clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A Tribute To Pete Robertson's Eye Black

Highlighting one of the most popular "football style" trends, and appreciating our best defensive player's dedication to the art

I have to say, Pete Robertson is a very creative man.

Nearly every week, it seems like he has a new look that he wears on his face. You can call it war paint, eye black, or football makeup, but whatever you call it, you can't call it unoriginal when talking about Pete Robertson. Most college football players wear some form of eye black, wether it comes in those little peel-and-stick patches or from chap stick esque sticks, but no one does it quite like Pete.

The history of athletes wearing eye black is a tough one to track down. Some say it started when Babe Ruth smeared burnt cork underneath his eyes on a sunny day in the 1930's. Others have alleged it started with Andy Farkas, a fullback for the Washington Redskins in the late 1930's to the early 1940's, who also wore it to reduce glare. Despite several studies disputing the glare-resistant effects of eye black, it became a staple in American sports.

Many tribute a modern resurgence in eye black to the popularity of Tim Tebow's bible verses imprinted in the black grease smeared underneath his eyes, but he wasn't the first to do so. Reggie Bush wore his area code on his cheeks in the early 2000's, which spurred other early 2000's college stars like James Davis of Clemson and Marcus Vick of Virginia Tech to do the same.

Lately, eye black has gotten so popular that coaches have gotten into the craze too, most notably in the UCLA -Arizona game in 2012. Their coaches retreated into the locker room at some point during pregame, and each applied a measure of the grease themselves. The motivational prospects of the coaches wearing war paint is up for debate, as UCLA won 66-10 that day.

Pitchers, defensive linemen, shortstops, quarterbacks, tight ends, and every conceivable position that plays their games in the sun have experimented with this modern form of war paint. Ray Lewis bridged the eye black on his cheeks with a stripe across his nose. Rey Maualuga had a design that looked like talons on his face for a few games. But no one in the history of athletes wearing eye black has worn it quite like Pete Robertson.

Sometimes Pete's eye black is, well, all black. Sometimes it's all white. Sometimes it has red stripes in the black. Sometimes it's a simple line running down his cheek. Sometimes it's a cross. No one really knows what it's gonna be next week. And it's a beautiful thing. It looks more in place in a scene from Braveheart than it does in a game where the ball is literally air wrapped in a pigskin.

Pete Robertson will be remembered at Texas Tech for his stellar play on the field. He finished tied for 1st in the Big XII in sacks last year with 12. He's having himself a great season this year, only logging one sack so far, but boasting 5 tackles for loss in addition to bringing all the attention of the offensive line in his direction every snap. He's a heck of a player, but an aspect of him that i'll always remember is the design going on underneath his eyes.

"They can take our lives... but they'll never take... OUR TORTILLAS!"



May Pete Robertson and eye black ride forever, shiny and chrome.