Are you ready for some football? Well, as far as most of us can remember, football helmets have been a part of the game. They help to identify teams in a pile, they are customized for different types of potential injury and some are even used to track stats. Modern helmets are improved with radio technology as well as improved safety performance. But, with the hard-hitting sport of football, how is it that helmets weren't always a thing?
No one knows for sure who invented the first football helmet. Some say basketball legend James Naismith and others refer to a Navy Academy midshipman. However, by 1896 players began to wear improvised "helmets" to protect their ears, heads and even their jaw. By the early 1900s and '20s football helmets made of leather and harder plastics began to be introduced, although how much protection they afforded isn't really up for debate - they offered little. It wouldn't be until the mid-'50s that professional football would have a specific type of helmet that in its infancy was the prototype of the modern football helmet.
With logos, pops of color and frequently changing designs, football helmets are as much a part of the game as the football and players. There's no doubt you can identify your favorite team's helmet from a mile away. But, how about every other team in the league? It's time to drop back for a pass up the middle. Take this quiz to see if you can hit your target to identify all these NFL helmets!
The Washington Redskins have been one of the NFL's most consistent teams since its birth as the Boston Braves in 1932. With 11 Championship or Super Bowl appearances in 24 trips to the playoffs, the Redskins have come away victorious in five; two Championships and three Super Bowls. In 2015, the team gained the distinguished record of becoming only one of five teams to have won over 600 regular and postseason wins.
Unless you were born a Millennial you likely knew the Tennessee Titans as the Houston Oilers. The team was established in 1960 and didn't make the switch to Tennessee until 1997. As the Oilers, the team has two AFL championships, none since the '61 season. The Oakland Raiders were an early victim to the team as its first regular season win on Sept. 11, 1960, and its most lopsided victory a year later, on Sept. 9, 1961, with a 55-0 score.
The Atlanta Falcons were established in 1965, but it wasn't until the mid-'90s that the team began to find consistent success with nine playoff appearances from 1995-2016, and only four appearances in the team's prior 30 years. Despite a lifetime losing record of 350-450-6, the Falcons have a star-studded fan base which includes Jeff Foxworthy, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Carter, Usher, and even rival quarterback, Cam Newton!
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the youngest teams in the NFL, coming into the league as an expansion team in 1976. Since then, they have become one of the streakiest teams the league has seen. In its first two seasons, the team lost its first 26 games. They turned things around in the late '70s and early '80s to fall victim to a 14-year streak of consecutive losing seasons. Then from 1997 to 2007, the team appeared in the playoffs seven times, winning the Super Bowl in 2002.
The Baltimore Ravens were established in 1996 in one of the strangest transitions from one city to another. The team's owner, Art Modell, announced the move from Cleveland to Baltimore, but as part of a settlement to the NFL and Cleveland, he wasn't allowed to bring with him the Brown's legacy. However, he was allowed to bring with him his own personnel for the new team. Since the move, the Ravens have been one of the most successful teams in the NFL. They own two Super Bowl Championships -- in 2000 and 2012 -- and are the only team with perfect records in multiple Super Bowls and Thanksgiving Day appearances.
The Seattle Seahawks were established as an expansion team in 1976. As the only NFL team based in the Northwest, they boast a huge geographical fan base which covers five states and two Canadian provinces. The team's 12th-man fan base have twice set world records for noise in 2013, with decibel levels reaching as high as 137.6. The team won its sole Super Bowl in 2013 although they also played in the 2005 and 2014 Super Bowls. To date, the Seahawks are the only team to have played in both the AFC and NFC Championship games.
The Buffalo Bills were established in 1960 and since then have become notorious for some of the greatest victories and unimaginable defeats in football history. The Bills remain the only team to win four consecutive conference championships. They are also the only team to lose four consecutive Super Bowls - all occurring between 1990 and 1993. Up to the 2017 season, the Bills have the longest playoff drought of any major U.S. sport and remain the only team in the NFL to not reach the playoffs in the 21st century.
The 49ers were founded in 1946 as a charter member of the AAFC, joining the NFL three years later. The team is the first major professional sports franchise in San Francisco. The 49ers have won five Super Bowls and have appeared in six. From 1981 to 1997, the 49ers were considered one of the most dominant franchises in sport's history. With Hall of Famers such as Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Steve Young on its roster, the team is one of the most valuable franchises in the world.
The Panthers played their first season in 1995, going 7-9 which is a NFL-best for an expansion team. Despite a few hiccups early on, the Panthers have appeared in seven playoffs up to the 2017 season and two Super Bowls, losing to the Patriots in 2003 and the Broncos in 2015. The team is one of a small handful who outright owns their stadium, which is legally registered as Panthers Stadium LLC.
Few teams seem to have benefited more than the Steelers when it comes to the post-NFL merger. Prior to the merger, the Steelers were known as the oldest team to have never won a league championship. However, in the modern era of the NFL, the Steelers have won six Super Bowls and hosted 11 Conference Championships, which is a league record up to the 2017 season.
The Chicago Bears are one of two remaining charter members of the 1920 NFL. The other is the Arizona Cardinals. In that time, the Bears have become the winningest team in NFL history, along with nine Championships, one of those a Super Bowl victory in 1985. The Bears were a dominant force from the '30s through the '50s, and then again in the '80s with sporadic playoff appearances in between. To date, they hold records for the most Pro Football HOFers and most Pro Football retired jerseys.
The Philadelphia Eagles were a replacement team in 1933 and hold the distinction as having one of the most well-known rivalries in football history with the nearby New York Giants. They also have a bitter history with the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Pittsburg Steelers. In fact, the Eagles have more rivalries than Championships, of which they've won three in 1948, 1949 and 1960.
The Oakland Raiders were founded in 1960 and have built one of the most loyal and dynamic fan bases in NFL history. In 2017, it was announced the Raiders will be moving from Oakland to Las Vegas. From the late '60s through the mid-'80s, the Raiders were regular playoff contenders. However, the next 30 years were marred with challenges, both on and off-field, prompting only seven playoff appearances in over 30 years. The Raiders have appeared in five Super Bowls, winning three of them.
The Cleveland Browns were founded in 1945 and began their professional football career with a bang with a 47-4-3 record as a member of the AAFC. To date, the Browns hold four AAFC Championships and four Super Bowl victories - the last of which occurred in 1964. The Browns owner, Art Modell, moved the team to Baltimore in 1996, however, amidst legal complications he was forced to leave the Brown's legacy in Cleveland. In 1999, the Cleveland Browns re-emerged as an expansion team taking on that legacy. However, with 26 different quarterbacks in the 18 years following the 1999 season, the Browns have only had two winning seasons.
The New York Jets were originally known as the Titans of New York. They became the Jets in 1963. One of the most interesting facts of the early franchise is that they were the first AFL team to defeat an NFL club in the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. They defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. The Jets are one of only three teams to have won their only Super Bowl appearance.
Since their inception into the NFL in 1960, the Dallas Cowboys have had one of the most successful runs of any franchise. They are donned as "America's Team." The Cowboys are the only team to have recorded 20 straight winning seasons, from 1966 to 1985. The team has gone to the playoffs 32 times and has won five Super Bowls. In 2015, it was announced that at $4-billion, the Cowboys are the world's most valuable franchise.
The New York Giants were one of five teams to join the NFL in 1925, and the only of those teams to still exist. The Giants have eight Championships; four of them Super Bowls. While they have more Championship appearances than any other team in NFL history, they are behind the Green Bay Packers (13) and Chicago Bears (9) for Championships won. The Giants rivalry with the Philadelphia Eagles is one of the oldest in football history, dating back to 1933.
The Detroit Lions have won four NFL Championships, the last one in 1957. However, they remain as the only team in the NFC to have not played in the Super Bowl. The Championship drought is second only to the Arizona Cardinals. Despite having solid teams in the '50s and '90s, the Detroit Lions have had some difficulty putting together a consistent playoff team in a conference traditionally dominated throughout the league's history by the Greenbay Packers and Chicago Bears.
The New Orleans Saints were founded in 1966, but in their first twenty years, they only reached a non-losing season twice. 1987 marked their first winning season. With some success in the early '90s and their lone Super Bowl victory in 2013, New Orleans has been able to maintain a strong, yet often disenchanted fan base. In nearly 50 seasons, the team is 331-418-5.
Despite being the last of the small-town teams and by far the smallest major-league professional sports market in the United States, the Packers have one of the largest fan bases and have been a dominant force in the NFL since they joined in 1921. The Packers have 13 NFL Championships, most among all teams, four of them Super Bowls. While not being competitive during the '70s and '80s, the Packers, led by two quarterbacks, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, have been one of the most successful franchises in the NFL with 19 playoff appearances in 23 years.
Since 2000, the New England Patriots have become one of the most successful franchises in NFL history with 16 consecutive winning seasons and five Super Bowl Championships during that time. The team has been considered one of the greatest NFL dynasties of all-time with a slew of NFL team records, from most wins in a ten year period (126) to an undefeated 16-0 season in 2007.
The Minnesota Vikings played their first season in 1961 and are known for their dominance, especially on defense, during the '70s. Throughout the '70s, '80s, and '90s the Vikings were a force in the NFL, however, with the emergence of the Green Bay Packers in the early '90s and beyond the Vikings have had difficulty maintaining a top spot in their conference especially in recent years where issues at quarterback have plagued the team. From 1969 to 1976 the Vikings played in and lost four Super Bowls.
The Indianapolis Colts were founded in 1953 as the Baltimore Colts, before relocating in 1984. The Colts have consistently found success as a professional team, however, it wasn't until Peyton Manning was at the helm that they became regular playoff contenders, going to 11 of 13 playoffs and winning one of their two Super Bowls during that time.
The Miami Dolphins came into the NFL in 1965 and from 1970 to 2001 were considered one of the best teams in the league with 21 playoff appearances during that time, 13 division championships, five conference championships and two Super Bowls. The success of the franchise is reflected in two people: Don Shula, the winningest coach of all-time, and Dan Marino who at one time held nearly all passing records in the NFL.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were a 1995 expansion team. In the first 21 seasons, the Jaguars have had six playoff appearances, most occurring in the mid to late '90s, and two AFC Central championships. While the Jaguars haven't been known as a powerhouse in the NFL, they did find a brief moment of excellence from 1997 to 1999, going 11-5 in 1997 and 1998 and 14-2 in 1999.
The Los Angeles Chargers used to be known as the San Diego Chargers before 2017. They have never won a Super Bowl.
The Los Angeles Rams are a team that came, went and came back, making their mark in each city. The Rams are the only teams to have won an NFL Championship in three different cities. In 1945 they won the championship in Cleveland, in 1951 they won in Los Angeles, and in 1999 they won in St. Louis. After spending 1946 to 1994 in Los Angeles, the team was relocated to St. Louis from 1995 to 2015. Now that they are back in Los Angeles, the question to ask is how long until the Rams win a championship in each of their franchise cities? The Rams relocation is one of the reasons the Oakland Raiders wound up going to Las Vegas.
The Kansas City Chiefs were the last AFL team to defeat an NFL team in the Super Bowl before the leagues merged in 1970.
The Houston Texans are the youngest team in the NFL, playing their first season in 2002. While the Texans are the only team in the NFL to never have played a conference championship game, they have won four AFC South championships -- in 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2016.
The Broncos' first season was in 1960, but you may not have even known they existed for the first 13 years since they never recorded a winning season during that time. However, from 1977 to 2015, the team won eight AFC Championships and three Super Bowls. The team shares the record for the second most Super Bowl appearances, as well as the most Super Bowl losses (5).
The Bengals were a dominant force in the NFL from the '70s and through the early '80s, yet have also seen some of the worst seasons in NFL history, culminating with 14-straight losing seasons starting in 1991. However, from 2005 to 2015, the team reached the playoffs seven times. Despite the Bengal's ups-and-downs, the team has reached the Super Bowl twice, in 1981 and in 1988. Unfortunately, they bumped into the 49ers during one of the most dominant dynasties in all of football and lost both times.
Do you want to blow minds with NFL trivia? The Arizona Cardinals are the oldest continuously-run professional football team in the United States. Founded in 1898 as the Morgan Athletic Club, the team would eventually become a charter member of the NFL in 1920. That makes the Cardinals only one of two remaining charter members, along with the Chicago Bears. In 97 NFL seasons, they have only had 10 playoff appearances and two league championships -- in 1925 and 1947.