Since the 1960’s, Nebraska has kept a very consistent football helmet design. They have always had a very conservative design; they have never had a flashy or unusual design, even for a special occasion like a Bowl Game. In 1960, Nebraska had a red helmet with a white stripe and the player’s number on the side (e.g. 22). In 1961, apparently the powers that be felt that even that design was too colorful and action-packed and instead opted for a white helmet with black numbers on the side. This Nebraska football helmet design is about as plain as you can get for a football helmet. In 1966, the numbers changed to red and a red vertical stripe appeared on the helmet for the first time. The white background and red stripe have never left the helmet since then.
The red numbers lasted just one regular season before they were dropped altogether. Rather than have the player’s number on the side of the helmet, the letters “NU”, made their way to the helmet for the Sugar Bowl game in 1967 and remained for 2 full seasons. During the third season with this helmet design (1969), a “100” decal appeared on the front of the football helmet. It was football-shaped in blue with white numbers outlined in red. The “100” marked the 100 year anniversary of the chartering of University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
From 1970 to 1981, the Cornhuskers kept the exact same design. The helmet had a white background, a red vertical stripe, and the letter “N” replaced “NU”. This football helmet looks very much like today’s design with one exception. In 1982, the team switched from the basic gray facemask to the red facemask. For almost 30 years, that same exact design has remained. The “N” is about as plain as you can get. It has no serifs and looks like your basic Arial font uppercase “N” that you could type on any word processing program. It probably fits well into the image of the program as a hard-working, Midwestern school, where they like to run the ball up the middle. In many ways it is the antithesis of some of the flashier designs out there at schools like Oregon, Maryland, and Boise State. There is not even a catchy logo like the Texas Longhorn or the Florida State spear. Looking at this football helmet, you can start to see why the cold weather, Rust Belt schools of the Big Ten were quick to admit the Cornhuskers for full conference membership in 2010.