Helmet numbers are here to stay

Submitted by Tagg on October 2nd, 2011 at 9:52 AM
At least for this years Big Ten season. I like them better than helmet stickers and but I prefer the helmets without but whatever. They really don't bother me I guess. It's near the bottom of the article which itself is worth a read. http://detnews.com/article/20111001/SPORTS0201/110010401



October 2nd, 2011 at 11:38 AM ^

What happens when the players say they like yellow pro-combat jerseys and blue wings on a yellow helmet?  You know some of them eventually will.

I'm sorry, Michigan stands for something.  Michigan is more than just today's teenage fashion trend.  That's what Maryland is for.  Becasue they don't really stand for anything. 



October 2nd, 2011 at 10:51 AM ^

It's to honor the former players who wore the numbers on their helmets--not just wore the numbers. The helmets used to have numbers on them. Hoke, as quoted in annarbor.com:

“We want to honor those guys who wore those numbers (on their helmets) before. The 42 championship teams. And the guys who have represented Michigan. That’s important to us.” 


October 2nd, 2011 at 10:40 AM ^

Hoke gets it.  Not only does he know and love the UM tradition, he's making great additions to it.  Here's hoping Hoke, establishes a Bo/Lloyd like legacy in A2.


October 2nd, 2011 at 10:51 AM ^

If RR did this, Ann Arbor torch and pitchfork would be sold out.  But eh, whatever, I think they're kind of cool.  And we just trucked a B1G team by 60 and have a top 5 recruiting class so I refuse to complain about anything M football related today.

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October 2nd, 2011 at 11:44 AM ^

Michigan's history with numbers on the sides of their helmets dates back only to 1959-68.  That is all.  Michigan didn't, as Hoke claims, win "42 Big Ten Championships with those helmets."

Brady Hoke was 10 years old when Michigan last had numbers on their helmets.  Rich Rodriguez would have been about 5 years old when Michigan last had numbers on their helmets.  It was a nine-year tradition, that was driven not by any Michigan tradition at the time, but was driven by the then-current fashion among other football teams.

I have wondered if there was a rule in the late 1950's that requred teams to put numbers on helmets; I have been unable to detemine whether such a rule existed, but it is true; as of the late fifties, every single team in the Big Ten Conference had put numbers on the sides of their helmets.  As shown here, by The Helmet Project:


(Click on "BIG TEN" in the left sidebar, then scroll down for each team's historical helmets.)

So it is almost impossible to argue that this is a return to any "Michigan tradition."  As far as I can tell, it was a late-fifties rule that Michigan was forced to comply with, for eight or nine years, along with everybody else in the conference.

I'm glad that somebody else besides me said it, but it needs to be said; given the outlandish kerfuffle over the Number 1 jersey, which never even got as far as an actual football game, there just can't be much dispute about the fact that if this same action (retaining numbers on the sides of helmets as part of our regular numbers after the UTL game) had come up during Rich Rodriguez's tenure, the arguments would have been layered with RR's alleged 'failure to understand Michigan traditions.'  Whereas with Hoke, the exact same scenario is used to promote his deep understanding of Michigan traditions.  It's all a bunch of baloney.


October 2nd, 2011 at 1:44 PM ^

The reason why RR came under such intense scrutiny is bc he switched to a drastically different system without his guys in place, and subsequent losing seasons, followed by the bastardization of our D and special teams. BC or this, with a small case of throwing players under the bus and passing the buck, he got all the scrutiny one could throw his way...If he put the numbers on the helmet, he probably would have gotten scrutiny. If he won, it wouldn't have came or would have blown over

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October 2nd, 2011 at 2:07 PM ^

You posit an interesting notion; that Rodriguez might only have gotten scrutiny on things like uniform issues, because of unhappy results on the field.

We know, from history, that that notion is wrong.

Before a Rodriguez team had hit the field (and assuredly in 2008 it was the catastrophic ThreetSheridan offense, NOT the defense, that got that year off to such a terrible start), and before there was ever a single "L" associated with Rodriguez, we had Braylongate and the kerfuffle over the Number 1 jersey.  It is a decidedly less-important affair than changing Michigan's iconic helmets for Conference play, but there you go; a perfect comparison of what was such a disaster in the press for Rodriguez, and what is so smoothed-over for Hoke.




October 2nd, 2011 at 12:51 PM ^

 RR abandoned one of Michigan's greatest traditions:  pitching shutouts on defense.  As Hoke, Mattison, and Borges have restored the respectability ON THE FIELD, they have earned some room in the OFF THE FIELD adjustment department. 

And don't represent the helmet numbers as something completely new.  Just because they only wore then for a decade, they are part of the Michigan tradition. 


October 2nd, 2011 at 11:10 AM ^

but dont you think that the two reasons you cite are valid reasons to be fine with the changes?  When we had a losing team with RR all the fans could hold on to were the past michigan traditions bulit by much more sucessful teams. Now that Hoke has turned the tide (i mean jersey sales are through the roof in ohio) this team can start its own traditions without the uproar that would have accompanied them under the rich rod. 

Not that its the best comparison but remember rich rod was 2-3 at this point in his first year as coach

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October 2nd, 2011 at 1:09 PM ^

I didn't start this thread.  And I didn't introduce "Rodriguez versus Tradition" into this thread.  I didn't even start the trashtalking aspect of that old argument; you did.  But if guys like you want to start it, I'll be happy to finish it.  At least insofar as it requires any clear-eyed recitation of history.

If, on the other hand, absolutely nothing matters apart from W's and L's (which is probably true for the vast majority of self-identified "Michigan fans"), then everything else is irrelevant.   And Hoke can say anything he'd like about Michigan tradition and it means nothing as long as he's winning.


October 2nd, 2011 at 11:10 AM ^

I'm indifferent to them honestly, but if the players and staff like it, that's excellent. Besides, all it  takes is for one point from Hoke, and the indifference may become sheer adulation. The point is just that magical.  


October 2nd, 2011 at 11:30 AM ^


Um, we were not very good the decade that Michigan wore numbers on the helmets.  We got good when Bo came in and removed the numbers.  

So here's an idea:  Since we are so keen on selective-memory throwbacks, let's honor those great Bo teams and take the numbers off the helmets.


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October 2nd, 2011 at 12:15 PM ^

Yes; as I indicated above, Michigan's "tradition" with numbers on helmets is mostly artifact and trivia, not any real tradition.  And not any sort of tradition, as you rightly point out, that is built on pure success.

But in 1964, Bump's best year, Michigan went 6-1 in conference, 9-1 overall, beat good MSU and OSU teams, and went to the Rose Bowl to put a 34-7 beating on Oregon State.

With numbers on their helmets:


October 2nd, 2011 at 12:42 PM ^

it's just a matter of personal preference.

The argument that they somehow "ruin" something that was previously perfect and never-changing betrays a highly-selective personal editing of actual fact and history. Or to put it differently, it's horseshit.

I'd like to see the stickers come back largely because I arrived at UM in '71 when Bo used them, but it would be idiotic to argue that not having them is somehow an affront to "tradition."