Oklahoma football: Where does OU’s classic crimson helmet rank among the best?

Jul 14, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; A view of the Oklahoma Sooners helmet logo during the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 14, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; A view of the Oklahoma Sooners helmet logo during the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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In an era when helmet and uniform design has become a fashion statement, the classic crimson Oklahoma football helmet has weathered the storm.

The Sooners have worn versions of its current crimson helmet since the 1966 season. While other schools have been mixing and matching alternate uniform and helmet designs with some regularity for well over a decade, Oklahoma was considered a late adopter to the current craze.

The University of Oregon is believed to be the trend setter in this regard, courtesy of big contributor, Oregon-based Nike. The Ducks have multiple uniform and helmet designs featuring multiple helmet color combinations of green, yellow, chrome, white and black.

Oklahoma joined the party — albeit somewhat reluctantly — in 2014 when it introduced the “Bring the Wood” alternate uniforms, featuring a wood-grained design element symbolic of the school’s storied football history and the heritage of the state of Oklahoma. This set of alternate uniforms, officially called “The Rough Rider” after the name of the team in its very early years, were designed by Nike.

This past weekend, tied in with a special celebration in honor of former Sooner football star Prentice Gautt, the first African American player to play football at Oklahoma, the team revealed a new “Unity” alternate uniform featuring the color anthracite trimmed in crimson with crimson numbering and lettering.

But nothing replaces the classic crimson jersey and white pants with the double crimson outer leg stripe worn at home and the all-white road uniforms, both with the iconic crimson helmet with the interlocking school logo.

The sports website 247Sports a year ago ranked the top 25 helmets in college football. Oklahoma’s classic crimson helmet comes in a No. 19 in this ranking. 247Sports staff writer Matt Howe acknowledged that the ranking was highly subjective, but there is no debating the relevance, history and popularity of the team helmets listed in the ranking.

Spoiler alert: Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame Miami (Florida) and Alabama are the top five in the 247Sports ranking.

Newarena.com, a sports, entertainment and pop culture website, recently published its own ranking of the best helmets in college football. The Oklahoma crimson helmet is No. 14 in this ranking. The text that accompanies the OU listing reads, in part:

“Oklahoma’s crimson helmet is iconic. Team’s with a rich history of success often sport a uniform that is regarded as a classic, and Oklahoma’s in no exception. While the helmet is rather simple, it is undeniably effective.”