Baltimore Colts

Unitas - 1956
(Authentic Reproduction)





The historical significance of this unique style helmet could only be surpassed by the future accomplishments of a certain rail thin, crew cut rookie quarterback who preferred high top cleats and wore courage on his shoulder and number "19" on his sleeve. 
The original Baltimore Colts of the All American Football Conference (1946-49) wore silver helmets with a green center stripe until the franchise folded after its first season as a new member of the NFL in late 1950. The defunct Dallas Texans (formerly NY Yanks) were moved to Baltimore in 1953. The new Colts also wore white helmets with a blue center stripe during their inaugural season. A dark blue helmet with a white center stripe and team logos (matching white horseshoes located on the backside of the helmet) was introduced in 1954 and used again in 1955.
By signing rookies John Unitas and Lenny Moore for the 1956 season the Colts found the missing pieces needed for their future world championship teams of the late 1950s. Perhaps this also was the motivation for the team to return to its original 1953 white helmet (and blue center stripe) for the 1956 season. The popular rear horseshoe logos (changed to blue) were retained from the prior two years. Ironically, the horseshoe logo placement at the rear of the helmet made it more visible to opposing players who seemingly were in constant pursuit of the dashing Mr. Moore.
This 1956 John Unitas authentic reproduction Riddell "RK" helmet reflects the unique "one year only" style that coupled the white helmet with the rear placement horseshoe logos. In 1957 the team revised their entire uniform including moving the horseshoe logos to each side of the helmet and replacing the existing sleeve stripes with "UCLA" type shoulder stripes. Another interesting feature of this helmet is the unique blue colored, single bar plastic face mask. After the 1956 season the team used plastic face masks that were standard gray only. The 1950s era leather chin strap and 6 point suspension complete this helmet and make it virtually identical to the one "Mr. Quarterback" used at the beginning of his legendary pro career.