Gators helmet designs over the years since before 1946

The most recognizable part of a football uniform is the helmet, which sets the team apart from all others with its design.

While it wasn’t always this way, over the years the arrangements that adorn a team’s headgear have become more elaborate and ornate while going through design changes to enhance its main task: protect the player’s noggin.

One of the most iconic helmets in the country is worn by the Florida football team. The Gators script has been sported on a field of orange for the past four decades. But in the seasons before the introduction of modern design, UF underwent many changes before reaching perfection.

Below we have listed all previous helmet designs worn by University of Florida football players through the ages dating back to the pre-1946 era, from oldest to newest, including designs modern novelties. Scroll down and take a walk through the history of Orange and Blue.

Before 1946: Leather helmets

Chuck Hunsinger, 1940s. (Courtesy of University of Florida SID)

The original leather helmet didn’t offer much variety when it came to design, let alone when it came to safety. Soft-shell helmets did little to protect against direct impacts while the lack of a face shield carried its own obvious risks.

1946-55: Hard hats without face shields

“We beat Georgia!” 1950. Courtesy of University of Florida SID

From the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s, football players received an upgrade, moving to hard hats. Still no face masks, however, but the genesis of team helmet designs can be seen emerging.

1956-62: White helmets with stripe and numbers

Louisiana State star Billy Cannon (20) is lifted into the air by the center of the UF line. Florida players in the tackle, Jimmy Givens (87) end, Danny Royal (77) tackle, Bob Wehking (58) center, in the foreground Doug Partin (32) back of Florida. AP Photo

This era represents the true beginning of modern helmet design: hard shell, face shield (albeit just a solitary bar), and distinct team markings, including team numbers. individual player.

1962: Stars and Bars helmet (against Penn State – Gator Bowl)

Larry Dupree (35) University of Florida Back drives for an 8 yard gain in the first quarter at the Gator Bowl Game, Dec. 29, 1962, at Jacksonville against Penn State. AP Photo

There is a very interesting story behind this once worn helmet design. In 1962, the Penn StateNittany Lions, an independent team with a 9-1 record did not want to face Florida (9-4) in the Gator Bowl. In an effort to shake off their opponent, the UF displayed the Confederate battle flag on their helmets and then upset the PSU, 17-7. Also note that the mask includes a second bar in this design.

1963: Blue helmet with stripes and numbers

Florida 10, Alabama 6, Oct. 12, 1963. It was the Crimson Tide’s first loss at home since 1957, and the most runs against an Alabama team since 1959. Courtesy permission from the University of Florida SID

Florida has mixed things up this season with its design, opting for a dark blue with three stripes across the top of the helmet – the outer two white with the inner stripe orange. The player numbers remained on the sides.

1964-65: Blue helmet with stripes and F circle logo

Florida coach Ray Graves has a serious conversation in New Orleans with several members of his football team, December 30, 1965 The players are halfback Richard Trapp (44), quarterback Kay Stephenson ( 15), winger Paul Ewaldsen (85) and full-back Wayne Barfield (48). AP Photo/Horace Cort

Florida again mixed up the helmet design a bit for the next two seasons, switching to an F with a circular emblem while running a single orange stripe on the blue helmet.

1966-67: White helmet with stripes and F logo

Quarterback Steve Spurrier turns the corner against Georgia Tech, 1967 Courtesy: University of Florida SID

This is the helmet design eventually made popular by Steve Spurrier’s Heisman Trophy campaign in 1966. While its use continued the following year, the team saw several changes throughout the season.

For the first two games, the helmet only wore a single solid stripe across the upper middle while retaining the F logo. However, for the next four games, the team reverted to the pure 1966 design before completing the year with the old design but with the player numbers replacing the F logo.

1968-78: Helmet with UF strip and logo

Florida defensive end Jack Youngblood (74) leans on a block from Tennessee fullback Don McLeary (36) to get his hands on Vols quarterback Bobby Scott at Neyland Stadium on October 24, 1970. Joe Rudis / The Tennessean

The next helmet design, which was introduced by Ray Graves and worn for the next decade, graced the heads of several Gator greats, including NFL Hall of Famer Jack Youngblood. It featured an orange helmet with an interlaced UF logo on the side with two outer blue stripes and an inner white stripe extending across the top of the head. Also note that the face mask design is getting more modern.

1979-current: classic orange Gators script helmet

Scott Halleran/Allsport

We’ve officially reached the modern era of Florida helmets, with the familiar Gators script introduced by Charlie Pell. This iconic look has been on the agenda throughout the careers of Gator greats such as Emmitt Smith, Lomas Brown, Wilbur Marshall, Trace Armstrong, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow. Few models are as recognizable as this one.

2006: White helmet with F block (vs. Alabama – Game 5)

Marc Serota/Getty Images

Thus begins the era of novelty helmet designs, beginning with those worn against the Alabama Crimson Tide for Game 5 of the 2006 season. It features a white helmet with two thin blue outer lines and a thick inner orange line extending over the top of the head, and a solid blue F block on the sides.

2009, 2015-17: White helmet with F italic

Tim Tebow prepares to pass. Paul Abell/USA TODAY Sports

Florida later rolled out a design similar to that 2006 helmet but with an italic blue F on the side with an orange border. Tim Tebow’s team was the first to wear it and was last used in 2017.

2010: Stripless Orange Gators Script Helmet (vs. Georgia – Game 10)

Trey Burton celebrates after a touchdown. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Another unique design is this one worn against the Georgia Bulldogs in Game 10 of the 2010 season. The helmet lacks the usual stripes on the head, and the orange field features a scaly Gator skin texture. This design would be a precursor to a much more overtly reptilian look later on.

2015-20: White Gators script helmet

Treon Harris on the run. Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

This design became Florida’s de facto alternative helmet during the latter half of the 2010s, which is essentially the classic look on a white field. He was last seen in Game 7 of the 2020 season against the Vanderbilt Commodores, which had a slight change to the overhead stripes.

2017: Reptile Helmets (vs. Texas A&M – Game 6)

Felipe Franks. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Another design worn once – this time against the Texas A&M Aggies – the reptile uniforms represented the Peak Gators chintz. The helmets lacked the textured skin look of the 2010 design and looked more like military gear with its solid camo green color, but they still tied the solid together nicely.

2018-current: classic Jordan brand helmet

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

It’s essentially the same as the classic look, although there were some minor tweaks made to both looks and structural design when Florida signed with the Jordan brand. This represents the true modern style currently used by the team.

2019: White helmet with circled F (vs. Auburn – Game 6)

Jeremiah Moon (7) celebrates recovering a fumble with fellow receiver Tyrie Cleveland (89). Douglas DeFelice/USA TODAY Sports

This is another once worn design that came up against the auburn tigers for Game 6 of the 2019 season. In a throwback of sorts to the 1960s style, the helmet features a circled F block on a white field and a single orange stripe above it.

2020: Helmet F circled blue (vs. Missouri – Game 4)

Zachary Carter signals a turnover for the Gators defense. Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun

This unique design is essentially the same as the 2019 Auburn design, except the helmet is blue and there are three stripes above it. It was worn against the Missouri Tigers in Game 4 of the 2020 season.

2020: Blue Gators script helmet (vs Tennessee – Game 9)

Kyle Trask looks to pass the ball. (Randy Sartin – USA TODAY Sports)

Florida has worn this design – yet another twist on the classic Gators script look – only once against the Tennessee Volunteers for Game 9 of the 2020 season. The blue field with the orange Gators script logo is apparently a photo negative of the main design.

2021: White American Flag Gators Script Helmet (vs. USF – Game 2)

Emory Jones. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Gators got patriotic with this look against the South Florida Bulls in Game 2 of the 2021 season. Similar to the other Gators script designs, this one features a white field with an American flag pattern on the logo along with stripes orange, blue and white above.

2021: Orange helmet with classic UF logo (vs. Vanderbilt – Game 6)

Lorenzo Lingard (21) and Donovan McMillon (13) lead a game. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Florida took the clock back to the 1970s with its logo imbedded on the orange helmet design in its comeback game against Vanderbilt for Game 6 of the 2021 season. Although it bears a striking resemblance to the one worn by Jack Youngblood, it lacks the upper band that the old one had.

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