1971 Cornhuskers "National
end of the suspension helmet era as approximately 1977, the final change to
the Husker headgear was made as they entered the 1970 season. The staggered NU
on the sides of the helmet was replaced by what has become the iconic and
definitive Nebraska football logo, a simple red block-style N. The red center
stripe was maintained as was the placement of the player numerals in the rear
of the helmet. In 1969, Devaney may have indicated to his successor that the
job was his but Tom Osborne would not grasp the reins until 1973. Perhaps
Devaney, a savvy recruiter and judge of talent, knew exactly what he had after
the 1969 season and wanted to take a shot at a national championship but those
last teams of his were truly special. The 1970 team was 11-0-1, the tie coming
in the season's second game against powerful USC. They posted a 17-12 defeat
of LSU in an exciting Orange Bowl contest behind a soph-laden defense led by
Rich Glover, John Dutton, and Willie Harper. The three newcomers looked to All
American Larry Jacobson for guidance. The offense was "all go" with Osborne's
schemes and the alternating leadership of QB's Jerry Tagge and Van Brownson.
RB Joe Orduna, I-Back Jeff Kinney, and do-it-all speedster Johnny Rodgers got
the offensive headlines while soph Bill Olds learned the ropes for the future,
one that led him too into the NFL. After the defeat of LSU, Devaney did in
fact have Nebraska's first National Championship. Additionally, number 20
Johnny Rodgers was put on the top of everyone's list of potential Heisman
Trophy winners, even though he would be a junior in 1971.
Actually, it was some kind of yearfor the Big 8 as Oklahoma, who had narrowly lost what was called "The Game Of The Century" to NU in a shoot-out that featured Rodgers most exciting punt return, was number two and Colorado three in the nation's final rankings. The names were now familiar: Tagge, Brownson, Kinney, Rodgers, Olds, Harper, Jacobson, Glover, and the addition of middle guard and future Raider LB Monte Johnson. Devaney must have realized that it wouldn't and couldn't get any better but decided to come back for one final year and a try for a three-peat. His 9-2-1 finish kept the Huskers out of the throne room but Glover easily won the Outland Trophy and the defense was frightful, throwing four consecutive shutouts and insuring All America notice for Willie Harper and Glover of course, with John Dutton and safety Joe Blahak getting close. New QB David Humm earned Soph Of The Year honors and Rodgers was always dangerous. Falling short of three consecutive National Championships but walking away with a winning percentage of .829, Devany announced his intention to devote full attention to the AD's job. Tom Osborne now had the keys to this machine.
If interested in any of these NU helmets please click on the photos below.