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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 have never been flashy or unusual in design, even for a special occasion like a game of bowling. In 1960, Nebraska had a red helmet with a white stripe and the player’s number on the side (eg, 22). In 1961, apparently the powers that be felt that even that design was too colorful and action-packed and instead opted for a white helmet with black numbers on the side. This Nebraska football helmet design is as simple as it gets for a football helmet. In 1966 the numbers changed to red and a red vertical stripe appeared on the hull for the first time. The white background and red stripe have never left the helmet since.

The red numbers lasted for only one regular season before they were phased out entirely. Instead of having the player’s number on the side of the helmet, the letters “NU” made it to the helmet for the Sugar Bowl game in 1967 and remained for 2 full seasons. During the third season in this helmet design (1969), a “100” decal appeared on the front of the football helmet. It was shaped like a blue soccer ball with white numbers outlined in red. The “100” marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

From 1970 to 1981, the 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 closely resembles the current design with one exception. In 1982 the team switched from the basic gray face mask to the red face mask. For almost 30 years, the exact same design has been maintained. The “N” is as simple as possible. It has no serifs and looks like the capital “N” in the basic Arial font that you could type in any word processing program. It probably fits well into the show’s image as a working-class Midwestern school, where they like to run the ball up the middle. In many ways, it’s the antithesis of some of the flashier designs out there at 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 see why cold-weather, Big Ten Rust Belt schools rushed to admit the Cornhuskers as full members of the conference in 2010.