While I was with Dr. Sap visiting Capitol Varsity Sports last month we stubbed our collective toe on something.   After we witnessed Russ Hawkins execute the helmet painting process A to Z, our hosts mentioned a unique twist to the U-M helmet they made in 2012.  As prescribed by the athletic department, they added gold flakes into the maize paint…and showed us an example:

Photo Jul 12, 11 34 48 AM

Say what?  So then there was the question:  Did the team wear helmets with gold flakes nestled in the maize last season?  

Before checking with #1000SSS, I asked around and couldn’t find anyone aware of the change or a release talking about the flakes.*   I checked out some close-ups of photos and didn’t really notice anything.  Sap found one U-M collector, Dan Oles, who got his hands on a 2012 helmet that indeed had the flakes.  Oles wrote to Sap, “I contacted a few players via twitter asking if the regular season helmets had maize glitter paint. They all confirmed that they did.”  Oles even shot a note to Jon Falk who confirmed the change.

Fast forward to today.  I verified with media relations & with Falk that indeed the team had the bedazzled headgear in 2012.  The change to the paint was announced as part of the Cowboy Classic uniform reveal…but the news release didn’t call out the gold flakes:

Michigan will be utilizing a new paint technology on the maize wings on the helmet in order to better highlight the most recognizable helmet in college football and create a more durable surface.

Those highlights included the shiny flecks.  (My understanding is it’s not real gold a la Notre Dame).  I also confirmed they’ve got the same look on the helmets this year as well.  Here’s a close-up of the 2013 helmet:DSCN4502 So what does this all mean?   Not much.  For starters I need to update the Uniform Timeline, but beyond that I’d still say not much.  Whether you like it, hate it or don’t care, the reality is the gold flakes are hard if not impossible to spot unless you are standing, in person, right near the helmet.  Perhaps that’s by design.

Related: With a Bit of Practice (Photos) . . .pics from practice

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* And those of you who know about this – and I know you are out there-  didn’t mention anything!