For the second time in four weeks the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football Team will feature yet another variation of their classic gold helmet. It will mark the third different helmet donned by the Fighting Irish squad this season alone.
Playing Under The Lights at Michigan in early September, the Irish placed shamrocks on their helmets for the first time since the 1960s.
Fast forward more than a month later and the Irish revealed what had been in the works for more than a year by equipment manager Ryan Grooms: an entirely new process of applying gold paint to the helmets. It marked the second twist of their golden domes on the young season, this time coming against archival Southern California.
Now, Notre Dame is set to unveil its latest creation this Saturday as it takes on the Maryland Terrapins in a neutral site 'home' game at 7:30pm ET on NBC.
According to a Notre Dame press release, the helmet variation coincides with the Shamrock Series, which is the name given to the annual neutral site 'home' games hosted by Notre Dame throughout cities across the United States.
This marks the first in a series of uniform features that will be utilized for Notre Dame's Shamrock Series contests. After the 2011 game at FedExField, the Shamrock Series in 2012 moves to Soldier Field in Chicago for a game against Miami. In 2013 the Shamrock Series matchup against Arizona State will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Irish will showcase uniform variations in their annual Shamrock Series games but otherwise will wear their standard uniforms the rest of the season.It is clear a primary directive is to showcase the Irish in green jerseys and, accordingly, drive corresponding merchandise sales.
Purists scoff at the mere suggestion that Notre Dame try to capitalize on its cachet by altering its brand identity through uniform variations. While it is unmistakable an outcome of uniform variations is increased sales, it is not to say potential revenue is the sole driving factor behind the decision to create and promote new merchandise.
From our point of view, as long as the uniforms stay true to traditional colors worn by the university, which includes green along with blue and gold, there is nothing wrong with a little variety. It also helps to steer clear of extreme departures from the norm. This weekend's opponent, Maryland, cannot say it heeded our advice.
The uniforms shown above were debuted by the Terrapins in their season opening win against Miami (FL). Ironically, the Terrapins were supposed to save those jerseys for this weekend's matchup against the Irish. Ultimately, the Terps could not resist the temptation to unveil them in primetime on a Monday night as the only college game on the board.
Even if you find yourself among the helmet change naysayers, no Irish fan can deny their desire to see this change yield a different result than the prior two 'change games' earlier in the year. Emerge victorious and the critics will still exist, but in a much more subdued manner than they would in a loss.
That said, any argument claiming a loss is a result of a uniform change should immediately be rejected as unfounded, illogical and downright comical.
Suit up, play ball and look good (read that double entendre as you will) while winning.