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Nebraska Football Helmet – A History
Since the 1960s, Nebraska has maintained a very consistent football helmet design. They have always had a very conservative design; they’ve never had a flashy or unusual design, even for a special occasion like a Bowl Game. In 1960, Nebraska had a red helmet with a white stripe and the player’s number on the side (e.g. 22). In 1961, apparently, the powers that be felt that even this design was too colorful and action-packed and opted instead for a white helmet with black numbers on the side. This Nebraska football helmet design is about as simple as you can get for a football helmet. In 1966 the numbers changed to red and a red vertical stripe appeared on the helmet for the first time. The white background and the red stripe have never left the helmet since then.
The red numbers only lasted one regular season before being phased out altogether. Rather than having the player’s number on the side of the helmet, the letters “NU” traveled to the helmet for the Sugar Bowl game in 1967 and remained for 2 full seasons. During the third season with this helmet design (1969), a “100” decal appeared on the front of the football helmet. It was shaped like a soccer ball in blue with white numbers outlined in red. The “100” marked the 100th anniversary of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s charter.
From 1970 to 1981, Cornhuskers kept the exact same design. The helmet had a white background, a red vertical stripe, and the letter “N” replaced “NU”. This football helmet looks a lot like today’s design, with one exception. In 1982, the team changed from the basic gray mask to the red mask. For almost 30 years, this exact same design has remained. The “N” is about as clear as it gets. It has no serif and looks like your basic Arial uppercase “N” font that you can type on any word processing program. It probably fits the image of the program as a Midwestern hard-working school, where they like to run the ball down the middle. In many ways, it’s the antithesis of some of the flashier designs that exist in schools like Oregon, Maryland, and Boise State. There isn’t even a catchy logo like the Texas Longhorn or the Florida State Spear. Looking at this football helmet, you can begin to understand why, in cold weather, the Big Ten’s Rust Belt schools quickly admitted the Cornhuskers to full conference membership in 2010.
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