Skip to content

Army Outflanks Navy in the 2015 Helmet War

Army helmets 550

Click to enlarge

By Phil Hecken

They struck swiftly, silently, just after dawn.

No sooner had Navy revealed they would be wearing custom-painted helmets (seven different ones, in fact) for yesterday’s annual Army/Navy game, the Army struck back. In a broadside hitherto unforseen, Army announced they would be introducing SEVENTEEN special “branch specific” hats their grunts would wear (representing the branches cadets can enter upon West Point graduation) for the gridiron combat against the Mids. The helmet war was on.

If you read that Army release, they didn’t provide any specifics as to what the branches were — nor which players would wear them. A bit of digging revealed these are the 17 specific branches which were represented — they were represented by gold decals affixed to the right side of the helmet, with the left side of the helmets containing the player number.


I put together a slideshow of the 17 different decals, which will follow (I’m sure you’re all happy I’m not embedding all 17 helmets). The branches are: Adjutant General, Air Defense Artillery, Armor-Cavalry, Artillery Corps, Aviation, Chemical, Cyber, Engineers, Finance, Infantry, Medical Service Corps, Military Intelligence, Military Police, Ordnance, Quartermaster, Signal Corps, and Transportation.

If you can’t see the slideshow below, here is a link to the album.

Not only did the helmets have special decals, the center stripe was not a stripe at all, but was instead comprised of slogans that were part of an Army marching cadence or slogan:



The slogan for the helmet on the left comes from the Hail O’ Hail O’ Infantry cadence, while the one on the right, “To Support and Serve” is part of the Army Oath of Enlistment. Pretty neat.


Aside from the unique helmets, Army’s uniform was pretty basic: matte black helmet, white jersey and black pants.

unnamed (6)

Army also went SNOB (School Name On Back – “ARMY”) and each players name was worn, military-uniform style, on his chest. Both Academies wore special unit patches (as they have done before) on their uniforms. The Navy wore their own names on the backs of their uniforms.


As far as the game itself — it was a good-looking affair, with Navy in their custom blue helmets and navy blue uniforms, and army in its stark black/white/black.



The helmet war was fought in Philadelphia, and the day was unseasonably warm (game time temperature was around 70+ degrees), and armed with their 17 different helmets, Army was game, actually leading at half time (it should be noted that Army brought a 13-year losing streak into the game), but due to tactical errors and perhaps even a bit of friendly fire, they succumbed for the 14th year in a row, although a last second long bomb fell just long which would have ensured an Army victory. But in the war of the helmets, they could hold their heads high. Next year, things will be different.

line of tanks

colorize this

Colorize This!

Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.

Got a pair this week from our friend Bruce Menard, who is once again busy with the Colorizations. And that’s a very good thing.

Click photos to enlarge.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1938 Jimmie Foxx (in color Dec10 trade)BrdxW

1938 Jimmie Foxx (bw vs color by BSmile)W


Here’s my colorization of Jimmie Foxx that I made to mark the 80th anniversary of the A’s trading him to the Red Sox in ’35. (The picture is technically from June 1938 – the record game when Double X was walked 6 straight times!).

Jimmie Foxx Traded To The Boston Red Sox (December 10, 1935)

~ Philadelphia A’s owner/manager Connie Mack, always looking for a lucrative deal for his financially struggling ball club, trades his star slugger along with Johnny Marcum to the Red Sox for Gordon Rhodes, prospect George Savino and most importantly: $150,000 in cash. “Double X” would go on to make the All-Star team for the next six consecutive years with the BoSox, while also winning the American League MVP in 1938 (50 HR, 175 RBI, .349 BA).



. . .

That’s it for today. Great job B!

line of tanks

UW Xmas

Uni Watch Holiday Memories…

“A Corcoran Family Christmas”

Readers of Uni Watch (and weekend readers especially) will know that from time to time we’re graced with some wonderful stories and anecdotes from Jimmy Corcoran, who is the son of former WFL and NFL (and college) star quarterback “King” Corcoran.

Earlier this week, Jimmy sent me a whole bunch of wonderful stories and photos that I’ll simply call, for lack of a better term, “A Corcoran Family Christmas.” You can click on the photos to enlarge…

Here’s Jimmy:

. . . . . . . . . .

Ho Ho Ho Phil!

Happy Holidays! These are my two nephews with me. I enjoy your articles all year and so does my 14 year old nephew here. I’m glad you like an occasional King story, it was always fun to watch the King go into a catatonic state of depression every Christmas as we opened our presents and he would remember his days in Jersey City getting nothing as his relatives drank. He pretty much turned into the Grinch every Christmas with us, then he would fill up his adidas bag with Orville Redenbacher pop corn and go to the movies Christmas night by himself while my mother, sister and I celebrated Christmas! Good times…good times.


Happy Holidays Uni watch!

~ ~ ~

I went to school in Potomac Maryland and as teenager sometimes I had friends who would go to the movies Christmas night, the King was so spoiled by people that he was allowed to bring his own pop corn in and had his own isle seat that was saved for him at the Cabin John movie theatre in Potomac. Kids at school would say I saw your father at the movies all by himself Christmas night, another said I didn’t think it was the King but when the lights went on her was wearing a blue jacket with a number 9 on the sleeve. And I was like, that was him you saw, he goes by himself every Christmas.

. . .


Phil, 1974 was an especially tough Christmas for the King, here I am with my new Dallas Cowboys helmet and my Roger Staubach jersey. The King was already in a bad mood because less than a month before he lost in the playoffs to the Florida Blazers and he really wanted to play in the World Bowl. It wasn’t too long after this picture that he put on his team issued Bell sweats and went to the movies by himself. You may notice he is wearing a tuxedo shirt, the King would sometimes show up for dinner wearing a tux.

. . .

Phil, even though the King died in 2009 and we haven’t spent a Christmas with him since 1986 I still have a King custom made Christmas ornament of him in his Bell uniform on my tree along with a Maryland helmet ornament next to him.



~ ~ ~

This is my Christmas tree Phil, I collect pop art type ornaments. Even though it’s been 30 years since I spent a Christmas with the King I still keep a small section where I have an ornament of him in his Bell uniform and a University of Maryland helmet by it. He was crazy and hard to live with and hated Christmas because growing up poor in Jersey City he never got any presents, but believe it or not it was him who gave me my favorite Christmas present ever. On Dec 24, 1975 he gave me a box that was behind our tree and said Jimbo, I forgot I got you a small gift. When I opened it up it was his blue Philadelphia Bell game jersey! I still have it today. That was the only time I ever saw the King smile of Christmas, kind of like when the Grinch carved the roast beast.


. . . . . . . . . .

Holy shit, Jimmy — another tremendous (and, unfortunately, not-exactly-heartwarming) set of stories. Hopefully, your Christmas memories are better these days.

It’s early, but let me be the first (Uni Watcher, anyway) to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas. Thanks (again) so much for sharing your recollections of you, your family, and of course, the King — the good, the bad and the ugly. All best, my friend.

. . .

This got me thinking readers — do you have any uniform-related holiday ornaments, cards, decorations, etc. (and possibly some good stories that go along with them)? If so, please send me your photos and a brief description and I’ll post them throughout the holiday season. Even if it’s something as simple as this. OK? OK.

Remember, send those to This can be a neat little feature. Hope to hear from you guys on this!

(I’m sure Jimmer Vilk and Brinke will have already sent in their memories before most of you even read this).

line of tanks

UW Friday Flashback

UW’s Friday Flashback

In case you missed it, on Friday, Paul’s Friday Flashback on ESPN took a look at the Green Bay Packer uniform history — or more specifically, their wearing of both mono-green and mono-gold (and some kinda-sorta mono-gold when they wore tan canvas pants) uniforms. The column was generated in response to some who were questioning why the post-Thanksgiving Packers/Lions game wasn’t (mercifully) a color rash game.

Great read, so be sure to check it out if you missed it!


line of tanks

Uni Watch News Ticker

Baseball News: Check out this beautiful, century-old baseball uniform. And this one. Those unis were “discovered” after an author penned a column about the St. Mary’s Athletic Club (from MM+). … 84 years ago yesterday, Babe Ruth took in the Army/Navy game (from Bruce Menard). … Also from Bruce, check out this vintage Holiday card from the New York Mets featuring Mr. Met dressed in a Santa suit! … Sweet thrift store find: this San Diego Padres helmet featuring the Swinging Friar logo (nice find by Richard Bronish). … The Reading Fightin’ Phils have unveiled a 50th season logo, about which you can read more here (h/t Thom D.). … Tweeter Sean Cheng asks, “so I guess these are the hat that’re made before they know which team wins the World Series.”

NFL News: Yesterday I showed you the schematic drawings for Miami’s MNF field (the throwback game). Here are the are the painted endzones and the mid field logo (h/t Big Dooky). Looks great! Of course, the unis they’ll wear tomorrow night against the G-men will look even better. … Oops: This Von Miller NFL Cartoon has a shoulder pad number on one side, but not the other (from Cameron Macaulay). … Ha — looks like this Pizza Hut calendar showing Mean Joe Greene putting a vicious hit on Roger Staubach didn’t actually happen — but the vicious hit that inspired it did (great find from Brinke).

College Football News: Tweeter Brett Barker noticed that Michigan’s helmet pride stickers have 11 stitches (rather than eight). … BYU will be wearing white/royal/white in their “Holy War in Sin City” matchup with Utah (thanks to Andrew Swenson). … Yesterday I mentioned Iowa would be the “home” team and wear black jerseys for the Rose Bowl. Here’s a look at those jerseys, complete with a small patch. … During Grand Valley State University’s D2 Football semi-final game on Saturday, some players could be seen wearing GVSU on their jerseys while most players had LAKERS on the front (good spot by P.K. Richardson).

Hockey News: The Sarnia Sting will wear some (not so) ugly Christmas sweaters (h/t Bar Down). … Wow — check out the scoreboard in Duluth for North Dakota against the University of Minnesota (Duluth). Thanks to Patrick Thomas. F’NHAWKS! … More from Patrick: this might be a first. THE Ohio State University women with alternate grey pants this year. … Last evening, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins had their ugly sweater night (thanks to Doug Keklak). … Last evening was “Star Wars” night for the Utah Grizzlies, so you can imagine the kind of sweaters they wore to celebrate the occasion (thanks to PotatoFamine). Here’s a look at those jerseys in the dressing room (from Jeff Tasca). … Of course, there were Storm Trooper unis last night in Cleveland (via D.J. Morvay). Here’s a better look at those Lake Erie Monsters jerseys (from D.J. Morvay). … And here are the Cincinnati Cyclones Boba Fett jerseys from their Star Wars night. … The South Carolina Stingrays wore epilepsy awareness sweaters last night (from Conor McCue). … Sigh. The Western Michigan hockey team wore flag desecration AND camo sweaters yesterday (from Chicago Shep).

NBA News: I thought this section was going to be blank (or moved to a general “Basketball” section), but Mike Chamernik saved the day by sending this in: A “fun” Online game where a NBA player’s photo is shown and you have to name him. I’m sure that will be hours and hours of fun…

College Hoops News: The University of Missouri (Kansas City) wore some camo unis yesterday, for military appreciation day vs. Mississippi State (via Josh Carson). Here’s a look at them in action, if you can even see them (h/t Trip Manfro). … Yesterday, Marquette wore their gorgeous powder blue uniforms against Wisconsin (from Marquette Mens Hoops). … Oregon wore these “throwbacks” yesterday night against Boise State.

Soccer News: The Shamrock Rovers have a new away kit (from Patrick Thomas). … AFC Bournemouth wore black armbands last night after Harry Arter & his partner lost their child at birth this week (via Holy Calamity). … Also from Holy, Alex Song of FC Barcelona has some, um, interesting new boots. … Interesting article titled, “What the evolution of kit sponsors tells us about the Premier League” (from Marc Bauche). … FC Bayern is promoting Sternstunden, a charity, instead of their usual sponsor Deutsche Telekom (Holy Calamity again).

line of tanks

OK, that’s going to do it for today — big thanks to Bruce and a SUPER big thanks to Jimmy Corcoran for that great (if somewhat melancholy) Corcoran Family Christmas(es). I hope some of you fine readers can grace the final weeks of 2015 with some interesting uniform-related holiday photos and stories of your own. Don’t forget to shoot me an e-mail (listed above).

I’ll actually be back tomorrow, pinch-hitting for Paul with Monday Morning Uni Watch while he travels in Wisconsin, and preps for his early morning ESPN Wisconsin radio show. So if there are any important uni-related developments in the NFL today, make sure you shoot an e-mail to uniwatching or tag/@ me in a tweet. OK? OK.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“You think Abe Lincoln believed that whites and blacks were equal? Doesn’t sound like you know much about Lincoln.”

–Dan Tarrant

line of tanks

Comments (23)

    Fun question about uniform/sports related decorations.
    My uncle, a die-hard Cubs fan, had a nice 6 inch porcelain statue of Ernie Banks placed near the top of his tree every year. They had an angel topper, but Ernie was the “star”.

    Alex Song’s boots are a special edition from Puma. Definitely not a one off thing though, I’ve seen them in a couple catalogs recently.

    Army absolutely beat Navy (haven’t typed that ever before!) in the helmet department yesterday. Possibly their best one-off design yet, imo.

    Not sure how many people watched the game, or how many follow Army football, but they have a wide receiver named Edgar Allen Poe!

    What THE said.

    You’re probably more than technically correct with BNOB, but for purposes of UW nomenclature, since other universities can’t *really* do that, SNOB works here (would sorta be the equivalent of say, UM, instead of using “MICHIGAN” or “WOLVERINES” using “ANN ARBOR”).

    Totally see your point, but no need for a new term — like horsehoes and hand grenades, SNOB is close enough.

    And if we were really going to get into the weeds of specific UW nomenclature, “West Point” would be “CUSNBNACFSNOB” (“Commonly Used Secondary Name But Not Actually Correct Full School Name on Back,” as the school’s actual official name is The United States Military Academy.

    In other words, yeah SNOB is the way to go here :-)

    I find the ongoing King Corcoran reminiscences to be both fascinating and melancholy. Any thought of writing a book/memoir about being the son of such a colorful (to say the least) figure? I’m saying this as a professional book editor . . . just saying. I could certainly put you in touch with interested parties.

    Hi JD, Since 2000 when I appeared in the first of three NFL Films movies that feature my father I was contacted several times about book and movie deals. Publisher Sterling Lord said he liked the way I write, Burt Reynolds told me he actually tried to play the King in 1981 but the studio said the King wasn’t well known enough. Everyone wants the stories for free for treatments etc. I don’t even pay attention to them anymore. I am a regular Uni Watch reader and once in a while I will see something that makes me remember something from being a kid, especially the WFL stuff on here, and I will submit something to Phil. Just like my old friend Steve Sabol, Phil always enjoys a good King story too.

    Chiefs (who had bye week/London game in November) do Salute To Service today.

    So NFL successfully stretched it out through entire second half of season.

    I feel your pain, Kurt. I was nonplussed to see the CBS NFL crew today with gaudy flag pins on their lapels. It certainly seemed a tin-eared gesture given the scandal over the Pentagon paying teams to put on patriotic ceremonies during football games. “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

    Just an idea but the 11 stitches on the Michigan Wolverines pride stickers could possibly stand for thier national championships.

    Thanks to Jimmy Corcoran for sharing really interesting raw moments from Christmas. Also, my dad went to the Shepherd GVSU game and said you couldn’t see the different wordmarks from the bleachers but it was (painfully) obvious on live feeds

    Thanks Fred, these weren’t bad times, we had good presents and my Mother cooked good food He wasn’t mad at any of us, he just couldn’t get past being poor as a kid and it would show up at Christmas. His own teammates would say ” He was just a different cat”

    I was setting up my Christmas tree last night — same one my dad grew up using starting in 1960 — and my mom had given me that and my ornaments. The combination of having my own tree for the first time and the handwritten notes that came with all of my ornaments, explaining their backstories, made me well up with tears three or four times. Let’s just say I wasn’t expecting that.

    Am i the only who finds the SNOB on the back incredibly annoying, I guess who can learn players by their number throughout the game. But knowing their name makes it a lot easier to remember is having a good game. I’d rather them have no name because whenever the announcer says that someone made a catch I can look at the back of the jersey and see no name and believe them. When there is SNOB I think the announcer is wrong and then it’s oh shit, it’s SNOB.

    I’m sure someone already pointed this out, but the Dolphins’ sweet field looks just like this old fashioned electric football set


    Anyone know when the Mets are gonna make any announcement regarding unis next year? Something in the ticker last week said the camo hat wasn’t returning…

    Not sure when any announcements will be forthcoming. Was actually expecting the Pirates to have some uni news today (this weekend was Piratefest, afterall…). But. Nada.

    I can confirm the camo cap won’t be worn next season, but that’s all I can say (for now).

    Who woulda thought the Finance brach of the Army would have the best looking logo? My money wasn’t on them, that’s for sure.

    The Black Knights of the Hudson should wear black lids all the time. Navy, on the other hand, should stick to the anchor on their helmets. The new models with the different air holes made it look as if those poor ships hit an iceberg or a mine.

    “The new models with the different air holes made it look as if those poor ships hit an iceberg or a mine.”


    Interesting observation, Jakob. Wonder where you heard it first…

    You millennials better get the hell off my astroturf

    Phil, the Pirate promotional schedule did say something about a new alternate, but I would have also thought they’d do something this weekend. #3rdplaceBucs

Comments are closed.