And now there are two.
Helmet Bowl II began with nearly 800 helmets from every college, every conference, every division. No glib guys in a television studio decided who participated. We put everyone in!
Then, you voted. You voted hundreds of thousands of times. You decided the best helmet in each conference. You decided which helmets deserved to participate in the National Championship bracket of 64.
And now, you and your votes have decided the top two college football helmets and you and your votes over the next few days will determine the Helmet Bowl II National Champion.
Here’s how they each got here.
Dickinson Red Devils
Another DIII school competes for the Championship. Last year Gallaudet University came out of nowhere with a fine helmet to win Helmet Bowl I. This year, Dickinson submitted this stunning and attractive helmet and it caught the attention of helmet afficiandos immediately. But would they gather the votes? No question.
How’d they do it? If they have a secret weapon, it’s Robyn Porter.
“I’m the biggest cheerleader for the team,” she says.
Porter’s son, Jack, a sophomore, plays receiver for the Red Devils. The parent group has been active in supporting the team—making sure the players and coaches are well fed after every game, providing encouragement—you know, the normal sports-parents thing.
Recruiting Tool: Parents
But this is not normal. Not at Dickinson.
“The parents group is one of the things that really drew our attention to Dickinson,” Robyn says. “One of the things we really admired about the football program was the parent involvement – and their dedication and dedication to the football team.”
Parents as a recruiting tool? Yup.
Robyn and others want to add something else to that recruiting toolbox: A National Championship.
“The parent group got behind the voting thing as a way to contribute to the whole program,” Robyn says. “Another Mom posted something on Facebook early in the Conference contests and it caught our attention.
Helmet Bowl Excitment
“Then we did well and continued to do well and it built excitement,” she said. “We don’t do anything half-heartedly.”
Robyn sends emails (which she declined to share with Helmet Tracker “We are uncomfortable sharing the emails.”), posts on Twitter and Facebook, and shoots texts to the football team members’ parents, families, and any fans she can find.
Players, Parents, Alumni
“The players are aware of it, for sure. At first it was, ‘What are you doing, Mom?’ But now they are feeling the energy.”
She shares the vanguard with other football Moms and points out that Dickinson includes Helmet Bowl information in its daily newsletter and on social media.
“Weirdly and wonderfully I’ve found several Dickinson graduates and the alumni are getting into it, too,” Robyn says. “People are really motivated!”
Vote for the Red Devils here: Helmet Bowl II National Championship.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Do not pluralize Hurricane.
We learned that early on. One hurricane can do more than enough damage, we suppose. But will it generate enough energy for Tulsa?
“We are excited,” said Anthony Fortier, with the Tulsa Equipment team.
Anthony was a finalist in Helmet Tracker’s Athletic Equipment Management Association Certification Scholarship program in 2018. You can read his story here.
We ask him about being in the championship and he sounds like he’s taken that graduate course in talking to the media – you know, the one-game-at-a-time, all-credit-to-those-guys-in-the-other-locker-room, we-just-focus-on-giving-it-our-best stuff.
“We are just happy to be here” he says, then hesitates. “Yes, we want to win.”
When the equipment team plugged into Helmet Bowl a year ago, it was late in the contest and probably too late to make a play at winning, Anthony said. But this year, at the AEMA Convention in Phoenix, the team talked about it and made a decision. A decision that has paid off.
“Let’s do it this year and try to be successful” the team agreed. The Hurricane ran through the conference, then were entered into the National bracket of 64.
“The conference tournament gave us a lot of confidence,” Anthony said. “We were a bit unsure at first, then we started winning by such high margins we thought maybe we can win this thing.”
Any secrets to the success? Anthony spreads the honors around.
“Lots of people have helped to promote it—the coaches, the players, and the entire Hurricane Nation!
“To be successful, you’ve got to get people to vote every day. Consistency is the key,” he said.
He and the Equipment team, the football team, and others get the word out daily. The families of the football players, friends, and fans participate.
“People think Tulsa s a small place, but it’s not – there’s over 1 million people in the county.”
That black Tulsa helmet
And, that black helmet with the hurricane warning flags, wow! The Equipment team has been advocating for the helmet to be added to the traditional gold dome with the cursive Tulsa on the side, and its white counterpart, but it took about three years before it was introduced this past season.
“The players love it, they freaked out. It got good fan reaction, too,” Anthony said. “We have to thank Kyle Grooms, Director of Football Operations, all the coaches, and Sam Lazarus, Digital Marketing Director, who took the helmet photo.”
Championship in Sight
So, a few days left. Runner up or Champion?
“It’s all on the line right now. Not only are all the students on vacation, but the athletic department is in and out. We can still text and shoot messages online.”
“A National Championship it will mean a lot for the university, and additionally gives the equipment staff some props. We are getting the word out about Tulsa.
“We’ve got a little left in the tank,” he says. “I think we’ve got a shot at it.”
Vote for the Golden Hurricane here: Helmet Bowl II National Championship.
Red Devil Path
Round 1 – Bye
Round 2 – defeated McDaniel Green Terror, 80.1% – 19.9%
Round 3 – defeated Moravian Greyhounds, 66.7% – 33.3%
Conference Championship – defeated Johns Hopkins Blue Jays, 66.6% – 33.3%J
Helmet Bowl II National Championship
Round 1 – defeated Tufts Jumbos, 59.8% – 40.2%
Round 2 – defeated Misericordia Cougars, 64.4% – 35.6%
Round 3 – defeated Kentucky Christian Knights, 50.3% – 49.7%
Round 4 – defeated Lafayette Leopards, 55.9% – 41.1%
Semi-final – defeated the Maine Black Bears, 63.5% – 36.5%
Golden Hurricane Path
American Athletic Conference
Round 1 – defeated East Carolina Pirates, 76.7% – 23.3%
Round 2 – defeated Southern Methodist Mustangs, 72.9% – 27.1%
Round 3 – defeated South Florida Bulls, 75.6% – 24.4%
Conference Championship – Navy Midshipmen, 66.2% – 33.8%
Helmet Bowl II National Championship
Round 1 – defeated Mississippi State Delta Devils, 69% – 31%
Round 2 – defeated Liberty Flames, 60.7% – 39.3%
Round 3 – defeated Howard Payne Yellow Jackets, 50.8% – 49.2%
Round 4 – defeated Florida A&M Rattlers, 50.2% – 49.8%
Semi-final – defeated the Southeastern Oklahoma Savage Storm 50.2% – 49.8%