Release and graphic courtesy of Gallaudet University Athletics Communication department. Original release can be found here.
WASHINGTON - Hours before the College Football Playoff national championship game kicks off in Atlanta another college football national title was determined online as Gallaudet University won the first Helmet Bowl national championship.
Gallaudet, the world's only university in which all programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students, defeated San Diego State University 17,657 to 15,521 to claim Helmet Bowl I sponsored by Helmet Tracker. The Bison will receive a Helmet Bowl I national championship trophy and banner from Helmet Tracker to display in the Field House later this spring.
The Bison were down by over a 1,000 votes at 6 am (EST) this morning but gained over 6,400 votes to come-from-behind and defeat San Diego State University. Fans were allowed to vote once per day on their devices to determine the best helmet in college football. GU was able to rally its fan base and reach new voters through its various social media channels throughout the competition and especially down the stretch.
"This is one of the greatest comebacks ever! We owe our gratitude to the Gallaudet University community, alumni, friends and supporters because without them this would not of been possible," said Gallaudet Athletic Director Michael Weinstock. "We are proud to win the first Helmet Bowl national championship!"
Gallaudet received a boost from an on-air segment this morning on Washington's own Fox 5 Morning News show. Former Gallaudet football All-American and GU Athletics Hall of Famer Tony Tatum along with Gallaudet Associate Athletic Director for Communications Sam Atkinson were interviewed on the show to promote fan voting at www.helmetbowl.com before Monday's 5 pm (EST) deadline.
"This is a historic victory for Gallaudet University and our football program to win the first Helmet Bowl national championship. We could not of done this without our loyal Bison supporters and new friends gained during this competition. To see our social media reach during this campaign and the power of the deaf community, worldwide, was amazing," Atkinson.
Helmet Tracker paid tribute to college football equipment managers throughout the season and featured Gallaudet's Kris Gould, longtime facility and equipment coordinator for Bison athletics. You can read about Kris and his work as Gallaudet's equipment manager here: http://helmettracker.com/gallaudet-bison-equipment-manager-kris-gould-look-earn-national-championship.
"This is just unbelievable," said Gould after he learned Gallaudet won Helmet Bowl I. "Thanks to the Gallaudet community, our alumni and friends of the Bison everywhere for voting for the Gallaudet football helmet. This was a tremendous team effort."
- Gallaudet won six straight weeks to win Helmet Bowl I
- Gallaudet's previous high voting total for a week was 6,254 in the semifinals
- The Bison gained more votes in the competition's final nine hours than it had in the semifinals
- Gallaudet was the No. 4 seed in the East Region
- San Diego St. was the No 3 seed in the West Region
- The Aztecs only gained 3,210 votes in the final eight hours of the competition
ABOUT HELMET BOWL
The Helmet Tracker first Helmet Bowl national championship started this fall with all 777 college football team helmets in the mix. Every division, every conference, every team and every helmet was represented. Each conference crowned a conference champion (76 conference champions) during the 10-week weekly tournament. The top 64 conference champions, with the highest vote counts, advanced to the national championship tournament and were seeded by region. Learn more about Helmet Tracker and the Helmet Bowl here: helmettracker.com.
Gallaudet will look to defend its national crown in Helmet Bowl II next fall.