Dear Dr.
Raiders always seemed to have a light silver helmet, but in the early going of 1977 it seems like they went to more of a gray/silver in their helmets (an uniform pants)On sunny days it was not as easy to see, but in a cloudy Raider/Brown game, which may even have been pre season, I have pictures of Art Shell, Upshaw and other with what looks like a flat gray paint.
Did this happen or an I color blind?
Thanks John
Dear John:
In the wonderful world of helmet colors it seems ironic that the standard silver hue that has been used over the past 40 years by teams such as the Lions, Oilers, Panthers, Patriots and Raiders has been formally labeled "Raider Silver" by the paint and helmet suppliers. Over the years the Raiders have unofficially changed the standard hue of their helmets more than any other team. According to current Raider's equipment manager Bobby Romanski, his father and former longtime Raider's equipment manager Dick Romanski would arbitrarily tweak the standard "Raider Silver" helmet paint formula. Some years Dick had a portion of blue color added to the standard formula which darkened the appearance of their helmets. One season, in what seems almost sacrilegious to the Raider image, a portion of pink color was added giving the helmets a subtle champagne glow. We are not sure what inspired Mr. Romanski to take it upon himself to make these changes but they were done during an era where the uniform colors and appearance were not as strictly regulated as they now are.
Both Gene Upshaw and Art Shell wore MacGregor / Kelly helmets during most of their careers. This type of helmet had a clear transparent shell that was painted on its inside surface. The normal brightness of the silver paint, as exhibited by other Raider helmets which were painted on their outside surface, became somewhat muted when filtered through the approximately 1/4" thick clear plastic shell. Both of these players also wore the patented MacGregor exterior center ridge pad system on their helmets. The silver paint did not adhere very well to this wide fabric covered pad and it was crudely repainted by Mr. Romanski between games which again resulted in a more flat color hue compared to other Raider helmets.    
What kind of facemask did Randy Gradisahr wear in 1977. It seemed like a Dungard mask, judging from how it was attached but rather than offset vertical bars in the cage (i.e. the Alan Page grill) it had one bar from nose to bottom of mask, like a Schutt design. Weird.
Thanks John
Dear John:
Good question regarding a unique style mask. This mask (see picture) was manufactured by Schutt in an apparent effort to "borrow" the style of the popular Dungard full cage mask. Apparently Schutt did not realize that the main attraction of the Dungard mask was the lightness of the mask rather than the shape of it. The Schutt mask was made from heavier rounded bar steel compared to the Dungard mask which used flat lightweight cast aluminum.  


In the early 60's Rose Bowl appearance, Wisconsin wore a thin W across the front of their helmets.  Prior to this
I think Notre Dame wore a cross on the top of their helmets, and as almost everybody knows the Baltimore Colts
originally put their famous horseshoes on the back of their helmets.  Are their any other interesting examples
of strange logo placements that you'd care to regale us with?  Has anyone, for instance, Painted either side of the helmet
in different colors?

One more thing. I really enjoyed your heartfelt (and bang-on!) assessment (Oct. 18, 2002) about the NFL's current thinking on uniform
design.  Bring back those old Eagle helmets, indeed.  It's nice to know there are a few other old schoolers out there.

Sir Hamster

Dear sir Hamster 

Thanks for letting me set the OLE keyboard down for a while. The best way to reply to your question is with the
following photos: Dartmouth; Indiana; Navy; Nebraska; Syracuse and Vanderbilt.
(If any of our readers have other examples please send them to us and we will publish them in a future column)



In my helmet collection,  I have several Rawlings Football Helmets ANFL, Large pieces I purchased from
a Rawlings Outlet store in Reading, PA.  I  would like to convert two of the helmets I own to look like the 
Rawlings Ridge Helmet HND-9 Bradshaw used in the 1970's.  I see that the actual ridge which surrounds
the helmet edge looks like plastic.  Where can I acquire the ridge plastic attachment so I can possibly attach
this piece to the helmets I have? They look like the same size.  Thank you!

Glenn R. Miller
Dear Glenn:
Sorry to have to tell you that the Rawlings ridge helmet was actually a one piece molded shell. The entire lip or ridge of 
the helmet had a thicker surface compared to the top portion of the shell. Rawlings felt that the ridge or edge of the shell
was the weakest part of the helmet (as evidenced by most normal helmet cracks that originated in this area of the shell) 
and by increasing the thickness of the shell at the edges they could add strength without adding excessive weight to the helmet.