Blog Entry

Ohio State going camouflage for 2011 Spring Game

Posted on: March 31, 2011 6:50 pm

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Photo via

When the Ohio State Buckeyes take to the field for the 2011 spring game, they'll do so with invisible heads. At least, that's the goal, anyway, if the Buckeyes' helmets are any indication. As the picture above shows, Ohio State officially unveiled its special digital camouflage helmets that'll be worn for the duration of spring practice.

Here's more from the school about what prompted the special helmets:

The Ohio State Buckeyes will sport custom-painted helmets honoring the American military as part of the 2011 Spring Football Game tribute to America's finest on Saturday, April 23, at Ohio Stadium. That day will feature tributes to the 75th anniversary of Jesse Owens' Olympic performance in Berlin, as well as recognition of servicemen and women and Buckeye All-Americans.

The distinctive football helmets are painted in a silver, gray and black camouflage pattern registered and designed specifically for Ohio State. Each helmet will feature an American flag decal on the front and a Jesse Owens commemorative decal on the back.

Honoring Jesse Owens' accomplishments is certainly a noble aim, and OSU should in some way make note of their most famous alumnus' most famous accomplishments, but lumping him into American football's allegory of combat seems a little... well, let's say forced.

Moreover, while it's also noble to honor the troops, must we always do so by pretending to be them in some way? In the Heisman Trophy's most famous speech, Nile Kinnick said this in 1939:

I thank God I was warring on the gridirons of the Midwest, and not on the battlefields of Europe. I can speak confidently and positively that the players of this country, would much more, much rather struggle and fight to win the Heisman award, than the Croix de Guerre.

What Kinnick says here is that while football resembles war in some respects, it clearly is not war, and he cherishes those differences rather than conflating the two institutions based on their similarities. War terrified him, as it terrified most people back then -- especially since war was so casualty-intensive back then. Kinnick was hardly some pacifist hippie, either; he later enlisted for the Army when the United States declared war and died during training two years later.

That sentiment has long since left college football, and Nike has dutifully stepped into the void and helped change the dynamic of the sport. Whether this means college football is simply being more honest about its roots in instructed combat or it means football is glorifying man's worst actions probably depends on one's predisposition to war in the first place. And that's a debate that'll likely go on just about forever.


Since: Mar 17, 2010
Posted on: April 2, 2011 2:21 am

Ohio State going camouflage for 2011 Spring Game

thanks BigBuck, i appreciate that

Since: Mar 30, 2011
Posted on: April 1, 2011 11:11 am

Ohio State going camouflage for 2011 Spring Game

Well said and thanks for your service!!

Since: Mar 17, 2010
Posted on: April 1, 2011 10:38 am

Ohio State going camouflage for 2011 Spring Game

speaking as a soldier currently deployed to iraq, i think it's great.  i can't wait to see the rest of the uniform.  i don't like the nike marketing people altering the uniform during the season, i wasn't a fan of the 'throwback' uniforms of the last two Ohio State - michigan games, but for spring ball it's cool.

when i wear my Eddie George jersey, i'm not pretending to be Eddie George, i'm simply paying homage to one of my favorite players, and i don't think the players wearing camouflaged uniforms means that they're pretending to be soldiers.

i think the author should lighten up a little.

Since: Apr 28, 2009
Posted on: April 1, 2011 10:19 am

Ohio State going camouflage for 2011 Spring Game

Trying to hide?  We know it's tough out there, but having camo on the helmets may not conceal the tattoos.

Since: Mar 30, 2011
Posted on: April 1, 2011 9:15 am

Ohio State going camouflage for 2011 Spring Game

Come on people, really?  Tressel has always supported the troops, always worn an American Flag pin; the list goes on.  Shame on you to think OSU came up with this ploy to help with NCAA investigation leniency.  You are idiots and jealous the teams/coaches you cheer for aren't as dedicated to America as Tressel.

Does everyone think that Nascar teams that support the troops are trying to win races or fans?

Since: Aug 31, 2007
Posted on: April 1, 2011 8:51 am

Ohio State going camouflage for 2011 Spring Game

Ohio State has a history of doing something special with their spring game uniforms. Take 2007, for instance, when they wore a VT logo on their helmets to honor the hard times Virginia Tech was going through after their campus shooting. They had nothing to gain from doing that. It was simply sharing a bond that Virginia Tech, as a university, had Ohio State's support. This year's tribute is no different and has nothing to do with distracting attention away from their NCAA troubles. It's simply using a public forum to honor our men and women who serve and sharing a bond that as Americans, they have our support.

Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: March 31, 2011 11:18 pm

Ohio State going camouflage for 2011 Spring Game

That helmet looks suspiciously like the Verizon map of phone cell availability. I understand the concept of hiding from the enemy (NCAA), but this camouflage bit is simply a pathetic attempt by the Blackeyes to beg for mercy in their upcoming sanctions. I'm so tired of the NFL, MLB and anyone else that uses our military efforts abroad as a measure of one's patriotism. Athletics and War are distinctively different and to compare the former with the latter is an insult to every person who has served our country throughout our history.

Since: Sep 5, 2009
Posted on: March 31, 2011 10:29 pm

Ohio State going camouflage for 2011 Spring Game

The OSU helmet looks like a cable broadcast gone haywire.

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: March 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Ohio State going camouflage for 2011 Spring Game

Save your flower child rant for something else. Nobody but yourself is trying to compare the seriousness of war to the entertainment value of a sport. I love the idea, and am willing to bet that our soldiers like it too.

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