Why Are There Stickers On The Helmets Of College Football Players

By Alex Mercer

January 25, 2019

Football players often have two types of stickers on their helmets: their logo and another type of small sticker. These small stickers represent something special to that specific team. How do players earn stickers on their helmets?

Teams often have criteria by which players can earn stickers. Touchdowns, gaining yards (running or receiving), or impact plays are often why 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 their helmets’ backs, tops, or sides.

What The Helmet Stickers Mean

Players use 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 milestones by 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 its accolades. If they used bigger, rounder stickers, players would flood a helmet with stickers. These stickers are often earned through great play on the field and 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 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 closely related to their team/mascot, such as the bones and the buckeye leaves.

However, for 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 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?

Oftentimes, 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, has not used stickers on helmet, mostly because of their strict uniform policy. Don’t expect to see it anytime soon unless they allow the stickers to be universal or team-specific!

See Our Complete List Of Helpful Football Articles Here

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 them from 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 have the following accolades attached:

  • Rushing/Receiving Touchdown – This sticker is pretty standard. Anytime a player reaches the end zone, give them a sticker. If you also want to include quarterbacks in the occasion for the receiving touchdowns, that’s pretty common.
  • Back Over 100 Yards – Give him a sticker if a running back gets over 100 yards. Teams will also give their starting lineman a sticker 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 can strive toward that goal of obtaining these stickers for their helmets.


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 and 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 was Rutgers University in 1961. Defensive back coach Dewey King gave players stickers on the helmet for interceptions earned.

About the author

Hey There! My Name is Alex and I run Get Hyped Sports. I created this platform to help people find their love for sports and gaming.

Our work has been featured on platforms like Mashable.com, SVG.com, and XXL.com.

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