1977- 78 Cardinal
(Authentic Reproduction)




With dissatisfaction in the level of inconsistent play and a belief that Stanford could compete with USC and UCLA for an occasional trip to the Rose Bowl, Jack Christiansen was removed after totaling a five-year record of 30-22-3 and replaced by long-time pro assistant Bill Walsh. Known at the time for developing the Bengals' innovative passing offense and QB Ken Anderson, this would be his first head coaching position other than the 8-4 record he put together in 1968 leading the San Jose Apaches of the Continental Football League. The new coach immediately changed the helmet, maintaining Stanford's traditional white shell. He also kept the red one-inch center stripe but increased the size of the red "S" logo on the sides of the helmet to three-inches. Walsh did a tremendous job with QB Guy Benjamin, turning him into a consensus All American and sending him off to a six-year pro career. Bill Kellar (Chiefs) and James Lofton were the recipients of Benjamin's developing skills. Lofton of course used his NCAA long jump champion ability to become a four-time All Pro and Pro Football Hall Of Fame member playing for the Packers, Raiders, Bills, and a season split between the Rams and Eagles. Up front, OT Gordon King was also named All American and became the Giants first-round pick, playing for them from 1978 through 1985 and tacking on another two seasons with the Jets. The rushing attack was provided by Stanford's first 1000-yard rusher, Darrin Nelson who put up 1069 on the ground and then became the first college player to gain 1000 yards and catch fifty or more passes in a season. The 9-3 season and Sun Bowl victory over LSU 28-14, was preserved by a toughened defense led by MLB Gordy Ceresino who set a school record with 174 tackles and LB Milt McColl, another of Dr. Bill's sons. With high expectations for '78, Walsh again did a great job pushing the Cardinals to an 8-4 record with a Bluebonnet Bowl win over Georgia, 25-22. With Guy Benjamin gone to the pros, Walsh and QB Coach Rod Dowhower worked their magic with Benjamin's back-up Steve Dils and he did well enough to lead the nation with 247 completions for 2943 yards and 22 TD's, going on to a ten-year NFL career primarily with the Vikings and Rams. With track star Ken Margerum as an All PAC 10 leading receiver with 53 receptions and second-team All American HB Darrin Nelson again catching fifty passes and running for 1061 yards, Walsh had plenty of offense. The defense was led by LB's Milt McColl and Gordy Ceresino who played for Walsh with the Forty-Niners in '79, with excellent secondary play from DB Steve Foley. Having proven that he could successfully direct a major program, Walsh was given what was considered to be "Mission Improbable", the revival of the moribund S.F. Forty-Niners but as everyone knows, he did more than merely revive the franchise, turning them into a true pro football dynasty in the years to come and securing his legacy as one of the most successful and influential coaches in the history of pro football.

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