ASU creating new tradition with copper helmets

ASU's new uniforms are a departure from tradition. ASU's new uniforms are a departure from tradition (Photo courtesy of ASU athletics)

You probably know ASU unveiled a new copper alternate uniform on Monday, with the name “Desert Fuel.”

ASU teased this mysterious announcement throughout the week. It was suspenseful because the style was difficult to visualize, even though we knew the colors.

The new uniform’s helmet features copper pitchforks on the side, a copper stripe down the middle, and copper facemasks. It’s slick and trendy, while also channeling the state’s historical significance with copper. The change will appeal to recruits.

The shirt itself is anthracite color (I had to look that up), which is fairly dark. It contrasts nicely with the white and copper helmet.

From what I’ve read online, you guys like the new look, too. Our story about the announcement was The State Press’s most-read recent story. Nothing gets fans riled up over pageantry quite like the team’s attire.

The new alternate serves as just another chapter in the University’s fashion-forward thinking.

ASU completely rebranded in 2011, changing its logo from Sparky to the pitchfork and also introduced black uniforms, first used by the football team against Missouri.

Last year, the University attempted to alter Sparky into a vile, bug-like creature, and the public hated it. ASU ended up rescinding the new mascot because of the outcry and had Sparky’s new look come down to a vote.

In the 2013 season, an alternate uniform with flame helmets was used against Notre Dame. The reaction was mixed for the helmet, which was unlike anything I’d ever seen before.

If change looks cool, fans emphasize its visual appeal, and if it doesn’t, then tradition goes by the wayside.

By constantly modifying the uniform, ASU is creating its own tradition. That tradition is to be bold and innovative.

Both the flame and copper helmets differ from the status quo, though I don’t know how many times the copper one will be worn, or if the flame helmet will ever be brought back. Arizona also has a copper helmet, but it looks drastically different than ASU’s, and it’s not as hip either.

The Sun Devils aren’t going to be mistaken for Oregon, the leaders in aesthetics, anytime soon, but the University has a long recent history of change.

Now that ASU has introduced different uniforms in three of the past four seasons, will the University continue doing so at such an alarming pace?

Future players and recruits are going to want what the past players had and would like new uniforms, too. ASU is certainly not alone in college athletics regarding this issue. The recent trend is to wear flashier new apparel. Teams don't just win games; they look sharp while doing so.

As ASU moves forward, the school will have to find the balance between new clothing and diminished excitement about that new attire. Fans will eventually be turned off if there’s new gear every season, even if it looks awesome.


Reach the columnist at or follow him on Twitter @jjanssen11


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