Ranking the Oregon Ducks’ Top 5 Helmets
Oregon has more helmets than most teams have uniform combinations. We rank the Ducks’ top five currently in rotation (with large thanks to The Helmet Project).
2007 was when Oregon’s wave of new lids really started. There was the white “Stormtrooper” model, and then this Camaro paint job-ish effort. The "flame" helmet, minus a logo on the side, was initially used for the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl and was widely panned.
What was once deemed an outrageous look is now quite tame by Oregon standards. We’re so used to the omnipresent yellow “O” on the helmets that it’s nice to see it revert to the green it used to be. And the yellow lid isn’t overpoweringly bright, which helps show off the backward-moving flames.
These first emerged during the 2007 Civil War against Oregon State. Including that game, they’ve been worn three times, during which the Ducks’ record is only 1–2. That might explain why we haven’t seen it more often.
How much of a statement did Oregon’s Rose Bowl uniforms and "liquid metal" helmets make among college football fans? Our story from last Dec. 27 on the ensemble has garnered over 400 comments and counting.
The shiny, all-black lid was part of that. Bringing to mind Darth Vader (perhaps as a way of intimidating the Ducks’ Midwestern opponents), the traditional block “O” was moved to the back of the helmet and replaced on the side with giant chrome duck feathers.
Did the Vader helmet actually make the Ducks faster? If you asked any of the Wisconsin defenders that tried to catch De’Anthony Thomas that day, they'd probably say yes.
While the Ducks won the game, 45-38, the real winners last January were these shiny chrome helmets that had everyone talking.
Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/US Presswire
Every Oregon helmet since 1999 has be designed to look sleek and modern. So when the Ducks trotted out the old-school model against Cal in 2009, the retro effect really hit home.
Never mind that it had only been 10 years since it was worn and then replaced. Something about seeing that bright yellow base and the cutesy, interlocking “UO” had people rosily recalling the days of the 1995 Rose Bowl team.
We know the Ducks are never going back to their old uniforms and helmets on a permanent basis. But the flashback to simpler times - especially when we are talking about Oregon uniforms - can be refreshing from time to time.
Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson/US Presswire
Leave it to Oregon to pull a fast one on us. Despite unveiling two new variations of the liquid metal helmet — one gray, one green — in August, the Ducks took the field last Saturday against Arkansas State wearing an entirely different variety.
Playing on people’s sentiments (outlined in No. 3), the yellow liquid metal helmets have the same pre-1999, yellow-dominant color scheme. This allows the giant chrome duck wings to stand out even more than before.
It’s also part of a great alternating, green-yellow color scheme that includes the socks (green), pants (bright yellow), jerseys (green) and helmet. Falcons WR Roddy White put it best: “just nasty ridiculous swaggggg.”
Photo Credit: Scott Olmost/US Presswire
When the Ducks ran out onto the field for their 2011 season opener against LSU in Dallas, it was love at first sight for us. The entire neon-on-black ensemble was gorgeous under the lights at Cowboys Stadium, especially the matte black helmet and the neon “O” lid that was ahead of not one, but two trends.
Unfortunately, the Ducks looked a lot better than they played. Oregon was throttled by LSU, 40-27. We have yet to see the look again but we can only hope it wasn’t a one-time deal. Since that game, matte helmets and neon green have taken off in college sports uniforms while these unis have remained in the closet.
There are bad memories attached to these threads and helmets but they are just too beautiful not to use again.
Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons/US Presswire