In 1978 the Florida Gators finished the season with a 4-7 record. Doug Dickey the head coach had just finished his ninth year there with a 58-43-2 record.
In need of breathing some new life in the University of Florida's football program Florida went out and hired Charlie Pell two time ACC Coach of the year from Clemson. The university wanting to let every one know there was a new era dawning in Gainesville made some major facility improvements. They constructed a world-class training facility (the Ben Hill Griffin, Jr. Athletic Training Center), they expanded the south end zone and constructed the first luxury sky boxes. Also they changed the uniforms!
In hopes of replicating Charlie Pell's success at Clemson the Gators took the field in 79 with orange helmet's and uniforms. The orange helmets in all their glorious 70's era cheesiness had the word Gators, written on the side in cursive.
When Steve Spurrier arrived and went back to the blue uniforms he left the orange helmets. Now I am in no way associated with University or Coach Spurrier and have no idea of the circumstances involved or if changing the helmets was even discussed. But for what ever reason the helmet's stayed.
Then one glorious day in 2006 in the 100th anniversary of the Florida Gators and the 10 year anniversary of their only National Championship the Gators played one game against Alabama wearing the 1966 throw back uniforms, including the white helmet with a blue “F”. The uniforms looked amazing but the helmet's stuck out the most. I fell in love. I wanted the helmets to stay for ever.
Last Saturday Nike unveiled new uniforms for the Gators to wear against FSU. After seeing the pure sadness that was FSU's new uniforms in action I was not looking forward to any kind of change. Then I saw the new helmets!!! The helmet's in Saturday's game are not throw back helmet's they are based on the throw back design with a bit of edge thrown in for good measure. I was in love again......it was liking seeing the same helmet I fell in love with in 2006 only now she had lost weight and got a boob job.
Every one please hear my plea. Keep the new helmet's! This is Florida, not Clemson. We switched our uniforms to be more like Clemson thirty years ago. If anything we do not need to be like Clemson, we need to be Florida. In thirty years we have changed every thing else but the helmet's.
Next year in 2010 the Gators will be playing in new uniforms, how much they take from Saturdays uniforms is not yet known. But with Tebow, Spikes and most of the team moving on closing perhaps the greatest era in Florida football let's start the new era with the new helmets....the ones that say WE are Florida and not trying to be like Clemson.