For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Helmet Project, prepare to waste your afternoon. The Helmet Project painstakingly documents every change to every helmet at every imaginable level of football beyond high school. Not only that, but the author allows other sites to use his images in moderation. The Helmet Project doesn't simply log major changes, such as the transition from the Block I to the Cam Cameron abominations. Wondering when the Mallory era helmets switched from white facemasks to black? Late in the 1990 season. Do you remember the two, slightly different versions of the Cameron era helmet? They're both there. While based on casual observation, it can seem like IU's crimson helmet hasn't changed at all since in was introduced in 2002, there actually have been four different variations, including the block I version used for the 2007 Bucket game.
The Helmet Project documents these things back to the late 1950s, and the number of helmet variations appears to be inversely related to the success of the program. In the Big Ten, Michigan and Penn State have only three variations each over the last five decades; IU leads the Big Ten with 18 different variations during that time. Saturday's game marked the first time IU had worn white helmets since 1964-1966, when the Hoosiers wore plain white helmets. The only other white helmet design is a fairly cool look, with an interlock IU on the front and with uniform numbers on the side, that was worn from the late 1950s through 1961.
Wilson said Tuesday that he put a vote to the players on whether they wanted to wear the white helmets or crimson — well, red, actually, the coach admitted — for the home opener. Of the 84 players who got to vote, 76 wanted the white helmets. "We’ll ask the kids each week (about the helmets)," Wilson said.
It will be interesting to see how that pans out. I really like the way the white helmets looked at home with the crimson jerseys. I'm not sure how I will feel about the all white look on the road, if that ever happens. So, what do you think?