Add Dale Hackbart to the growing list of former
players who have turned to Helmet Hut to complete their personal helmet
collection. Over a career that spanned 14 years Dale kept his actual game worn
helmets from only the last three teams (Vikings, Cardinals and Broncos) that
he played for. Dale was "overwhelmed" when he received authentic "Helmet Hut"
reproduction helmets that reflected the first three teams (University of
Wisconsin, Packers and Redskins) that he played for. Much like a retired
salesman reflecting upon a stack of his old business cards from his former
contacts and employers each of these helmets will forever provide special
memories for Dale.
Before switching to defensive back in the NFL Dale was an outstanding
college quarterback at the University of Wisconsin. Noted for his strong
passing arm he finished seventh in the 1959 Heisman trophy voting (won by
Billy Cannon from LSU) and he led the Badgers to a Rose Bowl appearance
against Washington in 1960. He was the first round pick of the Minnesota
franchise in the very first AFL draft held prior to the league's inaugural
1960 season. He was also drafted that same year by the Green Bay Packers in
the fifth round of the NFL draft. He turned down a contract offer
from Minnesota when they refused to give him a signing bonus and instead
started his pro career with the Packers. Shortly after the AFL draft
the Minnesota ownership group renounced their AFL franchise rights and
accepted an offer to join the established NFL in 1961 as an NFL expansion
team. Ironically, even though Dale was the first ever draft choice of the
Vikings he did not play for them until they acquired him from the Redskins in
a trade prior to the 1966 season.
On the field he was known for his reckless behavior, sharp knuckles and
forearm chops. He would no sooner "back off" from completing a tackle while
crossing the out of bounds line than a New York City cabbie would yield to a
yellow light. As reflected in the accompanying picture and just as any true
Viking fan would admirably predict, more than thirty years after his football
retirement Dale, much like an old western gunfighter, still reveals no more
than a small hint of a smile. Dale stands proudly, still in fighting
trim, before these glorious reminders of his athletic career.
Helmet Hut is honored to help Dale complete the missing pieces in his
collection -- we are pretty sure that he is hiding, albeit unintentionally, a
genuine wide smile behind that tough exterior comportment.