Helmet Designs and History of the 1966 NFL Season

The 1966 NFL Season consisted only of fifteen teams, so joining them will be the AFL teams from 1966 as well. I decided to begin my helmet design series in 1966 due to the season being the first one that involved the Super Bowl, then known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game.

For this reason, the AFL and NFL Championship Games were still played, so the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs were still considered league champions of the NFL and AFL, respectively.

Here are the lids each team wore during the season, their records, and the conferences they played in. Throughout this series, which spans across six decades note the changes in each team’s look.

 

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

 

NFL East

In the NFL East, it was the first season for the expansion Atlanta Falcons, who as you can see below finished the season at 3-11, and good for seventh place in the NFL Eastern Conference.

Dallas Cowboys 1964-1966

Dallas Cowboys: 10-3-1

 

Cleveland Browns 1966

Cleveland Browns: 9-5

 

1966 Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles: 9-5

 

Arizona Cardinals 1960-2004

St. Louis Cardinals: 8-5-1

 

1966 Redskins

Washington Redskins: 7-7

 

1966 Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers: 5-8-1

 

Atlanta Falcons 1966-1969

Atlanta Falcons: 3-11

 

New York Giants 1961-1974

New York Giants: 1-12-1

 

NFL West

The NFL back in the 1960s was a strange place. In 1966, as you can see, both the 49ers and Bears finished the season with two ties; unheard of in today’s league, but the Cleveland Browns came close in 2018 after tying the Steelers in Week One before converting a last-second game-winnning field goal against the Baltimore Ravens in overtime, a team that would begin play thirty seasons later in 1996.

1966 Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers: 12-2

 

1966 Colts

Baltimore Colts: 9-5

 

1966 Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles Rams: 8-6

 

1966 San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers: 6-6-2

 

Chicago Bears 1962-1973

Chicago Bears: 5-7-2

 

Detroit Lions 1962-1968

Detroit Lions: 4-9-1

 

Minnesota Vikings 1961-1979

Minnesota Vikings: 4-9-1

 

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

 

 

NFL Championship Game

Green Bay Packers: 34

Dallas Cowboys: 27

Contrary to popular belief, this game WAS NOT the Ice Bowl, which took place one year later. The January 1st, 1967 game took place in Dallas, Texas at the Cotton Bowl, the Cowboys’ original home, to determine which team would go on to play in the AFL-NFL World Championship Game.

 

Playoff Bowl

Baltimore Colts: 20

Philadelphia Eagles: 14

The Playoff Bowl was also still played in 1966 to determine the league’s third and fourth place finishers. It was played one week after the NFL Championship on January 8th, 1967.

 

AFL East

It was the inaugural season for the Miami Dolphins, who like the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL, also finished the season at 3-11. A few changes here from what the NFL looks like today. The Patriots were known as the Boston Patriots and the Tennessee Titans were still known as the Houston Oilers, who would relocate to Tennessee following the 1996 season.

Buffalo Bills 1965-1973

Buffalo Bills: 9-4-1

 

1966 Patriots

Boston Patriots: 8-4-2

 

New York Jets 1965-1977

New York Jets: 6-6-2

 

Oilers early 1970s helmet

Houston Oilers: 3-11

 

Miami Dolphins 1966-1972

Miami Dolphins: 3-11

 

AFL West

As you can clearly see, today’s AFC West basically made up the AFL West. Also, the Chargers were a long way off from returning to Los Angeles, having moved to San Diego prior to the 1961 season.

Kansas City Chiefs 1963-1973

Kansas City Chiefs: 11-2-1

 

1966 raiders

Oakland Raiders: 8-5-1

 

San Diego Chargers: 7-6-1

 

Denver Broncos 1962-1966

Denver Broncos: 4-10

 

AFL Championship Game

Kansas City Chiefs: 31

Buffalo Bills: 7

This game was played in War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, New York. The Chiefs manhandled the Bills in a blowout, punching their way into the World Championship Game which team owner Lamar Hunt would later dub the Super Bowl. Soon after, the name stuck.

 

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

 

AFL-NFL World Championship Game

Kansas City Chiefs: 10

Green Bay Packers: 35

The first Super Bowl took place in Pasadena, California on January 15th, 1967. The Packers were favored to win the game by two touchdowns, and they ended up winning by three and a half, blowing out the Chiefs. The halftime show consisted of Marching Bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling State University, quite different from what we’re used to these days. The cost of a 30-second commercial? $42,000; quite a cheap price compared to today’s dollars.

 

Conclusion

And that’s a wrap on the first season that ended with a Super Bowl Championship, the Green Bay Packers would go on to win another Super Bowl to cap off the following season, this time against the Oakland Raiders. The next season I want to cover is the 1970 NFL Season. The season is significant, given it being the first year of the NFL in its current form, the year of the merger.

As you can see; back in 1966

We will see two more new teams enter the league between 1966 and 1970; the New Orleans Saints would start play in 1967 while the Cincinnati Bengals joined the AFL a year later in 1968.

So, stay tuned as we have about a dozen more seasons of changes coming our way, capping off with the 2019 NFL Season, the NFL’s 100th anniversary.

 

Please follow and like us:
error

4 comments

  1. Wow! You have mentioned some classic helmets here in this article about reliving the 1966 NFL season. Wow! Though I wasn’t alive then but those were the reigning helmets of the period that we played with when we were much younger before I quit football. But I have a friend who still cherish NFL till today and would do anything to get a hold of as many as possible helmets from the listed to add up to his collections. I will share this post to him. Thumbs up!

    1. Definitely lots of good helmets being discussed here, and it was a little challenging for me to emulate them; especially San Diego, where I had to do a nice, little mockup! And yes, these helmets, except the San Diego and Houston version can be tracked down, either through Fanatics or alternative retailers. 

  2. Nice website. I like how you linked to each of the pages and then on each helmet page you have the range of times that they used that helmet design. I think this is a great website for collectors. I will forward it around to whoever I can think of who would be interested. Seeing the Miami Dolphins helmet brings back some memories because I remember Hearing about that team when I was young. I like that 1974 Dolphins helmet the best.

    the helmets back then were cool. You can tell that there’s something a little different about them from today’s helmets. Thanks for this article and take care.

    1. Hi, Charles, it’s definitely a hotspot for collectors. I have links to stores all over the place, where they can find memorabilia and other awesome collectible materials. Signed items, jerseys, mini-helmets, you name it. I’d love to see the team revert to what was shown in this article. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *