Dick Butkus  1964


Champaign Wishes in a Beer (and Bear) Town
According to the slightly more sophisticated crowd the traditional path to the White House preferably starts with Andover prep, followed by Harvard under-grad, Yale law, raising millions by selling future political favors and last but not least; kissing as many babies as possible on the campaign trail.
Here at Helmet Hut we are far more interested in the most direct route to being appointed "Da Secretary of Defense" in the "Windy City." Based on the experience of da former "Secretary" Butkus (now there's an oxymoron), that road would wind straight through the campus at the University of Illinois in Champaign before continuing on its way to Wrigley Field.
The stunning reproduction of Dick Butkus' 1964 University of Illinois helmet pictured above is a perfect and timeless reminder of one of football's greatest icons. The brilliant burnt orange shell is perfectly complimented by a handsome dark navy center stripe that is dual flanked by stout 1" wide white striping. Butkus' black award stars that are positioned over his classic  "NCAA" style helmet numerals reflected individual achievements of only the highest magnitude. If Butkus had received similar size awards that were instead based on today's modern criteria he would have needed at least three helmets to display them all. Like many of his Illini teammates Butkus eschewed the use of a more conventional cage style facemask in favor of a Riddell "BD-9" two bar mask coupled with a "BNO-2" nose bar. The growling image of Butkus' generous profile protruding out from this glorious helmet would have been equally intimidating to opposing offensive and defensive units as Butkus played "both ways," excelling at linebacker and offensive center.   
Legendary Bear's owner George Halas must have felt quite comfortable drafting Butkus out of the University of Illinois with the Bear's initial first round choice in 1965. Halas played both football and baseball for the school and graduated with an engineering degree from there in 1918. He even adopted the Illini's orange and blue colors when he formed the original Bears' team a few years later (the Illini blue was darkened for the Bears to acknowledge Halas' military stint in the Navy). Unfortunately, Butkus did not perform quite as well in the classroom as his old coach but the two time "All American" would have graduated "Magna Cum Laude" if his grades were based solely on his football prowess.
Unlike the aforementioned path taken by an aspiring President, Butkus was not able to generate millions prior to arriving at his final destination (he originally signed for just $25,000 per season) and he definitely did not kiss many babies. But after he left Champaign and finally arrived in Chicago he certainly smacked a few tight ends!

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