Helmetless players on parade #2

As you may already know, one of my hobbies is gathering photos of early NFL players plying their trade without a helmet. I do this because (a.) they were nuts;  (b.) it serves as reminder of how far the game has come.

Back in November I posted a shot of Link Lyman, the Bears’ Hall of Fame tackle, standing bareheaded on a goal line play. Today — thanks, once again, to The New York Times — we have Redskins tackle Jim Barber (15) running around, sans headgear, against the Giants in 1939. (Barber, by the way, was a first-team all-pro that season.)12-4-39 NYT Helmetless Redskin Jim Barber

What I’m not sure of is whether Barber played without a helmet all the time or just occasionally. Some guys would shed their headgear if it was a really hot day — clearly not the case here (it was December 3) — or if the action on the field got particularly contentious.

The legendary Ernie Nevers was famous for the latter. It was his way of saying, “All righty, then. Let’s get down to business!”

2 thoughts on “Helmetless players on parade #2

  1. Jack Finarelli

    Dan: It looks as if the Skins have two players wearing #15. Barber without the helmet and the player to the far left in the picture. If they allowed that kind of stuff today, can you imagine the “creative” formations and personnel packages Bill Belichick might come up with?

    1. Dan Post author

      Wonder if the player on the left tore his original jersey and had to borrow another. Hard to believe, on such a small roster, they’d both have the same number.

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