In the beginning, around 1947, the Flagline was simply a line of flags used to represent the "Big Nine". They marched in the front of block band presenting each school's letter. Lined up in a row were Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, and Wisconsin. Michigan State and Penn State did not join what is now the "Big Ten" until years later. The Flagline participated in pregame and halftime. They marched the flags through the Swinging Gates as the band played Battle Hymn of the Republic during pregame and surrounded the band presenting the flags during halftime.
Moving forward into the 1970s, the Flagline separated itself from the Big Ten Flags and took the first transition into what is now the Minnesota Color Guard. The Big Ten Flags are still around in the Marching Band showing the respect for fellow Big Ten Schools, but the Flagline continued to grow. They purchased new maroon and gold flags with the Minnesota Block M on them and began to choreograph simple routines to the school songs. They then marched and spun during pregame and halftime.
The Flagline has kept its name for over 60 years due to both traditions of the band and the traditional way of spinning to the school songs. However, over the last eight years the Flagline have moved away from the idea of a Flagline and moved towards that of a Color Guard; using more contemporary spinning techniques, including body movement, and adding rifles to the halftime shows.
In 2008, the University of Minnesota Flagline officially changed its name to the University of Minnesota Color Guard. Now, both rifle and flag are used for every halftime show. The Color Guard uses colorful flags and added body movement while spinning to add visual effect to the music played by the marching band. During pregame, they use 5 ½ foot poles with silks that they call, "M Flags" because it incorporates an "M" into the design. The "M Flag" has been used for the last 15 years while spinning our school songs. The Color Guard marches and spins through every aspect of pregame and still continue to march through the Swinging Gates. During Halftime, the Color Guard uses 6 foot poles and sometimes 6 ½ foot poles and rifles. The Color Guard has different silk designs that they switch between depending on the mood of the halftime songs. The Color Guard has grown tremendously since the 1940s and will continue to adapt to the new ways of spinning just as the band plays new music for halftime shows, but pregame will retain the traditions of the past.