Coloring by Numbers: Helmet Edition
From the beginning of recorded history, the Louisiana Tech football team wore a red helmet with a white T. But that changed with the introduction of the red T in 2013.
While the newer, redder T logo looked better to
basically everyone me, we previously determined that switching back to a white T on the red helmet would result in more winning.
But that wasn’t the only tweak Tech has made to the helmet in recent years. In 2014, Tech added a white helmet to its uniform lineup. Before long, this white helmet became the default headgear.
And around this time last year, the Bulldogs made another change. Tech went back to using a white T on a red helmet. (I can only assume it’s because they read that linked post above.)
But while much of the arguing has surrounded which color T to use, that isn’t the dilemma we should be focused on. Tech now how has two helmets to chose from; which one should they use? Or rather, which one would help win more games?
Luckily, a redditor created a spreadsheet of every uniform combination used by FBS teams last year. So we can use that to determine if the helmet color has any effect on the team’s success.
Conventional wisdom says we should only use the red helmet. Not only is it the most traditional look, science says the color gives a team a better chance to win.
But Tech’s 2018 season says differently, although only barely:
Granted, Tech only played 13 games last season. That’s nowhere near a large enough sample size to draw any conclusions,
although that’s never stopped us before.
So let’s look at the entire NCAA (using some rather creative Excel scripts):
White helmets were worn 333 times over the course of the season, while red helmets were used 103 times. But the results show us more of what we would expect to see based on the science-y thing above: red wins.
But why limit ourselves to two colors? Blue is also a Tech color. And a black or silver helmet are neutral enough that nobody would ask any questions.
At the same time, if we’re only interested in what helps Tech win, it shouldn’t matter what the color is. If purple and yellow helmets (
kill me) resulted in more wins, then we should make that switch ( this is a cry for help).
So let’s expand to the full visible spectrum (so no infrared helmets, unfortunately). But we’ll only take a look at C-USA schools. After all, these are the teams Tech is trying to get a leg up on.
Now we know why Tech has never tried a blue helmet. It would only make the team less competitive.
But while red is still an above average helmet color, Tech should switch to gold helmets if they really want to unlock their full potential. It may be the small push the Bulldogs need to finally take home a conference championship.
So, we better get used to this:
Even if it feels so wrong.