1956 Cardinal
(Authentic Reproduction)




With QB John Brodie a senior, a lot more than the 4-6 finish had been expected. Injuries depleted an already thin squad that had great players like two-time All American tackle Paul Wiggin, who went on to a stellar eleven-year career with the Browns and later returned as Stanford's head coach in the late-seventies. Brodie too was a consensus All American, getting great exposure in a 32-20 loss to Ohio State where he excelled. Four points resulted in three conference losses which ruined the season. Stanford dressed up their white helmet shell a bit, adding a protective one-bar face mask and identifying red three-inch thin, rounded numerals to each side of the helmet.     
Incredibly, John Brodie, one of Stanford's greatest players of all time, was a non-scholarship athlete. All of Stanford's scholarship football players received their education on a "need basis" as it was school policy to invite only those who could survive the rigorous academic admission and educational requirements. Money was awarded in accordance with the player's ability to pay for their education. Brodie, an exceptional high school athlete, was recruited to The Farm by his mother who took her son's junior year grades to the administration and was told that the only hope he had for admission was if he received straight-A's in all of his senior year courses. Brodie did, passed the entrance exam, and was accepted. As a three-sport athlete at Oakland Technical H.S. whose desire and ability to play football ranked behind that of baseball and basketball, and with the family's income such that he could not qualify for financial aid, one of their most illustrious players paid his own way while attaining All American status and entry into The College Football Hall Of Fame! Brodie hit his first ten collegiate passes in the 1954 opener against College Of The Pacific, led an upset of what was supposed to be a great Oregon team, and then watched his team fall apart, including a 72-0 thrashing by UCLA. Brodie stated, "I was a guy with a lot of promise, but it was unfulfilled." He did of course fulfill it as a first-team All American his senior season, serving as co-captain with Paul Wiggin. A two-time All Coast pick, he was the nation's passing leader as a senior and compiled career marks of 296 completions for 3594 yards and nineteen TD's, big numbers for his era that gave him entry to the College Football Hall Of Fame. As the Forty-Niners first-round pick he battled for a starting position his first few pro seasons while leading the NFL in completion percentage in 1958, '65, and 1968. He was the NFL MVP in 1970 and retired with career marks of 31,548 yards accumulated through 2469 completions in 4491 attempts and 214 TD's. John Brodie devoted much of his time to golf and became recognized as one who could have made a living in that sport also.
This Manteca (CA) High School lineman made an immediate impact at Stanford and was a devastating tackle on both sides of the football although defense was his specialty. A co-captain and two-time first-team consensus All American, Wiggin at 6'3" and 228 pounds was one of the first advocates of using a systematic weight training program to build great strength and was so dominant that he was named as Stanford's Defensive Player Of The Century.
Playing well enough to later become a member of The College Football Hall Of Fame, Wiggin was drafted as a junior by Paul Brown in 1955 and after joining the Cleveland Browns, he became an integral part of their team, starting for eleven years and making Pro Bowl teams in 1965 and '67. As an assistant coach in the NFL, he worked his way up to a defensive coordinator position with the Saints before being named as the head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs and from 1980 through 1983 at his alma mater. Wiggin was the Cardinal head coach in the infamous game against rival Cal when Stanford was victimized by the five-lateral play that culminated with the bashing of a Stanford band member, a game that has become immortal. He returned to the NFL as a personnel administrator and has been with the Vikings for many years.

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