Helmet Designs and Histories of the 1990 NFL Season

The 1990 NFL season saw some of the more modernized helmet (and entire uniform) designs throughout the NFL. What I mainly mean is that darker colors (namely the color black), which became more apparent throughout the latter half of the decade and into the 2000s.

We’re no longer seeing the bright colors that teams identified with once upon a time once the turn of the century commenced, so the 1990s became the last hurrah for many teams, which continues to this day, two decades into the 2000s.

The 1990s started it all, and for this reason, I decided to cover the 1990, 1995, 1998, and not listed on my original article but something I decided to insert, 1999, when the NFL sported an odd number of teams for the first time since 1966.

Not only did 1990 become significant in the uniform sector, but it also held one of the most exciting finishes to the season in NFL history.


==> Related Article: Helmet Designs of the 1987 Season <==


AFC East

New facemasks for the Jets in an otherwise unchanged division.

1990 Bills

Buffalo Bills: 13-3


1990 Dolphins

Miami Dolphins: 12-4


1990 Colts

Indianapolis Colts: 7-9


1990 Jets

New York Jets: 6-10


New England Patriots 1982-1990

New England Patriots: 1-15


AFC Central

1990 Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals: 9-7


1990 Oilers

Houston Oilers: 9-7


1990 Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-7


1990 Browns

Cleveland Browns: 3-13


AFC West

New logo design for the Chargers, now featuring a white lightning bolt with a yellow outline and blue facemasks.

1990 Raiders

Los Angeles Raiders: 12-4


1990 Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs: 11-5


1990 Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks: 9-7


San Diego Chargers 1988-2006

San Diego Chargers: 6-10


Denver Broncos 1975-1996

Denver Broncos: 5-11


==> Related Article: Helmet Designs of the 1978 Season <==


NFC East

The St. Louis Cardinals bolted for Phoenix, Arizona to become the Phoenix Cardinals in 1988. No major helmet changes occurred.

New York Giants 1981-1999

New York Giants: 13-3


Philadelphia Eagles 1974-1995

Philadelphia Eagles: 10-6


1990 Redskins

Washington Redskins: 10-6


1990 Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys: 7-9


Arizona Cardinals 1960-2004

Phoenix Cardinals: 5-11


NFC Central

New facemasks for the Vikings, which are now purple.

1990 Bears

Chicago Bears: 11-5


Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1976-1996

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-10


Detroit Lions 1983-2002

Detroit Lions: 6-10


1990 Packers

Green Bay Packers; 6-10


Minnesota Vikings 1983-2005

Minnesota Vikings: 6-10


NFC West

New, black helmet shells for the Falcons.

1990 49ers

San Francisco 49ers: 14-2


1990 Saints

New Orleans Saints: 8-8


1990 Rams

Los Angeles Rams: 5-11


1990 Falcons

Atlanta Falcons: 5-11


==> Related Article: Helmet Designs of the 1970 Season <==


AFC Championship

Los Angeles Raiders: 3

Buffalo Bills: 51

No, that’s not a typo, it’s one of the largest blowouts in AFC Championship history.

1990 kicked off four straight seasons that saw the Buffalo Bills play in four straight Super Bowls, with many to this day considering the Bills team of the early-1990s a dynasty, despite the results of each of the four Super Bowls.

On the other hand, the Raiders looked to return to their first Super Bowl since 1983, falling drastically short of the result. It would be the last AFC Championship Game for the Raiders until 2000.


==> Related Article: Helmet Designs of the 1966 Season <==


NFC Championship

New York Giants: 15

San Francisco 49ers: 13

New York Giants 1981-1999

Looking to play in their third straight Super Bowl, the favored 49ers fell short of the

New York Giants, who last won a Super Bowl Championship in 1986, their first as a franchise, also defeating the 49ers in that season as well.

This set up a Super Bowl showdown in both eastern divisions and markets in the State of New York, with the Giants taking on the Bills in Super Bowl XXV.


Super Bowl XXV

Buffalo Bills: 19

New York Giants: 20

The Buffalo Bills took a 12-10 lead at halftime, looking to win their first Super Bowl but fell 17-12 at the end of the third quarter. Early in the fourth, the BIlls retook the lead on a touchdown from running back Thurman Thomas, but midway through the Giants struck back, leading 20-19.

New York Giants 1981-1999

This allowed the Bills to drive down the field for one last shot to take the lead. Kicker Scott Norwood took the field with eight seconds to go as the Bills chose to kick a field goal rather than try another play to move closer within Norwood’s range, said to be capped at 47 yards, the length of the kick itself.

Also, the playing surface was grass, and it was noted Norwood missed four of five field goal attempts from 40+ yards on a grass surface. While the kick was long enough, it sailed wide right by about a foot, allowing the Giants to take possession and run out the clock, ending the Bills’ Super Bowl hopes.


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  1. Wow, an interesting read this is for me even though  I do not know pretty much about the NFL but I got the gist of some of the information but then, my husband knows so much about NFL and he does watch the games every time. I’m not sure he knows about this website yet, I will share this website to him and maybe he might try buying some of the helmets because he also likes keeping a collection of the helmets. He is an NFL freak though because he has a store that he keeps all his collections in.

    1. I used to have a huge collection of mini-helmets back in the day and am currently collecting again, one at a time. I’m glad to see my affiliate networks also have a lot of classic looks as well. 

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