Last week I linked to an eBay listing for an old article about NFL helmet carts. I ended up winning the item (I was the only bidder, rather amazingly) and am now the proud owner of the article in question, which was clipped from the Nov./Dec. 1972 issue of the trade magazine DuPont Refinisher News (a publication that was founded in 1928 and still exists today). As many of you know, I’m almost as fond of trade magazines as I am of uniforms, so for me this is a case of two great tastes that taste great together.
• The carts were manufactured by a Beverly Hills operation called Sportoys, Inc. I tried googling them but came up empty. Is it possible that manufacturing NFL helmet carts was insufficiently lucrative to ensure the company’s survival? Shocking!
• Speaking of the facemasks, note that they’re all gray, since colored facemasks hadn’t yet made their NFL debut (Chargers in ’74, don’tcha know).
• According to the text, each helmet received a primer, followed by six to eight coats of paint, then a polishing compound, and then a final clear-coat layer. That’s a lot of paint!
• The last line of the article notes, “What’s more, some major league baseball teams employing similar carts.” This implies that the NFL was ahead of MLB in the headwear-cart development sweepstakes, which is odd, because I’d always thought of these carts are more of a baseball thing than a football thing. I guess I thought that because the baseball carts actually came onto the field of play in the middle of a game to deliver a reliever to the mound, and as a result they became part of the fabric of the sport, while I’ve always perceived the football helmet carts to be little more than kitschy promotional thingies that only get trotted out at halftime or something like that. They seemed more peripheral to the game, while the cap carts seemed more integral (at least in their heyday).
As a result of this perception, I had assumed that the MLB carts came first and that the NFL carts were copycats, but maybe it was the other way around. As it happens, when I wrote an article about MLB bullpen buggies last year, I was unable to determine exactly when the first cap-based cart debuted, and the DuPont article doesn’t indicate when the first helmet carts appeared. But if anyone wants to get crackin’ on research, it would be good to know the chronology of these uni-based vehicles.
Raffle Reminder: I’m raffling off a copy of the excellent new book Remember the AFL. Details here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Ernie Davis statue at Syracuse won’t be Nikefied after all. … Look what happens when you cross an oriole with a raven (with thanks to Joe Hilseberg). … Sean Wilson took a tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in St. Looie and was particularly captivated by the pics of the A-B bowling team (here’s a closer look). He also shot a very short video of A-B branding run amok. … Interesting article on soccer sponsorships here (with thanks to Mark Coale). … Got an e-mail last night from Alan Kreit. Subject line was “ultimate fnob.” No text, just a photo attachment. So stupid, it’s sort of brilliant. … That Phil Knight, he sure is a master of suspense. … If you download this Carlos Zambrano radio interview and skip ahead to the 6:30 mark, you’ll hear a petty amusing discussion of Zambrano’s pants (nice find by James Huening).