Does Notre Dame Still Paint Their Helmets? Exploring Tradition and Innovation

Have you ever wondered if Notre Dame still paints their helmets? As a college football fan, I find myself always interested in the team’s attire, especially on game day. And when it comes to the iconic Notre Dame Fighting Irish, their gold helmets are one of the most recognizable and beloved symbols in all of football. But with changing technologies and new materials available, some fans are curious as to whether the age-old tradition of hand-painting each helmet is still practiced. Let’s take a closer look at the answer.

Notre Dame’s gold helmets have been a staple since the 1950s, and while they have undergone some changes over the years, the tradition of hand-painting each one has remained intact. In fact, the process is incredibly meticulous and involves several layers of paint and a special gold leaf finish. The helmets are painted by hand in a process that takes many hours, but the end result is a stunning, golden sheen that is instantly recognizable on the field. While other teams may opt for faster and more efficient methods, Notre Dame remains committed to the tradition that has become synonymous with its football program.

At a time when so many things in life seem to be changing at breakneck speeds, there’s something comforting about the fact that Notre Dame still paints their helmets by hand. It’s a reminder that even in this fast-paced world, some traditions are worth preserving. And for Notre Dame fans, the sight of those gleaming gold helmets on the field is still one of the most thrilling sights in sports. Whether you’re a seasoned football fan or just appreciate a good, old-fashioned tradition, Notre Dame’s commitment to the art of hand-painted helmets is something that should be celebrated and appreciated for years to come.

History of Notre Dame Football Helmets

Notre Dame Football is a college football team that is steeped in tradition. One of their most famous and recognizable traditions is the gold helmet. The gold helmet with a single green stripe has become an iconic symbol of Notre Dame Football. But how did this tradition come to be?

The first Notre Dame football helmet was made of leather and simply painted blue. In 1949, Notre Dame’s equipment manager, Joe “Jocko” Costello, suggested that the team use gold helmets with a green stripe down the middle. The players loved the idea, and so the iconic helmet was born.

  • From 1959 to 1963, Notre Dame experimented with different shades of gold, including a brighter gold and a more muted shade. But the team eventually settled on the current shade of gold, which is sometimes called “old gold.”
  • In 1964, the team added a small shamrock decal to the back of the helmet. The shamrock has become another symbol of Notre Dame Football and is now featured on many other items, including uniforms and merchandise.
  • The gold helmet has remained largely unchanged since its inception, with only a few minor tweaks over the years.

The tradition of the gold helmet with a green stripe has been an important part of Notre Dame Football for over 70 years. It has become an iconic symbol of the team and is instantly recognizable to football fans around the world. The helmet is a reminder of the rich history and tradition of Notre Dame Football, and it is likely to remain a symbol of the team for many years to come.

If you’re a Notre Dame Football fan, then you know the importance of the gold helmet. It’s not just a piece of equipment; it’s a tradition that represents the spirit and history of the team.

Iconic Symbols on Notre Dame Helmets

Notre Dame is a university with a rich history, and part of that history is its iconic football team. One of the most recognizable parts of the Fighting Irish football team is their distinctive helmets. For years, Notre Dame has painted their helmets with various symbols that represent the team and the university.

The Shamrock

  • The most iconic symbol on Notre Dame helmets is undoubtedly the shamrock. The shamrock is a symbol of the Holy Trinity and has been associated with Ireland for centuries.
  • The shamrock first appeared on Notre Dame helmets in 1964 when Coach Ara Parseghian decided to add it as a tribute to his Irish heritage.
  • The shamrock has remained a constant on Notre Dame helmets ever since and has become as much a part of the team’s identity as the gold helmets themselves.

The Gold Helmet

Notre Dame has always been associated with the color gold, and the gold helmet has become just as important a symbol as the shamrock. The helmet was first painted gold in 1959 at the request of then-coach, Terry Brennan.

The gold helmet was an instant success and helped to separate Notre Dame from other teams who wore more traditional colors like blue and red. It has been a mainstay on Notre Dame helmets ever since.

The Numbers

Another recognizable feature of Notre Dame helmets is the large white numbers painted on the side. The numbers range from 1-99 and represent various players on the team. The large numbers make it easy for fans and coaches to identify players on the field.

Number Player
3 Joe Montana
7 John Huarte
33 Rudy Ruettiger

The numbers on Notre Dame helmets have become just as iconic as the shamrock and gold helmet. Fans can identify players on the field by simply looking at their helmets, and the numbers have helped to create a sense of tradition and continuity for the team over the decades.

Materials Used to Produce Notre Dame Helmets

The football helmet is a critical piece of equipment that protects players from head injuries on the field. For Notre Dame, producing a top-quality helmet that is both safe and visually appealing is a top priority. Here is a closer look at the materials used to produce Notre Dame helmets:

  • Polycarbonate shells – The outer shell of the Notre Dame helmet is made from a polycarbonate material that is strong enough to withstand high-impact and shock.
  • EPS foam liners – Inside the helmet, Notre Dame uses an EPS foam liner that conforms to the shape of the player’s head. This liner serves as a cushioning layer that absorbs impact and reduces the risk of head injuries.
  • Facemasks – The facemask is an essential component of the helmet that protects the player’s face from injuries. Notre Dame uses high-quality facemasks made from durable metals that can withstand the force of impact from other players.

Notable Features of Notre Dame Helmets

Over the years, Notre Dame helmets have undergone several changes to improve their design and functionality. Here are some notable features of Notre Dame helmets:

  • Gold Flake – The gold flake is a unique feature of Notre Dame helmets that gives them a distinct and recognizable look. The flake is made from gold leaf, which is applied by hand to each helmet.
  • Interlocking ND Logo – The interlocking ND logo is another trademark of Notre Dame helmets. The logo is a nod to the university’s rich history and is recognized by football fans across the world.
  • Cameleon Paint – Notre Dame is one of the few schools that can afford to experiment with their helmet color. In recent seasons they have used a cameleon paint to make their helmets change colors under different lighting.

Testing Standards for Notre Dame Helmets

Notre Dame takes player safety very seriously, and to ensure that their helmets meet the highest safety standards, they undergo rigorous testing. Here are some of the testing standards for Notre Dame helmets:

The helmets are tested in the lab to measure their ability to absorb impact and reduce the risk of concussions and other head injuries. Notre Dame helmets are tested in compliance with NOCSAE standards. NOCSAE is the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, a nonprofit organization that sets safety standards for athletic equipment in the United States.

Test Method Standard
Impact attenuation ASTM 1446
Retention system strength NCAA Standard
Faceguard attachment NCAA Standard

By adhering to these standards, Notre Dame ensures that their helmets are some of the safest in college football.

Notre Dame Football Uniforms Through the Years

Notre Dame is one of the most iconic and historic college football programs in the country, with a rich and storied tradition that includes some of the most recognizable uniforms in the game. Over the years, the Fighting Irish have made a number of changes to their uniforms, from subtle tweaks to major overhauls, but one thing that remains constant is their commitment to a classic, timeless look that represents the proud history and tradition of Notre Dame football.

Does Notre Dame Still Paint Their Helmets?

One of the most distinctive features of the Notre Dame football uniform is the gold helmet, which has become one of the most iconic symbols in all of sports. The gold color of the helmets is achieved through a process of painting, which involves applying a special paint mixture to the helmets to create the rich, golden hue that is so closely associated with Notre Dame football.

Many fans have wondered if Notre Dame still paints their helmets, or if they have switched to other methods of achieving the iconic look. The answer is yes, the Fighting Irish still paint their helmets, using a special mix of paint that is applied by hand to each individual helmet.

  • The process of painting the helmets is a time-consuming and labor-intensive one, requiring a great deal of skill and attention to detail. Each helmet is carefully prepped and primed before the paint is applied, and the final result is a helmet that is not only beautiful, but also highly durable and able to withstand the rigors of the football field.
  • Over the years, there have been some minor changes made to the design of the gold helmet, including tweaks to the striping and the addition of small details like shamrocks and player numbers. But overall, the classic gold helmet remains a staple of the Notre Dame football uniform, and is an integral part of the program’s rich and storied tradition.
  • For many fans, the iconic gold helmet represents not just a football uniform, but also a symbol of pride, tradition, and excellence. The sight of the Notre Dame gold helmets taking the field on a crisp fall day is enough to give chills to even the most casual fan of the game.

In short, while the technology and materials used to make football helmets may have evolved over the years, the tradition of painting Notre Dame’s iconic gold helmets remains alive and well. And for fans of the Fighting Irish, there is no sight more beautiful than a team of players proudly wearing the classic Notre Dame uniform, complete with its timeless gold helmets and legendary blue and gold color scheme.


The history of Notre Dame football is a rich and storied one, filled with legendary players, coaches, and moments that have left an indelible mark on the game. Throughout it all, the Fighting Irish have remained dedicated to a classic, timeless look that represents the very best of college football. And while the uniforms may have changed over the years, one thing that has remained constant is the iconic gold helmet, a symbol of pride, tradition, and excellence that will forever be associated with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

Year Helmet Design
1960 First appearance of the gold helmet
1977 Addition of player numbers to helmets
1980 First appearance of shamrock decal on helmets
2006 Return to traditional striping pattern on helmets


Notre Dame Helmets and the Fight Song

Notre Dame football is steeped in tradition, and the iconic gold helmets are a key element of that tradition. For decades, the helmets have been painted with a unique shade of gold that is instantly recognizable to fans of the team. But does Notre Dame still paint their helmets every year?

  • Yes, Notre Dame still paints their helmets every year. Each helmet is hand-painted with the distinctive gold color that has become a symbol of the Fighting Irish.
  • The helmets are painted by a team of student managers, who take pride in ensuring that every helmet meets the high standards of the program.
  • In addition to the gold helmets, Notre Dame occasionally wears alternate helmets as part of special uniform combinations.

The gold helmets are not the only element of the Notre Dame football program that is steeped in tradition. The team’s fight song, “Victory March,” is another key aspect of the school’s football heritage.

The lyrics of “Victory March” were written by two Notre Dame graduates in 1908, and the song has been a fixture at Notre Dame football games ever since. The song is played at the beginning of each game, and after every Notre Dame touchdown.

The first verse of “Victory March” goes as follows:

Verse 1 Raise the triumphal arch of love, Raise the cry of “Hurrah!”
For the sons of Notre Dame As they march to victory.

Over the years, “Victory March” has become one of the most beloved fight songs in college football. It is a symbol of Notre Dame’s rich football heritage, and a source of inspiration for players and fans alike.

Current Trends in Helmet Design and Notre Dame Football

In recent years, helmet design has become an increasingly important aspect of football. As the dangers of concussions and head injuries have become more widely known, manufacturers have been working to create helmets that offer better protection while also being stylish and durable. Notre Dame Football is no exception, and the team has been at the forefront of adopting new technology and designs to keep their players safe and looking good on the field.

Notre Dame Football Helmet Designs Throughout the Years

  • Notre Dame has a long and storied football history, and their helmets have undergone several changes over the years.
  • The team’s first helmets were simple leather caps, which provided little protection from the hard hits of football.
  • In the 1940s, Notre Dame began using plastic helmets, which were much more durable and effective at protecting players’ heads.
  • Today, the team wears helmets that feature a distinctive gold stripe down the middle and the iconic Fighting Irish logo on each side.
  • The team’s current design is a classic look that has been updated with the latest technology to keep players safe on the field.
  • Notre Dame also occasionally wears special edition helmets, such as the green helmets they wore for the 2019 Shamrock Series game.

New Helmet Technology

As the dangers of head injuries have become more widely known, helmet manufacturers have been working to create helmets that offer better protection. One of the latest advancements in helmet technology is the use of sensors to track the impact of hits on the field. These sensors can alert coaches and medical staff to possible concussions and help them make informed decisions about whether to remove a player from the game.

Helmets have also been designed to better absorb impacts, with some manufacturers using materials like foam that can compress on impact to reduce the force of a hit. This can help to reduce the risk of brain injuries and other head trauma.

The Importance of Helmet Safety

Notre Dame Football takes helmet safety very seriously and has been proactive in adopting new technology to keep their players safe on the field. In addition to using helmets with the latest safety features, the team also educates players on proper tackling technique and encourages them to report any symptoms of head injuries.

Helmets used by Notre Dame Football Features
Schutt F7 Uses TPU cushioning to reduce impact force
Xenith Shadow XR Features a shock absorber system to reduce impact force
Vicis Zero1 Uses a multilayered design to better absorb impacts

Ultimately, helmet safety is essential for any football team, and Notre Dame Football has been working to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting new technology and designs that keep their players safe and looking good on the field.

Maintaining the Condition of Notre Dame Helmets

As one of the most recognizable college football programs in the country, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a storied tradition. One of the most prominent symbols of that tradition is the iconic gold helmet worn by the team since the 1960s. Over the years, Notre Dame has taken great care to maintain the condition of its helmets, ensuring they always look their best on the field.

  • Proper storage: When not in use, Notre Dame helmets are stored in a cool, dry place. This helps prevent the helmets from becoming damaged or discolored due to exposure to sunlight or heat.
  • Regular cleaning: Notre Dame helmets are regularly cleaned using a specialized cleaner designed for use on football helmets. This helps remove dirt and sweat buildup that can cause the helmets to look dull or dingy.
  • In-game maintenance: During games, Notre Dame equipment staff members are responsible for ensuring that the helmets are always in top condition. This may include wiping them down with a towel or replacing the chinstraps if they become damaged or worn.

In addition to these basic maintenance tasks, Notre Dame has also taken steps to protect its helmets from damage during games. For example, the team uses specially designed helmet caps to protect the helmets from scratches and other damage when they are not being worn. Notre Dame also employs a full-time equipment manager who is responsible for overseeing the maintenance and repair of the team’s helmets.

Overall, maintaining the condition of Notre Dame helmets is a top priority for the team. By taking proper care of these iconic symbols of the program’s tradition and success, the team is able to ensure that its players always look their best on the field.

Task Frequency Responsible Party
Proper Storage After every use Equipment staff members
Regular Cleaning Weekly Equipment staff members
In-game Maintenance Ongoing during games Equipment staff members

When it comes to maintaining the condition of Notre Dame helmets, the team’s equipment staff members are the unsung heroes. These individuals work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that the helmets are always in top condition, and that the team can take the field with pride knowing that they look their best. Thanks to their dedication and hard work, the Notre Dame helmets remain among the most iconic symbols in all of college football.

Does Notre Dame Still Paint Their Helmets FAQs

1. Does Notre Dame paint their helmets every game?

No, Notre Dame does not paint their helmets every game. They typically have a traditional gold paint as their base color and add other colors, such as green for St. Patrick’s Day games, or keep their helmets plain for certain matchups.

2. When did Notre Dame start painting their helmets?

Notre Dame started painting their helmets in the 1960s with a gold base paint and green shamrocks added for St. Patrick’s Day games. This iconic look has become a symbol of Notre Dame football.

3. Who paints Notre Dame’s helmets?

Notre Dame’s helmets are painted by Hydro Graphics Inc, a company based in Indiana, and have been since the 1980s. This company uses a special hydro dipping process to apply the paint and design onto the helmets.

4. How long does it take to paint a Notre Dame helmet?

It takes around 24-48 hours to fully paint a Notre Dame helmet using the hydro dipping process. This allows for a durable and long-lasting design on the helmets.

5. Is there a specific design for Notre Dame’s helmet?

Yes, there is a specific design for Notre Dame’s helmet. It features a gold base color with navy blue stripes down the middle and the letters “ND” on the sides. For special occasions, such as St. Patrick’s Day games, green shamrocks are added.

6. How long has Notre Dame used their current helmet design?

Notre Dame has used their current helmet design, featuring a gold base color with navy blue stripes down the middle and the letters “ND” on the sides, since the 1960s. This design has become a symbol of Notre Dame football.

7. Can fans purchase Notre Dame’s painted helmets?

Yes, fans can purchase replicas of Notre Dame’s painted helmets through official Notre Dame merchandise websites. These replica helmets feature the same design as the helmets worn by the players on the field.


Thanks for taking the time to read about Notre Dame’s helmet painting process. Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or simply interested in the iconic traditions of college sports, we hope you found this article informative. Remember to visit again soon for more updates and news. Go Irish!