Dave Brandon Discusses the Winged Helmet

Submitted by MGoShoe on June 5th, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Dave Brandon covers the iconic status of Michigan's winged helmet in his latest blog entry at MGoBlue.com.

As a kid being recruited by several universities, I remember seeing the maize wings and thinking it was the neatest football helmet in the world. I am not saying the helmet was the reason I came to Michigan, but I would say it piqued my interest in our school at a very young age. In fact, many of our football players and others alike believe the "winged helmet" plays an important role in our recruiting efforts.

Many college football programs would love to figure out a way to knock us out of our No. 1 ranking in the "battle of the best helmet competition." Some programs are even changing their helmet color/design during the season to create more interest and attention.

While the "helmet wars" are fun to talk about, the serious point is Michigan should never change from the winged helmet. This design is classic. It is representative of the winningest team in college football -- and when one is coming at you on the football field you know you are about to get hit harder than most other teams you will play. That is what Michigan -- and our special helmet -- is all about!

While we strive for growth and sometimes change will come with it, the classic "block M" and our winged football helmet represent our tradition and history -- simple and strong. These iconic symbols should remain for decades to come.

Feel better now? Wait, he didn't cover uniform color and design?



June 5th, 2011 at 1:39 PM ^

Brandon has little credibility with me.  How he handled the coaching search left a bad taste in my mouth.  Clearly he talked to Harbaugh and then he stood there and acted like an angry little child when reporters asked him if he did.  He seems to be at the point where he thinks he can lie to the fanbase and get away with it.

I'm all but resigned to a maize colored jersey with an Arby's logo on it.  I really should go stock up on good Michigan gear before he manages to mess it all up.  


June 5th, 2011 at 1:44 PM ^

I think he has done a great job as he got a coach who has done everything right, and has led succesful campaigns for new screens for the Big house, overseeing a new emphasis on the BBall program, our first night game, etc. All things that the fan base sees as positive.

Though, I agree...we will CLEARLY have maize colored jerseys with an Arby's logo on it, right over the helmets he loves just to piss everyone off. Should be fun to watch


June 5th, 2011 at 1:54 PM ^

People are entitled to like Hoke and not necessarily like Brandon. A lot of people were ecstatic with Rich when he first came here but couldn't overlook the things Martin did before that just because they liked the end result.

Brandon really was a prick during the coaching search. The man flew around in big, gaudy Michigan planes and had the gall to tell us he was trying to be covert. And the placating stuff with Miles was just insulting, especially for a guy who said he intended to put a stop to the factions.



June 5th, 2011 at 3:07 PM ^

Or...people could say that the general public absolutely knew nothing about the coaching search, so much that we watched dominoes planes to see if we could understand anything about the search. That is pretty covert. I also don't see a problem with him interviewing miles to make sure he had his candidate in Hoke. overall, lets not act like he fucked up when most of the time, we (the fan base) absolutely knew nothing about what was going on and what indeed transpire.


June 5th, 2011 at 4:09 PM ^

And the placating stuff with Miles was just insulting, especially for a guy who said he intended to put a stop to the factions.

Are you suggesting that the fanbase is still badly factionalized? I don't think it is. I didn't like "the process" at the time, but looking back on it, I think it was pretty well-managed. Brandon threw a bone to every faction: RR's (by giving him one more chance to show what he could do, coaching a healthy team in the bowl), Harbaugh's (by pursuing him, as far as we can tell), Miles's (by at least meeting him in person) and Hoke's. In doing so, he gave Hoke more credibility with the fanbase than he would have had if he'd been hired in December.  And Hoke now seems generally accepted, at least for now.


June 6th, 2011 at 8:43 AM ^

...matter to people who want to bitch about "The Process". Never mind that the reports of Brandon flying into Baton Rouge on the winged helmet private jet were false. It fits the narrative that Brandon's travel during the HC search was designed to throw up a smokescreen of interest in anyone not Hoke.


June 5th, 2011 at 12:24 PM ^

has changed very slightlyover the years.  The wings and stripes are pretty much the same design, but the color, thickness and width and angles have all shifted slightly back and forth. You have to look carefully to see the difference.  The type of helmet and helmet surface too has affected how the wings and stripes appear to the eye.

Personally I prefer the Michigan helmet design from 1977 to 1980. The wings were bigger and the helmet stripes didn't go all the way back to the neck edge of the helmet.  This was a classic look because if you see Tom Harmon's helmet the stripes stopped short of the neck edge.

See Curt Greer (95) and John Anderson (86) helmets at bottom of this photo.

Also, page down for center Walt Downing's helmet (72) from 1977 shows this difference more precisely.

Now look at a 2010 Michigan helmet:





June 5th, 2011 at 2:41 PM ^

My first several years as a fan were in the sticker era, but I was never a huge fan of them.  I thought they made the design too cluttered, and I always liked photos taken at the beginning of the season, before players had earned them.  I was happy when Carr dropped them.  That said, I'm surprised how worked up people are about them.  It's just a sticker, and the "cluttering" only takes place in the second half of the season, for guys in the starting lineup.


June 5th, 2011 at 5:38 PM ^

No not always, but you can make approximations based on demographics, and from what I've seen, that's where people are usually split. I've just noticed that people who grew up with Bo tend to like them and people who grew up with Carr tend to like the helmets plain. Of course there are going to be people who disagree, it's probably like 65-35 on either side of the coin, if not closer to 50-50.


June 5th, 2011 at 5:50 PM ^

I think our helmets are really good looking, and that stickers just sort of get in the way of it. They make it look more like a kid's lunchbox or something. (assuming anyone still has a lunchbox or puts stickers on it) If a hlemet is fundamentally unattractive, like OSU's sparkly dunebuggy silver affairs, you might as well cover it with stickers so it is less visible.

Ed Shuttlesworth

June 5th, 2011 at 5:28 PM ^

Basketball and hockey have been mixing and matching maize, blue, and white for 35 years.  Football wore white pants on the road in the mid-70s.  

As long as they don't let things spin out of control, as Oregon has done, I have no issues with it.


June 5th, 2011 at 11:49 PM ^

Chris brown came just for the hockey helmet. I would love to own one that I respectfully earned... Unfortunately that's not going to happen so I'll just stickk to my mini version


June 5th, 2011 at 11:49 PM ^

Chris brown came just for the hockey helmet. I would love to own one that I respectfully earned... Unfortunately that's not going to happen so I'll just stickk to my mini version