The Bowling Green Falcons have added a new military appreciation helmet design for the 2016 season. It will be worn for their home opener against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks on Sept. 10, and the move continues BGSU's recent efforts to honor the military.
This year's helmet features an orange shell and brown facemask. The side logos incorporates an orange and brown falcon head with a camo pattern, as well as the letters "BG" rendered in a stars-and-stripes pattern.
However, the solid brown center stripe is the true jewel of this helmet and is home to the most unique part of this design. Printed on the center stripe in orange are the names of 111 Bowling Green State University students who have perished in the line of duty. There will be 12 different stripes with different names on each.
The helmets will be worn with the team's regular uniforms.
According to the university press release, BGSU worked with David Ridenour of the BGSU Army ROTC Alumni Society to identify the 111 students. Ridenour is a Vietnam veteran and BGSU alumnus.
BGSU has worn patriotic-themed helmets several times in recent years. Last season, they paired a white helmet and facemask with flag-patterned side logos and center stripes. They also wore flag-patterned logos during their appearance in the 2012 Military Bowl against the San Jose State Spartans.
In addition, the Falcons have installed permanent POW/MIA Chairs of Honor in Doyt Perry Stadium, the BGSU Ice Arena and the Stroh Center. The dedication of the chair at Perry Stadium occurred during the Sept. 6, 2014 football game against the Virginia Military Institute.
This seems to be a very positive step in the evolution of this particular trend in football uniforms. I know there's a lot of heated debate about military- and patriotic-themed gear, but I typically fall on the "no" side. Usually, the efforts are over-the-top and garish, and it often comes off as little more than a marketing ploy. Generally, it seems like a much more honorable gesture to do something charitable for military and veteran organizations.
However, this military-themed helmet hits all the right notes. While it uses both camo and stars-and-stripes patterns, the amount is subdued in favor of school colors. Further, the unique element that ties the helmet to actual BGSU students who have given the ultimate sacrifice is a wonderful touch that gives actual purpose to the effort.
Of course, I'm just one person. What do you say? Let us know what you think about this new gear in the comments below.