When people think of the Michigan Wolverines, one of their first thoughts is probably the iconic winged helmet.
Whether you’re a football fan or not, if you turn the television on, and see the Wolverines – you know exactly which team they are based on the helmet. Going back to the late 1930’s Michigan has had the winged helmet, and fans find it one of the sharpest looking helmets in all of football.
It depends on who you talk to, but different rankings list the Michigan helmet in the top five of any helmet out there in college football. Not only do recruits want to play in the biggest stadium in football, but they dream about wearing the winged helmet.
While some changes are enormous, through the years Michigan has made changes to its helmet and you can see what all of those are below.
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Coach Fritz Crisler, right, of the Michigan Wolverines talks to George Ceithaml, captain and quarterback of the Wolverines, at spring practice in Ann Arbor, Mich., April, 3, 1942. There are rumors that coach Crisler will be in charge of gridiron activities at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station next fall. (AP Photo)
The most old-school helmet photo we could find. Coach Fritz Crisler wanted to spice up the solid color helmet by putting the maize winged feature on the leather helmet.
Halfback Ron Johnson of Michigan is stopped after a short third period gain by Michigan State defensive back Bill Ware in Ann Arbor, Mich., Oct. 14, 1967. (AP Photo/Preston Stroup)
Michigan got away from the leather helmet, and most of the Wolverines had a two-bar face mask on their helmets. The players had their numbers on the side of the helmet.
Oct 26, 1974, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; FILE PHOTO; Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive end Dan Christensen (86) attempts to bring down Michigan Wolverines quarterback Dennis Franklin (9) at Michigan Stadium during the 1974 season. Mandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Coach Bo Schembechler created the helmet stickers that Michigan fans know today. The stickers indicated achievements in previous games or practices.
Sep 1986; unknown location; FILE PHOTO; Michigan Wolverines quarterback #4 Jim Harbaugh in action during the 1986 season. Mandatory Credit: Photo By Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports Copyright (c) Malcolm Emmons
While the helmet stickers remained for a few more years, Michigan went back to a basic look with just its maize and blue winged helmet.
2011: Under the lights
September 10, 2011; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson (16) passes the ball in the fourth quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
In the second game of the season against Notre Dame back in 2011, Michigan had an entire new jersey made for the first night game at Michigan stadium. The helmets had a twist as well by putting numbers back on the side.
2012: Outback Bowl
January 1,2013; Tampa, FL, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks linebacker DeVonte Holloman (21) tackles Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (12) during the first quarter of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Back in 2012, Michigan had another alternative jersey made to compete in the Outback Bowl against South Carolina. The helmets had a black matte finish on them.
September 8, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson (16) runs the ball against the Air Force Falcons at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
While it may be hard to see, Michigan added some yellow flakes inside of the maize part of the helmet. The Wolverines also took away the numbers from the side of the helmet.
2013: Game two against Notre Dame
Sep 7, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (98) throws the ball in the first quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Michigan wanted to add a little element against the Fighting Irish during the second game of the season in 2013. The Wolverines added some blue flakes on the blue part of the helmet.
Oct 11, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (98) drops back to pass against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
During the 2014 season, the Wolverines made the maize a little darker for the duration of the season. It may not be a big change, but there was a noticeable difference.
Sep 26, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Jake Rudock (15) passes in the first quarter against the Brigham Young Cougars at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome coach Jim Harbaugh, and welcome back helmet stickers. Plus, the Wolverines made the maize darker again in 2015.
Photo by: Isaiah Hole
The maize got a touch brighter, and the blue part of the helmet had a blue matte finish to it.
Tru Wilson runs into the waiting arms of Aidan Hutchinson
The Michigan helmet has a full-on matte finish to it – the modern look of college football.