The college football season kicks off in earnest this weekend with a slew of great matchups (Oklahoma vs. Houston, USC vs. Alabama). And the NFL regular season is right around the corner (first game: Sep 8). To get you even more excited for real football to return, we rounded up the ugliest helmets in football history. With any luck, your team isn’t sporting one of these hideous skull-protectors!
Oregon Ducks: Let’s be honest, the Ducks have some pretty awesome unis. But these helmets are the gold standard for being nonthreatening. (I know, I know, it was for a good cause. Still, they’re hard to look at for three and a half hours.)
Maryland Terrapins: There’s a lot going on here, and most of it is bad. I get that Maryland is Under Armour’s answer to Nike’s Oregon, but if anything, Maryland’s helmets and uniforms make me less likely to turn to UA for any sort of football gear.
Connecticut Huskies: Points for originality, but these helmets suck. Logos have been going on the sides of helmets for years, and now we know why no one ever puts them on top.
Philadelphia Eagles: Sky blue doesn’t look good unless you’re the San Diego Chargers, but the Eagles wore these anyway. However, they did score 56 points rocking these helmets in 2007 against the Lions, so maybe they were just ugly enough to be effective.
Buffalo Bills: From 1970 to 1973, the Bills wore these helmets. The color scheme isn’t bad or anything, but the buffalo looks like a depressed man whose wife just left him. That buffalo is clearly five minutes away from death.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The creamsicle color only looks good on ice cream, so don’t bother wearing these throwbacks anymore, Tampa. These are terrible. Then again, when have the Bucs ever looked good on the field? Answer: almost never.
Illinois Fighting Illini: This is a real throwback here (in case you couldn't tell by the super-grainy pic) and to Illinois’ credit, they’ve never gone back to them. The biggest problem is the unnecessary lines on both sides of the helmet. Maybe the Illini should stick to basketball. Oh no wait, they’re bad at that now too.
Virginia Tech Hokies: This gets me excited for Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong, the helmets are atrocious, and the Hokies don’t seem to have gotten the memo because they’ve worn them multiple times. Stick with the VT logo, guys.
Kansas Jayhawks: What is the most unintimidating helmet of all time? Kansas’ happy Jayhawk—and it’s not even close. The red helmet, specifically, is terrible. Jayhawks players look more like Froot Loops cereal supporters than a football team.
Los Angeles KISS: This Arena Football League team named after and owned by the band KISS gets points for originality, but that’s about all they get points for. Based on these helmets, they look like they should be sponsored by Hot Wheels. Or hot garbage.