Jethro Pugh - 1968
Jethro Pugh had a long and successful career with the Dallas Cowboys from 1965 to 1978. As an integral part of the Cowboy's "Doomsday Defense" he helped lead the team to two Super Bowl championships in the 1970s. Unfortunately many fans best remember Jethro for a play he didn't make. In the 1967 NFL championship game, also known as "The Ice Bowl," Packer quarterback Bart Starr scored on a last second keeper over Jethro's area of responsibility to win the game. Unable to plant his feet because of the frozen field and double teamed by both Jerry Kramer and Ken Bowman there was virtually no chance for Jethro to prevent the winning score. This famous play has been replayed countless times over the past 35 plus years with the image of poor defeated Jethro laying on his backside in the Packer end zone forever etched in the minds of the average fan.
The helmet that Jethro wore in this famous game was replaced the following season by the helmet pictured here. (Perhaps as the game ended the former helmet, frozen by the 13 degree below zero temperature and untold wind chill factor, was thrown to the graying sky in disgust by Jethro and broke into a million pieces upon impact with the frozen tundra.) The pictured helmet is a classic Riddell "RK-2" with a large or "husky" shell size and a 1968 manufacturing date stamp inside the shell. Jethro's surname is hand marked above both ear holes inside the shell and his number "75" is also included on one side. The traditional Cowboy dymo tape nameplate has been long removed from the rear center stripe of the helmet but interestingly if you look close you can still see an impression of the name "Pugh" formed on the white stripe by the original dymo tape. The Cowboy star decals are the original 1960s style three piece stacked version meaning a smaller blue thin mil vinyl star is overlaid on a larger white thin mil vinyl star which is overlaid on an even larger blue thin mil vinyl star. Since the mid 1970s the Cowboy star decal was manufactured by simply printing white and blue ink on the reverse side of a single layer of clear thick mil vinyl. Because the shell is a "husky" or larger than standard shell size the center ridge is 1.5" wide compared to the 1" center ridge used on standard size shells. Other teams that used center striping would use 2 pieces of 3/4" striping or overlap 2 pieces of standard 1" striping to cover the extra 1/2" of center ridge found on the "husky" size helmet. The Cowboys simply used a single piece of standard 1" center striping regardless of helmet size. This "shortcut" practice created a unique silver / white / silver center ridge striping pattern for their "husky" size helmets which is evident on this helmet. The white center stripe and the white portion of the star decals have turned a wonderful shade of cream color properly reflecting the aging process of this character filled helmet. The face mask is a correct late 1960s style "NJOP" with attachment clips. The helmet was reconditioned in the early 1970s and refitted with post 1972 style beige colored interior rivet bumpers (the 1960s style gray colored front snubber was not replaced).
Although his previous helmet is seen more often in replays of that famous ending of the 1967 NFL championship game this helmet more importantly was worn by Jethro while he helped the team recover from that major disappointment and go on to win its first two Super Bowl championships in the 1970s.