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Seminole football players take great pride in tomahawk helmet sticker

Florida State helmet

There’s always talk amongst recruits and college football fans about uniform combinations and how the swag is what makes you play better. I’m a big proponent of, the “look good, feel good, play good” philosophy evoked by Deion Sanders.

There is a secret, however, amongst former Florida State players – Doak Boyz – about what really motivates them to play harder. It’s not the obvious ESPN highlights, NFL aspirations, or general sense of family accomplishment. It’s all about the tomahawk stickers.

Well, that and wanting your video game ratings to be high when there was still an NCAA football video game.

The tomahawk sticker is a reward for academic accomplishments, good plays, or earned accomplishments. Each position had different parameters, but it was all about making sure your helmet had the most stickers. As we called it in my segment when I played, “Hang Time.”

The stickers start them from the back of your helmet, work up to a certain height, then switch to the front of the helmet until they meet. After that, they are just placed where they can fit.

If memory serves me correct, I received mine for de-cleators (knocking someone off their feet), touchdowns, and if we had over a certain number of yards as a running back group. I believe running back received three tomahawks for every touchdown scored and one per de-cleator.

You could also lose them for missed assignments and fumbles; my running backs coach Billy Sexton didn’t play about fumbles.

I remember my first time receiving a sticker before the Sugar Bowl following the 2002 season against Georgia. I noticed three glorious tomahawks on the back of my helmet as an award for good play in our last regular season game against Florida. You couldn’t tell me nothing!

They are like Pringles – you can’t stop at one. After your first, you are on a quest to fill up your entire helmet. That task is harder for big headed guys like me.

Not all Noles remember their first tomahawk as clearly.

“I am not sure when, but I do believe as a punter my freshman year and it was always exiting to have a helmet full of Tomahawks,” said Charlie Ward, who received about as many in his career as anyone ever has.

RELATED: Answering your top Florida State football off-season questions.

My sophomore year, I almost had a full helmet; my junior and senior year saw me accomplish my goal. Oh, and as a fan of the Seminoles growing up, you could look at the helmets and know that the ones with all the “hang time” were ballers.

Guys like Peter Warrick ran out of space for them. Every Saturday walking into the locker room before a game, players took time to see where the tomahawks were put – or if they were lost.

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