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A Close Look at NFL Helmet Bumpers

By now you probably know that there are three NFL teams — the Chiefs, Saints, and Washington — that have blank nose bumpers.

But of the remaining 29 teams, how many put a wordmark on the bumper? How many put their primary logo? And how many have blank rear bumpers?

Longtime Uni Watch reader/contributor Omar Jalife recently decided to investigate the answers to those questions. He summarized his findings like so:

The most common format, by far, is to have the team name on both the front and back bumpers. Fifteen teams use that format: the Cardinals, Falcons, Ravens, Panthers, Bears, Cowboys, Broncos, Packers, Texans, Colts, Vikings, Patriots, Raiders, Eagles and Buccaneers (who have “Bucs” on the front and “Buccaneers” on the back).

The other formats, in descending order of frequency, are:

• Team name on front, city name on back (six teams): Lions, Chargers, Rams (yellow-horned helmet), Jets, Seahawks and Titans

• Logo on front, team name on back (3): Bills, Bengals, and 49ers

• Blank on front and back (3): Chiefs, Saints, and Washington

• Team name on front, blank on back (2): Browns and Steelers

• City name on front, team name on the back (2): Jaguars (they use “Jax,” rather than “Jacksonville”) and Dolphins

• Logo on front, blank on back (1): Giants

• Logo on front, city name on back (1): Rams (white-horned helmet)

Interesting, right? And I didn’t realize that the Rams had different bumper formats for their two horn colors!

Omar has created a chart with photo links to every team’s front and back bumper. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to embed it, but you can see it here. (The chart refers only to the teams’ primary helmets. The Bears and Dolphins, for example, go with blank bumpers for their throwback helmets, but that’s not shown on the chart. For the purposes of the chart, we’re treating both of the Rams’ horn colors as “primary,” since their throwbacks, with which they wear the yellow-horned helmets, are actually their primary colored-jersey uniform.) I’m pretty sure all of the chart’s linked photos are from this season, so the chart is up to date.

And using up-to-date graphics is important, because bumpers are often in flux. All three of the teams that currently have blank front bumpers, for example, used team wordmarks or logos at various points in their respective histories.

The front bumper used to be a prime spot for maker’s marks, too. At one point any brand’s logo could appear there; later, only the Riddell logo was allowed, thanks to a promotional deal between the company and the league. Following the expiration of that deal at the end of the 2013 season, no maker’s mark has been permitted on NFL nose bumpers (or anywhere else on the helmet). The prohibition gave rise to the current mishmash of logos, wordmarks, and so on.

But sometimes a maker’s mark is still visible. You can see a hint of the Vicis wordmark peeking through the back bumper on this Washington helmet, for example (click to enlarge):

And the Schutt mark is obviously much more apparent in this 2017 photo:

Meanwhile: If you look again at Omar’s bumper chart, you’ll see that it also indicates which bumper graphics are raised or 3D. That’s an addition I made to the chart while editing it, because I was curious to see the current state of that trend. Leaving aside the three teams with blank bumpers fore and aft, the remaining 30 helmets (including both of the Rams’) break down like so:

• Raised front and back (12 helmets from 11 teams): Bills, Panthers, Bengals, Lions, Jaguars, Chargers, Rams (both horn colors), Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, and 49ers

• Flat front and back (11 teams): Cardinals, Falcons, Bears, Cowboys, Packers, Texans, Colts, Vikings, Raiders, Eagles, Titans

• Raised front, flat back (3): Ravens, Broncos, and Seahawks

• Flat front, raised back: Buccaneers

• Raised front, blank back (3): Browns, Giants, and Steelers

• Flat front, blank back: None

So 19 of the league’s 32 teams — or, if you prefer, 19 of the 29 teams that have graphics on at least one of their helmet bumpers — use at least some 3D graphics. Frankly, I would have guessed that the number was higher.

Such a fun topic! Now we just need someone to do the same thing for all 130 FBS schools and their many, many helmets.

(Big thanks to Omar Jalife for sending us down this very enjoyable rabbit hole. Thanks also to @SteveBCreations and @HelmetStalker for the Washington maker’s mark close-ups.)

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Hypothetical reminder: In case you missed it on Monday, I’m wondering — just hypothetically, of course — how many people would have been interested in a T-shirt based on that Uni Watch ransom note design that I showed on the site last week.

There are trademark issues, natch, so this mock-up is just for “What if?” illustrative purposes. Still, it would be fun to know how many people would have been interested — you know, just hypothetically — if such a shirt were possible in real life.

So: If you would have been hypothetically interested in this shirt, shoot me a note. Thanks.

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Click to enlarge

Going, going…: If you want a Uni Watch Cycling Jersey, you must get your order in today or tomorrow. After that, the window for this batch will close. As always, you can customize the back of the jersey with your choice of number and NOB.

Full details here.

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Screen shot 2009-10-04 at 10.07.15 PM.png

Culinary Corner: As many of you know, one of my Very Favorite Things is meat. What you might not know, because I don’t talk about it so much, is that one of my Least Favorite Things is mayonnaise. Just the thought of it makes me gag. Seriously, I’d rather wear purple than eat mayonnaise. As much as possible, I try to make my life a mayo-free zone.

So you can imagine how conflicted I felt when the great J. Kenji López-Alt — probably the greatest cooking writer of this century — published a piece on Monday in which he claimed that adding mayonnaise to marinades, or just slathering it on the meat before cooking, is a surefire flavor enhancer (NYT link). He says it leaves behind “no distinct [mayo] flavor” once the meat has been cooked but serves to amplify the other flavorings and also produces a better seared crust.

The thought of mayonnaise on, say, a beautiful raw steak or pork chop is upsetting enough. But the thought of me applying said mayo to said meats is, well, unthinkable! Still, J. Kenji has never steered me wrong, so I may have to try this (although I might have to put on a hazmat suit before opening the mayo jar). Will advise.

Footnote: Yesterday — one day after the meat/mayo piece ran — J. Kenji’s NYT colleague Pete Wells published a brutal zero-stars review of the fabled Brooklyn steakhouse Peter Luger, saying it’s gone badly downhill and has become an overpriced scam (an assessment with which I agree). As I read the review, I thought to myself, “Hmmm — maybe they need to start cooking the steaks with mayonnaise.” In short, I have met the enemy, and it is me.

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The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

Baseball News: Astros 3B Alex Bregman and Nationals OF Juan Soto both carried their bats all the way to first base during their respective home run trots in last night’s World Series game. Bregman later apologized for it. … Houston Rockets legends Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler wore Astros jerseys at the game and threw out the first pitch (from Mark Berman). … Green Bay Packers TE Jimmy Graham and a Packers team trainer dressed up as Yankees OF Aaron Judge and Astros 2B Jose Altuve, and got everything almost spot on, from the heights of the players down to their gestures (from Andrew Cosentino).

Football News: The Cards are going mono-black for Halloween (from our own Phil Hecken). … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Packers TE Jimmy Graham and a Packers team trainer dressed up as New York Yankees OF Aaron Judge and Houston Astros 2B Jose Altuve, and got everything almost spot on, from the heights of the players down to their gestures (from Andrew Cosentino). … Cap store Lids is selling a “legacy” Bears cap with a logo that apparently has never been used in franchise history (from @chicago19921). … A Chiefs superfan finally got to see the team play in the flesh for the first time for her 100th birthday, and the team gave her a No. 100 jersey to boot (from Kary Klismet). … Utah is going mono-white this weekend (from Chad Lehman). … Blaise D’Sylva is giving us Liberty’s helmet collection for today.

Hockey News: The Rangers wore flag-themed warmups for First Responders Night yesterday (from Alan Kreit). … At least one Muskegon Lumberjack fan will still call it LC Walker Arena (from Alex Dewitt).

Basketball News: The Suns’ Latin Nights jersey — or maybe it’s their new City jersey — has leaked (from Jay Cosign). … The Blazers are releasing an album of their “greatest hits,” whatever that means (from Jeremy Brahm). … New unis for UMBC men’s (from multiple readers). … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Rockets legends Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler wore Houston Astros jerseys at last night’s World Series game, where they also threw out the first pitch (from Mark Berman). … Here’s a good article about how shooting from the center court logo became a thing (from @bryanwdc).

Soccer News: From Josh Hinton: Looks like Bayern wore an Audi sleeve ad in yesterday’s German Cup match. The club wears Qatar Airways on their sleeve during Bundesliga matches. … A few Manchester City fans protested the club’s new deal with Puma because the outfitter also makes Israel’s kits. … As always, you can keep up with the latest on kit news by following Josh’s Twitter feed.

Grab Bag: A young fan of the Redwoods Lacrosse Club, which plays in the Premier Lacrosse League, has the team’s logo on his retainer. … If you’re really good at puffing clouds, then you might want to try your hand (or two fingers) at the Cigar Smoking World Championship (NYT link). … Star Trek’s Jean-Luc Picard is getting a new uniform. … Port Adelaide Power FC — that’s an Aussie rules football team — recently got a redesign, and the new crest looks eerily similar to a fan concept made in 2015 (from James Gilbert).

Comments (84)

    nifty that the Flames of Liberty had a helmet that hearkened back to the old WFL Chicago Fire.

    Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ in Decatur, AL makes a “white bbq sauce” they are famous for. It is a mayo based sauce. They are known for smoking whole chickens and then dunking them in the sauce. I absolutely despise mayo. But, that bbq sauce is out of this world on grilled chicken. Chris Lilly must know what he is doing. He has won the Memphis In May World Championship multiple times. May want to give it a try if you can find it in your area.


    i’m not a mayo fan myself, but it is essential to making crab cakes, which i like. even made a small batch of mayo once for that sole purpose.

    sad to hear that Peter Luger isn’t so good any more. really enjoyed them on a trip east ten years ago, even if i did enjoy Sparks more

    Re: the cursive Chicago Bears logo.

    I seem to remember the word Chicago written in the end zone one year with that font. I had remarked how it was different from what was painted on the AstroTurf at Soldier Field.

    Anyone have any insights/pix?

    in regards to the Steelers front helmet bumpers some players wear 3D front bumpers and some players wear flat front bumpers. I noticed specifically JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mike Pouncey wore 3D front bumpers Monday night and Mason Rudolph and Mincah Fitzpatrick wore flat front bumpers which is interesting. I have photos but am unable to attach to this post.

    I wonder if that varies based on the size of the front bumper found on the different helmet models. For example the Riddell SpeedFlex has a shorter bumper than a Riddell Speed helmet.

    Or could it be an in-game replacement for a raised one that fell off.

    Interesting. I didn’t go to that level of detail, but it is something similar to what the Steelers do with the Speedflex helmet stripes. In that case, one digit numbers have their strip uncut, while two digit numbers have it cut across the gap.

    I’ve also noticed that all NFL Helmet Bumpers are white. Is that a rule?

    I think interior padding has to be white (for some reason).


    I don’t know if it’s a rule or if it is just convention. It could be that the teams have just set white as the color for their bumpers.

    Also the padding color just depends on the model of the helmet- some are white, some are black, and some Schutt helmets are blue and silver.

    Yeah, I bet mayo would work great to sear a steak. I can confirm it makes a good grilled cheese sandwich…there’s so much oil in mayo, I can just use a layer of mayo on the bread and I don’t need any further butter to get a good crisp on it. I’m no mayo freak, but sometimes it’s just what you need, another tool in the fridge like fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce.

    Exactly what I came here to say. Using butter on a grilled cheese was always laborious to get it just right, but a thin layer of mayo on the outside of two pieces of bread and the sandwich comes out perfect every time.

    I should add that it also works great when grilling fish for flavor, sear, and ensuring that it doesn’t stick to the pan/grill.

    In regards to the Jimmy Graham portion of the baseball section, it should be Athletic Trainer not trainer.

    For your enjoyment, your CFL helmet bumper breakdown:

    -Name on front, city/province on back:

    Eskimos, Roughriders, Argonauts

    -City/province on front, name on back:

    Lions, Stampeders

    -Logo on front, name on back:

    Blue Bombers, Alouettes

    -Blank on front and back:


    -Name in French on front and name in English on back:


    (They are branded as the Rouge et Noir in French language and media).

    Yep – the team in our nation’s capital likes to keep it bilingual.

    Ottawa Redblacks have the CFL logo on the jersey collar while have the LCF logo on the helmet.


    All the other teams still referred to by the English names in French language coverage (i.e. Blue Bombers de Winnipeg) and the Montreal team referred to by their French name in English language coverage.

    Paul, I’m so disappointed. “I MAYO have to try this…” was sitting right there, waiting for you to use it!

    I have been using mayo to coat the outside of my grilled cheese sandwiches – it imparts a nice color to the bread after grilling and a distinctive flavor that works well with the cheese. I’ve used it on sourdough and whole grain bread and it works really well.

    Well, this mayo thing has spread (pun intended) to four places I didn’t expect to see it. If it has caught the attention of the Uni-Watch Grillmaster, I will have to try it.

    Paul and I are kindred spirits on the disdain for mayo. Was amused to read his take on mayo this morning. Not sure I can go there, but if Paul tries it and approves, I may have to buck up and do the same. Rather than the hazmat suit, I may have to make my son do the mayo operation so I don’t have to be the one to do it.

    Definitely couldn’t stomach mayo on a grilled cheese if I am making it myself. Sticking with butter.

    Very, very upset about your mayo story. As a regular devotee of Culinary Corner, I am struggling. The prudent course of action would be to test Mr. López-Alt’s claim. But I fear being sucked into some vast mayo conspiracy. Cats and Dogs living together! Paul wearing purple! Mass hysteria!

    I’m glad to see Paul, and a handful of commenters are in the same boat as me. I refuse to touch the stuff, no matter how famous so-and-so aunt’s recipe with mayo included is. I’d rather be homeless than have it in my pantry.

    Also here to say Mayo is the worst condiment known to man, has ruined many a fine sandwich, and the simple smell of it makes me gag. Down with big mayo!

    Well, it’s time for what will in all likelihood be the final MLB game played without a maker’s mark (and possibly one of the last without advertisements) on the chest. It was a good 150 year run for the one sport I hoped would never go that route.

    First..I loved today’s lede. Making lists of the small details is at the core of uni-watching in my eyes. Nice job, Omar!!

    Second…I see eye-to-eye with Paul on many things. But when it comes to beer and mayo…I respectfully disagree. I’d do without before I’d touch Budweiser and I love mayo, on almost anything!

    For the ransom note logo, I know you chose the Habs logo because of the clever “ch” opportunity. Was there a specific reason you chose the other logo letters? Were there any others your considered?

    The whole thing began because I love the North Stars logo and was playing around with some design possibilities. So that was a given. As for the other letters:

    U: Not many to choose from, so options were limited. It helps that Miami’s includes my favorite color.

    I: Again, not many to choose from (or at least not many that are distinctive and identifiable).

    W: The most distinctive example of this letter.

    A: Lots of choices, but this is (a) very recognizable and distinctive and (b) rendered in Uni Watch colors.

    T: I’m not nuts about this choice, honestly, but it seemed like the most recognizable option. Would be open to changing it.

    CH: The cherry on top.

    I hesitate to mention this, because I loathe Tennessee orange, but the distinctive power “T” of the University of Tennessee may be even more iconic than the Rangers’ logo.

    I like your “A” choice, but I was thinking the Arizona’s “A within an A” logo is pretty distinct, may be too bulky though.

    For a really distinctive, and recognizable among Uni Watchers, T, I’d consider the longtime Toledo Mud Hens cap logo: link

    the “i” used in the Phillies’ wordmark is distinctive, but it isn’t itself the logo like the other letters in young Mr. Lukas’ note

    I like the T. But the Rangers are my favorite team in all of sports though.

    Didn’t the Indians use a cursive I on their hat at one time? That might look fancy.

    Glad to see that I am not the only one that hates the ‘devil spawn” mayo – I too pretty well gag at the thought of it on anything, or near anything, or in my house.


    I am right there with you about Mayo, can’t stand it either. I also don’t like ranch or sour cream. They all have a food gone bad smell to them. yuck!

    At the risk of sounding like Jerry Seinfeld, why do they call them bumpers? They don’t look very well padded and I can’t ever remember seeing a player bump into something with their “nose” or the back of their neck

    Nose and neck bumpers protect the nose and neck from the ridge/edge of the helmet shell, in case the helmet is pulled forward/down on the nose or back/down on the neck.

    And along the same Seinfeldian vein, has anyone ever actually written a ransom note with cut out words/letters or is that just a film/TV trope?

    How could you forget Paul? Back in the 80’s (and up til the 1990 season I believe, when they last played together), both Roger Craig and Tom Rathman, (both Nebraska alumni) wore “HUSKERS” bumpers on the front of their 49ers helmets!

    I can handle olive oil mayonnaise in small portions. But when I make chicken salad I usually substitute a combination of plain yogurt and hummus for it.

    Paul, you could also use the USF logo for your U.

    Is there still a rule in the NFL that the quarterback has to have a green dot sticker on their helmet?

    The green dot sticker indicates the helmet has a radio in it. QB’s have it on their helmets, naturally, but so does one player on the defensive side of the ball.

    The sticker allows officials to see which player has a radio in their helmet and to make sure only one player on each side of the ball is wearing one on a given play.

    I wonder if Taysom Hill of the Saints has ever made a helmet mistake, given the multiple ways that they use him…lining up as the QB with a non-radio helmet or at any other position with a radioed helmet? That could be a story idea for Uni Watch – does he have someone beside him on the sideline holding both kinds of helmets? What if he is in the game for back to back plays but is a QB on one play and a WR on the next play? It could be a logistical nightmare depending on the situation and the speed of the game at any given point.

    I liked mayo when I was young. Then, I had this sort of awakening – the color, texture, smell—everything was just ‘ick’! So that was it, no more mayo. I accept the need for it in very small doses (like in a lobster roll) but it has to be very, VERY lightly dressed for me to eat it. So happy to see that I’m not the only mayo-hater.

    I am as anti-mayo as anyone out there, however, I heard of this mayo-slather trick years ago from a family member. In a word: AMAZING. The key is not to go heavy with the mayo. Just enough to coat the meat you’re using. Since mayo is basically eggs and oil, you are left with no mayo flavor and an excellent crust!

    I’ve tried it both in the oven and on the grill, and it’s better on the grill.

    Add me to the “mayo is revolting” pile.

    That said – sometimes mayo is required for a recipe. Pasta salads, potato salad, anything like that. Plus, Mexican street corn.

    Homemade mayo (egg, vinegar, lemon, olive oil, mustard powder) is a great substitute for mayo in a jar, when absolutely needed for a recipe. Its so good in comparison, its not even the same food.

    Paul, Speaking of fabled Brooklyn restaurants that have been going downhill, Two Toms will be closing at the end of the year. Despite the downturn, I never felt like I was scammed. I have a lot of great memories of that place so it’s worth one more visit before it closes.


    First went there around 1990. Had many birthdays there. Sooooo many good times. But man, it has gone *really* downhill. Went there a few months ago and the food was borderline-inedible. I love Anthony and wish him a super-happy retirement, but the restaurant hasn’t been good in quite a while now. I’ll still miss what it meant to the neighborhood, though.

    Why won’t nike put their logo on the sleeve next year on mlb jersey’s like majestic? For the NFL nike puts their logo on the sleeve? Can Mlb tell nike to put it on the sleeve? MLB I guess does not really care..

    With ya Paul on your distaste for Mayo! I find it disgusting as well and borderline Barbaric !

    Just a question for the mayo haters. What about it bothers you? Taste, texture, etc? How do you feel about Miracle Whip? Not judging, just curious. When I was a kid, I preferred Miracle Whip. Nowadays I’m a mayo guy. Same goes for Coke/Pepsi. I really despise Pepsi and adore Coke Zero in my older years.

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