The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was definitely the place to get your football fix as a kid growing up in the 1970s.
Whats not to like about getting to eat on a placemat with football helmets on it and having the the chance to buy your favorite team's mini helmet!
If you were lucky enough to come across this IHOP ad, you could get a coupon to buy one helmet and get one free!
The IHOP helmets are just the regular gumball helmets that we all remember collecting, but its still great to think that you could go to the restaurant and have your pick of which team you wanted to buy as opposed to just taking whatever came out of the gumball machine.
Recently someone had up for auction a nearly complete set of the helmets in the original IHOP packaging:
As the header card has a hole in it, it seems like these were probably hanging on a rack near the register so you could search for teams while mom or dad was paying the check.
In addition to offering the helmets, IHOP also sold a standings board which held the gumball helmets:
Here is a view of the back of the board:
Based on the helmet designs on the back, I would say this board dates from 1972 or 1973 as it shows the white Chargers helmet (which changed to blue in 1974).
Here is a picture from the side to show how the board stood up:
It would be great if the NFL and IHOP would consider bringing back this promotion in the future as it would be fun to see ads like this
as well as it would provide a great excuse to go out for breakfast!
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