Jim Steffen

"California Dreaming" with Jim Steffen


Guys, please don't panic -- it's a tough time of the year for all of us. Frigid weather, holiday charges coming due, car problems, tax returns, flu, lack of sunlight, property taxes and worst of all the end of football season. We never anticipated the magnitude of these hardships way back in High School.

Do you remember those carefree days when, while imitating the comportment of a scholar deep in study (this required a special skill), we would drift off and dream about our perfect post graduation lives during a forbidden nap in study hall? It was amazing what could be "experienced" during this one hour respite -- head west, attend a "Pac 8" college near the beach, excel in more than one sport and become the "BMOC," appear in Hollywood movies during the off season, date beautiful women, go on to enjoy a successful pro football career and end up marrying a beauty queen. Just when things seemed like they could not get any better we were rudely awakened by the loud crack of a book closed in our ear by a teacher whose surveillance skills we too often underestimated. 

Well, for all of us who can relate to the above please pardon Jim Steffen if his grin is a bit wider than the rest of ours. His "California Dreaming"-- did become a reality!  

Jim transferred from a community college to UCLA in 1956. At only 5' 10" and weighing less than 190 pounds he was a tenacious tackler who played both defensive and offensive end for the Bruins. He was team captain his senior year and was awarded honorable mention "All American." He also excelled on the UCLA baseball team. 

In 1959 he was drafted by the Detroit Lions. He was shifted to defensive back and returned kicks and punts for the team. During the off season he returned to sunny California where he worked as a bit actor in Hollywood (his college roommate, Gary Lockwood, had his own television series and helped him find work in the industry). Steffen was an extra on the Ozzie and Harriett Show and also appeared in some Elvis Presley movies.  

The Lions traded him to the Washington Redskins during the 1961 season. At Washington he acquired the reputation as one of the best tacklers in the league. Although he was known for his ability to play through pain (he once played with a partially collapsed lung) multiple injuries forced his retirement after a solid seven year career in the NFL. Steffen has been married twice. His first wife was a contestant in the Miss California Beauty Pageant and his second wife worked for the Playboy Club in Hawaii.

Helmet Hut was more than happy to help Jim Steffen complete his helmet collection that reflects his colorful and successful career. We certainly understand how these special helmets help to inspire special memories from his glory days. In the days of our youth many of us dreamed of similar achievements -- unfortunately we were "woken up" before we had a chance to make it a reality.  

"It is never to late to learn that the special helmets from our past help keep those glorious dreams of our youth alive" -- Helmet Hut High graduate (the only school where daydreaming is encouraged).


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