Illini considering new helmets for 2012

Illinois Helmets

The Illinois football team may have a much different look when it takes the field in 2012. Already with a new head coach, Tim Beckman, the Illini could also have new helmets. According to Illinois SID Derek Neal, the team is displaying three helmets for recruits visiting campus.

Two of the lids are orange and have “ILLINI,” not “ILLINOIS” as in years past, and one is in blue letters, outlined in white, and the other white, outlined in blue. A few other differences: The “ILLINI” is arched, there’s no stripe down the middle and the font is no longer underlined (see the 2011 helmet). The final helmet is blue with a matte finish and an orange “I.”

The combination of helmets and uniforms could be plentiful, as the picture above displays four facemask colors (blue, gray, orange and white) and a uniform glossary that shows three jerseys (blue, orange and white) and three pants (blue, orange and white). All together, that would yield 108 different combinations — assuming Illinois went with everything on the table.

So, can we expect to see one of these looks when the Illini open the 2012 season?

“While our coaches have been displaying those for recruits, those are just options we’ve been exploring for new helmets,” Neal said. “No decisions have been made yet on helmet, uniform changes, or if there will even be a change.”

If there is a change, I really hope Illinois includes the blue matte helmet. It’s easily the best of the three. The matte-finish look is great and that “I” really pops. web editor Brent Yarina writes the Clothes Call features. Send him your Big Ten fashion tips here, find all of his work here and follow him on Twitter at @BTNBrentYarina.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (39 Comments)
Patrick Santschi on 1/30/2012 @ 12:53pm EDT Said:

The blue really pops but screw the damn helmets why dont we bring the chief back !!!!!

Bryce White on 1/30/2012 @ 2:43pm EDT Said:

I like them, but they have too wear the current ones also. Chieeffff!

VIVIAN on 1/30/2012 @ 2:50pm EDT Said:


Doug B on 1/30/2012 @ 2:52pm EDT Said:


Bill Chaplain on 1/30/2012 @ 2:54pm EDT Said:

I would like to see the Chief Back .. but if it was me I’d take the Blue helmet with the orange face guard and the ILLINI arched on the sides.

Mike Vance on 1/30/2012 @ 3:02pm EDT Said:

I’ll cast my vote for the blue, with the I.

Mark Robertson on 1/30/2012 @ 3:06pm EDT Said:

Clearly an opportunity to restore Chief Illiniwek to a prominent respectful display.

Byron on 1/30/2012 @ 3:07pm EDT Said:

I agree with the chief idea.

John Barton on 1/30/2012 @ 3:07pm EDT Said:

The BLUE for sure! Agree the Blue and the CHIEF!

Greg on 1/30/2012 @ 3:15pm EDT Said:

Keep the Illini helmets. Get rid of the I i.e. Indiana, Iowa, etc.

Steve W on 1/30/2012 @ 4:40pm EDT Said:

Got to keep the orange helmets. Add a stripe and either on looks great. The matte blue would be OK on a one time basis but we are Orange!

J-Ran on 1/30/2012 @ 4:46pm EDT Said:

As much as I like the Chief, you will never see that on any Illini uniform ever again. My vote is to use all three and have many combinations like Oregon or Va Tech, etc.

aroznowski on 1/30/2012 @ 4:51pm EDT Said:

If you want only a subtle change, go with the one on the far right. If you want a legitimate change, go with the one in the middle.

dave on 1/30/2012 @ 5:10pm EDT Said:

They look good but would look much better with the Chief logo on them!

cleary on 1/30/2012 @ 5:25pm EDT Said:


Lee Feldman on 1/30/2012 @ 5:32pm EDT Said:

Got to keep the orange helmets.

Troy on 1/30/2012 @ 5:33pm EDT Said:

My vote is to use the Chief.

Dennis Dupree from Danville on 1/30/2012 @ 5:39pm EDT Said:

Dark helmets are a bad idea for hot days. Too much heat!

Chris on 1/30/2012 @ 5:45pm EDT Said:

Like the orange with blue ILLINI. And BRING BACK THE CHIEF!

Aaron T on 1/30/2012 @ 5:51pm EDT Said:

1) UI is in the process of rebranding the athletic department and football team, and needs a new look to match. 2) Great helmets are recognizable from a distance and are usually simple (dramatic color contrast or symbollic emblem). The blue helmet meets both criteria. The far right helmet will be unreadable from more than 15 yards, just like the existing helmets. Keep plenty of orange in the unis if they go with the blue helmet.

Jeremy Vaughn on 1/30/2012 @ 6:20pm EDT Said:

They all look great I prefer the blue one but they all look awesome change is always good.

JC on 1/30/2012 @ 6:22pm EDT Said:

Gotta keep the orange helmet. As Coach Beckman said himself, Illinois IS orange. I vote for using the Block I on the orange, but invert the I colors so that it is white … I’ve seen that used before.

I also agree, though, that the blue helmet would be nice to use once or twice a year.

swiss on 1/30/2012 @ 6:31pm EDT Said:

Bring back the Chief !!

MWEB on 1/30/2012 @ 7:37pm EDT Said:

Keep the orange helmet (blue lettering), it is what makes us Illinois now that we can no longer have the Chief! I like the blue one for special occasions or like JC said, 1-2x a year.

twolb on 1/30/2012 @ 7:41pm EDT Said:


BlueIllini on 1/30/2012 @ 7:42pm EDT Said:

Spend less time on looking good and more time on playing better. Winning programs don’t make a lot of changes to their uniforms (see Yankess, NY and Cardinals, STL) but losing programs are always making changes to their look (See Astros, Marlins, etc.)

RoGo on 1/30/2012 @ 9:02pm EDT Said:

So many of us want the Chief returned. Does any one in the administration hear??? Does any one care???

Kevin on 1/30/2012 @ 10:00pm EDT Said:

Real programs don’t change the helmets every decade

Larry on 1/31/2012 @ 12:54pm EDT Said:

Get rid of the vertical arch and go back to the traditional arch.

Mark on 1/31/2012 @ 8:10pm EDT Said:

I like both and they should be interchanged with blue jerseys or orange jerseys at home AND spend lot of time in the end zone. Bring back the Chief and keep the 3 in 1!

Beth on 1/31/2012 @ 9:23pm EDT Said:

Let’s go Chief! Love the idea of Illini rather than Illinois – at least it displays a little bit of the tradition that is Chief Illiniwek!

Rich on 2/1/2012 @ 9:04pm EDT Said:

If we can’t go with “CHIEF”, at least kepp the “ILLINI”! The “I” can be Idaho, Iowa or Indiana. Come on guys, what separates us from the plebians?

Chief Illiniwek on 2/2/2012 @ 5:21pm EDT Said:


    Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer on 2/3/2012 @ 3:10pm EDT Said:

    Wouldn’t that be sweet? Alas, it won’t happen.

Mark on 2/6/2012 @ 11:07am EDT Said:

Who cares! The Illini football program SUCKS and throwing money at it with new uniforms seems stupid. Use that money to recruit top players… Duh!

PC Police on 2/9/2012 @ 3:00am EDT Said:

Come on folks!! We should feel proud that the U of I community has enough respect for our native Illini Indian ancestors to tuck their legacy safely away in museums and textbooks so they will never be heard of, I mean offended again. Who needs a symbol of culture, tradition, courage, honor, and dignity when we have the NCAA anyway? So give me three cheers for sensitivity.

Say, here is an idea. Why don’t you ask the remaining members of the Illini Tribe what color football helmet they feel is appropriate since our university is built on their land.

Chief Tuscaloosa on 2/10/2012 @ 10:44am EDT Said:

I see that The University of North Dakota resumed using its Fighting Sioux nickname. Sure wish our school would have someone at U of I with the courage to standup and say that we are Chief Illiniwek. I vote for the matte blue with the orange face guard and the Chief on the sides

Illini Canuck on 3/19/2012 @ 4:31pm EDT Said:

How about Mat orange with a white block “I” and blue trim.
Orange helmets are rad.

Pete on 1/14/2013 @ 12:26pm EDT Said:

The Chief headress on the helmet would be absolutely fantastic!!!