Oregon's Rose Bowl Helmets: When Flash Meets Function
The university's football team donned Nike-designed reflective headgear during the "Granddaddy of Them All."
Monday's Rose Bowl game between the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin was notable for a number of reasons -- it marked Oregon's first BCS Bowl win and first Rose Bowl win in 95 years, for example -- but what really had people talking was Oregon's new uniforms.
In particular, the Ducks' Nike-designed reflective helmets generated buzz in Pasadena and beyond.
Per Nike, the headgear featured "bright wings atop a mirrored appearance using a LiquidMetal black finish never before seen on the field. Though the wings are featured on the side, the iconic Oregon 'O' still appears on the helmet located in a unique top-center placement."
The company boasted that the uniforms are "the most advanced football uniform system ever assembled." They certainly are the flashiest.
Reaction to the school's Rose Bowl look was mixed.
ESPN commentators Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit commented during the first quarter that the glare from the lids made it difficult to identify players' numbers.
Yahoo Sports blogger Matt Hinton wrote that "rather than the ominous Darth Vader-y look suggested by [Nike's] darkened [press] photo shoot, it looks like someone is wearing a freshly polished chrome fender off a 1967 Firebird."
The Bleacher Report's Sean Lansing mused, "Imagine you're Nick Toon, streaking open down the field for a pass from Russell Wilson. You look over your shoulder for the ball, and what do you see? A shiny, metallic helmet with a glare that's blinding. The above mentioned scenario didn't happen and the Ducks' new helmets didn't appear to have an adverse affect on either team, but they were ridiculous. It isn't hard to imagine the futuristic design providing Oregon with an unfair advantage at some point."
Another Bleacher Report correspondent, Bennett Spector, gave the helmets an A- ranking, and the entire Oregon uniform a B+/A-. He wrote, "Chrome, mirrored, silver, shiny...beautiful? The helmets are the focal point of the uniform combination and for good reason. Never seen before, these lids speak for themselves."
Sports Grid's Dave Levy warned, "Be careful not to stare too long at these helmets: it may blind you.Not only are the helmets a sweet chrome, but depending on which angle you look at them, you’ll see the delicate outline of wings. This is all a part of a few other features of the uniform that apparently change color or add an effect based on where you are looking."
No matter what the opinion on the Oregon Rose Bowl helmets, one thing's for sure -- Nike's creation of the Oregon "O" on players' gloves is truly brilliant.