There’s always been something of a debate among football fans in the United States: at the end of the day, is college football more popular than the National Football League? While the latter absolutely takes in tens of millions more in revenue each year, few NFL teams garner the same level of passion and fervor that the college teams do.
For this list, however, one intrepid designer decided to provide an alternative answer to the aforementioned question: how about combining the helmets and color schemes of NFL teams with famous local Universities?
After all, if you can’t have just one or the other, why not try to have both?
We’re willing to wager that you could wander around large parts of Arizona and not find any Cardinals (ie, the actual birds themselves). So lending the colors of the Arizona State Sun Devils to the once transplanted franchise from St. Louis can’t exactly hurt here.
Plus, it’s not really much of a color change anyway, except for the white being replaced by the yellow. Of course, the new color scheme makes the Cardinal on the helmet look much more like another desert-dwelling bird: the Roadrunner.
Fans who grew up watching the NFL before the late 1980’s/early 1990’s will remember the old Atlanta Falcons helmet, with a “reverse” color scheme than what they have today: the red helmets with the black bird.
So if we take that concept, and combine it with what’s easily the most beloved football team in the state of Georgia (the University of Georgia Bulldogs), then this helmet combination absolutely works… and could maybe attract a few more college football fans towards the NFL in the Peach State.
It’s no secret that while the majority of football fans in the state of Maryland were fans of the Washington Redskins in years past, the current corruption and ineptness of the Dan Snyder era has pushed a lot of fans on the Maryland side of the the greater Washington, DC-area to root for the other “local” football team in the Baltimore Ravens.
The numerous alumni of the University of Maryland remain very proud of their alma mater’s sports program, even if the football team hasn’t been very good.
The joining of these two helmets is almost too easy. In terms of the professional football team, a contest was held in 1948 to rename the AAFC Bisons, which was owned by James Breuil of the Frontier Oil Company. The winning entry suggested “Bills”, reflecting on the famous western frontiersman, “Buffalo” Bill Cody.
Combining Buffalo Cody’s name with the mascot of the local University of Buffalo football team, who happens to be known as the “Bulls,” is just too easy. If there was a way we could incorporate a little bit of the Bills’ red accent in this, it’d be even better.
Carolina Panthers (Gamecocks)
About 93 miles separate Charlotte, North Carolina from Columbia, South Carolina. But because the Panthers are seemingly the professional football team of both the Carolinas, they get merged with the Gamecocks here.
It’s certainly an interesting combination, to say the least, considering a Panther is very different from a a rooster bred and trained for cockfighting, and the only thing that the color schemes have in common is the foundational black color.
Carolina Panthers (UNC)
Now, this is a combination that works so much better for the Carolina Panthers. Even if Chapel Hill is a few hours away from Charlotte, this blended color scheme works very nicely.
The Tar Heels’ iconic powder blue color blends well with the blue in the color scheme of the Panthers, and the white brings out a nice contrast from the silver and black colors that are usually spotted on the Panthers’ uniforms.
Of all the great institutions of higher learning in the Windy City, it’s interesting that the chosen University here would be DePaul University — the private, Roman Catholic school founded before the turn of the 20th century.
But at the end of the day, the “Blue Demons” of DePaul are still blue, so applying the color scheme to the Bears will work — even if the shades of blue and red vary from Chicago’s signature navy blue and orange.
Blending together the professional and collegiate sports mascots of Cincinnati works almost too well, mostly on account of the fact that both mascots are cats of prey.
The University of Cincinnati Bearcats don’t have nearly as intricate of a design on their helmet, and lending their black and red colors to the Cincinnati Bengals both works well considering the Bengals already have black on their helmet, and the red accent makes them look even more intimidating.
Just as the Buckeyes refer to themselves a “THE Ohio State University,” there are those in Cleveland who’ll tell you that the Browns are “THE” professional football team of the state of Ohio (even if the folks in Cincinnati would object).
Regardless of how you feel about that statement, the question has to be asked: is this really a color scheme mashup? If you showed anyone this helmet, they’d think it was just the Buckeyes’ regular helmet. Why didn’t they try to pay homage to the old Cleveland Browns’ helmet, with the numbers on the helmet — like the one worn by Jim Brown?
Dallas Cowboys (Texas)
With all due respect to any other city in the state of Texas, only Dallas would get the honor of combining the legendary Dallas Cowboys color scheme with that of the beloved University of Texas Longhorns.
Sure, it’s a pretty simple swap, considering you’re just replacing the steer on the side of the helmet with the Cowboys star. But even if the star is orange, it’s still a great homage to two of the most beloved teams in the state.
Dallas Cowboys (TCU)
if you ever want to get a “man’s man” from the state of Texas to wear purple, show them this color scheme combination, using Texas Christian University (TCU) and the Dallas Cowboys.
The phrase “less is more” definitely applies here: they simply took TCU’s helmet, removed the school’s acronym off the side, and replaced it with the star of the Cowboys. It communicates the message, and it looks cool. Well done.
If nothing else, fans who love nature would definitely want to attend a home game of this “Frankenstein” football team, because you could be looking at two of the most beautiful locales this country has to offer. With the backdrop of the Rockies, Denver and Boulder, Colorado are absolutely gorgeous when it comes to natural scenery.
Now, this helmet on the other hand? It’s a bit of an eyesore. The Buffs don’t exactly have an appealing helmet to start off with, and this combination ruins the sleek blue and orange color scheme of the Denver Broncos.
If the Detroit Lions were to swap the Honolulu Blue and silver in favor of the iconic maize and (classic) blue donned by the University of Michigan Wolverines, you’d hardly find anyone in the state — outside of those folks in and around East Lansing, maybe — who would disagree with such a color change.
Plus, it’s not exactly like the Lions have a storied history that they’d be giving up when changing their colors. While the Wolverines have had something of a drought, in terms of on-field football success, they’ve still enjoyed a lot more success than the Lions, who are one of the few NFL teams to never play in a Super Bowl.
Green Bay Packers
In some circles, it would be considered absolute heresy to do anything to the green and gold color scheme of the Green Bay Packers. But to football fans in Wisconsin, this might be something akin to “blending the best of both worlds.”
The University of Wisconsin Badgers share almost the same level of football zealotry as the Packers, so while changing the color scheme for one of the most iconic franchises in the NFL might seem ridiculous, they might very well allow it.
Fun trivia fact for anyone who doesn’t know: an Aggie — the mascot for Texas A&M — is nothing more than a student at Texas A&M. In the early 1900’s, Texas A&M students were referred to as “Farmers,” which still remains one of the most common occupations for old school residents of Texas.
While there are some people in the state who’d argue any college-NFL helmet for the state of Texas should be burnt orange, there’s nice symmetry here.
Peyton Manning might’ve helped the popularity of the Indianapolis Colts skyrocket among the citizens of the Hoosier state, but make no mistake: the great state of Indiana’s pride and joy remains the state University.
Few mascots in the nation are as synonymous with their state overall like the Indiana Hoosiers. Given that the Colts have been in town only since the early 1980’s (after relocating from Baltimore), there shouldn’t be much of a problem with them donning the Hoosier red.
Just about 75 miles separates Gainesville, Florida from Duval County, the beloved home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. So, it’s only natural that we try and find a hybrid for the Gators and Duval’s finest, considering the majority of the people in that area probably spend their weekends watching the Gators on Saturday and the Jaguars on Sunday.
Then again, the latter team doesn’t get nearly the same level of fan attendance at the game as the former team, so maybe blending the two helmets together could help out with that?
Kansas City Chiefs
If you want to look at a College and Professional football team combination that totally misses the mark, this one could very well be the headliner. For one, the University of Kansas is in Kansas, and the Kansas City Chiefs play in Missouri.
Secondly, the basketball-crazy Kansas Jayhawks might have a hint of crimson in their (mostly overlooked) football helmets, it still not enough to work with the red and white color scheme that’s so synonymous with the Chiefs.
Los Angeles Chargers
When the Chargers played in San Diego, especially back in the early days, their powder blue uniforms with the yellow accents was an instant classic, and still one of the best throwback uniforms today.
And now that the Chargers have moved to Los Angeles, there’s a nice symmetry in tying together their colors with that of the University of California, Los Angeles — better known to most as “UCLA.” While the blue and the gold of the Bruins aren’t a perfect match to the Chargers’ colors, they’re pretty darn close.
Los Angeles Rams
Until the Los Angeles Rams have a fancy new stadium of their own to play in, upon their return to Los Angeles in 2017, the Rams will be co-inhabiting the LA Memorial Coliseum.
But as any sports fan in Southern California is well aware, the LA Memorial Coliseum is home to the University of Southern California Trojans. The colors of these two teams blend nicely here, given the yellow accent that’s already on the USC helmet, and the yellow “ram’s horn” that’s on the pro team’s helmet.
If you walked the streets of South Beach in the months and years since the retirement of Dan Marino, residents of Miami will all tell you the same thing: the University of Miami Hurricanes are the only football team the locals care about.
In other words, it’s been two decades of mediocrity and oblivion for Miami football, as they continue to try and find relevance since the retirement of Don Shula. While the Hurricanes are no longer the dominant force that they were in the 2000’s, they’re still the most beloved team in town.
It’s hard to find two more diametrically opposing mascots on this list, in comparison to blending the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Minnesota Vikings. And yet, this color combination seems to grow on you, the more you look at this blend.
The off-red color isn’t that far a departure from the Vikings’ iconic purple color, and painting the horns yellow is barely noticeable anyway.
New England Patriots
If we’re picking nits, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts — where Boston College is located — is actually about 6 miles outside of the borders of the city of Boston.
So, that’s one of the reasons this color scheme doesn’t seem to land as well; that, and the fact that the New England Patriots appropriately have a red, white, and blue color scheme. In this case, maybe they just didn’t want to combine it with Boston University or Harvard University?
New Orleans Saints
Frankly speaking, never has gold, black, purple, and yellow looked so good. You can bet that’s the sentiment you’d hear from the football-crazy residents of the state of Louisiana.
While those folks absolutely adore their New Orleans Saints, like many states in the heart of SEC country, the LSU Tigers represent the pulse of football down there. But this combination looks so dang good that you might be able to have the two teams earn even fandom.
New York Giants
There are two levels of irony in combining St. John’s University with the New York Giants, as shown here. For one, the Giants have always had the nickname “Big Blue,” and in his new color schematic, there’s very little blue to be found.
The other is that the New York Giants play at MetLife Stadium, which is located in New Jersey. Conversely, the famous Catholic University — revered for its history as a basketball school — is located in Queens.
New York Jets
Most people rightfully associate the Jets with the city of New York, even though their home stadium has been located in East Rutherford, New Jersey for many many years (which leads to the fact that a ton of Jets fans also live in the Garden State).
Similarly, most people are rather aware of Rutgers University, but few people realize the school’s official name is “Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.” That’s why bringing these two together, even if it dilutes the “Gang Green” color, still works.
At least while the Oakland Raiders continue to call the Northern California area home, it’s acceptable to blend them with the color scheme of the University of California, Berkeley… even if you’re besmirching the hallowed silver and black colors of the Raiders.
It’s certainly been forever since the Raiders won a Super Bowl, but for those who are counting, it’s been much, much longer since the Golden Bears won a championship — their last one came in 1937.
Even though the school is much more widely known for its basketball program (especially as of late), Villanova University — located on the outskirts of Philadelphia — does have a football team. In fact, you can count Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long among the program’s alumni.
So, while it might look funny to change the Kelly Green and gray colors of the Eagles, in this case, it could still work — especially if you ask another former Villanova football alumni who played in the NFL: longtime Eagles’ running back Brian Westbrook.
In the grand scheme of “football in the Steel City,” there’s just no question that the University of Pittsburgh Panthers take the backseat to the beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.
That city absolutely lives and dies with the Steelers (as well as all of its professional sports teams). Perhaps combining the two color schemes would be a good way to bring greater relevance to the Panthers? We’re guessing probably not.
A perfect pairing for fans of football in the greater Seattle area. The University of Washington is located about only five miles away from CenturyLink Field (home of the Seattle Seahawks).
So while this geographic proximity makes it easier for said folks to set up tailgates for college football on Saturday and NFL football on Sunday, the next best thing would be to combine the two teams into one, and enjoy double the tailgating.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s always been seen as a silly debate, for long periods of time in the 1980’s and 1990’s, you could have an interesting debate as to whether the Florida State Seminoles football teams under Bobby Bowden were actually better than the some of the god awful Tampa Bay Buccaneers teams of that (pre-Tony Dungy) era.
The only question here is whether the garnet and gold is worth using on the new flag-bearing helmet that the Buccaneers currently don, or whether the Seminoles colors would’ve been better served replacing the old “orange creamsicle” color scheme for the Buccaneers.
Tennessee Titans (Volunteers)
Even though the sports fans in Nashville, and most of Tennessee as a whole, have adopted the Titans as their own, the truth is that the team is a transplant of the old Houston Oilers. In fact, for three seasons, the team was named the “Tennessee Oilers,” even though you’d be hard-pressed to find any oil or oil fiends in Tennessee.
But if there was ever a way to further endear this team to the majority of sports fans in the state, it would be by changing their colors to the iconic orange and white, as selected by Charles Moore — a member of the very first Tennessee football team, way back in the 19th century.
Tennessee Titans (Vanderbilt)
In many ways, Vanderbilt University football is like the Tennessee Titans. Every few years, they’ll make a little noise that puts them back on the national radar; otherwise, they usually tend to fly below or off said radar.
Every few years, both teams will have a player who starts to get national attention; but otherwise, the teams are built with the total being greater than the sum of the individual parts. Of course, the major difference here is that Vanderbilt is one of the finest educational institutions in the country.
For fans who are used to seeing the usual Burgundy and gold combination for the professional football team in our nation’s capital, this new color combination is somewhat jarring. It’s also a little ironic, considering Georgetown University, located right on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., doesn’t have a football program of note.
But at the end of the day, however, this new combination of colors doesn’t do anything to quell the sentiment that the chosen name of the team has racist overtones against Native Americans.