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Put a Helmet on That Soldier

The best team helmets from the 2017 MAC Media Day

So most of the news at MAC Media Day can be pretty boring, right? We’re so hungry for some #MACtion that we actually look forward to these things.

For the most part, all 12 twelve coaches and their respective players will give nice, concise, sound bites centered around how optimistic they are for the coming season, and how they hope to play for a championship.

Of course only two will actually make it to Detroit and Ford Field for the MAC Championship Game in early-December, so somebody, namely 10 other schools, will be disappointed.

So as I attended MAC Media Day this afternoon, I decided to focus on the spectacle rather than the so-called substance. The event was held for the first time at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Quite an ominous backdrop for the event. It was held here instead of its regular spot at Ford Field because of current construction ongoing at that facility. This event will return to Ford Field in 2018.

At the event, each MAC member school had a reserved table for their coaches, players and athletic administration to sit. Each school had a team helmet sitting proudly atop their individual table. This helmet represented the brand of each institutional team. The schools pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, to carefully craft this uniquely branded item. After all, millions will be watching this fall on TV.

As I walked from table to table, I couldn't help but evaluate and compare each team’s design. You can ignore the so-called “official” preseason rankings, because its better to look good than to play good.

So here is my ranking of the team football helmets on display at MAC Media Day. Remember, this is only my opinion and you are welcome to add yours in the comment section.

#1 Northern Illinois Huskies

Matte black finish is very unique here. I wonder if hard hits leave a matte finish mark? The logos on either side aren’t special but the uniqueness of the finish make this one standout among all others here. The different logos on each side is also unique.

#2 Eastern Michigan Eagles

Great example of carrying a theme through. The metal texture appearance in the oversized block “E” carries the “foundry” or “factory” mantra that Eastern Michigan is trying to cultivate. Now if only play on the field could match the quality of the helmets for the Eagles. But its a start.

#3 Kent State Golden Flashes

Here is another school that looks better than it has played in recent years. The oversized Golden Flash behind the block “K” makes this a striking helmet. The fact that some of the logo is cut off only adds to its appeal.

#4 Ohio Bobcats

Simple, clean and classic. The Bobcats have always done a nice job of keeping the uniforms of all their sports teams very traditional yet always contemporary. They’ve resisted using the Bobcat on the helmet and go just with OHIO. Does the Bobcat really scare anybody anyway?

#5 Bowling Green Falcons

The Falcons regular helmet isn’t anything special. You probably have to be a Falcon fan or a Cleveland Browns fan to warm up to the color scheme. But what puts BG high on this list is the alternate Military Appreciation helmet. On the middle stripe, it has the names of all 111 BG students who died serving our country. It was recently chosen the number one patriotic helmet in the country. Lets all salute BGSU on this one.

#6 Miami Redhawks

Another helmet where less is more. The classic block red “M” is all that’s needed to let you know Miami of Ohio is in the house. They could have forced the Redhawk image or played around with feathers, but the kept it clean. Big Ben would approve.

#7 Ball State Cardinals

Another school that used the oversized logo approach. The huge Cardinal makes an otherwise meek mascot look menacing. But where the helmet jumps the shark for me is the other side of the helmet which has BALL STATE in a generic-looking block lettering font. Now if the cameras only get them from the one side, they can win some games.

#8 Western Michigan Broncos

No MAC school has tried harder in recent years to use cool gear as a recruiting tool. I blame P.J. Fleck for this. But this helmet just doesn’t excite me. The Bronco logo is too abstract and its hard to make out what it is from a distance and on TV. Plus, the brown is so dark it appears to be a black and white design. Leave this in the boat!

#9 Buffalo Bulls

Not a bad effort by Buffalo. I like the way the blue pops on the helmet. It seems to have dimension even though its obviously flat. I also like that they went away from the “UB” font logo which was boring. My problem with it is that the logo is not pronounced enough. From a distance it just looks like a blue blob.

#10 Akron Zips

Akron has always had a problem because of their mascot....a ZIP. What is a ZIP and what does a kangaroo have to do with anything? They’ve gone with the “Z” in motion logo here versus the peek-a-roo logo they occasionally roll out. That’s a good thing. But still pretty uninspiring.

#11 Toledo Rockets

I never cared for the two-tone fade look on things. The Rockets should have learned that lesson from the Jacksonville Jaguars. The rocket looks like something Kim Jong-un has recently launched. So the unanimous MAC favorites this year has one of the worst helmets. Could that hold them back?

#12 Central Michigan Chippewas

Look up boring in the dictionary and there is a picture of this helmet right next to a picture of Bob Newhart. I am all for throw backs but when was the last time this design was updated? I am pretty sure Gary Hogeboom wore this same helmet in the 70’s. This is why Antonio Brown tricked out his Bentley after he left Central Michigan. I know color scheme is a challenge but time to change it up Chips.