1969 Crimson Tide
(Authentic Reproduction)




Honoring the 100th Anniversary of College Football like other schools, the Bama cardinal helmet with one-inch white center stripe was adorned with a white football shaped “100” decal on the sides of the shell while maintaining its usual white one-inch center stripe. Bryant fixed the anemic offense of ’68 by having quarterback  Scott Hunter throw often, including a record 484 yards against Auburn in a losing effort, and receiver Dave Bailey set a new school record by catching fifty-six passes for 781 yards. Sophomore tailback Johnny Musso out of Birmingham Banks High School rushed for 516 yards and thirteen touchdowns, tacked on 321 in reception yardage, and was an All SEC pick. Fullback Pete “Superjet” Jilleba later spent time with the Hartford Knights of the Atlantic Coast Football League. Guard Alvin Samples earned All American selection while offensive tackle Danny Ford was All Conference and then went on to a lengthy coaching career with head coaching positions at Clemson and Arkansas. At Clemson, he was named National Coach Of The Year when his 1981 team went 12-0 and won the National Championship. While the 1969 offense was revived, the defense went south and three opponents ran up over forty points, unheard of for a Bryant coached squad. In the very first nationally televised, prime time regular season game on October 4th, college football was given a national boost as the Tide squeaked by Ole Miss and Archie Manning 33-32. Unfortunately, Manning completed thirty-three of fifty-two passes for 436 yards and ran for another 104, a first in a major college football tilt and the dazzling display put the spotlight on Bama’s defensive shortcomings.


Defensive back Tommy Wade missed the season with a broken leg and 5’8” noseguard Gellerstedt, ‘68’s All American, left school at the conclusion of spring practice and transferred to Tampa. The mighty-mite either had academic issues, was too rebellious for the staff to control, or was publically critical of Bryant’s old-school coaching methods dependent upon numerous, often conflicting reports. However, as a Little All American at Tampa, there was no doubt that he was sorely missed. Although three-year letter winner at defensive tackle Jim Duke had a six year CFL career with three teams, the only true defensive standout was end Robin Parkhouse, a point that was emphasized as the year ended with a 47-33 Liberty Bowl loss to Colorado. The bowl game insult was punctuated by Buffs Game MVP quarterback Bob Anderson who rushed for a record 254 yards. At the end of the 1960s Alabama was honored as the College Team Of The Decade with a 90-16-4 record, three National, and four SEC titles. Not unexpectedly Bryant was Coach Of The Decade but 1969’s 6-5 record, losing in-conference tally, and what appeared to be a continuing decline was obviously unacceptable to all. It was in retrospect that many realized that the late 1960s marked a change on the college football landscape, where the emphasis was shifted from the small, quick, and very tough type of players that often went both ways, and were the hallmark of Bryant’s Alabama squads, to larger, stronger players now playing a different type of game.


If interested in any of these Alabama helmets please click on the photos below.