For today’s TuesD3y Spotlight we’re featuring the Tufts University Jumbos. Tufts is a private research university in Medford, MA just outside of Boston. This team has a long and storied history, playing since the 1874-75 football season. They went 1-0 that year with a win vs. Harvard; dominant! They play in the NESCAC athletic conference and have been a member since its founding in 1971.
The team’s colors are Tufts Blue, a university branded color, and Brown. While an interesting combination, I’ve always thought it looks great on the field. They really execute the difficult colors fantastically with their vibrant kits.
Since the Pinstripe Bowl in 2015, Duke has been incorporating an alternate blue devil logo into various aspects of their equipment and apparel. But, what are the origins of this icon? And where is its place in the future of Duke Athletics?
According to nationalchamps.net ‘s “The Helmet Project”, this logo was used on helmets in Duke’s 1966-68 seasons. Below is an image from a 1968 game against UVA.
This devil icon was then put to rest for decades, until 2015. This season marked Duke’s 4th consecutive year of bowl eligibility, a 6-6 regular season that earned them a spot in the Pinstripe Bowl against Indiana. For this game in Yankee Stadium, Duke brought it’s retro-devil logo from the 60’s back for the first time. Duke would go on to win 44-41 in an OT stunner thanks to a missed field goal from Indiana. The full uniform from this game can be seen below.
However, that was not the end of this icon in Duke football equipment. In Duke’s 2016 rivalry game against UNC, the devil was back on the helmets. This time, it was featured in white on a chrome blue helmet, with a blue jersey and white pants.
Perhaps this helmet sticker was good luck? Duke would take home the Victory Bell (for the first time in years) in a 28-27 upset of #15 ranked UNC.
Maybe it was the victories, or just an equipment room hungry for alternates, but Duke would incorporate this icon on two separate occasions in the 2017 season.
The first was in a hyped match up against #14 Miami. Duke was undefeated going into this game with wins against FCS NC Central, Northwestern, Baylor, and UNC. Duke football equipment would title the uniforms for this game the “Hellraisers,” an all gray look that hadn’t been seen before. This can be seen below.
Unfortunately, this game would be the retro-devil’s first loss in a 31-6 blowout. Miami would go on to finish the season ranked #10 overall and play Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl.
This devil icon had a history of being brought out for Duke’s biggest games, and that trend continued when it was revived for the 2017 match up at Wake Forest. This was the last game of the regular season with bowl eligibility on the line, against an uncharacteristically strong Wake team. Duke would bring back the helmets from the Hellraisers in a gray/white/blue combo, seen below.
That game was won 31-23 and bowl eligibility was clinched. But this time, in the Quick Lane Bowl against the NIU Huskies, Duke would sport their new script helmet stickers rather than bringing the retro-devil back for the third time that season. But, even without the luck of this icon, Duke would win confidently 36-14.
As far as the future of the retro-devil, it remains uncertain. Surely Duke will continue to bring out this alt look, perhaps even increasingly so as the past season indicated. Duke has been expanding its use of helmet stickers with their Rose Bowl feature and bringing back the script this year. But, so far, this devil hasn’t been used for any other sports besides football.
That being said, it has made its way onto lots of school sponsored apparel including flags, shirts and more. While I don’t think it will ever come back as a primary logo, surely the 60’s devil has returned for an extended stay.
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