Monday, April 25, 2016

Cornell Big Red (1966)


The 1966 Cornell helmet is a fun little one-year wonder that probably deserved a longer shelf life. One year after Dartmouth introduced its unconventional striped helmet (still used today) and rode it to an undefeated season and an Ivy League title, Cornell followed suit with its own funky helmet, with two red stripes in almost the exact same position as Dartmouth's four stripes. 

It's easy to say the Big Red was simply trying to copy the Big Green's winning helmet, but take a close look at the photo below:


You can see a small indent in the helmet where the line follows, part of the Big Red's unique externally padded helmet, which was not used by the Big Green. The indent was part of the helmet in 1965 (take a good look at Cornell's helmets and try to ignore the "stacked" defense, which you can read more about here):



and 1967, when a conventional red helmet was used (take a careful look and you can see the indent):


The folks at Helmet Hut can tell you more about Cornell's externally-padded helmet.

The rest of the uniform, with the two sleeve stripes and the two-striped pants, were used for the next decade, and made most famous by Heisman runner-up Ed Marinaro in 1971.



Some shots of the '66 Big Red in action. These are all from the
1967 Cornellian yearbook, which I recently picked up for $2 at a book sale. 

As for the winning ways ... Cornell was 6-3, but only fourth in the Ivy League, which may or may not explain a return to a more traditional helmet the next season.

Cornell on the road in '66. Columbia Spectator pic.

Postscript: In 1977, former Dartmouth mentor Bob Blackman became Cornell's coach, and the Big Red uniform had some Big Green trademarks ... including the funky-striped helmet.

Can't get enough from the Big Red? Check out these uniforms: 2013-141999-200119941985-891983-84, 1977-821967-7519651961-6419521950-51. Rivalry week: Cornell-Penn.





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