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Introducing the Michigan Helmet Challenge, to crown the program with the best football helmet in the state

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, May 7, 2020, 11:35 am

Over the years, we’ve debated — ad nauseam, sometimes — who’s got the best football program in Michigan, using all the criteria: most wins, most titles, most college recruits, etc.

This contest we’re about to tell you about is something different, though.

Who’s got the best lids?

That’s right. We’re going to run a fan voting contest to see who in Michigan has the best helmets. 

Of course, they run the gamut, from classic — how many different iterations of the winged helmet do we have in Michigan, with different color schemes? — to modern, with all the bells and whistles. Monochromatic. Matte finish. Gold glitter paint. Original logos. Knock-off logos of college and pro teams. 

All of them can go into the hopper, to see who we all agree is the best. 

We’re joining up with a number of other states to run the Michigan Helmet Challenge, in conjunction with the National HS Football Helmet Tournament. 

It’s something that’s been done in Illinois, where Glenview Glenbrook South football coach Travis Myers undertook the effort, after seeing Dehli Maquoketa Valley coach Trevor Arnold do something similar in Iowa. Aaron Ferguson of the Times of Northwest Indiana saw the Illinois tournament, and brought the idea across the border to his current region. 

Champions have already been crowned in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas, Georgia, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Pennsylvania. 

New tournaments are underway in Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio, and most of the Midwest, as well as Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, Montana, Idaho, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and New York.

As of Thursday, it’s something that’s happening in 24 states. Eventually, there will be a national tournament to decide the best helmet in the U.S. 

How do you get in on it? 

Well, you tell us you want in, and send two pictures of your helmets by direct message on Twitter or Facebook or email (to myself at [email protected]), along with the Twitter handle for your team. 

Once we’ve collected enough entrants, we’ll throw all the team names in a hopper, and generate (at random) an NCAA tournament-style bracket. Each individual match-up will get a Twitter poll, with pictures of the two helmets, and fans can vote for the span of 24-48 hours (we’ll decide the duration, based on how many match-ups we have). The winner moves on to the next round, and a match-up with a new team, until we’ve crowned a winner for the best helmet in Michigan.

So grab your lid, take a pic, send it to us, and let’s get the contest underway. 

Not much else to do at the moment, is there?

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[UPDATE] As of Tuesday afternoon, I have 22 helmets submitted for the contest. If sent me something online, and your school is not on this list, I may have overlooked it. Just remind me, and I’ll go find it. If your name isn’t on the list, and you want in, send me two pictures (they can be cell-phone pics) of your helmet at [email protected], and I’ll get it in.

Received to date (4:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 12):

Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard

Birmingham Brother Rice

Brooklyn Columbia Central

Clawson

Dowagiac

Escanaba

Flint Kearsley

Grosse Pointe North

Ithaca

Lake Linden Hubbell

Lake Odessa Lakewood

Lake Orion

Marine City

Madison Heights Bishop Foley

Mt. Clemens Chippewa Valley

North Farmington

Olivet

Ottawa Lake Whiteford

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep

St. Clair Shores Lakeview

Sterling Heights Parkway Christian

Warren Woods Tower

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[UPDATE II] Through midday Thursday, I have 37 programs. If we can get it to 64, we can make out a bracket, and get started first thing next week. Send this to your rivals, conference mates and let’s get it revved up.

Added (prior to noon, Thursday, May 14)

Brighton

Canton

Fowlerville

Novi Detroit Catholic Central

Romulus Summit Academy

Roseville

Saline

South Lyon East

Troy

Warren De La Salle

Wayne Memorial

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[UPDATE III] Through noon on Friday, May 15, we’ve got 48 helmets. Just 16 more to go, and we can have a full field of 64 teams, and get the contest started on Monday.

Added (after noon, Thursday, May 14)

Detroit Cass Tech

Fruitport 

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central

Hamilton

Mason

Montague

Mt. Clemens

Muskegon Mona Shores

Pewamo-Westphalia

St. Johns

Williamston