In Photos: Illinois football reveals alternate helmet designs in honor of Memorial Stadium’s 100th anniversary 

Illinois has revealed three throwback helmet designs
Illinois has revealed three throwback helmet designs

The Illinois Fighting Illini have revealed a set of alternate helmet designs that will be worn during the 2024 season.

The three designs are being used to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Memorial Stadium, the home stadium of the Fighting Illini.

The Three Helmet Designs Explained

#1 Four Stars

Source (@IlliniFootball)
Source (@IlliniFootball)

This is the oldest design of the three being used. This design was used between 1962-1968 and features four black stars. Underneath those stars, the players' number is featured on the helmet.

This helmet design is mostly linked to the time when NFL legendary center Dick Butkus was playing for Illinois.

During the time Butkus was involved with the team, he was an instrumental part in their success, helping them win the 1963 Big Ten Conference and the 1964 Rose Bowl against the Washington Huskies

#2 Arched

Source (@IlliniFootball)
Source (@IlliniFootball)

A few years after abandoning the four-star design, the Fighting Illini introduced a new design, which stayed with the team for nearly 20 years. Introduced in 1971, this helmet design featured the Illini name written large and arched on the helmet.

This design's most successful season was in 1983. During that year, the Fighting Illini were led by head coach Mike White. His first three seasons with Illinois were somewhat disappointing, but it would be the fourth time's the charm for White, in what would become a historic season.

Illinois won the Big Ten Conference that year and went unbeaten in conference play, going 9-0. This feat would not be achieved again until 2017, when the Wisconsin Badgers did it.

However, the strong form would not be able to be converted into a national championship win. The Fighting Illini were demolished 40-9 in the Rose Bowl against unranked UCLA. Interestingly, this game also introduced the world to what became known as "The Wave."

#3 Underlined

Source (@IlliniFootball)
Source (@IlliniFootball)

The final historical helmet design that Illinois will be using this season is the "Underlined white design." This helmet replaced the Arched design in 1987 and was used up until 2005.

In the design, the word Illinois is written in a font and underlined in a style that is reminiscent of the New York Giants' word mark design.

With this helmet on, the Fighting Illini were able to win two Big Ten championships, first in 1990, and then in 2001. However, they were unable to convert their championship win into a bowl game victory as they were defeated in both.

Apart from those two seasons (and a 2nd place finish in 1989), the Fighting Illini struggled to perform well with this helmet.

The same can be said with their current helmet design, where the program has struggled to keep up in a very competitive Big Ten Conference.

At the moment, we do not know which games each helmet design will be used in.

Which alternative helmet design is your favorite?

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