Wisconsin football helmets throughout the years

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Even though many might not associate Wisconsin football with new or flashy uniforms, the Badgers have debuted several refreshed looks including updated helmets over the last few decades.

The lasting changes for Wisconsin’s uniforms and helmets came with the turnaround of the Badgers’ program under former head coach Barry Alvarez when he started in 1990. Since 1991, Wisconsin has used the motion ‘W’ design with the classic red facemask and two center stripes for the majority of their games.

Despite Wisconsin sticking with one helmet for most of its games, the Badgers have debuted several uniforms with different helmets since the 90s. A personal favorite helmet of mine is the Rose Bowl-inspired helmet with rose petals outlined in the motion ‘W,’ that Wisconsin wore against Oregon in 2011.

Below are all of Wisconsin football’s helmets over the last few decades. Let us know which ones you think should make a comeback in the comment section below.

1978-87, 1990

Mandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This is the Badgers’ first big move toward the helmet we recognize today. This helmet features the block ‘W’ in cardinal along with a red facemask and two center stripes.

1988-89

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

There were no photos available for this helmet, but the two center stripes of the previous design were removed for these two seasons. It must not have been a popular switch, as they returned when Barry Alvarez started in 1990.

1991-Current

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The motion ‘W’ design has definitely become the most widely recognizable Wisconsin helmet, which in my opinion, has made it into a classic.

2005

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

This helmet was only worn once against Bowling Green in 2005 and features a throwback design to the Badgers’ helmets from the 1960s. On the throwback helmet, there is a grey facemask with a ‘W’ on the front and back while the players’ number is featured on the sides.

2011

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

This helmet is my personal favorite of Wisconsin’s designs over the years, and it was only worn once in the 2011 Rose Bowl. The petals outlined in the red on the helmet are a subtle change to a classic-looking design.

2012

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

This uniform and helmet were designed by Adidas for the Badgers’ game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2012. The helmet was cardinal red and featured the 1960s ‘W’ logo and a single center stripe in white. Something unique about this helmet is that it is one of the first appearances of the color black on a Wisconsin helmet.

2013

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Badgers played with two red helmets in 2013 and this design was worn against Tennessee Tech and Northwestern. This helmet is the inverse of the classic Wisconsin design, and featured a white facemask, center stripes and motion ‘W.’

2013-14

Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

The last of Adidas’ red Wisconsin helmets, this design was worn by the Badgers in five games over course of the 2013 and 2014 seasons. It is very similar to the other red helmet that the Badgers wore in 2013 but brings back the black facemasks from 2012 and features black center stripes.

2014; 2016-Current

Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

A design first implemented at the end of the Adidas era in 2014, the white face mask version of the current helmet is still being used by the Badgers today. This design is a fan favorite since it is paired with the Badgers’ all-white uniforms.

2019

(AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Designed as a part of Under Armour’s celebration of 150 years of college football, these uniforms were meant to be a throwback to the beginning of football at Wisconsin. The helmet features a ‘UW’ logo from the 1890s and opts for a grey facemask to add to the ‘vintage’ look of the uniforms.

2021

Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

These helmets were worn only once in 2021 as a part of the ‘Forward’ uniform in the Badgers’ game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Although most of the details paying tribute to the state of Wisconsin are on the jersey itself, the helmet features the state motto of ‘forward’ on the motion ‘W.’ In addition, the all-white helmet opts for two center pinstripes over the normal stripes.

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