I stumbled on this calendar nugget while researching the eBay Watch post on Tom Harmon and the #6 jersey. It was seventy years ago today, October 1, 1938, new Michigan coach Herbert ‘Fritz’ Crisler made his debut as head man for the Wolverines. That day at Michigan stadium Crisler also unveiled the maize and blue version of the famed winged helmet. More from the Bentley Library on the game:
…the new helmet made a successful debut in the 1938 season opener against Michigan State. The Wolverines defeated the Spartans 14-0 behind two touchdown runs by sophomore Paul Kromer to gain their first win over Michigan State in four years.
Whether the helmet helped the passing game is hard to say, Michigan completed four of eight attempts for 46 yards with no interceptions. The game certainly marked a change in Michigan’s football fortunes. The Michigan Alumnus commented, “Michigan has a fighting gridiron outfit once more; a team that knows how to do things and a burning desire-and considerable ability-to do what it wants.”
Oddly, none of the newspaper accounts of the game make mention of the new helmet.
So go out and celebrate the 70th anniversary of the famed headgear. Suggestion: Head over to Vinology, order a bottle of Bo Merlot served in a sweaty winged helmet.