It is not very hard to find signs of “patriotism” in college sports these days. I really have no opinions on such displays. The presence or the lack of such gestures makes one no more or less American. Personally, I am grateful that I live in a country that allows us the freedom for such expression. There are plenty of expressions I disagree with, and expressions I wish to debate or ignore. Freedom can be messy that way, but I feel its worth defending. Thus endith the lesson.
Over the past couple of years I have stumbled across a few examples of unusual displays of Americana in football. Not long ago Uniwatch linked to this pic of Texas Tech using the bicentennial logos as merit awards in 1976. Virginia Military Institute had a very unique way of celebrating the bicentennial. Unfortunately these photos are not detailed enough to recreate. From what I can tell from the black and white photo is that there is a Keydet standing in front of what could be this centennial flag. Old glory can be seen much easier on this 1972 helmet from The Citadel.
Wake Forest also dabbled with patriotic themes; the Helmet Project shows at least three designs (click on the ACC and thenscroll down to Wake Forest) listed from 1973-1975. Here is a picture from the Wake Forest yearbook from 1975. I’m going to try to do a little research on this in the near future.
I have recently updated the East Tennessee State, be sure to check it out.