We're the last to report this, but yes, the Gophers will have new uniforms next year. For those of you who use Facebook and/or Twitter, you've probably been recieving the updates daily over the past week. I find it interesting that the Gophers are using this "modern" form of multimedia to commicate with fans, or is attempting to communicate with a younger generation of fans which the team sorely needs. I'll get into the disconnect between the younger fans (teens to 40) and the football later in another discussion. The darker matte finish w/ black mask are the biggest changes between this year, and last year's helmet. Gone are the sparkles and glitter that somewhat epitomised Brewster's grand promises of gridiron glory for the maroon & gold. The rough, bold, matte exterior definately fits Coach Kill's personality better.
I have to say, I'm not at all a fan of the black facemaks. I know that black as one of the primary uniform colors in sports (not just college football) has been around for at least 15 years. I'm much more of a traditionalist and would prefer a maroon, gold, or gray mask.
The M decal on the side of the helmet appears identical the ones used the past few season.
I do like the new block M on the front bumper better than the tradional Gophers which we've used for years.
The Ski-U-Mah on the back bumper is a nice touch as well. The bumpers on both front and back are black, which darkens the helmet (which I don't care for) and matches the facemask, and chinstrap.
The chinstrap is a minor detail, but we've used both maroon and white chinstraps in recent years, both usually w/ maroon cups for the chin. Chinstraps vary greatly as do facemask styles based on player preference.
The US flag decal on the back of the helmet remains the same, although the Minnesota outline decal will be missed. I thought the Minnesota decal was a nice touch and something they should have kept.
Also gone, at least for now is the Big Ten flag on the back. I'll be surprised if a B1G decal isn't used during the season, although Minnesota hasn't used Big Ten or B1G on their front bumper like a number of Big Ten teams have over the past ten or so years.
The addition numbers on the back of the helmet is an obvious change. We haven't used helmet numbers in years and I like this change. The font is interesting and a more than a few people have been guessing that font will also be used on the jerseys. We'll find out soon enough.
If I were to give the helmet a number rating, I'd give it a 7 out of 10. I do prefer the more maroon matte finish and I really like the block M on the front bumper along w/ the Ski-U-Mah on the rear bumper. The black on the facemask, chinstrap, and bumpers could go IMO. We have plenty of maroon on the helmet, now how about the gold? I've always beena big fan of award stickers. I don't think Kill would ever use then, but small state of MN stickers (just like the ones we had last year, but on a smaller scale), block M, or Goldy faces would be good ideas. Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan State, and Ohio State all used award decals last season and have used them for years off and on. I'd like to see them make a come back. Michigan used them for a long time and Minnesota used them during a few different periods (Sandy Stephens and Marion Barber II both had star awards on their helmets and our very own Antonio Carter has football awards w/ the block M inside). Indiana and Illinois have used award decals during a few different periods as well.