NFC South helmets get little respect

Our latest Power Rankings are out and, yes, the ESPN.com blog network really did a list of the top 10 NFL helmets. Hey, in a lockout, you’ve got to be creative.

No NFC South team made the list, but I voted for three and the other voters didn’t agree. The Saints came the closest. They came in at No. 11.

The Buccaneers, who came in tied for No. 19 got a seventh-place vote from me and a No. 10 vote from Paul Kuharsky. The Carolina Panthers tied for No. 22 and that’s only because I gave them an eighth-place vote.

Again, this project was a little unique and we were given no criteria on what to think about in the voting. When we've done our other Power Rankings on players at various positions, I've called around to get input from scouts and coaches. In this case, I set my own parameters. I called up a page with all 32 helmets and asked myself which looked the best.

I guess I’m an old-school guy, and that explains why the Colts (think Johnny Unitas more than Peyton Manning) were No. 1 on my ballot, followed by the Steelers, who ended up winning the vote, and the Packers.

I put the Saints at No. 4 because I truly believe their helmet looks great and represents a city and a region. But AFC East colleague Tim Graham was the only other voter to give the Saints a vote.

After I got through my top five, which also included the Giants, I turned a little from tradition and just looked for eye appeal. The Dolphins, Bucs, Panthers, Bills and Jaguars rounded out the second half of the ballot. I didn't give Atlanta a vote. It's not that I don't like the helmets the Falcons wear. It was just that I didn't like them as much as the other 10.