On New Year’s Day of 1942, the Duke Blue Devils not only played in the Rose Bowl, but they hosted it as well. Some special (and relatively unfortunate circumstances, which will be explained below) led to Duke hosting the 1942 Rose Bowl and the football program has decided to mark the 75th anniversary of their second-ever Rose Bowl appearance with special “Battleship Gray” helmets that they’ll wear on November 5th against Virginia Tech.
If the logo looks unfamiliar to you, that’s because it’s not a logo that’s affiliated with Duke. It’s actually a logo that was used by an infantry division of the army during World War II, as Duke explains here:
The distinctive Battleship Grey matte helmet will be complemented with a black facemask and a decal replicating a logo used by the 88th Infantry Division of the United States Army that held the nickname “Blue Devils” during World War II. In addition, Duke’s standard black jersey will don an official Rose Bowl 75th Anniversary commemorative patch and, underneath the uniform, the Blue Devils will wear gray Nike Pro three-quarter sleeves and tights.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States government prohibited large gatherings on the West Coast, and, on January 1, 1942, the Rose Bowl was played for the only time outside of Pasadena, Calif., after Blue Devil head coach Wallace Wade offered Duke Stadium as the host venue. Oregon State defeated Duke in the contest, 20-16, in front of 56,000 spectators.
For reference’s sake, here’s the devil insignia that the Battleship Grey Blue Devil logo is based on.
And here’s the logo in patch form, with the main difference being that this particular Devil has been branded with the classic Duke “D” logo instead of having an “88” on his forehead.
The placement of the patch on the shoulder stripe is interesting, but considering how small football jerseys are getting and how big this patch is, I suppose that space was at a premium when it comes to placing the patch in a prime position. Plus, I’m not really a fan of a matte gray-and-blue helmet on top of a black uniform.
However, the helmet on its own is pretty cool. Yeah, it’s hopping on the gray trend that has taken over sports recently, but at least this has some sort of historical merit behind it and the logo itself is very nice. Duke will definitely have an eye-catching look when they take to the field wearing these on November 5th.
What do you all think of this helmet, though?