Big Ten Conference

Leaders Division

"Fighting Illini" "Hoosiers" "Buckeyes"
Champaign, IL Bloomington, IN Columbus, OH
"Nittany Lions" "Boilermakers" "Badgers"
State College, PA West Lafayette, IN Madison, WI

Legends Division

"Hawkeyes" "Wolverines" "Spartans"
Iowa City, IA Ann Arbor, MI East Lansing, MI
"Golden Gophers" "Cornhuskers" "Wildcats"
Minneapolis, MN Lincoln, NE Evanston, IL


Illinois is using a new primary helmet design in 2013 (shown above). Indiana has used six new different designs so far in 2013, the most frequently-used of these is shown above. Several other teams have used alternate designs during one or more games.

Historical Helmets


c.early 1960s - 1970;
September 6, 2008
1971 - 1976 1977 - 1979
*see note 1 below
1980 - 1982 1983 - 1987 1988
'E' 'B'
1989 - 2004 2005 - September 1, 2012 2012
*see note 2 below
'C' 'A' 'D'
2012 - 2013 - 2013 -
*see note 3 below *see note 4 below

During the 2013 season Illinois has used the following sequence of helmet designs (through ten games): A-A-A; C-A-A; A-C-C; D.

In 2012 the following sequence was used: E-B-B; B-C-B; B-C-B; B-C-C.

I have received a single, poor-quality photograph from the 1969 season which suggests that Illinois used a version of the "100" decal (recognizing the 100th anniversary of the first college football game) on the back of its helmets that year - the colors within the decal cannot be determined. Otherwise, I believe these are all of the different helmet designs used by Illinois during the period covered by this site (1960 to present), though it is possible that some others were used during the very early 1960s. The first design shown above was used at least as early as 1962.

*1 This design was brought back for use during the 2008 home game against Eastern Illinois, during which Illinois wore replicas of the uniforms used by the 1963 team.

*2 First worn during the 2012 game at Arizona State.

*3 First worn during the 2012 home game vs Penn State.

*4 Illinois used a special helmet decal during the 2013 home game vs Ohio State; the logo depicted ten white stars in the shape of an "I" inside an outline of the state of Illinois. The logo recognized ten former team members who also served in the military and lost their lives in World War II and the Vietnam War. The ten were identified as John Berner, Tony Butkovich, Bruce Capel, Dick Good, Ralph Hathaway, James McDonald, Paul Milosevich , George Rettinger, Frank Rokusek, and Bob Wilson.


1959? - 1961 1962 - 1964 1965 - 1966
1966? - c.1972 c.1973 - 1975 1976 - 1982
1983 1984 - 1990 1990 (end of season)
*see note 1 below
1991 - 1995 1996 1997 - 2000
2001 November 19, 2005;
November 17, 2007
2005 - 2007
*see note 2 below
December 31, 2007 - 2010 September 10, 2011;
additional games 2011-2012
2002 - 2004; 2011 - 2012
*see note 3 below
'A' 'B' 'C'
2013 - 2013 - 2013 -
'D' 'E' 'F'
October 1, 2011;
October 8, 2011;
2013 -
2013 - 2013 -
*see note 4 below

During the 2013 season Indiana has used the following sequence of helmet designs (through ten games): A-B-C; C-D-E; A-F-C; C.

I believe that the above are all of the different helmet designs used by Indiana during the period covered by this web site (1960 to present) with the exception of a design used during at least some games in 1969 - this one included a version of the college football centennial "100" logo. Indiana wore these at the back of the helmet; the colors are unknown, though one report indicated that they had white numerals with red outlines on a blue football-shape.

*1 Indiana had switched to black facemasks by at least the last game of the 1990 season - vs Auburn in the Peach Bowl at Atlanta, GA. I do not know if these were used for any earlier games during 1990.

*2 This design was used during Indiana's home games against Purdue in 2005 and 2007.

*3 First worn during the 2011 home game vs Virginia; subsequently worn September 24, 2011 (at North Texas), October 22, 2011 (at Iowa), November 19, 2011 (at Michigan State), and September 8, 2012 (at Massachusetts).

*4 Pink elements were incorporated into Indiana's uniforms and helmets during the 2011 home game against Penn State "in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month". The design was used again on October 8, 2011 (vs Illinois).


1958 - 1964;
September 25, 2010
1965 1966 - 1970
*see note 1 below *see note 2 below
1971 1972 - 1973 1974 - 1976
1977 - 1978 November 2, 1991;
December 29, 1996
September 4, 2004;
September 8, 2012
*see note 3 below *see note 4 below
November 5, 2011 November 10, 2012 1979 -
*see note 5 below *see note 6 below *see note 7 below

An unconfirmed report has been received indicating that Iowa used a version of the "100" decal in 1969 (supposedly white numerals with red outlines on a blue football-shape), but these are not visible in any of the several photographs that I have showing Iowa helmets during the 1969 season. If that report was inaccurate, then there are apparently all of the historical helmet designs for Iowa for the period covered by this web site (1960 to present).

*1 This design was brought back for use during the 2010 home game against Ball State as a tribute to the 1959 Iowa team which played in the Rose Bowl.

*2 During at least part of the period when this design was in use, some players wore decals on the sides of their helmets; the decals were a black version of the same one shown on the 1972-1973 helmet design. These were apparently presented as "awards" of some sort, and 1968 is the only season from which I have seen any dated photographs of these special decals.

*3 Iowa removed all decals from its football helmets for the 1991 game at Ohio State, in recognition of the victims of a campus shooting; and again during the December 29, 1996 appearance in the Alamo Bowl vs Texas Tech, as a tribute to the family of one of the team's members, who were involved in a fatal traffic accident while en route to the game.

*4 This helmet design was worn during Iowa's first game of the 2004 season, a home game against Kent State, in recognition of the 75th anniversary of Kinnick Stadium, the team's home field. The design was again worn during Iowa's home game against Iowa State in 2012.

*5 Worn during the 2011 home game against Michigan. The "flag" logo was actually worn only on the right sides of the helmets, with the left sides remaining "blank".

*6 Worn during the 2012 home game against Purdue. The black hawkeye logo was worn on the left side of each helmet, while an "American flag" version of the logo was worn on the right sides (as shown below).

*7 From (I think) 1985 through 1992, Iowa Coach Hayden Fry had his players wear a small, circular yellow decal containing the letters "ANF" in black on their football helmets; the acronym stood for "America Needs Farmers" and was intended to draw attention to the economic plight experienced by many farmers in the American midwest at that time. I have seen only about three pictures of helmets with this decal, and on each of these, the decal is placed high up on the right side of the helmet, midway between the hawkeye decal and the central stripe. The "ANF" decal appears to have been about half the size of the hawkeye decal. Coach Fry also had his players wear a small American flag decal for a season or two around the time of the Persian Gulf War; in the two pictures that I have of these helmets, the flag is placed opposite the "ANF" decal on the left side of the helmet, and is roughly the same size as the "ANF". I have not attempted to represent these small features on the helmet images because they would be unrecognizable blobs when depicted at the appropriate size.

The "ANF" decals have been used again for all but one game during 2009-2011, but are much smaller than those used during the earlier period. They were not worn during the September 25, 2010 game vs Ball State, when Iowa wore a "throwback" helmet design.


1959 - 1968;
September 10, 2011;
January 3, 2012
1969 - 1974 October 1, 2011;
additional games 2011
*see note 1 below *see note 2 below
September 1, 2012 1975 -
*see note 3 below

Michigan has used some variation of what has come to be known as the "winged" or "Michigan" helmet design since 1938. During the era covered by this web site (1960 to present) I believe there have been only some minor changes to the shape of the "wings" and to the widths of the stripes, and perhaps some minor color changes. Very small players' uniform numerals were worn on the helmets through most of the 1960s.

An interesting history of the "Michigan helmet" design (which was actually first used at Princeton) can be found at the university's web site.

*1 This design was brought back for use during Michigan's home game against Notre Dame in 2011, and vs Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 2011 season.

*2 First worn vs Minnesota on October 1, 2011; this design was used for the remainder of the 2011 season with the exception of the Sugar Bowl game.

*3 Worn vs Alabama in a game played at Arlington, TX. The helmet numerals used during this game were of a different style and were slightly smaller than those used in 2011.


1960 - 1964 c.1965; c.1970 - 1972 c.1966 - 1968; c.1972
*see note 1 below *see note 1 below
1973 1974 - 1975 1976
1977 1978 - 1982 1983 - 1994
*see note 2 below
1983 - 1994 1995 - 2000 2001 - 2002
*see note 2 below
September 6, 2003 September 23, 2006 2003 - 2006
*see note 3 below *see note 4 below
2007 - 2009 October 15, 2011 2010 -
*see note 5 below

In 1969, Michigan State used a version of the "100" decal. Below is the clearest photograph that I have ever received of this helmet (and that was many years ago); it seems to indicate that the football-shape was dark blue, though green and black cannot be ruled out. The numerals apparently had red outlines around them. Is there a clearer photograph of a 1969 game-used Michigan State helmet somewhere?

*1 The helmet design without the white outline around the logo was used during at least part of the 1965 season, in addition to the 1967-1968 and 1970-1972 periods. The version with the white outline is visible in photographs dating from 1965, 1966, and 1972, so the chronology of these two designs seems to be rather complicated, and a game-by-game analysis would probably be necessary to identify precisely when each was used. Photographs from the 1970 to 1972 period strongly suggest an outline around the logo that appears darker than the helmet shell color itself, perhaps black or a darker shade of green.

*2 These two images represent the same helmet; the "S" was actually worn only on the right side of the helmet, but I've placed a technically incorrect image here to show what the "S" looked like. Also, small player's numerals (not shown here) were used at the front of the helmet, on either side of the central stripe. For the 1994 season only, narrow black stripes were added alongside the white stripe, with the white stripe being slightly narrower than during previous years.

*3 Michigan State used plain green helmets during the 2003 home game against Rutgers; these, along with a special uniform patch, were worn in recognition of the school's 1000th football game.

*4 A special helmet design was worn vs Notre Dame to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the November 19, 1966 "Game of the Century" between #1 ranked Notre Dame and #2 Michigan State, which ended in a 10-10 tie.

*5 Worn during the 2011 home game vs Michigan.


? - 1967; Oct. 21, 2006 1968 - 1971 1972 - 1975
*see note 1 below
1976 1977 - 1979? 1979 - 1985
1986 - 1991 1992 - 1995 1996
1997 - 1998? 1999? - 2006 2007
October 9, 2010;
October 16, 2010
2008 - 2011 2013 -
*see note 2 below
2012 -

*1 I think it is possible that maroon numerals and perhaps even dark blue numerals MAY have been used on helmet designs similar to this one at some time during the 1960s. During the October 21, 2006 home game against North Dakota State, Minnesota used this helmet design once again; the numerals were black on this occasion.

*2 Worn during games at Wisconsin and at Purdue during the 2010 season.


1957 - 1960 1961 - 1965;
September 26, 2009
*see note 1 below
January 2, 1967 -
1969 1970 - 1981
*see note 2 below *see note 3 below
September 29, 2012 September 14, 2013 January 1, 1982 -
*see note 4 below *see note 6 below *see note 5 below

The above are believed to be all of the different helmet designs used by Nebraska during the period covered by this site (1960 to present).

*1 This image most closely resembles the helmet design used in 1961. The 1962 - 1965 helmets were similar, but the numerals were worn considerably higher up on the sides of the helmet, perhaps less so in 1965 than in the previous three years.

This design will be brought back for the 2009 home game against Louisiana-Lafayette as the team commemorates its NCAA-record 300th consecutive home-game sellout - a streak which began in 1962, when this helmet design was in use by Nebraska.

*2 The "NU" logo was first used during Nebraska's appearance in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama at the end of the 1966 season. for the most part, the "NU" was replaced with just an "N" in 1970, but at least some players on the team were still using the "NU" as late as 1971.

*3 I have received a large, clear photograph confirming the color of the "100" decal on this helmet as being dark blue rather than red or black; the white numerals on the decal were apparently outlined in red.

*4 Worn during the 2012 home game against Wisconsin.

*5 Nebraska switched to red facemasks for the first time for its appearance in the 1982 Orange Bowl against Clemson.

*6 Worn during the 2013 home game against UCLA.


c.1960 - 1967 1968 - 1974 1975 - 1976
*see note 1 below
1977 (first game) 1977 1978
1979 1980 1981 - 1992?
1993 October 22, 2011 2011 -
*see note 3 below *see note 2 below
'D' 'F' 'B'
2012 - January 1, 2013 August 31, 2013
*see note 4 below *see note 5 below *see note 6 below
'E' 'A'
November 16, 2013 1994 -
*see note 7 below

In 2013 Northwestern has used the following sequence of the above helmet designs (through ten games): B-A-C; A-D-A; A-A-A; E.

In 2012 Northwestern used the sequence A-C-A; A-A-A; A-D-A; A-A-D; F (the last game being the Gator Bowl vs Mississippi State).

To the best of my knowledge this is the complete set of historical helmet designs for Northwestern for the period covered by this web site (1960 to present).

The "N" logo worn on Northwestern's helmets since 1981 featured a silver outline during some of its earlier years of use (c.1980s).

*1 There may have been some changes to the sizes and styles of the numerals used during this period.

*2 First worn September 10, 2011 (vs Eastern Illinois).

*3 Worn during the 2011 home game against Penn State.

*4 First worn August 31, 2013 (at California).

*5 Worn vs Mississippi State during the Gator Bowl at Jacksonville, FL at the end of the 2012 season.

*6 Worn during the 2013 game at California.

*7 Worn during the 2013 game vs Michigan.


1960 - 1964 1965 1966 - 1967
*see note 1 below *see note 1 below
November 21, 2009 November 27, 2010 October 29, 2011
*see note 2 below *see note 3 below *see note 4 below
1968 -

Ohio State's current helmet design has been used essentially unchanged since 1968, making it (until the team's recent use of alternate designs) one of the longest-running continously-used designs among the NCAA Division I-A colleges. There have been some minor changes to the relative widths of the stripes, however (in particular, the black stripes were somewhat wider prior to 1979 than they have been since then).

*1 The "red stripe" on these helmets actually consisted of some extra padding worn on the exterior of the helmet shell, making this a physical feature of the helmet rather than just an "artistic" one. Ohio State used this helmet style during at least the period 1960 through 1965, and possibly earlier, but it has been reported to me that from 1960 through 1963, the "padding only came halfway down the back of the helmet". The other colleges known to have apparently used this "padded" helmet design (all at about the same time as did Ohio State) are Ohio University, Fresno State, Duke, Harvard, Brigham Young, and Davidson.

*2 Worn during the 2009 game at Michigan.

*3 Worn during the 2010 game vs Michigan.

*4 Worn during the 2011 game vs Wisconsin.


1968 - 1974 1962? - 1966;
1975 - 1986
November 24, 2012
*see note 1 below
1987 -

Dated photographs that I have received indicate that Penn State used white helmets with players' numerals on the sides during at least two periods: 1961 (and possibly earlier), and again from 1967 to 1974. It appears that between these two periods (from 1962 through 1966) the helmets were plain white with a single blue stripe. I am not certain about these dates, however, so I would appreciate hearing from anyone who can confirm them.

While the numerals were of the "block" style shown here during the last few years when they were used, at least one other style was used earlier, and I do not necessarily know that the numerals were always blue (they may have been black instead during the early years). The two styles of numerals were used simultaneously during at least some games in 1967.

*1 During the 2012 home game vs Wisconsin the numerals "42" were worn on the left side of each Penn State helmet as a tribute to injured team member Michael Mauti (42 was Mauti's uniform numeral).


1962 - c.1968;
September 2, 2006
1969 1970
*see note 1 below
1971 - 1979? 1980 1981 - 1983
1984 - 1987 1989 - 1990 1988; 1991 - 1995
1996 January 1, 2001;
October 16, 2010
1997 - 2010
*see note 2 below
November 2, 2013 November 9, 2013 2011 -
*see note 3 below *see note 4 below

Purdue used black helmets during the very early 1960s; these featured a single light-colored stripe and players' numerals of some light color (I have only black-and-white photographs of these, so I do not know what colors were used; presumably either white, gold, or yellow).

*1 For the opening game of the 2006 season, a home game against Indiana State, Purdue wore special uniforms and helmets designed to resemble those worn by the 1966 Purdue team which defeated Southern California in the Rose Bowl, in recognition of the 40th anniversary of that team.

*2 A rose was added to the "P" decal for Purdue's appearance in the 2001 Rose Bowl game against Washington. This design will be brought back for use during the 2010 home game against Minnesota in recognition of the tenth anniversary of the 2001 Rose Bowl appearance by Purdue.

*3 Worn during the 2013 home game vs Ohio State.

*4 Worn during the 2013 home game vs Iowa.


1957 - 1966;
September 3, 2005
never used? 1967 - 1969
*see note 1 below *see note 2 below *see note 3 below
1970 - 1971 1972 - 1974 1975 - 1977
1988 - 1989 1978 - 1987; 1990 January 2, 2012
*see note 4 below
'B' 'C'
September 29, 2012 2013 - 2013 -
*see note 5 below *see note 6 below
1991 -

During the 2013 season Wisconsin has used three different helmet designs in the following sequence (through ten games): A-B-A; A-A-B; C-A-A; A.

A visitor to this web site has reported locating photographs from all but two of Wisconsin's football games during the period 1956 through 1970, allowing the dates of use for the various helmet designs to be clarified - I have updated the dates listed here to reflect this new information (thanks Jim). The second helmet design shown above was apparently never used by the Wisconsin varsity team, and this image will eventually be removed from this web site.

It was incorrectly repeated here previously that, during the 1969 season only, one Wisconsin player was presented the "Savage Award" after each game, which entitled him to wear a black helmet with the "Bucky Badger" logo for the rest of the season (reference: Actually, the "Savage Award" was first presented September 26, 1967, and subsequently awarded in 1968 and 1969, also. As a design used by less than half the football team, this helmet does not currently meet the criteria for depiction and inclusion at this web site (the reason being that there may be unknown huge numbers of such single-player or few-player designs, particularly from the 1960s).

*1 That is a "W" at the front of the helmet; a similar red "W" was present at the back of this helmet design. This design was resurrected for Wisconsin's first game of the 2005 season, a home game against Bowling Green.

*2 Site visitor Jim reports finding no photographs from the period 1967 through 1969 showing Wisconsin using white helmets; however, the Wisconsin Freshman team did occasionally use such helmets, and this may account for the erroneous claim repeated here (and elsewhere) previously that "Wisconsin used white helmets during some games 1967-1969".

*3 Photographs from all but two of Wisconsin's games during the three seasons 1967, 1968, and 1969 show the team using red helmets with the white "Bucky Badger" logo (with a few players wearing the previously-mentioned black helmets). The two games from which no photographs were located were September 21, 1968 (at Arizona State) and October 26, 1968 (vs. Northwestern). In all likelihood, the team used red helmets during both of these games.

*4 Worn vs Oregon during the Rose Bowl game at the end of the 2011 season. During this game the helmet logo was modified to have a "rose petal" design within it.

*5 Worn during the 2012 game at Nebraska.

*6 First worn during the 2013 home game vs Tennessee Tech.