John LoVetere 1965
(Game worn)




John LoVetere is one of the most impressive men who ever played pro football. Unfortunately because he was not the self promoting type most people will never get to fully appreciate this quiet hero whose special traits transcend the game of football. If movies were real life John will always be a young Marlon Brando, John Wayne and Paul Newman rolled into one. A genuine strong silent type who only spoke up only when necessary John earned the respect of his teammates both on and off the field. The press made more colorful characters such as Sam Huff, Deacon Jones and Chuck Bednarik into larger than life football tough guys but in the locker room or on the field no one messed with big John. Although the press guide says he went to Compton College John actually entered pro football and the Los Angeles Rams directly from the military where he excelled on service teams. His fellow pro players regarded him as one of the strongest players in the league. He was one of the first football players who was a dedicated weight lifter spending countless hours in the military pumping iron to maximize his already powerful God given strength. He was one of the largest players in the league weighing close to 300 pounds which he sculptured into a "Mr. Universe" type body. His body type was unheard of for a player of that size in the 1960s. In addition to his strength and size John was always one of the fastest players on the field. Is there any wonder why the "owl wise" New York Giants traded their legendary defensive lineman Rosy Griper to the Rams straight up for the previously unsung Mr. LoVetere after the 1962 season?  Sadly, a severe knee injury prevented John from reaching his full potential with the Giants and forced his early retirement from the game after the 1965 season. John has bravely struggled with his disabled leg since leaving football. With virtually no support from the NFL's draconian disability coverage for players from his era John has relied on his natural physical strength, strong constitution, and support of his devoted wife Debbie to offset his physical handicap and persevere in a subsequent career of various physically demanding jobs. John is now enjoying a well earned retirement in a quiet rural Tennessee town.

This is John's helmet from his final season with the Giants in 1965. The Riddell model "RK" suspension helmet is a size 7 5/8. The face mask is a Schutt 1965 model "JOP."  This face mask style was the first one to use side attachment clips to mount the sides of the mask frame instead of bolting the sides of the mask frame directly to the helmet. In 1966 Schutt removed the "butterfly" bolt on top mount replacing it with similar top attachment clips. The Kelly green concussion padding located in the helmet's inside crown area was an optional additional padding system offered by Riddell for their suspension helmets. Most Giant's suspension helmets contained this additional padding subsequent to the serious concussion injury suffered by Giant great Frank Gifford in 1960. This helmet has the original "NY" logos introduced in 1961 and the 2" high rounded font player numerals on the front and rear of the helmet. As opposed to Giants helmets from the 1950s and early 1960s which had a painted on red center stripe this helmet has the later style vinyl tape center stripe.