Raiders to two Super Bowl appearances, winning the MVP in one of them and caught forty or more passes in ten consecutive seasons. Biletnikoff closed his pro career, one that earned him entry to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, with 589 catches for 8974 yards and a total of seventy-six TD’s. He is also a member of the College Football Hall Of Fame and an annual award is given in his name to college football’s top receiver. After retiring from the NFL, Fred returned to the gridiron for the 1980 season with Montreal of the CFL and then became a full-time coach, first at the high school and junior college levels, then with two USFL teams, and finally, with his beloved Raiders. He retired on January 31, 2007 after coaching the Raiders’ receivers for eighteen seasons.

If interested in any of these Florida State helmets please click on the photos below.