Perhaps you’ve seen photos of new Arizona Wildcats facemasks floating around the internet in the past couple of days.
Depending on your tastes, these are either the coolest or most hideous thing you’ve seen done to an Arizona uniform; there’s not much in-between.
Either way, they’re not real.
Well, they do exist — and UA has these in its possession — but they’re not “real” in the sense of being able to see them on the field this season. Don’t expect the Wildcats to be slamming these helmets on their heads to go with their new uniforms.
“That facemask didn’t come from us necessarily,” Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne said on his weekly appearance on 1290-AM The Source, “but I hope people see us as an innovative department and one that’s willing to try new things.
“I tell our coaches and our staff all the time, ‘How do we separate ourselves from the competition?’ … We’re going to hopefully push the envelope in what we do.”
These logo-infused masks are the work of a company called BadAss Masks, who did collaborate with the UA athletic department to come up with these facemask variations for the Cats as “display models.” FoxSportsArizona.com has the full story.
“They’re (real facemasks), but they’re for display models,” Alan MacFerran, the owner/founder of BadAss Masks told FoxSportsArizona.com. “That Arizona ‘A’ is not gonna be on the field.
“I did a scripted ‘Cats’ one and then I did a facemask that looked like fangs or a cat’s teeth for them. They have not come out yet, not publicized it, but I’ve been putting it on my Twitter feed. And this one just caught a lot of attention.”
Of course, it’s just a matter of time before something like this does get approved (from an NCAA safety point of view) and teams start wearing personalized facemasks. Helmet varieties in increasingly gaudy designs and colors is all the rage in a perpetual pursuit of marketing and recruiting attention … so why not the facemask?
For now, though, these Arizona versions are just for show. UA fans will have to be content with the new copper and red helmets the program debuted last season.
(Check out FoxSportsArizona.com for more UA facemask mock-ups.)