Hands down, the Arkansas Razorback football helmet is the coolest helmet in the SEC, maybe even in the galaxy. I have no proof of this, and I don’t need it. It is an absolute truth that everyone agrees upon. Like, that pizza is delicious, or that almost anything HBO makes is going to be good. I can’t vouch for the Razorback uniform from the neck down, especially now with those “tusk” things on the side, but the helmet is untouchable. No one else in the SEC can touch the simple white on red hog helmet.
Just take a look at the competition. Start with the ultra boring helmets sporting only a letter, a number, or a word or two; Mississippi State, Kentucky, Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss and Georgia. Nothing fierce or visually appealing about these. Lame.
But these are all winners when compared with the worst helmet in the SEC, the South Carolina Gamecocks helmet. That thing is just ugly. The Gamecocks Helmet has a big “C” on it, along with what I assume is a gamecock with its dukes up. That logo has just never looked right to me, I find it more confusing than anything. Add this in with the terrible maroon, black and white colors and it is just a train wreck.
Past these, the competition gets a little better. LSU’s helmet design has a tiger head on it. Not bad. But then it’s ruined by the LSU colors. Then you take a look at Vanderbilt and their helmet, and I think you have the SEC’s second best helmet. There is something about the star with the “V” in the middle, complemented by the gold and black colors. I think it’s pretty cool looking.
But even Vandy comes up short compared to Arkansas. Even if we don’t win a game this year, you can hold your head up high and be confident that from the neck up, at least we looked good losing.
This perfection of helmetation was not realized on the first design. Take a look at a couple examples below illustrating the helmelution of the Arkansas Razorback helmet (via the most excellent Hog Database).
The Razorbacks wore this helmet from 1946-1950 (after the switch from leather). I am super glad the helmets aren’t white with a cardinal strip down the middle anymore. White Arkansas helmets would be super weird. It is still crazy to see football helmets without facemasks. All I can imagine is everyone breaking their face every game they played.
Then there was the helmet that came in the 1955 season. Although the color was changed from white to red in 1952, the facemask wasn’t added until a couple of years later. The Razorbacks wore a plain red helmet with a one-bar mask until the end of the 1957 season.
In 1958, Frank Broyles came in and added numbers to the helmet. Looks like a total rip-off of the Alabama helmet. They wore this helmet from 58′-63′, and I am glad that was it, we needed something to differentiate ourselves.
That something came in 1964 when somebody got smart and put a Razorback decal on the helmet. Arkansas went from a helmet that was a clone of Alabama’s boring look to something totally unique, at least to us. The style of the helmet has pretty much stayed the same since, with the only major difference being improvements to the logo/decal throughout the course of the next 40 or so years.
Finally there is the current helmet that originated in 2002. It’s badicool, duh.
So there you go. Thanks to the fine folks who run the Hog Database , there is an excellent timeline of how Arkansas came to rule football helmet fashion. Now, let’s do something about those tusks.
Trip Jones is a guest contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. He is a graduate student in the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. For more of Trip’s contributions, visit his author page.