We asked you to take our short survey about Helmet Bowl II and scores of you answered. Thank you. As we integrate your responses and comments into our planning for Helmet Bowl III, we want to share with you the results of the survey.
First, thank you for participating. We had a blast in Helmet Bowl II and Dickinson’s run to the Helmet Bowl II National Championship was amazing to witness. Thank you to the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, the runner up, and to the semi-finalists: The Maine Black Bears and the Southeastern Oklahoma Savage Storm and to all the college football staffs and fans who participated!
In our first question, we asked about your involvement in Helmet Bowl II. We weren’t surprised that most of you were involved throughout the entire contest. We were pleasantly surprised that nearly 30 percent of you who were not involved took the time to fill out our survey. We believe that means you are interested and will be involved for HB3 (see question 8 for confirmation). You grew participation dramatically between Helmet Bowl I and Helmet Bowl II and we believe Helmet Bowl III will draw a million votes.
Our second question asked about how often you engaged with Helmet Bowl II. The contest ran for about a month for the Conference play, then seven weeks for the National Championship with a break in between. We wanted to know how often you participated and a vast majority of you said you were involved more than once per week. Our idea was to allow you to vote daily to keep you engaged and make the contests more exciting. Your answers here show us that once you got involved with Helmet Bowl, you kept at it. Thank you.
For our third question we simply wanted to know who was involved. We targeted our publicity for Helmet Bowl I to Equipment Managers. These folks know football helmets. They set them up, maintain them, and make sure the players are properly equipped and ready for practice and the games. For HB2, we added more Sports Information Directors and Communications officials.
We loved that Equipment Managers responded and were joined by general college football fans. When the fans truly engage, Helmet Bowl will explode. We desire to have everyone interested in college football – those whose job it is to prepare a football team and play the game to those who pay to attend games and cheer. And, we heard from a bunch of college football players' moms, too. Thanks Moms!
Question Four may be compromised. Helmet Tracker, which sponsors and runs Helmet Tracker, frequently posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Our most active followers, by far, are on Twitter, so the answers to this question reflect that. In a distant second, many of those who engaged with the survey heard about it through our friends at the AEMA – the Athletic Equipment Management Association. We appreciate those at the AEMA who invited us into the Equipment Managers community and make us feel a part of it all. We've found EQMs to be generous, fun, and knowledgeable. Thank you for embracing Helmet Bowl!
We changed up the Conference play for Helmet Bowl II. As you know, we aim to include EVERY college football team helmet – every division, every conference, every team. When we started Helmet Bowl, we believed Conference Championships would be important and so they are. The first year we put all helmets in each conference in a pool and voters chose one per day. Helmets with the most votes at the end of the week gained points. After 10 weeks of that, we counted up the points and crowned Conference Champions.
When we polled you after Helmet Bowl I, we found out that 10 weeks was just too long for Conference play. We want to be responsive to our fans, so we changed the Conference play in Helmet Bowl II to a single elimination bracket in each college football Conference. What that meant, we knew, was that HALF of teams would be eliminated FOREVER every single week. Yikes.
Our favorite comment in the entire survey was posted in this question. It said: “Hard core. Execute or be executed.” We may incorporate that into our Helmet Bowl III marketing!
Your response to this question showed that more than 40 percent of you LOVED IT. We thought a double elimination conference tournament would be attractive to fans, yet only about 12 percent of respondents want to do this. Less want to revert to the Helmet Bowl I Conference format. We are thinking strongly of making the Conference contests remain one-on-one contests throughout the Conference play, yet making it double elimination to allow a team who loses early a chance to fight their way back. If you feel strongly about this, we'd love to hear from you.
Question six asked about the National Championship. We've kept the format the same for both years of Helmet Bowl. Conference Champions qualify for the National Championship, yet the bracket holds just 64 teams and we have about 80 Conference Champs. Therefore, we've been forced to eliminate the Conference Champions with the least amount of Conference contest votes.
Not nearly as many of you want to make the National Championship double elimination–and we understand that. The National Championship should be for all the marbles and the whole enchilada so allowing a loser to claw its way back goes against the idea.
From the comment section: “Perfect amount of teams. Gives all conference champs a shot, except for the small vote getters. Too many teams isn't good and too little isn't as much fun.”
However, about a third of the respondents want more teams involved. We can do this in, what we think, one of two ways. The first way is to expand the bracket out one level to start with 128 teams. That would mean nearly 50 teams who did not win their Conference Championship, but racked up votes, would have a chance at the National Championship. Hmmm. Don't like that very much because then the Conference Championship means little.
The second way is to have a one- or two-week play-in for those 15 or so Conference Champions who have small conference vote totals to battle through the first week of the National Championship while the top 64 Conference Champions receive what amounts to a bye week or two. That way EVERY Conference Champ gets a chance at the National Championship. We are considering this option.
This may be the most difficult question to address. Well more than half of you said the timing of each round of the National Championship lasted too long. Hmmm. We wanted to give continuity to each round so we started each on Mondays. That way everyone knew that Monday would be the beginning of one and the ending of each round. No one would have to think about it much.
Yet we get it. Again, we have a couple different ways to address this. We can keep the voting to three or four days, but keep the rounds starting on the same day of the week. In this scenario, we'd open voting for a round on, say, Thursday and run it through Monday when we'd close voting. The next round would start on that Thursday and run through Monday again. The other way to to address it is to make every round three or four days and simply run them back to back. Round 1 would run three days and at the end Round 2 would immediately start and run for three days and on and on.
About 90 percent of you said you planned to be involved daily or at least weekly for Helmet Bowl III! Thank you! That's wonderful. We look forward to it so much that we cannot believe it is six or seven months away!
When we are in the thick of Helmet Bowl, we are posting on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook EVERY DAY. Some have accused us of begging for votes, but most every social media post gets some level of positive engagement. We wanted to know what avenue you wanted us to use and Twitter lead voting, followed by Instgram. Makes sense. We will continue to use Twitter, Instagram, and FB.
Not sure how we would text you unless voters were willing to register their phone numbers with us–not likely.
This question we saved for last, like a good desert. We threw out a dozen ideas of how to improve Helmet Bowl and you responded! Thank you. The largest vote-getter was to make the rounds shorter (see our discussion above). We will address this as best we can.
We also heard from you that you'd like better prizes. Equipment Managers for Conference Champions in Helmet Bowl II were sent a mini Helmet Bowl Conference Champion helmet. For Helmet Bowl I there were presented a cool certificate, which many framed and displayed.
National Champions are presented a custom helmet. Helmet Bowl I National Champion Gallaudet Bison were presented a helmet constructed by Vicis. For Helmet Bowl II, Schutt volunteered to chrome and personalize the helmet trophy.
We agree-we'd like to offer better (whatever that means) prizes. Maybe it means more. We don't charge anything for Helmet Bowl, so we land sponsorships so that the cost of running the contest can be absorbed and prizes can be purchased and distributed. It'd be cool to have T-shirts and stickers made for each Conference Champion equipment room staff, every qualified National Champion bracket team, semi-finalists, runners-up, and the champion. We are pursing sponsorships who would be willing to pony up the funds to create more prizes. Ideas? Send them our way.
We also see that you'd like a panel of experts to comment on the contest and for us to introduce more equipment managers. We will address both of these, as we are able, for Helmet Bowl III. Again, it comes down to sponsorships and funds to expand.
In the end, we come back to the beginning – thank you! We created Helmet Bowl because we love football helmets and wanted to engage others who did too. We want to give the opportunity to every college to compete for this National Championship and have everyone have a hand in deciding which is the best. Helmet Bowl is the Greatest College Football Helmet Contest Ever and you've made it that. See you in a few months for Helmet Bowl III!