Auburn helmets through the years – Jahanagahi

Auburn helmets through the years

The helmet of a football uniform is arguably its most important part.

The iconography of a team’s football helmet is often the most representative of its uniform — ESPN’s College Gameday always presents the helmets of the two competing teams at the forefront of its set, for example, and each player uses different styles, brands and facemasks to make it one of the only parts of the uniform they can make their own.

While many may think the Auburn Tigers have had the same helmet across its entire tenure, that isn’t exactly true. Auburn has done a few different things with its helmet since the team first started wearing them, and it has also made use of some fun throwback helmets and meaningful symbolism. Fans have seen a few different changes to the tried-and-true variant over the years.

Here’s a guide to Auburn’s football helmet and just how it has evolved to the present day:

1930-1946: Leather Helmets

(AP Photo)

When helmets were first introduced, they were made of leather — not a lot of room for creativity between teams. Auburn wore these leather helmets from 1930 to 1946, and then transitioned into the facemask-less hard helmets from 1946 to 1952. These leather helmets weren’t nearly as safe as the hard helmets that would come after, and the lack of a facemask opened up a possibility for all sorts of facial injuries.

1958-1965: Numbered Helmets

(AP Photo)

You didn’t think that other Alabama team in Tuscaloosa were the only team to wear their numbers on their helmets, did you?

Those numbers you’re seeing on the helmets of the two Auburn players in this image above — taken at the Orange Bowl in Miami in 1964 — were an addition to a similar helmet the Tigers wore from 1953 to 1957 that did not have the numbers on the side. The Tigers rocked this look until 1965, where they entered their first stable design period with a look that is likely familiar to Auburn fans.

1966-1978: The Prototype

Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This was the first helmet to look the most like the one Auburn fans have come to know and love over the years. The shell of the helmet, with the big orange stripe two smaller navy stripes and the Auburn “AU” logo, will remain a staple for the rest of the team’s existence to this day, but this one that the Tigers wore for 12 years had a white facemask — an element that wouldn’t return until much later.

1979-1983: The Orange Facemask

Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

After wearing a white facemask for some time, Auburn changed it up and donned an orange facemask for four years. During this time, multi-sport phenom Bo Jackson ran rampant on the NCAA as an Auburn Tiger, so fans may recognize this look from his extensively long highlight reel.

1981: The Black Stripes

Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

For a single game in 1981, the Iron Bowl played in Tuscaloosa, the Tigers wore a black stripe above their logo to honor players Alan Manley and Cary Condray. Manley and Condray were killed in a car accident 11 days before the game was played, and the Tigers put two stripes — one above the logo on each side of the helmet — in their memory. Alabama defeated the Tigers 28-17.

1984-2014: The Classic

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This helmet lasted 30 years, and for good reason — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

This helmet, with the navy blue facemask, was Auburn’s go-to for a large portion of its recent history. It’s perhaps most well known for being the helmet that the Tigers wore when they became national champions in 2010 under Cam Newton, whose Heisman campaign made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.

Helmets after this one only showed minor adjustments, but there have been a few one-offs within the era that are worth noting.

2007: The Throwbacks

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

For their game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at home in 2007, the Tigers wore their helmet without a logo on either side — a throwback to the team’s 1965-1957 look. Auburn easily handled the Commodores, defeating them 35-7.

2015-Present: Metallic Orange Stripe

Sam Upshaw-The Courier-Journal via USA TODAY Sports

Auburn introduced a glowing orange stripe in 2015 that would remain on the team’s helmet until the present day. What would not stay, though, is the titanium facemask introduced at the same time — this was axed after the 2015 season and Auburn’s current helmet includes the glowing stripe and a more traditional navy blue facemask.

2019: Outback Bowl

Auburn returned to a look similar to its 60s helmet with a number on one side, though the traditional logo remained on the other. The number was the number seven on all helmets, however, as Auburn Heisman winning quarterback Pat Sullivan had died in 2019 and his number was included on the Auburn helmet in his memory of him.

2021: Return of the Orange

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn briefly returned to the early 80s look in 2021 during its games against Ole Miss and Alabama, sporting a metallic orange facemask. The Tigers defeated Ole Miss 31-20, but were beaten by the rival Crimson Tide 24-22 in overtime.

2021: Whiteout

Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps in response to Penn State’s famed traditions, the Tigers brought back the white facemask they wore from 1966 to 1978 against the Nittany Lions. Unfortunately, Auburn lost that game 28-20, but the white facemask in conjunction with the all-white away uniform was certainly a clean look.



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