Wednesday, November 30, 2011

IHOP NFL Football Helmets and Standings Board

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!


Tom Farley said...

I think if you're a man in your 40s, there's a better-than-even chance that you think fondly of IHOP because of the mini helmets. I know I do.

6,000,000 Cards and Counting... said...

I am not too far removed from the time when my son was more interested in those 1989 and 1990 fleer stickers than the cards themselves! Heck, he liked collecting the blank cardboard.

toppcat said...

I totally dug these when they came out and had a bunch. I recall there being gumball machineswith the helmets as well.

Anthony Hughes said...

Tom, I think you're right... I miss the old architecture of the IHOPs too. They were small and cramped, but had a sort of charm that the bland boring ones of today completely lack.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how I could get my hands on the nfl, nba, nhl, and mlb boards with the original team magnets?....i had them all, but they were all lost in a basement flood a few years ago. Please email me at

Anonymous said...

Actually you had to go to IHOP and eat pancakes to get you helmet with a new one added every two weeks. Since there were 26 teams in the league it took a year to get the entire collection. The display board was available for a minimal fee to give all those minis a place in your room to show off your collection. I got em all and ate lots of pancakes in the process :-)

Anonymous said...

I still have the stand and all the helmets, arranged in the order of the 1973 season rankings. They're still ranked as they were just before the '73 Super Bowl. They've been that way ever since. Found the stand in a closet at my mother's house.