Willie Lanier's helmet

Nicknamed “Contact” because of his ferocious tackling, middle linebacker Willie Lanier wore this specially padded helmet during his 11 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1967 to 1977.  Lanier was more than just a hard hitting linebacker; he was the Chiefs’ quarterback on defense.  Although he accounted for many critical defensive plays, one best remembered is a goal line stand he led that stopped the New York Jets on three straight plays at the Chiefs’ one-yard line in the 1969 AFL Championship Game. The Chiefs went on to win Super Bowl IV against the Minnesota Vikings.

Lanier, Willie, Kansas City Chiefs
Recent Comments
  • JK - July 16 2013 10:50 PM

    The blurb about the helmet contains a factual error: The Chiefs beat the Jets in divisional playoffs in 1969, not the championship game. Kansas City beat Oakland in the AFL championship.

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  • Chris Kule - October 21 2011 02:35 PM

    Harvard, Columbia and Cornell used to wear these things in the early 60's. So did Ohio State. The general consensus was that the padding tended to concentrate stresses rather than dissipate them; that glancing blows were safer. They used to be referred to as "breadbasket" helmets.

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  • DB - October 21 2011 09:46 AM

    I vaguely remember this helmet. I never knew it was external padding, but merely thought that Lanier was wearing an old helmet. you know kind of like the old helmets with the protruding ears. Be interesting if there's any info on why he wore it, for how long, etc. Given all of the concussion & long term neurological issues, it'd be nice to know if any helmet makers have a more modern externally padded version.

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