Why Do College Football Helmets Have Stickers?

If you watch college football on Saturdays you’ve likely why college football helmets have stickers. The trouble is most fans don’t know the answer to this question.

Primarily college football helmets have stickers for player accomplishments, commemorations for influential figures that have passed or for social causes.

Generally speaking, when you see a helmet loaded with stickers this is going to be due to the player’s accomplishments. While commemorations and social causes are usually going to be a single logo sticker.

Player Accomplishments

One of the most common reasons for stickers on college football helmets is for player accomplishments. Throughout the NCAA there are tons of teams that use helmet stickers as a way to mark down positive accolades.

In most cases, these stickers are going to be related to the team Mascott or logo.

Some popular examples include Ohio State which has Buckeye leaves on their helmets or Florida State which uses Tomahawks for their helmet.

In most cases, these stickers are given out to players based on their performance in a game or practice. Most teams have a set list of accolades that will earn you a helmet sticker.

For example, if the Buckeyes defense manages five or more three and outs in a single game each member of the defense will earn a sticker.

Some programs elect to give out these stickers based on performance in practice. On these teams, the stickers are usually given out based on the coach’s discretion rather than a predetermined statistic.

The origin of earning a sticker on your college football helmet came from Miami of Ohio University. At this school, a former WW2 fighter pilot recalled the tradition of putting a sticker of the enemy’s flag each time they took down a plane.

The coach liked the idea and began the tradition of placing stickers and decals on the player’s helmets each year. Miami of Ohio no longer participates in this tradition but it has now become popular all across the country.

Stickers For Commemoration

Another common reason that you may notice stickers on college football helmets is when commemorating someone who has passed.

It is not uncommon for the football community to come together and mourn someone when they pass.

On some occasions, entire leagues or conferences will wear a sticker on their helmet commemorating someone.

And on other occasions, a single team will wear the sticker when someone from their team or coaching staff is lost.

This is a fairly common theme in football and has been done with many football teams even at the professional level. A great example of this would be the WCF worn on the Detroit Lions uniform.

This crest is used to represent the late owner of the team William Clay Ford. Many other teams in the league have done similar crests and badges to commemorate famous figures in the organization.

Social Causes

Sometimes you may also find that football decals are used on helmets for social causes.

The most recent example of this is black lives matter. Sports leagues across the world looked for ways to pay their respects to this cause in respective sports.

In football one of the best ways to do this is with a helmet sticker. Football does not offer a ton of room for personalization when out on the field. This is why a helmet sticker is often used as a medium for social causes.

Advocating for social causes is nothing new for the game of football. Many fans will remember the breast cancer awareness campaigns that were done by the NFL.

For the month of October, NFL players would wear pink accessories to show their support.

These sorts of traditions have also been present in college football for many years. One of the best traditions in football is the waving to the children’s hospital at Iowa Hawkeyes games.


I hope you enjoyed this article on why there are stickers on college football helmets. If you have any questions regarding this article you can reach out via e-mail or comment below.

Remember college football helmets have stickers in order to display a player’s accomplishments, commemorate someone who passes or raise awareness for social causes.

If you did enjoy this article we would be happy if you read more. See our guide to understanding true freshman in college football or what an unclaimed national championship is.

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