MVictors Uncovers a Winged Helmet Paint Change

Submitted by MGoShoe on August 9th, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Greg Dooley recently visited Capitol Varsity Sports in Oxford, OH to learn more about the process for reconditioning Michigan's famed winged helmets. His post on the visit is well worth your time. 

Greg followed up that post with one today that reveals that Michigan began including gold flakes into the maize paint in 2012 and this year's helmets continue the practice. 

Before checking with #1000SSS, I asked around and couldn’t find anyone aware of the change or a release talking about the flakes.*   I checked out some close-ups of photos and didn’t really notice anything.  Sap found one U-M collector, Dan Oles, who got his hands on a 2012 helmet that indeed had the flakes.  Oles wrote to Sap, “I contacted a few players via twitter asking if the regular season helmets had maize glitter paint. They all confirmed that they did.”  Oles even shot a note to Jon Falk who confirmed the change.

Fast forward to today.  I verified with media relations & with Falk that indeed the team had the bedazzled headgear in 2012.  The change to the paint was announced as part of the Cowboy Classic uniform reveal…but the news release didn’t call out the gold flakes:

"Michigan will be utilizing a new paint technology on the maize wings on the helmet in order to better highlight the most recognizable helmet in college football and create a more durable surface."

Those highlights included the shiny flecks.  (My understanding is it’s not real gold a la Notre Dame).  I also confirmed they’ve got the same look on the helmets this year as well.

Here's a close up of a 2013 helmet that Greg took at yesterday's practice.

What's your verdict?




August 9th, 2013 at 2:33 PM ^

I can live with that.  It appears that you have to be very close to the helmet to notice the flakes, which seem to be very small...I am inclined to neither grab a pitchfork nor stand on a rock like a triumphant wolverine.

oriental andrew

August 9th, 2013 at 2:46 PM ^

This is so true.  If they ever pulled a notre dame and totally bedazzled the helmet, I'd throw a fit.  As it is, it was not noticeable to anyone and probably had the net effect of possibly making the helmets stand out ever so slightly more under the lights or on TV, but not difference otherwise.  

Verdict: Whatever.


August 9th, 2013 at 3:15 PM ^


All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.



August 9th, 2013 at 6:50 PM ^

Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, act II, scene vii.

"All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:"

Thomas Gray's poem "Ode on a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes"

"Not all that tempts your wandering eyes
And heedless hearts is lawful prize,
Nor all that glisters gold!"


Blue Durham

August 9th, 2013 at 2:35 PM ^

I guess I don't understand.

I asked around and couldn’t find anyone aware of the change or a release talking about the flakes.* I checked out some close-ups of photos and didn’t really notice anything.

If no one was aware of the change (I certainly never noticed this change) a full year after it was implemented, why would they take the trouble and expense and continue to do it?


August 9th, 2013 at 4:03 PM ^

My guess is it's very similar to the very slight, almost not-noticable changes in the Football Jersey's colors over the last 50 years or so. TV (and then HDTV) really changed how most fans watch the game. Nostalgia, time, and technology have definitely changed the on field blue and maize. In my mind this is a similar minor tweak - done to look better on camera as the base color. This is not the "ooh look!" of the matte helmets, the basketball full-Maize jerseys, or the other Uniformz stuff we've seen in the past.

I didn't notice, and I don't mind the minor tweaks year to year. Now if they could just get all the blues and all the maizes to be the same color, that'd help my OCD.  

Blue Durham

August 9th, 2013 at 5:35 PM ^

I think that this is a very good guess and insightful.

I suspect that the little bit of glitter makes the yellow on the helmet appear a little brighter and "jump's out" on the TV screen, without really changing the color or appearance in person.


August 9th, 2013 at 2:41 PM ^

I don't care about the gold flakes if you have to be that close to the helmet to even tell the difference.

I feel bad for people who are genuinely upset about this.


August 9th, 2013 at 2:45 PM ^

I am usually open to uniform tweaks, but this one does not strike my fancy. 1) No one ever would have noticed if not for this closeup shot and investigation, and 2) Glitter does not improve the greatest helmet in all of sports. Why bother with it when it's an unnoticeable addition at best?


August 9th, 2013 at 2:48 PM ^

his story on Capitol Varsity Sports was great. Regarding the addition of the flakes,my first reaction is that I don't understand why they would add them, and that I don't care for them.


August 9th, 2013 at 2:51 PM ^

Once the season begins and hits start coming, don't even bother paying attention looking for gold flakes, there will be paint transfer from other helmets on that helmet anyway. I like it, not terrible- it's providing some modern-ism in tradition.


August 9th, 2013 at 2:54 PM ^

Saw the "authentic" helmets at M-Den on State last week.  They had sparkly maize paint, and I thought they looked cheap and very un-authentic.  Who knew?


August 9th, 2013 at 2:58 PM ^

I don't really like how it looks up close, but since I didn't notice the helmets look any worse in 2012 compared to the few years before 2012 I suppose it's fine.


August 9th, 2013 at 6:02 PM ^

Yes, I am sure potential recruits read this board and base their decisions on what you say!

Since this isn't noticable except under circumstances that probably only the equipment manager understands, I don't get the heat it generates.  The lack of light is understandable - none of us understands what the real purpose is. I doubt the purpose is to allow MGoBoarders to brag to "Leonard" about "sparkles," though.


August 9th, 2013 at 3:14 PM ^

If they beat ND, MSU, and Ohio, I'm fine with them putting giant unicorns on the side of the helmet. Kind of like Boise State did a couple years ago, but pink and sparkly.