The Truth Behind The Leaked Photo Of “New” USC Helmets
First the socks, then the cleats, and now the entire uniform? After a leaked Instagrammed photo last week hinted to a drastic change for the team’s attire, it seemed like the Trojans were hopping on the bandwagon of uniform overhauls.
The Instagrammed photo was sent from a tipster to Bro Bible. It shows a student assistant to USC’s equipment manager wearing a brand new matte black helmet. She is facing another supposed student assistant who is wearing a version of the current USC helmet, only with a shinier red surface and a darker toned face mask than the current. The photo is captioned “Playing with prototypes at work” and is tagged at the USC Heritage Hall.
However, fans of the classic uniform can heave a sigh of relief. After the photographs sparked some controversy on the Internet, USC released a statement later in the day via its blog. The announcement said that the helmets were “old Nike prototypes, which the Trojans decided not to wear last year.” They also noted that, “the current administration has no intentions of making major modifications to the classic cardinal and gold.”
USC is famous for maintaining essentially the same look of their uniforms, with only minor gradual changes over the last 50 years, so naturally there were mixed reviews about the leaked helmets. Traditionalists were nearly offended, taking to Twitter with their complaints. Some grumbled that Nike doesn’t understand the importance of the cardinal and gold. Others claimed that USC shouldn’t try to be like Oregon, who has a weekly fashion show of new uniforms for each game.
The alternative perspective is that a black helmet looks good with just about anything, especially the current colors that USC wears. The black would make the logo pop on the rest of the helmet, and the other shiny red helmet is just a slight variation to the current helmet. Overall, supporters of the trendy head gear felt that the Spirit of Troy has evolved over the years, and the uniforms should represent that.
I guess to progressive fans, the latest changes to the USC uniform didn’t show enough transformation. This season, the Trojans sport cardinal and gold cleats instead of the traditional black and white shoes. They also wear black socks instead of white for the first time in decades. Conventional uniform advocates claim that these alterations set up a path for more change. Former 1981 USC Heisman winner Marcus Allen spoke with Tim Hoffarth for the Daily News saying that black socks guide the way to the black helmets and then to black jerseys. Before you know it, USC loses its synonymity with cardinal and gold. “When does it stop?” he asked, “When someone swaps Traveller for Black Beauty?”
Whether the helmets show adaptation or the ruin of tradition, football fans are not going to see them on the field any time soon. Last year USC head coach Lane Kiffin said that the school will stick with cardinal and gold, according to Michael Lev of the Orange County Register. “I don’t feel any need to change our uniforms based on Oregon, what they do. That doesn’t register with me,” Kiffin said. “We always want to be cutting edge as far as materials … but not as far as the colors.”
But only time will tell if the Trojans will catch the black matte helmet craze. If these really are leaked secret Nike helmets, perhaps those girls should have disguised themselves a little better.