Helmet sticker

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Helmet with paw print stickers (O'Fallon Panthers, Illinois High School Association, 2008)

Helmet stickers, also known as reward decals and pride stickers, are stickers that are affixed to a high school or college football player's helmet. They can denote either individual or team accomplishments.


ESPN says the practice of awarding helmet stickers is often wrongly credited to Ernie Biggs, also a trainer at Ohio State under legendary coach Woody Hayes.[1] They instead claim that the practice of awarding stickers began with Jim Young, former assistant coach at Miami in 1965, two years before they were used by the Buckeyes.[1]

An even earlier attribution is given to Gene Stauber, freshman coach at Nebraska (1955–1957) by head coach Pete Elliott.[2] Stauber routinely used stickers throughout his tenure as assistant coach at Illinois (1960–1970), as a 1962 photo of All-American linebacker Dick Butkus indicates.[3] The stickers stem from fighter pilots marking their planes with stickers after kills and/or successful missions.[4]

Michael Pellowski, in his book “Rutgers Football: A Gridiron Tradition in Scarlet," credits Rutgers defensive backs coach Dewey King with being “one of the first” to award decals for helmets in 1961. The stickers were given for interceptions only so they were more difficult to earn. Every time there was an interception, the crowd yelled “give him the star.” The stars can be seen in this photo of the 1961 team walking from the locker room to the field prior to the season finale against Columbia.[5]

Current usage[edit]

Division I[edit]


  • Arkansas: Hog Head logo
  • Clemson: Paw Print
  • Colorado State: Ram Horn
  • Duke: Grim Reaper (only for defensive players)
  • Florida State: Tomahawk (tomahawks given for academic achievements have "ACADEMIC" written up the handle of the tomahawk)
  • Iowa State: Cy
  • Louisiana Lafayette: Fleur-de-lis/Gold Fleur-de-lis
  • Miami: Green hurricane/Orange hurricane
  • Michigan: Football with a wolverine
  • Michigan State: White Block "S"/Javelin
  • New Mexico: Lobo
  • Northwestern: Wildcat (only for team wins)
  • Notre Dame: Shamrock (Practice only)
  • Ohio State: Buckeye Tree leaf
  • Rice: Owl
  • Stanford: Axe Blade
  • West Virginia: Musket


  • Alabama A&M
  • Florida A&M: Snake Heads
  • Fordham University: Ram Head
  • Illinois State: Reggie Redbird
  • North Carolina A&T
  • Youngstown State: White Star
  • New Hampshire
  • Butler: Dog Bone
  • South Dakota State

Discontinued usage[edit]

  • Air Force: Lighting Bolt
  • Appalachian State: Yosef
  • Arizona: Wildcat Paw
  • Arkansas State: "I Will"
  • Baylor: Green Star
  • Bowling Green: "BG" logo
  • BYU: Gold Cougar (Personal Goals) and Blue Cougar (Team Goals, Wins)/"HC"(used only on throwback helmets)
  • California: Football (football with big C and "WIN" on it, Growling Bear head ('70s))
  • Central Michigan: Yellow Block C
  • Cincinnati
  • Colorado: Buffalo
  • East Carolina: Skull Pirate Logo
  • Florida Atlantic
  • Fresno State: White Bone, Yellow Bone, and Black Bone
  • Georgia: White Bone/Black Bone
  • Georgia State: Panther, a block "M" (standing for magnanimatas, or "greatness of spirit" in Latin), and a gold star for academics
  • University of Georgia: dog bone
  • University of Hawaii: Warrior helmet and cross spears [6]
  • Houston: White Paw
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky: White Wildcat Paw/Blue Wildcat Paw (only on white helmets)
  • Louisville: Cardinal
  • Louisiana Monroe: Maroon Star/Warhawk Talon
  • Marshall: Green Horn
  • Maryland: Red Turtle and Yellow Turtle
  • Memphis: Tiger Paw
  • Miami(Ohio): Star/Tomahawk
  • Middle Tennessee State: Pegasus
  • Missouri: Tiger Paw
  • North Carolina State: Wolf Fang
  • New Mexico State: Aggie "A"
  • Nevada: Axe
  • North Carolina: Tar Heel
  • Northern Illinois: White Bone
  • Rutgers: Silver Star/Sword
  • San Jose State
  • Southern Miss: Eagle
  • South Carolina: Gamecock foot with spur
  • South Florida: Green Bull Logo
  • Temple: Diamond
  • Tennessee
  • Texas Tech: Red Star [7]
  • Toledo: White Rocket/Yellow Rocket
  • Tulane: Fleur-de-lis
  • Tulsa: Skull and Crossbones
  • UConn: Huskie/"C" logo
  • UCLA: Blue Bear Paw
  • Utah: Utes logo
  • Utah State: Block letter 'A'/Bull
  • Vanderbilt: Ship Anchor (only on gold helmets)
  • Western Kentucky: "WKU" Red Towel logo
  • Western Michigan: Crossed Oars (used only during the 2013–16 tenure of P. J. Fleck as head coach)
  • Wyoming: Small Bucking Horse