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Michigan Football Gives Custom Helmet to Pope Francis on Rome Trip

Copyright © Andrew Doughty, Hero Sports News, April 22, 2017

Michigan football has added another unique experience to their Rome trip. The Wolverines are heading to Rome for nine days for a spring break trip that includes a few practices, scrimmage and educational and tourist activities. More than 20 players are also using the trip as a launching point for study abroad opportunities across Europe in the coming weeks.

"We were looking to provide our student-athletes with a great educational, cultural and international football experience," Jim Harbaugh told MLive in January. "I am excited that our student-athletes will be able to take advantage of this amazing educational opportunity, be exposed to another culture, and be ambassadors for the United States and the University of Michigan during our visit to Rome."

Harbaugh and his team will also meet with Pope Francis on April 26, and they'll give him a football helmet complete with a few unique touches. The helmet features a small blue cross, his signature, an Italian flag and the number '266' for Pope Francis, the 266th head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Michigan Wolverines Helmets


Pitt unveils spring game helmets to honor late Dan Rooney

Copyright © Ben Kercheval, CBSSports.com, April 15, 2017

Dan Rooney, the longtime owner and chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers, passed away this spring at the age of 84. Tributes have been pouring in and you can add the Pitt Panthers to that group as well. Pitt sported helmets featuring the classic Pitt Script logo on one side and the Steelers' logo on the other in this year's spring game. (The Steelers' helmet features its logo on only one side.)
The Steelers share their stadium, Heinz Field, with Pitt, but there's a deep connection that the city holds with all of its teams, both professional and collegiate. Rooney was an icon and his passing can be felt in every part of Pittsburgh.

Pitt Panthers Helmets


Notre Dame Football: Fool’s Gold Or 24K?

Copyright © Rhett Grametbauer, Huffington Post, July 13, 2016

Perhaps the most distinct and iconic image of the Notre Dame football program is the gold helmet which the Fightin’ Irish began wearing in the 1950s. Through the years preparing the gold helmets has been an elaborate operation that at one time included student managers painting the helmets with real gold flakes. Not just any gold flakes but flakes from the 24K gold leaf that was scraped from the iconic Golden Dome. Gold leaf is very thin and susceptible to the elements making it necessary to periodically regild the dome.
A former student manager has divulged information about the painting process including that the gold is stored in a five-gallon bucket in the stadium, and four level spoonfuls of gold dust are used in a vat of regular gloss paint. It is not clear whether the five-gallon bucket is full of gold dust or this is simply the size of the container. Using the current price of gold if the bucket were full it would equate to roughly 11,700 ounces of gold at $1357.57 per ounce or nearly $16 million. Even if the bucket were only a quarter full of gold, it would still be worth $4 million.

The helmets are repainted for every game, and if four level spoonfuls are used per game or about 37 troy ounces, the value of Notre Dame helmets for each game would be a little over $50,000 given 100 players per game. A fourteen game season would involve $700,000 worth of gold or about $7,000 per player per season.
Before you start planning the greatest gold heist in the history of college football, it is important to realize these numbers are most likely inflated. The most recent regilding of the dome in 2005, cost $300,000. The spot price of gold at the time was $434.50 meaning there were about 345 troy ounces of gold used in the regilding of the dome. At today’s prices, this equates to about $470,000 worth of gold being available to paint football helmets.
So what does a game-used Notre Dame helmet painted with actual gold, cost? According to information available on Heritage Auctions, one of those early gold helmets from the 1950s goes for around $1,100, a helmet from the 1970s, about $1,800, and a helmet from the 1980s only fetched $448.
Notre Dame football helmets have evolved over the years. Brian Kelly became the head coach at Notre Dame in 2009 and changed the look and design process of the gold helmets in 2011. According to Kelly, Notre Dame “finally got it right” with the gold look of the helmet. The new gold standard of football helmets no longer involves the work of student managers because of the complexity of the new painting process. The color of the helmets are more consistent from helmet to helmet and involve the use of 23.9 karat gold flake. The overall result of the new process is a more reflective helmet that resembles the Gold Dome more than the previous versions of the helmet. The new gold helmets from the team’s Shamrock Series game in 2015 are going for between $1,649.95 and $2,695 on eBay.

Notre Dame Helmets


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