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Iowa Football Helmet – A History

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The modern era of University of Iowa football helmets began with a yellow helmet, gray mask, black vertical stripe, and black numbers on the side. This design was used until 1964 and was brought back once in 2010 in a game against Ball State to commemorate the 1959 Rose Bowl Hawkeye Champions team. The first major change came in 1965 when the numbers on the side have been replaced by a black “I” with a white circle and a thin black outline in the logo stain. This logo did not last long, however. In 1966 the “I” was removed and the helmet was just plain yellow with black and white vertical stripes.

A logo returned in 1971 with a large eagle hovering over a black background. The eagle had a lot of shade. With the background now black, the vertical stripe changed to a single yellow vertical stripe. It was the second time that a logo only lasted a year. In 1972, the logo was changed and all shading was removed. The eagle was solid yellow, and its talons were similar but slightly modified and thicker. In 1974, Iowa decided it as the solid design again and returned to the solid yellow helmet; this time having only one black stripe with no white stripe outline like they did in the late sixties.

The year 1977 marked another change. As was popular at that time, the name Iowa in cursive was applied to the yellow helmet with a black stripe. The Iowa sticker was black but circled in black. As masks in different colors became available, uniform designers in Iowa decided that a black mask would suit this design perfectly. The design as a whole looked pretty crisp, as black and yellow are some of the easiest colors to read and see from a distance (the billboard industry knows this and often uses this scheme when she tries to get your attention).

The current Iowa football helmet has been in use for over 30 years, believe it or not. The black helmet with a yellow stripe and a graphic Hawkeye head entered service in 1979. It is one of the most memorable logos in college sports and immediately catches your eye with the beak, eye, head. and the part extending from the eye to the body. High schools and other teams used this popular logo. There have been a few occasions since 1979 when the Hawkeye football team wore a different helmet. At least twice, they wore all-black helmets to mourn the victims of the campus shooting or the parents of a gamer. They also wore a gold helmet once in 2004 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kinnick Stadium.

One last interesting element of the Iowa Hawkeyes football helmet has been the letters “ANF” which goes on a small decal on the back of the helmet. This was worn from the mid to late 80s and early 90s. Many people wonder what these letters stood for when looking at historic photos of Team Hawkeye. “America needs farmers” is what the ANF stood for and was supposed to support struggling farmers. Even in 2011, they continue to hold special America Needs Farmers days to which farmers are invited and honored. This makes sense when you consider Iowa as the corn and soybean farming capital of America.


Source by Donald Plunkett

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