Florida Gators Reveal Saturday’s Special Helmets Honoring 9/11 20th Anniversary

by Josh Lanier

The Florida Gators will look a little different when they suit up for the team’s game against South Florida Saturday. The Gainesville team will sport new helmets when they take the field meant to honor the anniversary of 9/11.

The Gators unveiled the helmets Thursday in a series of posts on social media, On3 reported.

The new helmets are all white, with the familiar orange nowhere to be found. The team’s color scheme is also missing from the logo. Instead, the Gators is painted to look like an American flag. The Gators will also wear shoes that will have the stars and stripes on them.

“[The first responders] put themselves last and they put the health of others first, so it means a lot to me and I’m happy we’re able to go out and represent them this weekend,” Florida running back Malik Davis said.

But the Gators won’t be alone in honoring the victims and heroes of the September 11 terrorist attacks on America. Many other college and professional teams plan to chuck their team colors for the red, white, and blue.

Ohio State will wear scarlet 9/11 helmet decals when they play Oregon Saturday.

“We had a player on our team that lost a family member (in the attacks),” Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day said. It was just very, very real being in the Northeast. It doesn’t seem that long ago to me, but being from the Northeast, it was a very, very difficult time. This year brings up a lot of memories.”

Northwestern to Join Florida in Remembering 9/11

In Evanston, Illinois, the Northwestern Wildcats are going a different direction. On previous anniversaries of 9/11, the team has put on helmets decked out in flag paint schemes. They’ve even painted an American flag on the field, Sports Illustrated reported.

But this year, they want to do something different. The team is inviting first responders to watch the game as a way for the team to show its appreciation, NBC Chicago said.

“It’s a special week coming up here in Evanston, I think not only for us recognizing our heroes, but more importantly, throughout our country. It’s unbelievable, but the 20-year, tragic anniversary of 9/11, and playing on that day, we visited with our guys about that this week. 

“… I want to lift up all the families that lost their lives that day, not only that were in the (World Trade Center), but also the first responders and all those that tried to save our great Americans that perished that day and get people out of the Tower. So, you know, it’s a heavy-hearted week, I think, for our entire country, and one that I’ll definitely visit with our guys about, but look forward to honoring our heroes as our guests on Saturday and several local ones during the game.”

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, Sports Illustrated