Dear Doc,

Are Michigan and Delaware's helmets exactly the same, or do they have different color variation's, and who started using the design first? Thanks!

John Detroit MI

Dear John:
The Michigan helmets are painted by equipment reconditioner Capital Varsity. They use maize yellow and a custom blended shade of navy blue which is slightly darker than standard navy. Each Michigan wing pattern is hand taped by painter Russ Hawkins who as a fifty (50) year employee of Capital belongs in the reconditioner' S Hall of Fame. If you look close at a game worn Michigan Helmet you may notice that there is a character enhancing slight variation to each wing pattern due to Russ' craftsmanship. The Delaware helmets are painted by reconditioner Riddell All American using a standardized wing template. Delaware uses a shade of blue that is lighter than regular navy and a dark yellow wing. The history of the famous wing design suggests that Delaware adopted the wing design because of their coach's ties to Michigan but they retained their previously existing team color shades of lighter navy blue and dark yellow.

Commonly known as the "Michigan helmet", the Blue and Gold headgear dates not to Ann Arbor but to Princeton in the early 1930's. During football games at that time, both schools generally wore the same colored uniforms along with leather helmets. Princeton was coached by Fritz Crisler who used a helmet with a wing pattern on it that was manufactured by the MacGregor-Goldsmith Co. To enable his quarterback to distinguish downfield receivers, Crisler had the leather dyed in Princeton's black and orange colors. When Crisler moved to Michigan in 1938, he used the same helmet but changed the color scheme to Michigan's Maize and Blue. Crisler had on his team a young man named Dave Nelson who used the same helmet when he became coach at Hillsdale College in Michigan, changing the color pattern to Blue and White. Nelson then brought the helmet with him to Harvard (in black and crimson) and later to Maine (in blue and white) in 1949.
Nelson arrived at Delaware in 1951 and once again with him came the helmet to which he adapted the existing Delaware blue and gold colors. Fellow Michigan graduate Tubby Raymond succeeded Nelson as head coach at Delaware in 1966 and continues today to use the same helmet design.


Hi Doc. I was wondering were all dungard face masks made for adult full size helmets, or did they also make smaller sized masks for youth helmets thank you.


Dear Anthony:

Ah yes, another excellent Dungard question. The company made their line of masks in only one size and did not differentiate between adult and youth sizes. They did offer accessories such as chinstraps and arm pads in both adult and youth sizes. Another little known fact regarding the Dungard mask -- each different style of their aluminum mask was also offered in steel at a slightly lower cost.

Dear doc,

You have letters explaining everything except how do we know what to pay for a helmet find. is there a pricing guide? I have an opportunity to purchase a leather Macgregor helmet, but need to know what I should be looking for as a deal and what I might possibly re-sell it for.... any suggestions?

Dear Sir:
Our first piece of advice is not to base the purchase price of a helmet on how much you can sell it for. We hope that you would be motivated to acquire a specific helmet because of your sincere appreciation and desire for it and that it is also affordable in relation to your personnel budget (unless you can hide it from the wife or significant other). Refer to the "Sports Collector Digest," a weekly publication, as a good source for finding prices for various helmets in their advertising and classified sections. Sports Collector Digest also publishes a comprehensive listing of upcoming sports collectable trade shows at which helmets are usually found for sale. Another suggestion is to monitor bidding activity from current and prior sports auctions conducted by auction houses such as Grey Flannel, American Memorabilia, Lelands and Mastro. Be careful not to establish the value of a helmet based on over inflated auction prices that sometimes occur due to irrational or emotional bidding wars between two parties.


Dear Doctor:
I think an interesting feature of college helmets is the award decals used by some teams. I always thought it would be neat if some NFL teams adopted the idea. How does Helmet Hut feel about award decals? Do they enhance the appearance of a design or detract from it? Have any NFL teams ever used them?

Michael Wall
Cleveland TN

Dear Michael:

We feel that done correctly helmet award decals adds character to a helmet and provide most players an extra incentive for personal achievement. Teams should be careful not to lessen the value of the award by establishing criteria that is too easily attainable. Some helmets look hideous with excessive award decals that rewarded for such achievements as "getting to practice on time" or "having a good attitude." The reality of the situation is that award decals can and do work at the non professional levels but would create a Pandora's box situation in the pro ranks. Can you imagine adding award decals, which can be subjective in nature, to the ever expanding list of criteria that players and management base their salary negotiation positions on? Based on the financial impact it might have to his future contract a player might feel compelled to file a grievance with the league each time he feels his coach has unfairly failed to award him for a specific achievement. There could also be speculation that a particular player is being unfairly denied subjective based award decals by upper management in their attempt to influence future salary expectations. The NFL prohibits award decals on helmets.