Dear Dr. Del Rye,
I have been observing the HELMET HUT web site for a few years and I am always amazed at the things your staff comes up with. I wish I owned everything you had for my own collection although I would need a new house to keep it in. I would also need a new wife because mine would throw me out. I have a quick question I hope you can answer about the plastic used in helmets. I assume that plastics is a complete course of study in itself but when your articles and helmet descriptions mention that a college adopted a "new Riddell plastic RT helmet" for example, or when you say "the plastic shell of the Riddell helmet was changed to purple in 1972" as with the Kansas State helmets, is there a specific kind of plastic that is used for helmets? Thanks and keep up the great work.
Mike H. in McPherson, Kansas 
Dear Mike-
Thank you very much for the kind words and almost all of us who work at HELMET HUT would also like to take home all of the game worn helmets and authentic reproductions we make but we have the same concerns you do; the need for a larger house and probably a new spouse! You are correct about the study of plastics, it is a broad and involved topic. I think the briefest answer but one that will be meaningful, can be stated with a few easy-to-understand sentences. THERMOPLASTIC means that a plastic is remeltable. There are approximately fifteen types of Thermoplastics and included among these are ABS ( acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene ) and Polycarbonate. The primary features of these two types of Thermoplastics is that they possess excellent toughness and high impact strength. The demands of the game of football require these two obvious qualities, thus, ABS and Polycarbonate plastics are the type used in football helmets. ABS is often used to manufacture molded products such as those used in the automotive industry and in PVC (plumbing) pipe. Speaking with Marguerite Valente of SNAPDRAGON TATTOO in Delhi, N.Y., one of the top artists in the country, HELMET HUT received the surprising information that ABS plastic is a component of higher quality tattoo inks because when reduced to extremely small diameters, the addition of ABS to the ink produces an extremely intense and long-lasting coloring. Polycarbonate is an extremely durable plastic and is used to make bullet-resistant glass as well as DVD's and CD's. In the March 9, 2007 ASK DR. DEL RYE column, we provided information pertaining to the proper care and cleaning of the plastic surface of the helmet as well as commentary regarding clean webbing and foam interiors. With ABS and Polycarbonate plastics, it should be mentioned that some cleaning agents are not compatible with them and will degrade the helmet shell. Also, a little known point of interest is that there are some helmet decals, also made of plastics with an adhesive backing, that can degrade the helmet shell as the properties of the adhesive can negatively affect the shell's plastic properties. Thank you once again for your thoughtful question.

Dear Doctor:
I'm a Giants fan and like the game worn helmets as well as the ones you have made up as shown on the GIANTS SECTION OF THE NFL AREA. These bring back great memories, especially Gifford. One of the Giants helmets you don't see much is the 1975 model with the open type of lettering. It seems that it was used and then discarded right away. Is there any kind of reason for that or story about it? I like your Larry Csonka helmet and story too. Thanks.
Nathan, Long Island


Dear Nathan,
The New York Giants are one of the NFL's most popular teams and the sale of their apparel and related items confirms this fact. Giants fans used to be known as "button down" conservative types in the 1950's and 1960's primarily because the businesses in the New York metropolitan area were among the first in the nation to realize the value of and understand the business producing impact of providing NFL game tickets to corporate partners. Giants fans took a beating in the media for not caring as the sold out Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium were often populated not by the season ticket holders each game, but a continuously changing sea of businessmen who utilized their tickets for business purposes rather than the wholehearted support of their home team. "Madison Avenue" as the advertising business in Manhattan was called, was the first to utilize football players in advertising campaigns and members of the Giants were the obvious first choice picks. Frank Gifford was the first or certainly one of the first NFL players who made an equivalent income from his modeling career, relative to his NFL salary. Even with truth in the above statement, Giants fans are as vociferous and loyal as any other in the league and they have had great teams and great players to cheer for including the members of the Charlie Connerly-Y.A. Tittle-Frank Gifford-Sam Huff era that produced many division and NFL/World Championships and many Pro Football Hall Of Fame Players. Unfortunately, the team hit a tough patch from the mid-sixties to the early 1980's. Study of the Giants records indicate that many of those years produced .500 ball or finishing records in that area but relative to the championship years and the expectations of their fans, the perception was that the Giants were not doing well at all. 
Former Giants great and Pro Football Hall Of Fame member Andy Robustelli had been extremely successful as a Connecticut businessman following his playing career. He had started a number of business ventures prior to the conclusion of his career and had an excellent track record. Giants owner Wellington Mara asked Robustelli to come on board to try and resurrect the structure of the franchise in December of 1973 following a terrible Giants season that found them with a 2-11-1 record. Fan discord was enhanced by the necessity of playing the final five of seven home games in New Haven, CT at the Yale Bowl after vacating Yankee Stadium. Robustelli, as Director Of Operations began to dismantle and then rebuild the team with new head coach Bill Arnsparger but they stumbled to a 2-12 1974 record. With projected occupancy of the new Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands not expected until the 1976 season, the Giants were scheduled to play all of their 1975 home games at the Jets' home field, Shea Stadium. Feeling that an entire "new look" was necessary, a brand new practice facility was constructed at Pace College and this was followed by new uniforms. As Robustelli said, "Next came the uniforms, beginning with the helmet that for years had the familiar 'NY' on the side. The Giants needed to be a little more modern in their look without departing entirely from the idea that we still were the New York Giants...we solicited plenty of designs before settling on the modernized version of 'NY' which we used when we played in Shea Stadium. Of course, the 'GIANTS' logo became standard when we moved into Giants Stadium in New Jersey in 1976."

Robustelli also added two one-inch white flanking stripes to augment the standard one-inch red center stripe that had adorned the Giants' navy blue helmet for so long. The reaction of the media and fans wasn't quite what was expected. Unfortunately the fans truly disliked the new-look "NY" logo and if the move to the New Jersey stadium had not been planned, with the dissolution of any logo associated directly with New York or New York City, it probably would not have been more than a one-year decal so great was the fans' negative reaction. The white flanking stripes remained and the new logo that was introduced when the move to the Meadowlands occurred was a long lasting one. The stylized "GIANTS" logo was used for years until the "NY" was reintroduced in 2000. A terrific question that allowed us to wind down memory lane for a while, thank you.
Truly yours,
Dr. Del Rye