Green Bay Packers

Forrest Gregg 1968 Pro Bowl
(Game Worn)

As Green Bay offensive tackle Forrest Gregg ran onto the field to begin the 1968 season, a new TK 2 helmet in hand and the same enthusiasm flowing through his thirty-five year old body as it did as a rookie second round draft choice in 1956, he did not envision a 2-3-1 start to the season.



The Packers had won the first two championship games against the rival American Football League and were widely hailed as one of the NFL’s best teams of all time. Gregg, an eventual Pro Football Hall Of Fame selection concluded the ’67 season with awards that included All NFL and election to the NFL Pro Bowl. Given a new Riddell helmet for the 1967 season, he no doubt expected to wear his glistening Green Bay headgear towards similar heights for ’68. Unfortunately, injuries, the increasing age of key players, and the retirement of head coach Vince Lombardi to the front office eroded the expected continuation of the Packers’ dominance and they stumbled to a 6-7-1 finish.


As a perennial Pro Bowl choice, Gregg usually had his helmet shipped to Los Angeles immediately after his final game and with the Lombardi era Packers that usually meant after a post-season contest. The equipment staff there would quickly paint the helmets of all of the selected players either scarlet red or royal blue with the Eastern Conference wearing red uniforms and the West countering in blue.



Unlike the various collegiate all star games and later versions of the Pro Bowl after 1979, players did not wear their specific team logos on their individual helmets although careful observation often found members of the Chicago Bears “sneaking” into the game with their own navy blue  helmets on.


For the January 1966 game, the NFL tried something new with both All Pro teams donned in spray painted gold helmets bearing the NFL logo on each side. The Eastern and Western Conference teams were differentiated by the helmet striping. The West wore a white center stripe with blue flanking stripes while the East displayed red flanking stripes next to the white center stripe.  Of course, the rush to prepare these Pro Bowl helmets often led to oversights and this beautifully crafted classic Riddell piece worn by Gregg demonstrates this. Of course, the “mistakes” make this beautiful helmet even more enjoyable. Please note that the Packers' decals were not removed prior to the application of the gold paint and the relatively thin 4 mil NFL logo decals were placed over it.  


The locations of the various helmet rivets are marked by the yellow paint specific to the Green Bay helmets, visible when these same rivets were removed. The 1967 date code indicates that Mr. Gregg was the recipient of a new TK2 helmet for the 1967 season and his name and number are clearly noted.





A helmet not returned after the game, neither to Gregg nor the Packers? Was this a souvenir from a great player given to or kept by one of the equipment staff personnel for his collection? We shall never know but this remarkable piece of equipment arrived at the Helmet Hut headquarters completely disassembled. The staff was grateful that it had not suffered the fate of complete destruction in a shredding machine, but the steps taken to save this great collector’s item were rather extraordinary and the end product is in fact the restoration of a piece of pro football history.