The Jayhawk is one of the most unique mascot in all of sports. A person doesn’t need to be a fan of the University of Kansas, or even a sports fan at all to recognize that little crimson, blue, and yellow bird. I, for one, love the fact the Kansas Jayhawks have returned the bird back to the helmets for the 2013 football season.
I never understood when the Jayhawk was removed from the helmets in the first place. I believe it was Glenn Mason who, in either the late 1980’s or early 1990’s, decided to replace the Jayhawk on the helmet with the plain, boring letters – “KU”. It just never made sense to me.
Over the years, as one coach replaced another, from Terry Allen to Turner Gill, I have always hoped one of them would return to the bird to the side of the helmets. Finally, it seems to be happening this season, Head Coach Charlie Weis, in his second season in Lawrence, released a video via twitter on July 1st showing the five helmets Kansas will be wearing in the upcoming football season. Four of the helmets feature the Jayhawk, while the fifth is a throwback from the 1961 Bluebonnet Bowl. It is a powder blue (too close to a North Carolina Blue for my tastes), with white numbers on the side.
Of the other three, one is black, one white, and one the more traditional blue, and all have the familiar Jayhawk on them. The final helmet is red and features the 1941 Fighting Jayhawk on its sides. Although this particular mascot was only used during World War II, it is my favorite of the historical Jayhawks. In my opinion, its fiercer visage is better than the happy countenance displayed by the current Jayhawk. I would love the university go back to that particular Jayhawk. But that’s just me.
Legend has it that the term Jayhawk was the mythical combination of two other birds – the blue jay and the sparrow hawk. The blue jay is a nasty, noisy fowl that often robs other nests. The sparrow hawk is a sleek, stealthy hunter with speed and agility. The very descriptions of the birds combined to make the Jayhawk, by nature, defy the happy-go-lucky bird that prances about Kansas sporting events now. The fiercer looking Fighting Jayhawk more accurately portrays the spirit of the original birds.
But I digress. The whole point here is that I am thrilled to see the Jayhawk, any version, returned to its rightful place on the sides of the KU football head gear. It has been too long gone, and for no apparent reason. Thanks to Coach Weis for putting the Jayhawk back where it belongs, displayed proudly.
Note – There is a chance the jerseys will be different than these in the videos.