American flag stickers on the back of all college and pro football helmets.


What is the purpose of these flags, other than patriotism? Is there a rule demanding that these flags appear on the back of every helmet?

If so, why?

I thought it was a us military recruiting advertisement – just like nike, pay enough and get your brand on the players.

Never thought of that, but I don’t think this is it.

I have nothing to tell me this is not correct, it just doesn’t make sense to me. From a marketing aspect, it is too abstract.

Something like “Go Army” or “Fly Navy” would work, but not just a flag.
Any one have any other ideas?

Once someone starting doing it, no-one wanted to be the team that* didn’t *have a flag.

I may be mistaken, but I think that they were added (at least in the NFL) in the wake of 9/11. Given that, it’s the sort of thing that, once it’s put on, it’s not likely to ever be removed without causing a bit of an uproar.

Parenthetically, the NFL has, in recent years, designated November as a month for recognizing / saluting the US military. They have stickers which are put on the players’ helmets during that month – a camouflage ribbon, as well as specific stickers for the different branches of the military (I think that all players wear the ribbon, and then they have the opportunity to choose one of the branch stickers):

You know, this may be it.

As I have been thinking about this, I am almost positive that US-based hockey teams also have the american flag on their helmets, and possibly MLB as well, and this could have all stemmed from 9/11.

I wonder if there is a way to find this out for sure? They seem to have been on there for years, and you are right in that the removal of the flag would cause an uproar. Perhaps it was also to support the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they never came off because we (the US) were there for a decade.

Now, it’s like singing the national anthem. We do it because we always have. The stickers are there because once on, you can’t take them off. They don’t hurt anything, so why scrape them off and cause a controversy?

Still, this has to be.mandated by the league. The NFL is so anal about their uniforms and the consistency of them from player to player that the location, size, ect would all be defined by the league, not the teams. And until the league says “take them off” they will stay on.

I seem to recall American flags on NFL helmets in the wake of 9/11.

At any rate, it has spread to Canada and the Canadian Football League. See here, for example.