A look at the best NFL helmets for the 2022/2023 NFL season, as well as some of the best and worst helmets in NFL history.
Helmets generate plenty of discussion in the NFL. But we’re not here to talk about leading with the helmet, or helmet-to-helmet contact – we just want to determine who looks the best? What are the NFL’s best helmet designs and why?
From the simple to the creative, the timeless to the new styles, these are our choices for the NFL’s best helmets:
5. Cleveland Browns
“It’s orange, for God’s sake!” critics say. “How can a team called the Browns wear an orange helmet?”
Rather than bore you with a long explanation (short version: they’re named for Paul Brown, not the color brown) let’s focus on what’s going on here… not a whole lot! And that’s what we like about it.
A simple orange helmet with a couple of brown stripes surrounding a simple white stripe. It’s the Notre Dame of the NFL – classic, timeless, and as recognizable now as it was 40 years ago.
Cleveland’s NFL fortunes haven’t been the greatest, so for a franchise that’s always trying something new in the front office or the locker room, it’s refreshing to know they’ll always look the same on the field.
4. Dallas Cowboys
Probably the most controversial ranking on our list, but again, simplicity and recognition carries “America’s Team” to this spot.
In 1960, the Cowboys joined the National Football League with a plain, blue star as their logo. A white line and border were added in 1964 – and haven’t changed since.
That star is the symbol of the sport’s most polarizing and arguably best-known franchise. Through coaches from Tom Landry to Jimmy Johnson and Mike McCarthy, quarterbacks from Roger Staubach to Troy Aikman and Dak Prescott, one thing remains constant in Dallas – the star.
The importance of the symbol was underscored back in 2000, when then-49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens decided to celebrate a touchdown at Texas Stadium by posing on the star emblem at the 50-yard line. Dallas defensive back George Teague decked Owens, touching off a melee. How many logos elicit that kind of reaction?
3. Detroit Lions
Why is this #3 on our best NFL helmets for 2022/2023?
Well, we’ve always been partial to the Honolulu blue (great name for a color, right?) and silver uniform combination, but the Lions have continually tinkered with that look throughout the years. Yet the helmet logo – the full body of a blue, leaping, roaring lion on a silver background – shows a creativity rare in NFL logos.
Many teams with animal or bird logos display only the head of the animal, or a wing of the bird, or whatever the heck the Falcons are doing. But in Detroit, the whole Lion makes it onto the helmet – and that counts for something.
Plus, like the Browns, it’s just fun to rank the Lions near the top in something.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
Sometimes, it’s the little things. Small details make the Steelers’ helmet the most unique in the NFL.
Did you know they’re the only team to have the logo on only one side of their helmets? And what’s the story with the three diamonds?
When the United States Steel Corporation (or U.S. Steel) created the logo containing three hypocycloids (meaning diamond shapes), the symbolism was meant to show that steel does three things – lightens your work, brightens your leisure, and widens your world.
Since everyone kind of rolled their eyes at THAT explanation, they were also interpreted to represent the three materials made in producing steel: yellow for coal, orange for iron ore, and blue for steel scrap. A steel company (in Cleveland, ironically, home of the Steelers’ biggest rivals) suggested in 1962 that the Steelers use the logo for their franchise and on their helmets. The team did, however, first have to petition U.S. Steel to change the word “Steel” to “Steelers” within the logo.
Hopefully, you enjoyed that story. Most helmets don’t have that much of a background!
Now, onto #1…
1. Las Vegas Raiders
Maybe the easiest choice on the list. It’s hard to put into words what makes the logo so great. Just…. look at it.
A pirate with an old-timey football helmet (with the chin strap unbuckled, of course) wears a patch over his right eye. In the background, a pair of silver swords over a black shield establishes the franchise’s iconic color combination. All beneath the capitalized word “RAIDERS.”
The team itself may move… and move, and move again, but this logo never changes. And it likely never will. It’s among the most iconic in all of sports, and an easy choice for the top spot on our best NFL helmets list.
The Best Old NFL Helmet
When the franchise relocated to Tennessee in 1997, the name “Oilers” no longer made sense. This meant the end of the road for the old classic above, which went perfectly with the baby-blue uniforms and symbolized an era of football within the Houston Astrodome that spanned from the “Luv Ya Blue!” days of the 1970s to Jerry Glanville’s “House of Pain” in the early 1990s.
The Worst New NFL Helmet
No. Absolutely not.
The traditional Bears helmet isn’t really anything special, but it’s fine, and it’s immediately associated with the franchise. This new look is… well, that’s a LOT of orange when paired with the new alternate uniform.