By Phil Hecken, with Tim Brulia
With the Super Bowl kicking off tomorrow, I’m back once again with my buddy and Gridiron Uniform Database co-founder, Timmy Brulia, who has — as he has for the past several seasons — provided YEOMAN research into the uniforms worn by the two Super Bowl combatants.
Today’s post will detail the uniform history of New England Patriots, and tomorrow we’ll cover the Philadelphia Eagles. All of this research has been painstakingly and lovingly worked into the aforementioned Gridiron Uniform Database (or GUD, for short), which readers of Uni Watch know is THE go-to site for NFL (and other football league) uniform histories. Each year, I ask Tim to please send me a year-by-year breakdown of the uniforms — then I go hunting for the photos which appear with the writeups (which takes me hours, but is honestly a labor of love). I can’t imagine how long it’s taken Tim to do the written research.
So without further ado, here’s Tim with the first part. He’ll be back again tomorrow with the second:
Patriots Uniform History
by Tim Brulia
1960: The Boston Patriots are one of eight charter members of the new American Football League. As would be expected given their name, they wear colors of red, white and blue. The helmets are white and feature two red stripes and a blue tri-cornered hat on both sides of the helmet. In the preseason, the Pats wear very generic jerseys, with red numbers on a white jersey and white numbers on a red jersey, nothing else on either top. The pants are white with two red stripes running down the sides. Socks are red and with white crew socks with two thin blue stripes near the top complimenting the look. Once the regular season starts, the Pats tweak the look a bit. The player’s number is added to the helmet in red, positioned between the helmet emblem and the ear hole. The jerseys take on striping, in the form of shoulder stripes, blue/red/blue stripes for the white jerseys, white/blue/white for the red jerseys. TV numbers are added to the sleeves of both jerseys as well. Names are added to the backs of the jerseys, but for some reason, not every player has them. The only plausible explanation I have heard is that it could be that NOB’s were put on the starters and left off the substitutes. The pants get a separated blue stripe to go between the red stripes. The socks also get a facelift, with white socks going with the white jerseys, having a red/blue/red/blue/red stripe pattern, while the red socks accompanying the red jerseys featuring a white/blue/white/blue/white stripe combo. To cap it off, the Pats wore crew socks with a thick blue band offset from the top of the sock.
1961: The Patriots change the helmet logo from the tricorn hat to what would become known as “Pat Patriot.” The logo is an image of a revolutionary minuteman in the center position, ready to snap a football. NOB’s are now on all players’ jerseys. The red jersey stripe pattern is changed to blue/white/blue. The pant stripe pattern is changed from separated red/blue/red to blue/red/blue. The red socks that had been worn only with the red jerseys are now worn with the white unis as well.
1963: The pants stripes go to three separated stripes. Each stripe has a micro thin blue/red/blue combo that can really only be discerned with a magnifying glass. The sock stripes are altered to a seven stripe pattern of alternating whites and blues.
1966: The jerseys get a facelift. On the white jerseys, the shoulder stripes are now separated by white and at the sleeve edge a very thin stripe combo of red/white/blue/white/red is created. On the red jerseys, the stripes are reversed to a white/blue/white pattern with sleeve stripes added to the edge as well, with a very thin blue/white/red/white/blue pattern. Trim is added to each collar with a wrapover effect. Solid red socks replaced the striped socks and are worn with the crew socks. A side note: RB Jim Nance (and perhaps a couple of teammates), for whatever reason wears a red jersey with a shoulder stripe pattern of blue/white/red/white/blue.
1967: The pants stripes are altered, with a thin northwestern’esque pattern. An inner stripe of blue flanked by very thin separated red stripes. The plain red socks now feature white northwestern stripes that are feather striped in blue. Coupled with the crew socks and their thin blue stripes, the socks look totally bizarre with a mish-mash of uncoordinated striping patterns caused by the odd positioning of the socks.
1969: The shoulder stripes are removed from both jerseys. The edged sleeve stripes are a very thin blue/white/red/white/blue combo on both sets. The NOB’s are now larger and serifed on both jerseys. The socks go from crazy to plain. Just solid red socks and plain white “sannies.”
1971: With the impending move to a permanent home in suburban Foxboro, the team changes its name from the Boston Patriots to the Bay State Patriots for very brief period of time before changing to the broader based New England Patriots.
1972: For some warm weather games, the Pats introduce a set of mesh jerseys. The difference from their traditional garb includes no collar trim, a very thin blue outline around the numbers and an additional four very thin stripes to the pattern found on the durene jerseys. However, only the red jerseys see action in the regular season.
1973: The jerseys take on a new look…again. Collar trim is abandoned on both sets. On the white jerseys, the numbers are outline with thin blue and a stripe pattern of thin red/medium blue/thin red replaces the edged stripes. For the red jerseys, the numbers also have a thin blue outline and the sleeve stripes are now a thin white/medium blue/thin white combination. And again, the plain white sannies return to the fold. And finally, this look takes hold and in unchanged for some time.
1979: The Patriots add a pair of red pants, to be worn with the white jerseys. The side stripes are a thin white/medium blue/thin white pattern. The socks worn with the white over red look are white with the stripe combo matching the sleeve combo (see 1973).
1984: Perhaps to coincide with their 25th season, the Pats redo the unis. The jerseys re-institute the shoulder stripes on both sets, with a separated stripe pattern of red/blue/red on the white jersey and a stripe pattern of white/blue/white on the red jersey. NOB’s are now outlined in blue like the numbers. Red pants return to be worn with the white jersey with a similar thicker stripe pattern as with the 1979-80 red bottoms. The white pant stripes are changed to a triple separated equal width stripe combo of red/blue/red. White socks are worn with both sets of jerseys with a stripe pattern consistent with the stripes on the white pants. The Pats, like the other seven charter members of the AFL, wear a commemorative patch noting their silver “anniversary” on the upper left portion of their jerseys.
1993: The uniforms are totally overhauled from top to bottom. Helmets are now silver and the first appearance of the “Flying Elvis” logo comes aboard outlined in white and the facemasks return to a gray hue. The white jerseys have front and back numbers in red, double outlined in white, then blue. TV numbers move to the shoulders and are blue and the NOB is blue. The logo is placed on each sleeve. For the first time in team history, the color jerseys are blue. Front and back numbers are red outlined in white. The TV numbers shift to the shoulders and are white and the NOB is white. Flying Elvis adorns the sleeves with a white outline. The pants are silver with an unusual stripe pattern on the sides, starting at the hip, the stripe starts as blue, then fans out into three separate stripes, abruptly stopping and then turning into three separate red stripes, with the entire stripe package outlined in white. The socks are a solid blue, which ends in a thin red stripe.
1994: Some slight tweaks are made. The helmets now feature a red mask instead of gray. The torso numbers on the white jersey remain red but are single outlined in blue. Torso numbers on the blue jersey are changed to white outlined in red. Pant stripes are toned down to a simple two-stripe combo, blue back/red front. In Weeks 3, 5 and 7, the Pats don a white throwback uni in the style similar the 1961-1965 era white uniforms. The NFL’s 75th Season patch is worn on the left collarbone area of all jerseys.
1995: The jersey get another modernized facelift as on the white jerseys the numbers are italicized in red with a blue outline in a slight drop shadow. The NOB’s are also italicized on both jerseys. The TV numbers swap places with Elvis and the logo increases dramatically in size. The blue jerseys feature similar changes with the numbers in white with a slight red drop shadow. The Patriots wordmark is added just below the center front collar. Also around the midriff is a subliminal striping pattern on both sets of jerseys.
2000-01: The uniforms get another moderate overhaul to what is basically their current look. The shades of blue go from a rather straight blue to navy. The letter and number fonts change on both sets. The white jersey features the numbers in navy with double outlines of white and red. The TV numbers and sleeve logos again switch positions, numbers on the shoulders and Elvis on the sleeves. A thick shoulder stripe of navy is added. The NOB is a solid navy. Collar trim is silver. And side panels are added for the first time with a thick stripe of navy, flanked by thin red stripes. The wordmark remains, with the darkened blue feature. Navy pants, to be worn with the white jersey, feature a stripe pattern identical to the side panel of the white jersey, with an added extra pair of thin white stripes on either side of the red stripes. Socks worn with this combo are white with three thin separated navy stripes. As for the navy jersey ensemble, it features the same enhancements as the white jerseys. The numbers are white, with double outlines of silver and red. The Elvis logo on the sleeves is outlined in white and a thick should stripe of silver is added. The NOB is solid white. Side panels mirror the white jersey pattern (thick navy flanked by thin red stripes), which make them almost unnoticeable. The wordmark remains below the center collar. Silver pants, are worn with the navy top, with a thick navy stripe between two very thin red stripes. Socks are a solid navy. In Super Bowl XXXVI, the SB logo patch is worn on the left collarbone of the navy jersey.
2002: For two games, Week 6 vs. the Packers and Week 8 vs. the Broncos, the Pats go monochrome navy with the white striped socks. These are the only two occasions that the Patriots have gone monochrome. For (Week 13) the Thanksgiving Day game at Detroit, the Pats wear a throwback uni, in the style of their Super Bowl XX uniform, complete with Pat Patriot on the helmet.
2003: In Week 11 against the Cowboys, the Pats sport a silver jersey. It’s pattern after the white jersey with the only differences being the navy numbers outlined white (instead of silver) and red and the sleeve logos outlined in white. In Super Bowl XXXVIII, the SB logo patch is worn on the left collarbone of the navy jersey.
2004: For the Kickoff Game (Week 1) hosting the Colts, the Pats sport a patch on the left collarbone to commemorate their status as Super Bowl champions. Week 14 has the Pats wearing the silver jersey at home vs. the Bengals. In Super Bowl XXXIX, the SB logo patch is worn on the left collarbone of the white jersey.
2007: In the all but perfect season, a memorial sticker for DE Marquise Hill is placed on the back of the helmet and the silver jersey is worn for the last time in Week 3 against the Bills. In Super Bowl XLII, a game Pats fans wished never happened, the SB logo patch is worn on the left collarbone of the navy jersey.
2009: The Patriots commemorate their 50th season with a special patch worn on the left collarbone area of both sets of jerseys. As part of the AFL Legacy tribute, for three games the Patriots wore uniforms of the 1961-1965 era team, twice in red, once in white. These jerseys featured the AFL insprired 50th anniversary season on the left collarbone area. The Pats also played a game in London, so the boring “International Series” patch was worn on the right collarbone area of the navy jersey for that one.
2011: The Pats wore a memorial patch on the left collarbone area for Myra Kraft, the spouse of team owner Bob Kraft, who passed away in the off season. The red throwback was worn for Week 5 against the Jets. In Super Bowl XLVI, the SB logo patch is worn on the right collarbone of the navy jersey.
2012: The Pats don the trusty red throwbacks for Week 7 against the Jets. The next week, NE wears the icky “International Series” on the white jersey for the Wembley game with the Rams. Late in the season, the Patriots don a league wide Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary patch on the left collarbone of the blue jerseys only.
2013: The throwbacks are discarded.
2016: For the Week 3 Thursday Night game, the Pats join the Color Rush brigade with a special all navy ensemble, with the jersey containing a red/white/red shoulder stripe combo and no TV numbers, the pants feature a thin red/thick white/thin red stripe pattern with solid navy socks right to the cleats.
2017: In addition to the normal twosomes, the Pats wore two Color Rush styles. The first, worn in Week 5, a pair of white pants with a stripe pattern matching the side panels of the white jersey (very thin red/thick navy/very thin red) replaced the navy pants. The second, the all navy set which was worn in 2016, was worn in Week 7. For good measure, a Super Bowl LI Champions patch was on the navy jersey for Week 1.
Thanks Timmy! Awesome as always. Tim will be back tomorrow with your Philadelphia Eagles uni history.
[Yesterday, FC Dallas unveiled a new primary kit and our own Kris Gross was on hand for the event. Here he is with a full rundown. Enjoy — PH]
“Inspired By Texas” – FC Dallas Unveils New Primary Kit
By Kris Gross
Sticking to the Adidas/MLS plan of a new primary kit every two years, FC Dallas unveiled their new look for 2018 and 2019. The design added white to the chest and blue sleeves to represent the style and look of the Texas state flag.
“We wanted a kit that reflects who we are – a bold, Texas team,” said FC Dallas president Dan Hunt. “The 2018 primary jersey accomplishes that with its unique color-blocking and Lone Star symbolism.”
Some of the new kit details includes a star patch on the left sleeve with the letters “LH”, a tribute to team founder Lamar Hunt. The star also serves as the final piece in representing the state flag. As a Texan, I’m a huge fan of the decision to honor and replicate the flag. But I’m not sure if I’m buying into the white chest.
Moving to the back neckline, where the phrase “Pride of Texas” has the letter “X” replaced by a star.
And yes, Advocare is back as the kit sponsor for its seventh season. Bleh.
One big change for the new kit, is the “removal” of the hoops. The hoops, or what you and I would call horizontal stripes, have been a fixture for the club since the they were known as the Dallas Burn. Now the hoops aren’t completely gone – zoom into the photo below and you can see the design being recreated by the fabric.
You have to look really close, as the hoops are now present in punctured and un-puntured fabric on the kit. “We don’t want to lose touch with our history, and that’s why we keep subtle pieces of that,” said Tim Henning, Director of Merchandising for FC Dallas. It’s something you’ll know is there if you read about it, but fans watching from the stands or on TV will never know the famous hoops live on in the kit.
The hoops do also appear on the socks, which are now navy, with a red cuff and three white hoops.
As something to keep in mind, Adidas is a big factor when it comes to MLS uniforms. Each club is on a schedule that mandates a new kit every year. This year meant a new primary kit for FC Dallas, after last year brought in a new secondary kit (the “Stars At Night” jerseys are also Texas-inspired kits). Teams alternate with a new primary or secondary kit each year, so this new design will be worn by FC Dallas for 2018 and 2019.
Adidas plays an important role in not only choosing when new uniforms are unveiled, but also on the designs. “We want the style of play to mirror our look. We felt with the new youth movement, this is a much younger, much more vibrant kind of look,” Henning said. But the choices made by the team at FC Dallas headquarters in Frisco, TX could only go so far. “Although we can add certain kinds of details, the main general template is built by Adidas,” Henning told me when we discussed the design process.
As part of the kit unveiling the club held yesterday morning, new defender Reto Ziegler was present and acted as the live model of the new uniform. He likes the new look, and likes playing in kits that look good. “It’s like getting new shoes. You get a new shirt, new shoes, it gives you extra motivation.” Reto Ziegler Gets It.
More Gridirons on Diamonds
Earlier this year, I ran an article about archivist and historian Ronnie Bolton, who specializes in Old Time Baseball Photos, but shared with us some great football played on baseball fields. I mentioned then that he’d probably be back periodically, and I’m pleased to have a follow up with some more (colorized!) gridirons on a diamond.
Our first gridiron today is from the 1934, pitting the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears. This game was lost by the Giants, but they would get their revenge later on, defeating the Bears in the NFL Title Game from that year, a game affectionately known as The “Sneakers” Game. Colorization by Don Stokes. Here’s Ronnie:
Chicago Bears vs New York Giants, November 18, 1934, Polo Grounds
Giants fullback and Hall of Famer Ken Strong scores on a four yard touchdown run to give the Giants an early 7-0 lead over the Chicago Bears. Despite the early lead the Giants would fall to the Bears 10-9 in a game that saw a combined 35 yards passing from both teams.
The NFL Giants played at the Polo Grounds starting in 1925 and until 1955 when they moved into Yankee Stadium. Three other professional football teams called “The Bathtub” home:
New York Brickley Giants (NFL) (1921)
New York Titans/Jets (AFL) (1960–1963)
New York Bulldogs (NFL) (1949)
Included above is an aerial view of the Polo Grounds with a circle showing where the play took place.
That’s the area near the pitchers mound and home plate, which is why there is more “dirt” than normal!
Next up is a fantastic colorization of a game between a defunct team, and one still in existence (colorization by Mark Truelove):
New York Yanks vs Detroit Lions, November 23, 1950, Briggs Stadium
Lions rookie halfback Doak Walker tries to turn the corner as Sherman Howard (#46) of the New York Yanks closes in for the tackle. The 1948 Heisman Trophy winner would rush for 69 yards with 30 coming on a touchdown run in Detroit’s easy 49-14 win on Thanksgiving Day. The versatile Walker was also a perfect seven for seven on extra point conversions.
As for the New York Yanks, they were only in existence for three years (1949-51) and in two of the years they won just one game. So in short, they were an utter failure. But you got to love their uniforms!
This additional photo from Ronnie is of Leon Hart, who isn’t connected to the NY Yanks game but as you can see it’s fabulous shot, from Briggs Stadium, Detroit, 11/2/52. Shown is Hart catcheing one of his two TDs from QB Bobby Layne in 17-6 win against Cleveland Browns.
Thanks, Ronnie. And thanks for enlisting the help of the colorizers — they REALLY bring the photos to life!
And now a few words from Paul: Hi there. As you get ready for the Super Bowl, here are a few things to keep in mind:
• In case you missed it on Friday: With the football season almost over, our friends at Rocker T Collectibles are running an end-of-season sale on Uni Watch mini-helmets. The original price of $39.99 has been reduced to $29.99. They’re available here.
• In case you missed it last week, I announced a new partnership with Grey Flannel Auctions. If you have a potentially valuable collectible, GFA will appraise it at no charge, and with no obligation. Think of it as an online version of Antiques Roadshow. Full details here.
• A few days ago I had a major ESPN piece about a confidential NFL memo from 1966 that carried a very provocative subject line: “Some Observations on the NFL and Negro Players.” It’s one of the most interesting stories I’ve ever worked on. Check it out here.
• And I have another ESPN piece that just went up on Saturday morning, about some old letters that Denver Broncos season ticketholders sent to the team, requesting tickets for Super Bowl I. You can see that one here.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled Phil-fest.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: The Our Presidents Twitter account posted a scan of Jackie Robinson’s letter to President Dwight Eisenhower, which seemingly inexplicably featured Chock Full o’Nuts letterhead (in response, the JFK Library’s Twitter account also posted letters Robinson wrote to President John Kennedy, also on Chock Full o’Nuts letterhead). Why did Robinson write these letters on Chock Full o’Nuts stationery?Following his retirement, Robinson was hired by Chock Full o’Nuts as the company’s Vice President and Director of Personnel, emphasizing hiring black employees. Thanks to Alex for sending in the original tweet and Phil for the explanation. … The Durham Bulls launched their new uniforms yesterday, designed by Brian Begley. … Safeco Field’s statue of Ken Griffey Jr. is undergoing repairs (thanks, Paul). … The Vermont Lake Monsters, the Single-A affiliate of the A’s, have launched their 25th season logo, though the team started playing in 1993, so it’s actually their 25th anniversary, and 26th season in Burlington (from Alan Borock). … New road uniforms for Angelo State University (from Everett Corder). … LSU is adopting 3D helmet logos for the forthcoming season (from Taylor Martina). … Twitter user @kelly2reed46 found what appears to be an old Montreal Expos bat box. So cool! … Mariners blog Lookout Landing has a brilliant story on the bootleg jerseys, written by someone who was duped (from Stephen Petit). … Single-digit pitcher alert! Cardinals righty Luke Weaver will enter the season with No. 7 (from Matthew Rose).
NFL News: Hey, check out who wrote this article for Munsell Color on the Pats and Eagles (good job, Phil). … In 1972, Chargers defensive end Deacon Jones went first-name-on-back at home and with an initialized NOB on the road. Excellent find (from @MBDChicago). … This is so cool: handpainted calaveras in NFL helmets! (Spotted by Benson Quattlebaum in Cuernavaca, Mexico). … Friday morning’s episode of The Today Show featured gratuitous frankenjerseys. Doesn’t help that the Pats and Iggles have two of my least favorite looks in the league. … Valery Raymond sends along this school project asking students who would win the Super Bowl by asking them to color in either the Pats or Eagles’ helmet. Final count is 11 Eagles, 10 Patriots and 15 who said the Super Bowl wasn’t their thing. … After Seahawks corner Justin Coleman’s pick-six at AT&T Stadium, he famously jumped into the Salvation Army bucket in the endzone. Coleman has now donated the jersey to the charity (from Kenny Ocker). … A Niners beat writer ranked all 32 NFL uniform sets. Tampa unsurprisingly brings up the rear (from Joe Farris). … Not uni-related, but Gizmodo has a great piece about the broadcast of the first Super Bowl (from Seán Gohman). … Check out Mitch Purcell’s wedding cake! And yes, that’s all cake except for the field. Congrats to Mitch and his wife!
College/High School Football News: Included in this fascinating article about former Washington kicker Chip Lohmiller’s post-retirement-career as a fire chief is a picture from Lohmiller’s time as a high school football coach for the Pequot Lakes (MN) Patriots. The team’s logo is a recolored, enlarged and headlesss version of the Eagles logo. Not exactly the Super Bowl uniform crossover we may have been expecting! (Excellent spot by Stephen Kurpin). … In January Kary Klismet noticed that the College Football Hall of Fame previously had Iowa coach’s Hayden Fry’s first name as “George” instead of “John.” Kary lets us know that the error has now been corrected.
Hockey News: Labatt Blue released cans designed like famous USA hockey jerseys (from Zeke Perez Jr.). … The Tulsa Oilers of the ECHL will wear Route 66-inspired jerseys tonight against the Allen Americans (from Mike Iles). … The Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL wore these so-bad-they’re-good 90s sweaters last night against the Indy Fuel (from @Few_Thy_Voice).
NBA/College Hoops News: Former Rockets owner Leslie Alexander is keeping the team’s two Larry O’Brien trophies despite selling the team. The NBA awards the trophies to the owner of the team, not the team itself, and it’s the owner’s prerogative to do what they want with them (from Mike Chamernik). … The Cavs are wearing their new “The Land” GFGS unis tonight (from Robert Hayes). … There is something just so perfect about Jerry West in a West All-Stars jersey (from @GoatJerseys). … Xavier is going with throwbacks against Georgetown tonight (from D J Leonard).
Soccer News: German club Mainz 05 launched their carnival kits yesterday (from Ed Żelaski). … Also from Ed: FC Köln will wear special 70th anniversary kits in Februrary . … Spanish side Real Sociedad is offering a free jersey exchange for fans with Iñigo Martínez’s jersey. Martínez recently signed for Sociedad’s archrivals Athletic de Bilbao. … Footy Headlines leaked England’s 2018 World Cup kit. … Footy Headlines also leaked Sporting Kansas City’s new kits. … FC Dallas launched their new home kit yesterday, and it has been described as a “deconstructed Texas flag.”
Grab Bag: Ignacio Salazar found a gold-mine of gear at a Houston re-sale store. … Did you know Team USA’s luge suits feature stirrups! Spotted in the opening graf of this excellent piece on luge from the Washington Post‘s Sarah Larimer (from William F. Yurasko). … Penn State Men’s Lacrosse will wear all white for their season opener against Villanova (from María Canales). … Speaking of men’s lacrosse, Cleveland State launched their new unis yesterday (from Ed Żelaski). … A couple of golf items from Zachary Loesl: Marc Warren wore a Maybank pin on his cap at the Maybank Championship, and C.T. Pan wore a winter hat at the Phoenix Open. … The Atlantic has an excellent slideshow of animals on the field (from @VerbDC). … Not uni-related, but ads may be coming to Virginia public school buses. Previous shots at this found that revenue wasn’t increased by a whole lot (first article from @VictoryCB and second from Michael Romero). … New leotards for Kentucky gymnastics (from María Canales).