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Giants Unveil 1980s-90s Throwback Uniform

(Photo: Matt Swensen/New York Football Giants)

Welcome news today out of the Meadowlands, where the Giants are announcing the release of a new throwback uniform. The design, which was produced by the front office with equipment manager Jackie Miles, is based on what the team wore from 1980 through 1999. It will be worn for two home games this season — against the Bears on Oct. 2 (because the Giants beat the Bears in the playoffs during their 1990 Super Bowl run) and against the Commanders on Dec. 4 (because they beat Washington in the playoffs during their 1986 Super Bowl run).

Here are some additional views:

(Photos: Matt Swensen/New York Football Giants)

Now, you may be thinking, “This is just the blue version of the white Color Rush uni they’ve already been wearing.” And while that’s sorta/kinda true, it’s more complex than that. Let’s take a look at the new throwback, one element at a time.

The Helmet

(Photos: Matt Swensen/New York Football Giants)

Due to the one-shell rule, the Color Rush helmet has always been the team’s standard headgear with retro ornamentation. But with the rule now lifted, the Giants will be using a darker navy-like shade of blue for the throwback helmet. (The Color Rush uni will remain in the team’s wardrobe, so the Giants will now have four uni options: primary blue, primary white, CR, and throwback.)

This makes the Giants the eighth NFL team so far to add a second helmet color for 2022. The other seven are the Eagles (black alternate), Falcons (red throwback), Patriots (white throwback), Saints (black alternate), Commanders (black alternate), Texans (red alternate), and Panthers (black alternate). In addition, we know the Bengals will be unveiling a white alternate soon.

Like the Color Rush helmet, the throwback helmet will have era-appropriate numbers on the back:

(Photo: Matt Swensen/New York Football Giants)

One thing that isn’t historically accurate but is nonetheless interesting: Back in the 1980s and ’90s, the “Giants” wordmark on the side of the helmet was printed on a rectangular decal with white lettering on a clear background. But thanks to modern decal technology, the lettering is now die-cut, with no background, so it pops a bit more. The Color Rush helmet has had this die-cut lettering, and the throwback helmet will have it as well.

(Courtesy of New York Football Giants)

As explained by Giants creative services director Doug Murphy: “The clear layer that you see on the die-cut logo is transfer tape. You peel off the backing, align the logo and the top clear transfer tape on the helmet, and press down. Then you remove the top transfer tape and you’re left with the wordmark on the helmet.”

Wondering why they’re not doing this with the rear helmet numbers? “Die-cutting is more difficult with small items that have thick and thin areas,” says Murphy. “So we decided to keep that as a clear-backed rectangular decal, as it was back in the day.”

The Jersey

(Photo: Matt Swensen/New York Football Giants)

Just like the Color Rush jersey, the new throwback has old-school knit ribbing on the collar. (It also has one of those inner-collar slogans, but of course that won’t be visible on the field.)

Also: The CR jersey, like the team’s primary white and blue jerseys, has the little “ny” logo on the chest. The new blue throwback jersey doesn’t have that.

And here’s an interesting wrinkle: The CR jerseys used the team’s old 1980s and ’90s NOB font. But while doing research for the new throwback, Murphy noticed that three letters in the CR alphabet — C, G, and S — weren’t historically accurate.

In order to address this problem, the Giants had Nike revise those three letters to create a more historically accurate alphabet.

(Courtesy of New York Football Giants)

The Pants

The pants are essentially the same as the CR design. But just as the throwback helmet is a different shade of blue than the CR helmet, the throwback pants have slightly more vibrant shades of red and blue than the CR pants.

(Courtesy of New York Football Giants)

For those keeping score at home, here are the Pantone values (the CR hues are also the ones used for the team’s primary uniforms):

The Socks

While the CR socks are white, the throwback socks are blue/white. Or at least that’s the idea — as we all know by know, NFL players tend to freestyle a lot with their hosiery.

Additional Details

The Giants plan to dress their sideline staff in retro attire for the two throwback games. They’ll also use a retro end zone design, based on the one used in Super Bowl XXI.

(Courtesy of New York Football Giants)

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That about covers it. I’m admittedly a bit biased, because I grew up rooting for this uniform and have always loved it. But even if you don’t have an emotional connection to Big Blue, I think most uni fans would agree that this unveiling qualifies as very good news indeed.

Comments (79)

    “Due to the one-shell rule, the Color Rush helmet has always been the team’s standard headgear with retro ornamentation. But with the rule now lifted, the Giants will be using a darker navy-like shade of blue for the throwback helmet.”

    One of the few cases that going faux-back in the color rush is actually a superior uniform. Simply because the true throwback is miss matched as a result of limitations on helmet colors manufacturing at the time those uniforms were made. I get that one is authentic to how they did look, but given changes in jersey cuts and lack of things like visible sleeve stripes, throwbacks to that era are never really going to look the same anyway.

    Amen to this. When the mismatched blues were standard, it always bothered me. It was bad looking then, is now too. The FauxBack is much better.

    The classic Rams home unis had the same issue. Helmets were a darker blue than the jersey. Same with the 80’s-90’s Vikings with their purple shades ( helmets were darker).

    Governor Christie Whitman wouldn’t let the Giants play in the Meadowlands in NJ with the NY logo on it. That’s how they ended up with the name “Giants” on it.

    Not to call “BULLSHIT” on this, but the Giants switched to “GIANTS” on their helmets in 1976. Christie Whitman became governor of New Jersey in 1994.

    So, that’s BULLSHIT.

    Further: The Giants ditched “GIANTS” on their helmets in 2000 (returning to the classic “ny” logo). Who was Governor of New Jersey at the time? Christie Whitman.

    Facts are stubborn things, I know.

    You know, being born in 1975 and rooting for the Giants as a young buck in the 80’s, I grew a bit tired of these as the years passed. And, I always wondered why they had a navy helmet (like the LA Rams) when their main “Big Blue” color was royal blue. I really liked when they made the full transition to the retro uniforms (especially the gray pants with the white tops).

    However, maybe it’s nostalgia for better times, but this is a nice look; I’m glad they made this decision…let’s see if the front office can make some more good decisions!

    Only problem with the current uniform-There is no BLUE in the away jersey. For a team called “Big Blue” this makes no sense. Personally I wish the Giants would go back to the 80s/90s uniform with a helmet that matches the jersey color.

    These were/are okay (seem to remember everyone thinking they were meh when they wore them full time), but why the Giants have spent the last few seasons destroying one of the best sets in the league is a mystery to me. The gray pants are classic and iconic and they’ve all but eliminated them for the white pants at home (with the unnecessary gray stripe) and then those stupid practice pants on the road with the red stripes and plain white socks. Went from a top 5 to 10 set to near the bottom third of the league. I do appreciate the extra thought given to the details here and I think they will look great for those two games. If only they would fix the other 15.

    I say the Giants still are near the top of the heap uni-wise, and this throwback is really great.
    I like the “unnecessary” gray stripe on the home pants since it ties in with the gray facemasks.
    While the white road pants aren’t my favorite (the grays are superior, see above for my reason), their striping at least matches that of the white jersey, though I’d love for them to wear something like the ’66-’74 away look.

    Agrees 100%. I love the gray pants. They’re befitting of a team with a 90+ year history. It’s a shame the Giants are gradually chipping away at a classic uniform set.

    This and the white CR (or a slightly modified version of it). should be the permanent uniforms The regular uniform set is a total mess. The home uniform is mostly blue, the road uniform is totally red. The Giants can’t decide whether their primary color on the regular set is red or blue, also their jerseys and pants have different templates. The throwbacks have blue as the primary color and the templates are the same (the only drawback is two different shades of blue on the helmet).

    The problem is that the Giants’ home and road uniforms from the early ’50s until well into the ’60s – their glory years – didn’t match. Teams often used different suppliers for their home and road uniforms. In the Giants’ case, the NFL’s TV push for dark home uniforms and white on the road meant a transition from red primary/blue secondary to blue primary/white secondary. And to me it looks like the white uniform was based on the old red uniform instead of the new blue one.

    link

    Note that mostly that season they wore white at home!

    Interesting that they will use an end zone design that they never actually used at home. That red end zone was a Super Bowl only design and would be more appropriate if they were playing the Broncos or Bills.

    Not to mention that the rendering of the “throwback” endzone has the helmet in royal blue. This just further demonstrates the fact that the helmet should be royal blue, but was only navy blue due to production issues. If the goal for the uniforms is historical accuracy you go with navy, if the goal is to wear a past design in 2022 it should be royal blue.

    I know it may spit in the face of the tradition of the throwback, but I would prefer if they wore this throwback with the blues of the helmets and jersey matching. Using the current primary helmet colour. It would look better. We can now get the helmet blue to match the jersey. Not sure I am for celebrating the fact that we could not get the blues to match when back in the day they probably would have gone for the blues matching if the helmet manufacturer could have made it happen.

    As a kid growing up in Newark in the 1980’s, I always accepted that darker helmet color as normal so it still looks normal to me.
    It’s like the Cowboys metallic “silver-green” pants. It just looks normal to us now despite it being really weird.

    It’s funny, if a team unveiled unis today and the helmet did not match the jersey (Eagles in recent memory), we would be crushing the team and/or Nike. Still, the sight of the mismatched blue does instantly remind me of the prior era, so that works as a throwback.

    Sorry to get technical here, but I was a little surprised to hear Doug Murphy refer to the Giants helmet graphic as die-cut. Those graphics are cut on a computer guided vinyl-cutter. There is no “die” per se, so this technically is not die-cut.

    I think the difference between LA & NY going with navy and Denver going with a lighter blue had to do with their jersey’s. Denver was going to pair their helmet with an orange jersey, so if it came out lighter than the royal blue on the jersey trim it was less of a problem. LA & NY had to deal with the fact that their jerseys were also royal blue, so the helmet either being a darker or lighter shade of blue than their jerseys would be much more noticeable. They chose (and I think rightly) that if the helmet couldn’t match the blue of the jerseys it would be better for the helmet to be darker than the jerseys. It was a pick your poison problem. And Denver benefited from being in the position of not have blue be their primary color anyway.

    Count me in the minority that does NOT like this idea.. As a fan of the Football Giants in the 80’s (season ticket holder as well) I always felt this uni design, especially the road whites, were bland, boring, and lacked tradition. The italicized ‘GIANTS’ helmet logo was and continues to be inferior to the ‘ny’. For a team whose glory years were in the 50’s and 60’s I loved that they returned to those classics in 2005.
    This stinks as an obvious merchandise-grab (duh)…
    When you have re-established your classic franchise look, there is no need to tinker.
    I’ll stand firmly in the minority that gives this a thumbs-down.

    I disagree. If it were just a merch dump, they wouldn’t have bothered with the slightly different helmet color, the slightly different pants colors, etc. Also, the jersey has no logo or wordmark, which is an *anti*-merch move.

    If you don’t like the design, that’s one thing. But when you look at how they sweated the details, I don’t think you can just call this a merch move.

    I suppose I gathered that opinion after the email bombardment I received from the Giants this morning advertising the new jerseys for sale…

    It’s also important to note that the average jersey-purchasing fan in the stands (or at the local sports bar) has no concept of our keen eyes regarding uni details like helmet color and pant striping!!

    The Giants will cash-out selling these jerseys this season.

    It’s also important to note that the average jersey-purchasing fan in the stands (or at the local sports bar) has no concept of our keen eyes regarding uni details like helmet color and pant striping!!

    Right — and yet they sweated those details anyway! Would’ve been easy for them to just not bother. Just reinforces my point that this wasn’t just a merch move.

    I agree, at least in terms of design. I love the Giants current Uni set: the NY logo on the helmet, the really plain home jersey, the away jersey that arguably has too much red and no blue. I even prefer the gray pants to the white. None of it makes sense, but for some reason, I’m a fan. I think the 80s era uniforms are bland.

    In general throwing back to this look just highlights that the NY on the helmet is better, but also that the Giants should adopt a version of this white uniform as their full time road set (except with the NY helmet). The all red trim road/white look just is not consistent with their home/blue design.
    From there use the 1938 championship season uniform as their alt/throwback. The khaki color pants and Michigan style winged helmet are a great design that really calls back to the early days of the league and shows the franchise’s long history. And you could go with the red jersey / socks to stand out from the solid blue jersey they already have.

    If you don’t want bland try the Giants 1975 unis with the blue pants on the road and the “disco” NY on the helmet.

    The best part for me is how they went back to re-create the original font. This is the type of attention to detail we need in all throwbacks. Great job!

    Nike fixed the C, the G and the S, but what about the small C, as in McDonald’s? Do we know which small C was used back then?

    Due to the importance of SIMMS, the M is important. Paul, if you haven’t already thought of it, here is a chance to rectify this and credit goes to the comm-uni-ty. Let Murphy know.

    Have been wondering why the numbers look “bigger” or thicker to me relative to the 80s, and just realized it’s because the numbers and names in the 80s were vinyl/screenprinted and these are no doubt some kind of twill. Not better or worse, just interesting. By the 90s iterations of these uniforms I think most of the numbers had gone over to twill (and do look “thicker”), except for some skill players who may have felt that the twill on the front was too slippery to cradle a football against.

    I think tackle-twill numbers were mandated league-wide in 1996 or thereabouts (maybe 1995). My noticing that pre-dated UW by three years (heh). I think it was the same year the Giants changed the nameplates to a sans-serif font.

    I have a game used WR’s jersey from 97 with screen printed front numbers and twill TV and back numbers. I think some ballcarriers held out as long as they could. Here’s Chris Calloway in 98 with a clearly screened-on front number: link

    I may be in the minority, but I always thought these unis were not attractive and particularly boring. Especially the white-on-white road version…I don’t like white-on-white for ANY team, but the Giants version was a particularly bad pairing (their return to white-on-white on the road last year was a downgrade too, IMHO).

    The switch to the gray pants, home and road, and the return to the NY logo they made around the turn of the century, was a dramatic aesthetic improvement to me…I don’t know why they’ve eschewed the gray pants in the last few years.

    It’s hard for me to type as an Eagles fan, but the Giants current uniforms are damn near perfect; they’re classic and simple, but not bland. I love the blue dominant home and red dominant away. I liked the red alternates even though it didn’t make too much sense for them to wear them since they’re nickname is Big Blue.

    But I always see these and think about how the only difference between them and the Bills is the helmet color*. They’re kind of hand-me-down-esque, especially with the WASPy Suburbian Mailbox Sticker font on the helmets.

    HOWEVER, this is pitch perfect throwback execution. Kudos to the Jints for this A-1 throwback.

    I’m fine with this as a tip of the cap to a specific era, but it’s a reminder that the move back to the classic 1960s era blue shirts and keeping them for the past 22 years has continued to be the right move (especially once they ditched the gray pants for the white ones). I would not entirely mind if they updated the blue jerseys to add red outlines, as long as it’s the darker red and without the sleeve and collar striping, which really looks super dated.

    First thing is that the team needs to update the white jerseys and get rid of the all red numbers and letters. A modern take on the ColorRash unis would be perfect. Blue numbers with a thinner red outline, no piping, the current NY blue lid, and using the current modern number and letter set would be a a very excellent update to the white uni that honors the tradition of the team and stops looking so out of place.

    As a Giants fan I always hated how the helmet didn’t match the jersey. When I saw today’s news I thought that problem would be fixed because the color rush helmet looks great with the retro logos and matched up with the blue numbers nicely. They decided to go with a navy helmet which looks awful. Hopefully this is a one season uniform and next year we get a new uniforms.

    I wish the Panthers would’ve gone the die-cut route with the decal on their black helmet. Would’ve looked much better than their regular black decal on a black shell.

    Not terribly worried about whether the Panthers’ decal is standard or die cut. But a regular logo instead of the all-blue version on the black lid would have been an improvement.

    And … while it has nothing to do with the Giants’ throwbacks, Jackie Miles was the Carolina Panthers’ equipment manager for years before David Tepper bought the team. Always did top-notch work in Charlotte.

    I like how the Giants have taken a period specific manufacturing glitch and turned it into another marketing vehicle.
    Ahhh, sweet consumerism.

    Lee

    Mismatched blues on helmets and jersey – Old Miss alum Eli Manning must be kicking himself that he played before and after his chances at this.

    Nice throwback to a great era of the Giants. But in a vacuum, this has always been a really boring design overall and not as classic as a simple NY logo. If the Giants had not been as successful during that era, would anyone really be pining for this look? If this design had no prior history and they made it their new look, would we consider it an upgrade?

    I like the Giants’ move to add these uniforms as throwbacks, and I appreciate the attention to detail that went into it. It’s a fun nod to one of the more successful eras of the team’s history (at least to fans of my generation, who weren’t born during the team’s run of championship game appearances in the ’50s and ’60s).

    I’ve seen some complaints in the comments above that some people don’t like the navy helmet and the way it doesn’t match the royal blue of the rest of the uniform. And I admit that it always bothered me growing up that teams like the Rams, Giants, and Chargers all had such a noticeable discrepancy between the shade of blue they used for their jerseys and the much darker blue on their helmets. I assume it had something to do with the limitations of the era’s color technology, although I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a detailed explanation.

    If the Giants were ever to make a permanent return to a look reminiscent of their ’80s and ’80s visual identity (and I think a reasonable case could be made for that, though I’m not clamoring for them to do so), I would want them to keep the lighter blue they currently use as their main helmet to create a more consistent visual program. (Essentially what they’re already doing with their Color Rush set, but with a blue jersey incorporated into the mix.) However, as a throwback uniform, meant to capture a look from a pervious period with a certain eye toward historical accuracy, I love what the Giants have done here. It really does echo what I remember the Giants looking like when I first started paying attention to the NFL. Well done!

    It was the same situation in Canada with the Montreal Alouettes in 1970s and 1980s. Blue darker on the helmet than the jerseys. When they wore 1970s throwbacks in 2010, they had to get a set of blue helmets (they were wearing silver helmets at the time). They did elect to have the blues match rather than have a darker blue helmet and go true throwback, which was a great decision.

    link

    That actually looks pretty sharp! It may not be quite as “historically accurate,” but I like the consistency between the jerseys and the helmets.

    “The Giants plan to dress their sideline staff in retro attire for the two throwback games.”

    Please tell me it’s going to be Big Tuna sweaters or puffy Starter jackets!

    link

    link

    It’s anathema to complain about the mismatched blues! It’s part of the charm of some of the unis of that era, and is frankly more aesthetically pleasing in most cases, this being one of them.

    Also: I feel the blue jerseys got darker in ‘89 when they switched to shinier fabric for the jerseys and pants. Or maybe it just looked that way on the old TV I used in college.

    These are an MASSIVE improvement over what the Giants normally where. It may not be perfect but even as someone who cares absolutely nothing about things like big markets, tradition and pageantry, this is the look I associate with the Giants. Now someone just needs to get the Jets to get back to their look from 80s and maybe football games from New York (Jersey) will start being aesthetically pleasing again.

    I like that they’re scheduling the throwback games against teams they played during that period of time. It just seems more “authentic “ to me and looks cooler. In this case, there’s meaning behind it too. I don’t like when throwbacks are worn against a team they would’ve never worn them against like the Texans for example.

    I don’t know if this would be allowed, but I’ve long thought it would be sort of cool for the team to have the NY logo on one side of the helmet and the “GIANTS” wordmark on the other.

    In the words of some tennis player… “you cannot be serious.”

    Seriously, though. That hat was awful. No one who has any affection for or is a fan of the Giants wants to see that ever again. Maybe you and Jimmer Vilk do, but no one who is a Giants fan does.

    I think it was ugly as well, but if the Giants had just stuck with it, it would now be considered a classic and people would protest if the team wanted to change it.

    Oh, I almost forgot: I miss the one shell rule.

    So you get a chance to do a totally distinct helmet, and all you do is a slightly different shade of the color you’ve worn for 80 years?
    Okie dokie.

    Lee

    Not my favorite Giants’ uniform. But I get the historical importance of them and it makes sense to pay tribute to the players who wore them.

    Yawn. Throwing back to mismatched colors and trivial changes in tones on stripes? Headline stuff when the team is unwatchable.

    The Giants had better bring back the 1975 uniform set for a 50th anniversary in three years! I think those are among the best NFL uniforms ever. Sorry not sorry if I offend you.

    Just a thought. How is Nike going to allow Carl Banks to outfit sideline staff in GIII/Starter gear for these throwback games?

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