Friday, October 21, 2011

Out with the Old, in with the New ND Football Helmet

No word embodies Notre Dame more than any other like 'tradition.'

From national championships to Heisman trophy winners. Legendary coaches, several 'games of the century' and 'Play Like a Champion Today.'

The list really could go on, but for brevity's sake we'll stop there.

While traditions are great, though, not all are created equal and therefore meant to be maintained.

Such was the decision made by ND Athletics Director Jack Swatbrick when he revealed that ND would change its football helmets starting with this weekend's clash against Southern Cal.

As part of that decision, student managers will no longer be in charge of painting the team's helmets, as was prior tradition.

This decision has left some conservative traditionalists besides themselves. In fact, many of those discontented with the new helmets were former student managers whose former jobs have been eliminated.

Perhaps 'eliminated' is too harsh since the managers will be involved in a new role removing scuff marks and buffing the helmets each week to reveal their natural shine.

Real gold flakes are still used in the new design, which is the twelfth iteration from Oregon based Hydro Graphics, Inc. With Mary's gold still adorning the protective head gear of the football team, Notre Dame maintains its most unique helmet feature.

So embrace change for the sake of starting a new tradition: helmets that closely resemble the golden dome.

They're real, and they're spectacular.


bobby said...

This is kind of disappointing. I think this removes a tangible link between the student body and the football team. Not to mention the psychological statement that smearing gold paint on the opposing teams helmet sends.

Justin Cates said...

Frankly, it's about time. The world we live in has no room for an institution wantonly slapping genuine gold on anything and everything. It's always struck me as wasteful and one of many reasons the general public doesn't like ND. No need to flaunt any perceived superiority.

In a couple years no one will even know the difference except for a few crotchety old student managers watching "Rudy" on VHS.

Brian said...

Losing in their debut made it lose some of the luster for me, but even from my vantage point 60-70 rows from the field I could tell a difference from the norm.

Students are still involved in the process and I agree with the crotchety old managers Cates. Real gold flakes are still used in the helmet though. I don't view it as a waste, though, because it's the gold that is scraped off every ten years from the dome when it is regilded.


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