Tag:Miami Dolphins
Posted on: July 1, 2009 11:06 am
Edited on: July 1, 2009 11:17 am

Gumball Helmet Gold

Do you remember those tiny football helmets in the gumball machines that were frequently seen when walking out of Publix or any other supermarket when you were a child? Of course you do, because whether or not you collected the helmets, you always convinced your mom to hand over her change in an attempt to pull your favorite team out of the machine. Granted, I always ended up getting more duplicates of the Jets helmets in an attempt to secure some Dolphins memorabilia, but I had to try anyway.

While I was able to procure the entire set on my own by countless turns of the quarter machine, it was no small task. I can remember riding my bike to Publix and sitting in front of the gumball machine with rolls of quarters in my pocket that I had collected or "borrowed" from my dad's stash of change. After months of work, and just after my 10th Green Bay Packers helmet, I finally completed the set with the last helmet that I needed, the Seattle Seahawks. Oh how glorious it looked when it hit the bottom of the machine. All the patrons in the store had no idea that they were part of a monumental occasion.

Well, the gumball helmet industry has not only grown since the days that I was an ankle-biter but it dates back to much earlier than that. And while I was collecting helmets from an early age, I didn't realize this until I was in college. Today, you can easily go online and order a complete set of the current NFL teams, which are constructed much more soundly, along with a display case for about $60. However, the real fun comes with the thrill of searching for rare helmets that date back to the early 1960's. And while I'm sure the collectors were pulling these helmets out of the machines for less than a quarter, some of these helmets are selling individually for anywhere from $40 to $300.

While this may seem like a silly thing to collect, this is the perfect hobby for fans that love old-school football memorabilia but don't want to spend a lot of money. And while the older helmets are a little beat-up and less crisp as the newer ones, it's really cool to see the development of the league and the way logos have changed over the years. Let's take a look at what you can expect from the throwback helmets.

The blue Broncos helmet with the famous D that John Elway made memorable is not that rare but still a nice piece to have while the other three here are a little harder to find. I always liked that white Buffalo Bills helmet as the red logo reminds me of the bison from the "Oregon Trail" and the white Eagles helmet is pretty much the oppostie of what they are currently wearing. Other than the blue broncos helmet, these pieces would probably sell for around $5-10.

One of my favorites is the blue Oilers helmet which has many different variations depending on the number of stripes across the top. You can also find original Oilers helmets in silver and white as well. Interestingly, the current Jets helmet is their throwback helmet as this one is actually from the 60's as you can tell by the dirt on the helmet. The old Giants and Chargers helmets are also nice pieces as most of the helmets here would also sell for about $5-10 dollars with the Oilers helmet maybe getting about $20 or $30.

And if paying over $5 dollars let alone $300 for a gumball helmet sounds a bit ridiculous, you can always get the replica throwback helmets made for you at about $3 a piece which is what you are looking at here. The black Saints helmet on the far left of the top shelf is the rarest helmet and the one that costs $300. The fourth helmet on the top shelf is probably my second favorite and is an orange Broncos helmet with the white bucking bronco and sells for about $150. I don't believe any of the chargers gumball helmets were orignially made with the number, and they are strictly replicas although they do look pretty cool. Some other interesting helmets include the yellow Steelers helmet along with the yellow and Florida State-looking Redskins helmet. These sell for around $20-$40. You can also see how many different Oilers helmets were made as they are all visible on the third row from the top and also happen to be my favorite. Like I said before, most of them go for around $30 but the blue one with the three red stripes is much rarer and goes for around $200. Whether you are the type of collector that must have the originally made helmets or just likes to display the different styles of helmets from each decade, you can't debate how intriguing of a collection this would be for any sports fan. After all, your house will probably be the only one that includes a detailed history of football helmets for your guests from just a collection of tiny pieces of plastic. Also, for your viewing pleasure, he is a closer view of some of the throwback helmets along with a picture of what the newest NFL gumball helmets look like below.

So if you used to collect these artifacts twenty or thirty years ago, i would suggest cleaning out your closet.

Posted on: April 8, 2009 12:59 pm

Posing as Parcells

Apparently the important people in charge of organizing this inaugural NFL Mock Draft suffered a massive trauma to the head on the day I applied to represent the Dolphins since I was actually accepted. Let's take a look at why they thought I was qualified...

I have been working for CBSSports for over three years now and I have been a Miami Dolphins fan since I was old enough to remember anything at all. I believe my first coherent phrase as a child was "Touchdown Dolphins!" Miami Dolphins Football was more of a religion in my household and missing a Dolphins game was grounds for excommunication, which is why I have never missed one. I can remember crying myself to sleep the year Pete Stoyanovich missed a game winning field goal against the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs along with my mother consistently lecturing me on how I can't allow a loss to affect my entire week. I have since become a little more capable of handling wins and losses with a steadier outlook on the season and franchise, but the passion still remains the same as my knowledge about the game continues to grow. 

The NFL Draft has become an unheralded event and rightfully so as teams have created NFL powerhouses from the perfect college talent like the Patriots, while others have created quite the opposite like the Lions. I graduated from the University of Florida where I became a die hard Florida Gator fan, but more importantly for the sake of this draft, highly knowledgeable of college talent. Over the years I have learned the type of skillset and disposition it takes for a student athlete to make a successful transition from college to the pros. Now we all know that this isn't an exact science, but there are obvious trends and strategies that lead to a successful draft.

I have never considered the Dolphins to be a franchise that excels when it comes to the draft. Don Shula is arguably one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NFL, but I never thought he produced any exceptional drafts. Jimmie Johnson was considered a draft expert and he proved to be so finding the likes of Jason Taylor and Zack Thomas, but I feel he was pressured to add offensive weapons for Dan Marino, which also led him to make some terrible picks like Jon Avery when Randy Moss was still on the board. Dave Wanstedt was below average when it came to the draft and I am being nice about that and I am not even going to bring up the one year Cam Cameron was here. Unfortunately, I felt Nick Saban did a great job in his first draft by selecting Ronnie Brown, Channing Crowder and Matt Roth, but we don't speak of this man, so lets pretend I didn't write this sentence.

Obviously, Bill Parcells knows what he is doing and I don't really see myself questioning any decisions he makes, especially after the miracle he produced last year, but I welcome the challenge of representing the Miami Dolphins and all the die hard fans that would give anything to be in that War Room with an input come draft day. On the day of the draft and before the luxury of the internet, I can remember sitting in front of the television for the whole weekend and recording every single draft pick for every round of the draft. Interestingly enough, last year's selection of Jake Long with the first pick is the only pick I can remember agreeing with the front office of the Miami Dolphins about (with the exception of the unspoken coaches picks). I am honored to have an oppourtinity like this and I will undoubtedly take it seriously...and who knows, maybe Parcells will take notice of the pick that comes from the knowledgeable minds of Miami Dolphins Nation.

Also, after studying the draft history of the Miami Dolphins, I decided to point out three of the franchises best drafts with the picks that stand out.

1983 (Head Coach Don Shula) - Mark Clayton and Dan Marino in the same draft...That changes the franchise right there!

Round 1 Dan Marino
Round 2 Mike Charles
Round 6 Reggie Roby
Round 8 Mark Clayton

1990 (Head Coach Don Shula) - I didn't realize that Richmond Webb and Keith Sims were drafted the same year.

Round 1 Richmond Webb
Round 2 Keith Sims
Round 4 Scott Mitchell

2005 (Head Coach Nick Saban) - Despite Mr. Saban being a lier, he did leave us with some talent after this draft.

Round 1 Ronnie Brown
Round 2 Matt Roth
Round 3 Channing Crowder
Round 4 Travis Daniels

Other outstanding selections : Randy McMichael (Fourth Round 2002), Chris Chambers (Second Round 2001), Patrick Surtain (Second Round 1998), Sam Madison (Second Round 1997), Jason Taylor (Third Round 1997), Zach Thomas (Fifth Round 1996), Tim Bowens (First Round 1994), John Offerdahl (Second Round 1986), Mark Duper (Second Round 1982), David Woodley (Eighth Round 1980), Nat Moore (Third Round 1974) Kim Bokamper (First Round 1976), Don Strock (Fifth Round 1976), Joe Theisman (Fourth Round 1974 I HAD NO IDEA!!!! ), Larry Csonka (First Round 1968), Bob Griese (First Round 1976)





The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com