What do the Ohio State football helmet decals mean?

What’s up with the Ohio State football team covering their helmets with stickers? What is the story behind the Buckeyes tradition?

The Ohio State Buckeyes have a very notable tradition. Whenever Ohio State plays, it’s incredibly clear that Ohio State football players have little circular stickers covering large parts of their helmets.

The tradition dates back decades, but for many who aren’t familiar with the Buckeyes or college football in general, it’s something that might seem odd. What do the stickers mean? Why are they placed on the helmets? How does an Ohio State player earn a sticker? When was this tradition born?

Ohio State Football: Why Are the Buckeyes Wearing Helmet Stickers?

According to an ESPN article, Ohio State started the tradition in 1968. Ernie Biggs, a member of the Buckeyes coaching staff, thought of the idea as a way to help motivate players on Woody Hayes’ team. The stickers, small white circles with a horse chestnut leaf on them, were apparently originally designed in 1950, according to Eleven Warriors.

Stickers are rewarded for several reasons.

The easiest way for anyone to get a sticker is for Ohio State to win a game. Everyone gets a sticker this way. If the Buckeyes beat a Big Ten opponent, they get two stickers. A victory against the Michigan Wolverines? This gives three stickers.

There are also various achievements that individuals and entire post groups can do to receive stickers as well. Of course, these depend on the positions concerned. According to ESPN, film studies have been used in the past to help determine if a player has achieved a specific rating to receive a sticker.

As the season progresses and players accomplish more and the team earns more, they get more stickers stuck on their helmets.

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