Why Are There Stickers On The Helmets Of College Football Players


Football players often have 2 types of stickers on their helmet, their logo and typically another type of small sticker. These small stickers represent something special to that specific team.

Teams often have criteria in which players can earn stickers. Touchdowns, gaining yards (running or receiving), or impact plays are often the reason teams give out stickers to put on the helmet. The more stickers on the helmet, the more impact the player has had in previous games. Coaches use the stickers as a reward system for the player.

Let’s learn how different teams utilize stickers on the back, top, or side of their helmets.

What The Helmet Stickers Mean

Players use items like tape on the back of their arms or even an abundance of eye black for cosmetic reasons.

As mentioned above, stickers on the helmets can mean different things for different teams. Coaches often have a reward system for stickers. Some of the rewards can be:

  • Wins
  • Touchdowns
  • Big Hits
  • Game-changing plays
  • Sacks
  • Fumbles Recovered/Forced
  • Interceptions
  • Back Over 100 Yards
  • Pancake Blocks
  • Field Goals

These are just a few small examples, coaches may create their own milestones on giving out stickers. Depending on the size of the stickers, coaches may limit or exceed different stickers for different accolades.

For example, the University Of Georgia uses small bones for their accolades. If they used bigger, rounder stickers, players will flood a helmet with stickers. These stickers are often earned through great play on the field and can be accumulated on a helmet throughout the football season.

Georgia Bulldogs sticks on the helmet

Types Of Football Stickers

Georgia features dog bones as their sticker accolades, but what other stickers can be featured on helmets? Let’s look at one of the more confusing and controversial stickers that are on a helmet – The Ohio State Buckeye’s helmets, and their famous buckeye leaf.

The buckeye leaf closely resembles a marijuana leaf. However, the Buckeye leaf represents a player earning a certain team achievement.

buckeyes stickers on the helmet

Teams often use stickers that are closely related to their team/mascot, such as the bones and the buckeye leaves.

However, teams who do not have a  logo/object to create a sticker from, there are options for you. Local and online football companies, such as www.protuffdecals.com , create decals for these instances.

They have every type of decal you can possibly imagine. Here is a snapshot from their website of different decals for your team’s helmet.

protuffdecals.com sticks on the helmet

Who Uses Football Helmet Stickers?

Often times, college and high school teams use the stickers on the helmet. Along with the mascot decal (or the number if you’re a team like Alabama), these stickers give the helmet more swag and spice.

It also makes it easier to locate the impact player on offense and defense. For instance, if a player has a helmet full of bulldog bones or buckeye eye leaves, it becomes an intimidating factor for the opposing player.

Lining up across from a player with a loaded helmet makes you believe that the player is talented or highly sought after as an impact player.

The NFL however, have not used stickers on the helmet, mostly because of their strict uniform policy. Unless they allow the stickers to be universal or team specific, don’t expect to see it anytime soon!

Where Can I Buy Football Decal Stickers?

Football decal stickers are typically bought by the coach, who will reward his players. If you’re a coach looking to purchase these stickers, we recommend grabbing these off of Amazon. There are multiple types, from football to crossbones.

Also, check with your local sports provider, if you’re a football team they should have a connection to helmet stickers. The custom stickers can tend to be a little pricey, so be sure to choose the right stickers to give to your players, if you’re a coach.

Why Are Helmet Stickers Given Out?

The sticker system is reward-based. It’s a system that coaches devised as an incentive for their players. To start, helmet sticker criteria often has these following accolades attached:

  • Rushing/Receiving Touchdown – This sticker is pretty standard. Anytime a player reaches the end zone, give them a sticker. If you want to include quarterbacks into the occasion as well for the receiving touchdowns, that’s pretty common
  • Back Over 100 Yards – If a running back gets over 100 yards, give him a sticker. Teams also will give their starting lineman a sticker as well for their efforts.
  • Throwing For Over 150 Yards – If the quarterback throws for over 150 yards, a sticker is warranted. Also, the offensive line should be warranted for the protection
  • 10 Or More Tackles – If a defensive player has 10 or more tackles, whether it be assisted or unassisted.
  • Sacks – If a player sacks the opposing quarterback, they should get a sack sticker
  • Turnovers – Any turnovers, whether that be a fumble or interception turnover.
  • Defensive Touchdowns – If the defense scores a touchdown, all 11 players should get a touchdown
  • Pancake Blocks – If a player successfully puts a player on their back, a pancake block is successfully made.

We recommend if you’re a coach, create a list for players and they are able to strive toward that goal of obtaining these stickers for their helmet.

Conclusion

Stickers are worn on the helmet of college players as an accolade that they’ve earned an achievement within a previous game. Touchdowns, sacks, and even big hits are accolades that coaches give their players in the form of a helmet sticker.

These helmet stickers are often in the form of the team’s logo, but also can be created to say whatever the coach would like them to say.

Related Q & A

Are Stickers On The Helmet Illegal?

The stickers on the helmets are not illegal, however be sure to check with your league manager or athletic director to see if stickers can be applied to the helmet.

Who Was The First Team To Use Helmet Stickers?

The first noted team to use helmet decals were Rutgers University in 1961. Defensive back coach Dewey King gave players stickers on the helmet for interceptions earned.

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