Illinois To Celebrate Memorial Stadium’s 100th Anniversary With Throwback Helmets – SportsLogos.Net News

Illinois To Celebrate Memorial Stadium’s 100th Anniversary With Throwback Helmets

Photos courtesy of @IlliniFootball on X/Twitter.

The Illinois football program will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Memorial Stadium by wearing three different throwback helmets during select games this fall.

“We are excited to celebrate 100 years of Memorial Stadium and our program’s history in one special season,” head coach Bret Bielema said in a press release on Tuesday

“Our helmets will honor a different era each week, appealing to our entire fan base, regardless of age, and bringing back Memorial Stadium memories to our alumni and Illini famILLy.”

The helmets span more than 50 years of Fighting Illini football, starting with orange lid famously worn by College and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus. 

The helmet features each players’ number in blue on both sides below four blue stars, as well as a gray facemask and white-blue-white stripes down the center.

This design was worn from 1962-68, an era that saw Illinois capture the 1963 Big Ten championship and a victory over Washington in the 1964 Rose Bowl.

The arched “Illini” helmet, meanwhile, was worn from 1971-87, and actually featured different facemask colors, striping patterns and decal sizes during its lifespan.

This year’s recreation pulls from 1980-82, specifically, with a gray facemask and a blue-white-orange-white-blue stripe down the center.

Illinois finished the 1983 season with a perfect record in the Big Ten but fell to UCLA in the Rose Bowl. The arched helmets also appeared in the 1982 Liberty Bowl and 1985 Peach Bowl.

Lastly, the Fighting Illini wore an underlined “Illinois” on the sides of their helmets from 1989-2012, which is arguably the most successful era of the three designs.

During this period, the program won two Big Ten titles (1990 and 2001) and appeared in the 2003 Sugar Bowl and 2008 Rose Bowl.

The 2024 helmet will honor the original design – as the version worn from 2005-12 featured a blue stroke around the letters – and include a white facemask and blue-white-blue stripe.

Interestingly, Illinois ditched this design for one game during the 2008 season to wear the 1962-68 throwback uniforms, complete with the aforementioned Butkus-era helmets.

The Fighting Illini will not wear a full ensemble this time around, however, and plan to reveal the dates that each helmet will be worn later this summer.