Helmets like White Elephants

Here we have another entry from Alex. This one regarding the emergence of white helmets in football.

Auburn has employed the white helmet for a long time. Always looking good at home and on the road.

But if I do it, then it will be nice again if I say things are like white elephants, and you’ll like it?”

– From “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway

Indeed, there was a time, particularly in pro football, when white helmets were considered a white elephant, or rather, a fashion faux pas. When the Houston Texans were born in 2002 and they introduced white helmets, many alleged “experts” bristled at such a uniform statement.  Arguably, an expansion team should have made a better impression on the league with a better helmet idea, or could have actually made the playoffs once in their first nine seasons.  With neither feat accomplished, perhaps the Texans were on to something with their white helmets. Today, the trend toward the white helmet, in the NFL and even more so in college, is quite prevalent.

More and more teams have gone to the white helmet because it offers that classic look. With the constant uniform changes happening in college football, many teams have either opted to keep or have opted for the white helmet. This weekend, LSU, wearing their not-as-deplorable-as-it-could-be Nike Pro Combat looks, opted for a white helmet with purple “LSU” on each side, went up against Auburn in a rare white helmet vs. white helmet matchup.

Also this weekend, Oklahoma State, in their victory over Mizzou, looked good with an all-white getup that included white helmets.  A revisit to the Oklahoma State Combo Creator reveals that OSU, in addition to their gray and black helmets, actually have two white helmets, one that features an orange “OSU” and another that features that same logo in black.  Of course, OSU has always had white helmets, but it was nice that, when they did decide, for whatever reason, to redo their football unis, they kept those two white helmets, rather than discarding for something that looks like this.

Barry Sanders sported a white helmet with Oklahoma State in the late 80s. The letters on the helmets were bigger, but the helmet has largely remained the same.

Like the Cowboys, many schools have had white helmets as far back as anyone can remember, making the white helmet not a burden to an team’s look, but rather an enhancement. Penn State and Stanford have never deviated from their white lids (although Standard will feature a black helmet on November 27th, when they Pro Combat for a primetime game against Notre Dame). Many other schools have also gone to the white helmet in recent years, with even Oregon finding room in their cornucopia of unis for a classic, white topper.

But this trend is not only limited to the college game. In addition to the Texans, the Jets, Cardinals, Dolphins, Colts, and Titans (formerly the Oilers) all sport white helmets. Additionally, both the Bills and Chargers have made the move from their old helmets to white helmets.

Clearly, the white helmet is (and has) made a comeback.  And, rather than being like white elephants, are embraced by teams looking to return to a more classic, and overall better look.

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NFL Review Week 4: Real men wear pink

San Francisco wide receiver Josh Morgan flew through the air with pink accents to make everyone in Philadelphia aware of breast cancer on Sunday. Photo by Associated Press

The past three Octobers have brought a once unfamiliar color into the NFL … pink.

I’m not sure when October officially became Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but the NFL certainly has done a great job of making fans aware of that fact for the past three seasons with different types of pink all over the field. Whether it comes in the players’ gloves, towels, shoes, mouth guards, wrist bands or chin straps, pink becomes the dominant color in the NFL in October.

Now, I know that I have never been more aware of breast cancer than when I’m watching the NFL for the month of October so the league has definitely accomplished what it hoped to with the pink accents all over the field.

When it comes to the look of the uniforms, it generally doesn’t have too much of an impact, at least for me. The pink is definitely noticeable, but now that this is the third season of it, the impact isn’t as shocking as it once was.

If anything, I believe it adds a bit of excitement to the games to see what each team will look like while wearing the pink accents. It also leaves it up to the player to wear as much or as little pink as they want.

Overall, the idea is great because it is all for a good cause, and since the trend will seemingly continue for the rest of the month, it gives every stadium around the NFL multiple chances to make those in the stadium fully aware of breast cancer.

Besides the pink all over the NFL, the league also saw black come into play for teams that usually go with another color scheme, and with that we’ll go to our quick hits.

Ray Rice looked nice in an all-black uniform for Sunday night's blowout of the Jets. Photo by Getty Images

  • The Ravens took on the Jets on Sunday night and completely dominated in an all-black look that is more than solid. For the Ravens, I think this is the look they should always go to in night games. The black pants and black jerseys work well because Ravens themselves are actually black. It is also intimidating to see Ray Lewis coming at you in all black.
  • The Cardinals also went with a black jersey for their controversial loss to the Giants. For Arizona, the black seems very out of place with the white helmet and white pants. Seems to me like they only make these jerseys to sell a few more Larry Fitzgerald shirts at the gift shop. Also, a cardinal is red, not black.
  • The Rams went back to their sloppy blue-on-white look for a home game and it was reflected in their play in a loss to the Redskins.
  • The Jaguars went with white pants and a white jersey at home. Nobody cares about Jacksonville (even people in Jacksonville) so it didn’t bother me that much.
  • The Chargers went with white at home again … SIGH.
That’s all for this week, like always, let me know if you see anything I missed or any comments you might have.