Broncos

Broncos Helmets: 1960-67

1960-61

This helmet is only available in the Throwback AFL 50th Anniversary set.

1962

In 1962, Denver created a new helmet with a blue bucking Bronco. The only problem is that it looked terrible. Some said the bronco looked like an ink blot. So mid-season in 1962, Denver switched to a white bronco to make the logo stand out. The team would stick with this helmet until 1964. The 1962 pocket pro helmet with the blue bronco is included in the Throwback Series 1 and Throwback 2-bar sets.

1962-64

The 1962-64 original-style helmet with the white bronco is also included in the Throwback Series 1 set.

In 1965, the Broncos retained the same helmet, but added some red to the orange. This helmet is in the 2-bar Throwback set. For one game this year (week 1), this helmet had thin blue lines around the white stripe. I own this helmet as a custom.

The following picture is a close up showing the different shades of orange, with the 1962-64 Throwback Series 1 (original style) helmet on the left and 1965 2-bar helmet on the right.

1966

Denver Broncos revised the Bronco helmet for 1966. The helmet retained the reddish-orange color, but the bronco now had a dark blue outline. Riddell did not manufacture a pocket pro for this helmet.

1967

The dark blue outline from the 1967 helmet only made it look more messy. I can imagine the Bronocos wanting to get rid of the 1966 and quickly move on. If that’s the case, the result was a plain blue helmet in 1967. Riddell did not manufacture a pocket pro for this helmet.

1968-96 Broncos Helmets

Things get pretty complicated with Broncos helmets between 1968 and 1996. On its face, it appears the Broncos only wore one helmet during this period: blue helmet, orange/white stripes, and the classic “D” logo.

My research presents a more complicated picture. Using two highly-referenced sources, I think the Broncos wore three different shades of blue between 1968 and 1996. The Broncos also wore two different logos and two different facemask colors.

Logos

This helmet style between 1968 and 1996 had two different broncos on the helmet. The way to tell is to look at the air coming out of the Bronco’s nose. Between 1968-91, the air had lines. Between 1992-96, there were no lines. The Bronco also looks slightly more abstract. The 1992-96 Bronco appears on all the official pocket pros. So technically, there are no official pocket pros for the 1970-92 helmets.

Colors

I looked at three different sources for helmet colors: the Gridiron Uniform Database, Bill’s Sports Maps, and actual photos from Getty Sports Images. (I have provided sources and credits for all pictures. It should be noted I am not using the images for commercial gain).

The following helmet images are from the Gridiron Uniform Database. I looked at all of the helmets for this era and it appears to me the Broncos wore several different shades of blue. Some shades from different eras may look the same. But when I move the images next to each other, they look different.

The next image (below) is from Bill’s Sports Maps. Comparing this to the Gridiron Uniform Database image (above), there are some discrepancies based on the years. But chronologically at least, the helmets appear similar in terms of shading. The only outlier is the 1976-78 Gridiron Uniform Database helmet. In in these years, the Broncos wore two shades of helmets, one lighter and one darker.

My third source of information was Getty Sports Images.

Based on the three different sources, I conclude the Broncos wore five different shades of blue and 2 different facemask colors:

  • Dark blue – 1968-70 and 1974-78 – grey facemask
  • Light blue – 1971-73 – grey facemask
  • Medium blue – 1974-81 – grey facemask
  • Medium-dark blue – 1982-91 – grey facemask
  • Bright blue – 1992-96 – grey facemask

Five different helmet colors, two facemask colors, and two different logos produces a total of six different helmets between 1968 and 1996:

  1. 1968-70: Dark blue helmet, 1968-91 “D” logo, white/orange/white stripes, grey facemask
    • AFC 1969 2-bar throwback pocket pro (displays incorrect “D” logo)
  2. 1971-73: Light blue helmet, 1968-91 “D” logo, white/orange/white stripes, grey facemask
    • Throwback Series 2 set (displays incorrect “D” logo) and four-piece team set*
  3. 1974-78: Medium blue and dark blue helmets, 1968-91 “D” logo, white/orange/white stripes, white facemask
    • no official pocket pro
  4. 1979-81: Medium blue helmet, 1968-91 “D” logo, white/orange/white stripes, white facemask
    • no official pocket pro
  5. 1982-91: Medium-dark blue helmet, 1968-91 “D” logo, white/orange/white stripes, white facemask
    • no official pocket pro
  6. 1992-96: Bright blue helmet, 1992-96 “D” logo, white/orange/white stripes, white facemask
    • Original throwback series helmet

*Because the throwback series 2 helmet has a grey facemask and is lighter than the AFC 1969 2-bar helmet, it has to be the 1971-73 helmet. However, I think the color is closer to the medium blue worn between 1974-81.

The pocket pros from this era are:

The following picture is a close up showing the different shades of blue, from dark (1968-70), to light (1992-96), to medium (1971-74) blue.

1997-present

The current Broncos helmet is in the original (97, 99, 03), revolution, and speed sets.

2016 Alternate

The Broncos wore this helmet as a “color rush” alternate in 2016.

Broncos Super Bowl Pocket Pro Helmets

Broncos 4-piece Team Set

The Broncos 4-piece team set includes the two Throwback Series 1 helmets and the 1997-present helmet. The fourth helmet appears to me to be the 1992-96 Throwback helmet. So, there are no helmets unique to this set.

Pocket Pro Helmet Checklist

  • 1960-61Brown helmet, white stripe, player decals on helmet  
    • Throwback AFL 50th Anniversary (original style)
  • 1962Orange helmet, blue bronco, white stripe
    • Throwback Series 1 (original style) / 4-piece Throwback Team set (original style)
    • Throwback 2-bar
  • 1962-64Orange helmet, white bronco, white stripe  
    • Throwback Series 1 (original style) /4-piece Throwback Team set (original style)
  • 1965: Orange-red helmet, white bronco, white stripe, grey facemask
    • Throwback 2-bar
  • 1968-70: Dark blue helmet, orange 1968-91 ‘D’ logo, white/orange stripes, grey facemask. The pocket pro displays the 1992-96 “D” logo. The Broncos actually wore the 1968-91 “D” logo
    • Throwback AFC 1969 2-bar
  • 1971-73: Light blue helmet, orange 1968-91 ‘D’ logo, white/orange stripes, grey facemask. The pocket pro displays the 1992-96 “D” logo. The Broncos actually wore the 1968-91 “D” logo
    • Throwback Series 2 (original style)
  • 1992-96Bright blue helmet, orange 1992-96 ‘D’ logo, white/orange stripes, white facemask
    • Original 99 Throwback (original style) / 4-piece Throwback Team set (original style helmet)
  • 1997-presentMidnight blue helmet, modern bronco logo, orange stripes
    • Original (97, 99, 03)/4-piece Throwback Team set (original style)
    • Revolution
    • Speed
    • Chrome (original style)
  • Broncos Super Bowl 32 (original style)
  • Broncos Super Bowl 33 (original style)
  • Broncos 32 Super Bowl (original style) chrome
  • Broncos 33 Super Bowl (original style) chrome

Other Denver Broncos Helmets
These pocket pro helmets were not officially made by Riddell. They only exist as custom helmets.

  • 1961 (pre-season): Plain brown helmet, white stripe, grey facemask (same as regular season helmet, but with no player #s)
  • 1962-63 (pre-season): Plain orange helmet, white stripe, grey facemask (same as regular season helmet, but with no logo)
  • 1965: Orange-red helmet, white bronco, blue/white/blue stripes, grey facemask
  • 1966: Orange-red helmet, white bronco with blue outline
  • 1967: Plain dark blue helmet, orange/white stripes
  • 1974-78: Medium blue and dark blue helmets, 1968-91 “D” logo, white/orange/white stripes, white facemask
  • 1979-81: Medium blue helmet, 1968-92 “D” logo, white/orange/white stripes, white facemask
  • 1982-91: Medium-dark blue helmet, 1968-92 “D” logo, white/orange/white stripes, white facemask
  • 2016 alternate: same color as 1997-present Broncos helmet, but with 92-96 logo and white-orange-white-stripes

Sources

Helmet Photo Credits

  • Denver 1969 – Denver Broncos v Cincinnati Bengals 10/16/1969 – Getty Images/Focus on Sports
  • Denver 1971 – Denver Broncos v Detroit Lions – Photo fr. eBay Dr. Tjeeee
  • Denver 1973 – Denver Broncos v Pittsburgh Steelers 11/18/1973 – Getty Images/Focus on Sports
  • Denver 1978 – Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs 12/10/1978 – Getty Images/Focus on Sports
  • Denver 1979 – Denver Broncos v San Francisco 49ers 11/18/1979 – Getty Images/Focus on Sports
  • Denver 1980 (1) – Denver Broncos v NY Giants 10/26/1980 – Getty Images/Focus on Sports
  • Denver 1980 (2) – Denver Broncos v Dallas Cowboys 9/14/1980 – Getty Images/Focus on Sports
  • Denver 1982 – Denver Broncos v L.A. Raiders 12/26/1982 – Getty Images/Focus on Sports
  • Denver 1986 – Denver Broncos v Cleveland Browns 1/11/1987 – Getty Images/Focus on Sports
  • Denver 1987 – Denver Broncos v Houston Oilers 1/10/1988 – Getty Images/Focus on Sports
  • Denver 1991 – Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs 10/21/91 – Getty Images/Focus on Sports
  • Denver 1992 – Denver Broncos v Philadelphia Eagles 9/20/1992 – Getty Images/Focus on Sports
  • Denver 1993 – Denver Broncos v Indianapolis Colts 10/3/1993 – Getty Images/Focus on Sports
  • Denver 1996 – Denver Broncos v Seattle Seahawks 12/1/1996 – Getty Images/Focus on Sports