The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

Top 10 College Football Helmets

College football is a sport built by the pillars of tradition, and it’s why we absolutely adore it. We see it every Saturday in the fall, from the playing of a school’s fight song to the uniforms the players wear during battle. It all comes together to symbolize the culture of these programs and the universities they represent. The tradition is what makes this game so rich.

The helmets that collide on the field represent the heritage of those who came before them. Many of these teams have worn the same helmet for decades and their uniqueness still makes them so beloved by the public eye.

But which helmets stand out as the most storied in all of college football? Let’s tap into the debate.

10. USC

The Trojans have some of the cleanest uniforms in America, and their helmet is as symbolic as you can get in this game. The maroon helmet with gold accent is a sharp look that’s been worn by college football legends like Reggie Bush, Carson Palmer, and O.J. Simpson. Southern Cal is known as the premiere football program on the west coast making the helmet symbolic of winning culture.

9. Tennessee

You ever hear the expression “less is more?” I’m convinced that saying began when the Volunteer’s helmet design was exposed to the world. The design is so simple, yet so marvelous. The all white build with the oversized, Tennessee “T” decal on both sides is the definition of crisp. Can the logo on the side be considered OBNOXIOUSLY big? Oh, absolutely. But to me it’s always been fitting for their equally rambunctious fan base. That probably wasn’t their thinking behind the design but I refuse to accept it.

8. Miami

I was still in diapers the last time this famous helmet meant something to the college football world, but that doesn’t mean the period didn’t happen. Much like the Volunteers, the Hurricanes rock the primarily white helmet with their “U” logo on both sides and their green and orange stripe that comes down the middle. Just ask one of their opponents from the early 2000s. They’ll tell you the kind of fear lining up across that helmet instilled in them. You can’t have a top 10 list without Miami on it.

7. Oklahoma

You can tell me it’s the same helmet as Alabama, and I could tell you you couldn’t be more wrong. The difference between the two is minute but absolutely recognizable. The Oklahoma crimson helmet displays a shiny finish with a mint, white face mask, they way God intended for that helmet to look. Alabama’s dull finish with the gray face mask is ugly. I don’t care how many touchdowns they’ll beat you by. The Sooners debuted the design in the 1960s and haven’t changed a thing since. Chef’s kiss.

6. Florida

Now we’re getting down to the cream of the crop. Florida’s bright orange helmet with the script blue “Gators” is one of the most recognizable in the sport. The truth is there is one prestige orange helmet in college football, and it belongs to the Gators, not Clemson. I can’t help myself from seeing Tim Tebow and the championship winning ’09 team every time I see it, and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

5. LSU

I gave Tennessee and Miami their flowers for their simplistic designs, but truth is I may adore the vibrant helmets even more. First Florida’s orange, now LSU’s yellow, I appreciate that when I see a certain color I think of one team immediately. Talk about recognizable. The yellow crown with the abbreviated “LSU” across the sides is the first of it’s kind, and since then schools like TCU have adopted the idea for their own. You know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. This is the best helmet in the SEC.

4. Notre Dame

Rudy…Rudy…Rudy. Arguably the greatest college football movie of all time is based on the Notre Dame football program, which is one of the most historically successful in sports’ history. Even for many that aren’t interested in the game but enjoyed the film in tenth grade English class, the gold-painted helmet is universally recognized. No logos, no stickers, no numbers, just the traditional gold crown. Notre Dame has maintained their vintage history through the uniforms they wear to the stadium they play in, truly representing what this beautiful game is all about.

3. Michigan

I’m going to make this quick because it’s making my skin crawl. Ohio State’s most bitter rival have sported the famous winged helmet since the 1930s, and it might be the most unique in all of college football. Fritz Crisler brought the design from Princeton, who was really the first to rock the look, and the Wolverines have ran with the look ever since. It’s said that Crisler not only wanted to dress up the plain helmet, but mainly wanted it to help the quarterback see the receivers he was throwing to. It was pretty genius and it’s as iconic as it gets. I just really hate Michigan.

2. Florida State

After this sentence, do us both a favor and give yourself a minute to take that photo in. Is it possible be romantic about a helmet? I seriously just can’t find one flaw. The oversized spear on both sides is sharp, traditional, and flat out tough. The Seminoles are one of a few programs who hand out “reward stickers” to their players after personal success on game days. When that helmet is playing in the end of November, the abundant tiny tomahawks on the back really push this helmet as close to the best as the needle can go. All three major Florida programs made my top 10, but the Noles take the cake by a landslide.

1. Ohio State

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to the real reason we’re here. The best helmet in college football was created in 1968, when Head Coach Woody Hayes began to hand out Buckeye leaves after exceptional plays made in the game. The idea isn’t just a reward system, but entirely makes up the identity of the helmet. Each year, the helmet begins as the plain gray helmet with the scarlet stripe, and progressively fills up completely in leaves by the end of the season. And once those leaves are cluttered on there by the end of November, there isn’t a more elite helmet in the country. This tradition is historic not just in college sports, but the sports world as a whole. That is why Ohio State’s helmet will forever sit on the throne.

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About the Contributor
TJ Heyder
TJ Heyder, Sports Editor
TJ Heyder is a fifth year Media Studies major at Mercy, with a passion for sports journalism. TJ has become a main beat writer covering Mercy athletics in his time writing for The Impact. He’s also a current member of the Men’s Lacrosse team for the Mavericks.  He writes a college sports based column titled "Around The Net,” with a sharp focus on The Ohio State Buckeyes.  He can be reached at [email protected]  

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