Georgia Tech has been playing football since at least 1895 when it was a founding member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Now a proud member of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division, very few other teams have had the historical success of Georgia Tech football. They have won four national titles dating back to 1917 and as recent as 1990, 15 conference titles and won the four most historic bowls (Rose, Orange, Sugar, Cotton). They have put an enormous number of players and coaches into the NFL. They play in the oldest on campus stadium in Division 1 FBS, and this nostalgia and since of history is clearly reflective in the conservative styling of their football helmet. Looking back to the 1960s when modern era helmets came into being, the team has had some remarkably consistent football helmet designs, and has never used any outlandish helmet variations, even for 1 or 2 games, unlike some of programs such as Boise State, Maryland or their rival, Georgia.
The early 1960’s football helmet for Georgia Tech was simply a gold helmet with a gray facemask. Sometime in the mid-1960’s, the team switched to a white football helmet with gold and black vertical stripes stretching from the top of the facemask to the back of the helmet. It was not until 1967 that the team added the now familiar “GT” logo with the G feeding into the upper horizontal piece of the T. The logo has remained basically unchanged since then. The team initially used the gold background and black and white stripes; this briefly switched to a white helmet from 1969 to 1971 and has been brought back at least once as a throwback helmet.
Around the mid-70’s, Georgia Tech football helmets no longer had the white and black vertical stripes and that has basically remained that way ever since then. In the late 70′, a minor change was made to the facemask making it a very dark blue instead of the basic gray mask. There was also a period in 1984 where the logo was removed from the football helmet for some games, and it was simply a gold helmet like you might see at Notre Dame with no logo (or Boston College minus the stripes). The only other major change of note was in 2008 when the gold background that has been around for about 50 years was switched to a yellow background. This gold contrasted against the dark blue facemask, looked very crisp and catchy. It changed the look and feel somewhat, and some argue, brought them a slightly more modern look. However, old habits are apparently tough to change as the gold background returned in 2009 and has been the same ever sense. Whether or not the next 50 years will be the same as the last 50 in terms of conservative helmet design, is yet to be seen. If having more modern football helmets becomes a competitive strength and recruiting tool for programs like Oregon and Boise State, it may be something to reconsider. For now, however, the helmet’s logo, colors and design, is likely to remain the familiar one.