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[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry by Tom Juettner, who’s noticed a certain chromatic trend in the NFL. ”” PL]

By Tom Juettner

In the Uni Watch community we always talk about the spread of BFBS. But I’d like to point out another trend that’s almost as prevalent but receives very little attention: navy for navy’s sake. Blue is such a common color that we often take its myriad shades for granted. Looking at the NFL today, however, we’ve seen an explosion in the use of navy blue.

First we have to define exactly what we mean when we talk about navy blue or dark blue. Every team has its own unique shade so its difficult to know precisely where to draw the dividing line, especially since some teams have used blues that are quite dark or deep, like a lapis, but that don’t quite feel like navy. We can even go in the other direction and debate whether the Bears’ shade of blue should be considered navy, since it’s such a deep midnight shade that it often appears to be black.

I’ve decided to draw the dividing line using a simple before/after comparison that illustrates the broader point nicely: the Rams pre- and post-1999. If its on the dark side of that divide, then we’ll include it in the navy brigade.

Having come to a reasonable approximation of how to define navy, let’s compare its spread to the BFBS phenomenon:

In 1969, a year before the merger, the AFL and NFL had a total of 26 teams, five of which wore black in some way (Steelers, Raiders, Falcons, Saints, Bengals), or 19.2% of the teams. In that same year, the Bears were the only team to feature navy blue (3.8% of teams). The rest of the league, if they used blue, used royal (Colts, Bills, Broncos), lapis (Giants, Rams, Cowboys), powder (Chargers), Honolulu (Lions), or Luv-Ya (Oilers).

In 1992, twenty years ago, there were seven teams using black, or 25% of the league (Falcons, Bengals, Raiders, Saints, Steelers, with accents for the Eagles and Jets). In that same year, 3 teams or 10.7% used navy in some way (Cowboys for alternates, Bears, and Chargers).

In 2011, 12 teams used black either as an accent or a main color, a whopping 37.5%. However, 11 teams utilized navy full-time — a number almost four times as high as 20 years earlier, an increase to 34.4% of the NFL. The Bears, Cowboys, and Chargers still use navy but have been joined by the Broncos, Patriots, Texans, Titans, Rams, and Seahawks. The Bills and Dolphins both use navy as an accent color. And I’m not even including the Packers and Jets, both of whom wore navy throwbacks. If those two teams are counted in the navy brigade, then more teams (13) wore navy than black last season.

The motivation for using navy is probably much the same as for using black. Many teams that formerly used a lighter shade, such as the Rams, Patriots, or Seahawks, darkened their hue to appear more intimidating.

The explosion in navy is just as notable as the explosion in black because of how rapidly the change has occurred. In just the last two decades, navy has expanded at a faster rate than black. Is this a good thing, a bad thing, or just one of those things? Discuss.

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Super Bowl Logo Contest — Last Call: Today’s the last day to submit an entry for Phil’s Super Bowl XLVIII logo design contest. Full details here. The deadline is tonight, 6pm Eastern.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Yesterday I noted that the Stars have added a 20th-anniversary mark at center ice and wondered if they’d be wearing some version of that as a patch. The answer is yes, although the patch version is more complex than the center ice version. … Here are all 16 World Baseball Classic uniforms (from Dan Kurtz). … Cops in Slidell, Louisiana, will soon start wearing Super Bowl badges (from my ESPN editor Dave Wilson). … Cross-dressing alert: J.J. Watt of the Texans wore a Craig Biggio jersey at a press conference on Wednesday (from Matthiew Mitchell). … “I went to the Minnesota Gophers hockey game on Tuesday and took photos of every different kind of jersey I could find,” says Jeff Barak. “I also documented some of the various employees wearing jerseys, some fan jerseys that stood out from the crowd, and how fans have begun to make their own production runs of throwback jerseys. You can read about all of this here.” … Steve Garvey’s kids made him a Dodgers jersey birthday cake back in 1978 (from Brady Phelps). … “A school district near Milwaukee had been ordered by the Department of Public Instruction in 2010 to drop its ‘Indians’ nickname,” says Lucas Grishaber. “Parents recently challenged this through the Appeals Court and lost, so now the school Superintendent is asking lawmakers to strip DPI of its power to order schools to drop their nicknames. Additionally, the Superintendent indicates that the parents will try to take this issue to the State Supreme Court.” … In a vaguely related item, the Braves’ new BP cap was featured in the “Lowbrow/Despicable” quadrant of New York magazine’s “Approval Matrix” this week … New mask for Anders Lindback (from Joe Delach). … New Nike gear for Rory McIlroy. … Chris Pronger is the Flyers’ captain. So why is Dick’s Sporting Goods selling Claude Giroux jerseys with a “C” on them? (From Michael Geddes.) … Apparently nobody in the Islanders’ front office considered all the jokes that would ensue from adding Advil as an on-ice sponsor. “Sweet, delicious irony,” says John Muir. … “I love baseball and I love the Marx Brothers, so this photo is like heaven to me,” says Lou Sherwood.

Comments (176)

    Re: Indian nicknames, I have a theory: white folks like Mr. Lucas want sports teams and schools to drop these nicknames and logos not because they are sensitive to the plight of Native Americans, but rather because we as a society want to forget they ever existed. Because otherwise, we are reminded of the fact that the land we enjoy living on now was taken from them, either through trickery or violence.

    Poll after poll indicate that the vast majority of Native Americans have no problem with the nicknames and many actually believe that they help to preserve and celebrate what’s left of their culture.

    I used to be on Mr. Lucas’ side on this issue but it seems like it is at this point its a victim-less crime at worst.

    Taking your logic to its conclusion, those that want to keep the Redskins and Chief Wahoo are those that are sensitive to the plight of Native Americans, and as a society wants to remember them?

    Uh, yeah.


    I’m not sure why you’re choosing to make this personal about me. I expressed no opinion on the matter today, or yesterday, or the day before. I simply reported some developments.

    Here’s an exercise: Try thinking about this issue without thinking about or mentioning me. (And if you must mention me, I’d appreciate it if you could spell my surname properly. Thanks.)

    Sorry, Mr. Lukas, I do apologize for not taking the time to check and see how to spell your name correctly.

    And I didn’t mean to make it about you, it was more about people who feel the same way you do about the topic, and this happens to be your site.

    My main point was just that because the Indian nickname issue seems to bother white people more than the “victims” themselves, we should ask why it bothers us so much. And I think part of it might be because it reminds us that we’re living on stolen land and that the offensive images are those of a people our ancestors tried to eliminate from the earth…

    Oddly, for a person who loves contributing to this site, my sentiments are 50/50 about the changing/keeping of Indian iconography. While it’s nice to listen to our better angels and use mascots that don’t disparage people (especially people who have been aggrieved as long as American Indians), the results of such changes are usually sloppy and ill-concieved. The “Red Storm”, “RedHawks”, “Big Green” and the “Orange” are for shit; go back and try harder.

    The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum typeface on the Islanders’ ice is in the most hideous, dated typeface ever.

    So kinda like the rest of the rink, then? The terms “hideous” and “dated” seem to work fine when talking about the Mausoleum.

    It’s just Bauhaus. One of those fonts that manages to look modern to some people and dated to others no matter what year it is.

    RE: Giroux jerseys, maybe 20 minutes after the news that the lockout was over hit, I was seeing a ton of tweets about the Flyers possibly handing Giroux the captaincy.

    Never saw any follow up on that, maybe Dick’s was jumping the gun?

    Shane, I’ve seen a lot of the same. Probably going to happen once camp opens officially this weekend, according to what I’ve read.

    I think it’s been clear for a while that Pronger wasn’t coming back, despite the protestations of those professing shock at the idea now. He hasn’t played in over a year, and there’s been virtually nothing to indicate that he’d be cleared to do so now. Dick’s might be jumping the gun, but only because there’s been no official announcement naming Giroux captain. The fact that Pronger was the most recent captain is a moot point.

    “I love baseball and I love the Marx Brothers, so this photo is like heaven to me,” says Lou Sherwood.

    This is one of the best links ever on this site!

    I think the increase in navy is just another part of the overall darkening of sports team colors in the past 20 years. Not only multiple teams switched from royal to navy – but there’s the Bucs going from white & orange to pewter & red, the Jets & Eagles both adopting darker shades of green, and even the 49ers had switched to a darker red prior to their current retro uniforms. Heck, I think the Dolphins current aqua color is darker than what they’d worn before the late 90’s logo change as well.

    I thought there was going to be more about navy/blue in sports being used.

    One of the first new releases of the New Orleans Pelicans had blue (navy I think) as its primary color too. That leaves us with how many blue basketball teams too? The Pelicans were not very creative with their color scheme, if we can use what they’ve released so far — or at least what as been released of them.

    It’s pretty lousy to think that so many teams have blue. I am sick and tired of the royal blue/white color scheme. I think more teams have it than anything else.

    The Hornicans haven’t actually made any logo/color/uniform announcements, have they? Haven’t all the things out on the ‘net been fan submissions so far … or so they want us to think?

    It may not be creative, but blue, red and gold are the colors of New Orleans, so it makes perfect sense and would be, in my opinion, much more original than going the tired purple, green and gold Mardi Gras route that everyone seems to gravitate toward, for example.

    You can take one step further and talk about the darkening of hues in the NHL, MLB, and NBA. The NBA and NHL are even going further with many teams wearing the same color scheme with slight modifications.

    SO many teams in the NBA and NHL are using some version of navy and powder blue, plus a random warm color: Mavericks, Bobcats, Grizzlies, Nuggets, Thunder, Blue Jackets, Panthers, Penguins, Blues, Jets.

    I think the increase of navy blue has just been part of the latest trend. I don’t think tv or any other business issue forced the matter. I think it was just a fashion trend. As The Jeff points out, most team colors have been darkened in the last 15-20 years. And as a team chooses blue, they go with the darker shade as a primary color (see Winnipeg Jets). I usually like navy blue, but it has gotten very boring in sports, especially in the NBA (a league I’m not much of a fan of).

    I agree on the Dolphins. Their shade of aqua has gotten darker since the Marino days. (I don’t like it.) Also, the Detroit Lions shade of Honolulu blue has gotten darker. While I never really liked it as a kid, I wish they would go back to it now.

    I always associated navy blue with the half-million baseball teams that used it. The blue shades of baseball – tell me if I’m crazy: royal/Dodger/Cubs blue; navy blue used at various points by everyone, but especially Cleveland, Texas, Minnesota, the White Sox, the Angels, the Cardinals; and at the far end of the spectrum, the so-navy-you’d-swear-it-was-black Yankees.

    Does the darkening of sports uniforms have something to do with the quality of TV images?

    You can divide the TV timeline into 4 periods, each with a uni trait: (1) Pre-TV, stripes galore; (2) B&W, white vs. dark; (3) Color, colorful; and (4) Hi-def, colors tend to be richer/darker with subtle differences between shades that used to appear identical.

    Just a thought. I don’t have hi-def TV. Makes me dizzy.

    Not only is the quality of the TVs better, but we are watching sports on bigger screens also.

    I think the whole Navy good/Navy bad thing is too difficult to say without looking at the entire design. While I certainly like the old Rams look, the new Rams look is not all that different overall.

    Compare with (say) the Patriots change to use navy – that’s very different.


    Just a little FYI from the contributor of that link:

    The photo dates from probably around 1915/16, when the Marxes were one of, if not THE top vaudeville acts in the country. Their act was an almost mini show in itself called “Home Again”, which had what was a HUGE cast for vaudeville – about 15-20 people – plenty of people to put a team together with. They of course, had to do two shows a day, but there was plenty of time in between shows to squeeze in a quick ballgame or practice at least.

    That would be a great pic for someone to colorize, btw….

    For those enjoying the confluence of Marx Brothers and baseball, there’s also this:

    It comes from an episode of “I Love Lucy” that’s more famous for Lucy and Harpo doing a mirror routine (which I’m pretty sure he’d done earlier in one of the Marx Brothers movies).

    Did you ever notice that Groucho is flippin’ the bird with his left hand in this photo?

    Also, somewhere out there is a great photo of Groucho, Harpo & Chico all sliding into second base from different angles with a player from the Cleveland Indians (I think) trying to tag them out. I saw the photo in an old book when I used to work at the Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta, NY back in the 80’s, but haven’t been able to find it on the web. Anyone have a link to that photo?

    I live in Slidell! I’ll be sure to make a note of the SB XLVII badges when the cops start wearing them. Or I could, you know, rob a bank and take a picture of a cop’s badge before he pummels me into the ground.

    If you did take a picture between the time you realized a cop is coming full speed at you and the time you were slammed to the ground, and the photo was a clean, clear shot of the badge, then we are looking at quite possibly the greatest athletic photography feat of all-time. I wish you well on your quest.

    The increase in navy, IMO, is part of a societal trend toward conservatism over the past 40 years. The fashions of the 70s were outcomes of the revolution of the 60s, and in the 70s people were more interested in adding colour to their styles. If a man could wear a baby blue suit, then surely a football team could wear a baby blue jersey. Since the Reagan years, people have turned their personal visions back to acquiring personal wealth over expressing personal style. Navy blue sports uniforms are business suits.

    Navy blue as business suit – good point. And it’s not just sports. I see this everywhere, especially with managers: McDonald’s, the Post Office, Walmart – even the Army recently switched from color-of-field green to navy blue.

    I mentioned gray earlier, and maybe that’s related to your comment. If the navy blue suit is the business world’s primary uni, the charcoal gray suit is the alt. In football, note the Giants, Buccaneers, Oregon, Air Force, Oklahoma State and Washington State. Even the Patriots had silver alts which looked gray to me. I’m sure there are others.

    even the Army recently switched from color-of-field green to navy blue.

    That just doesn’t seem right…

    They didn’t switch. Two-tone blue has always been the Army dress uniform — navy top, royal bottom. They just got rid of the green dress uniform.

    Food for thought. The team that arguably launched the BFBS trend: The L.A. Raiders. At the time, the least Republican team (at least image-wise) in America.

    The suit thing is an interesting observation: As recently as the mid-20th century, the “default” American men’s suit color was black. (That’s why a particularly formal event is “black tie”, not “black suit.” Of course the suit was going to be black. Well, that and the even older black tie/white tie divide in the hierarchy of formality.) By 1990, black suits had become nearly extinct as everyday wear. If you see a man in a very dark suit today, his suit is almost always dark navy blue. See for example every male politician in Washington. Why the change? I have no idea.

    “Well, that and the even older black tie/white tie divide in the hierarchy of formality.)”


    Sounds like someone enjoyed the season premiere of Downton Abbey.

    More like, someone once had a brief obsession with vintage Arrow shirt marketing. If Downton Abbey had cricket, I’d consider giving it a chance, but until then, it’s Sherlock or nothing for me.

    I haven’t tallied it all up, but I suspect the navy explosion in the NBA is even more profound than the NFL one. Personally I’m definitely not a fan…while I don’t think I hate any color as much as Paul hates purple, navy probably comes the closest for me.

    These arguments that (some/most) Native Americans are not offended by monikers such as Redskins are untrue. The original lawsuit to have the Redskins nickname removed was brought forth by Suzan Harjo and seven other Native Americans. The court decision to have the nickname removed was overturned on two grounds, including that the plaintiffs lacked sufficient evidence showing disparagement.

    How, though, do we show disparagement? I’m not a legal expert to any degree, so I don’t know the legal basis. But, conducting a poll to gather information on who is and who is not offended seems the wrong way to go about this process – and, frankly, risks the chance of celebrating ignorance.

    What this situation takes is an understanding that the term has always been positioned as a negative racial term. We can’t just undo this term if we all accept and proclaim that we no longer see the term that way. Likewise, we can’t just take a popular referendum to proclaim that nigger is no longer a term that carries negative historical baggage.

    What really bothers me about all of this is that we are talking about sports. Sports. None of this matters. None at all. Seven plaintiffs brought forth a perspective that they were offended by a team’s marketing identity. Sports are meant to be inclusive and representative (to whatever degree as possible) of an entire community. Now we have a situation where people are supporting the name not because they really, really believe in the term but because they are opposed to those opposed to changing the name (or opposed to the idea of government participation in such decisions). This is the shortcoming of democracy – that we afford people the right to be stupid for stupid’s sake.

    What really bothers me about all of this is that we are talking about sports. Sports. None of this matters. None at all.

    It matters enough for the National Museum of the American Indian to be holding a symposium on this subject next month (which I’ll be covering for ESPN, incidentally).

    “If I can swing it”? This is so typical: Normally accessible, down-to-earth person comes to Washington, DC, and suddenly he’s too important and busy to make time for the little people. Are we going to have to set up a SuperPAC and throw a big donation your way to get on your schedule or what?

    [Just teasing, in case that’s not clear!]

    Are we going to have to set up a SuperPAC and throw a big donation your way to get on your schedule or what?

    That would never have occurred to me. But hey, now that you’ve brought it up….

    Serious question: What’s the difference between North Dakota Fighting Sioux and Notre Dame Fighting Irish? I mean, they’re both the N.D. Fighting Ethnicity.

    Trying to answer my own question, I came up with two distinctions. First, the Sioux are indigenous whereas the Irish are European.

    Second, there’s the meaning of the word “Fighting.” With the Sioux, it’s a reference to the Sioux Nation’s warrior culture. If this is inaccurate (or accurate but offensive) then by all means it should be reconsidered. But judging by the other school’s sports logo, the fighting Irishman is fighting with his fists. That is, he’s a brawler, not a warrior. I’m not ethnically Irish so I can’t speak to this – but is this how Irish people want themselves portrayed?

    (Is there something else I might be overlooking? Thanks!)

    Thanks, Paul! You make an excellent point. (One I wholeheartedly agree with, by the way.)

    Yet Notre Dame has more of a French heritage than an Irish one. Ah, well – I’m neither French nor Irish (nor Native American) so I guess I’ll let this matter rest. In the meantime, I’m trying to empathize, picturing my identity portrayed in some good or bad way.

    Thanks again. Love your site and your thoughts!

    Notre Dame has more of a French than an Irish origin. The school’s heritage, though, is decidedly more Irish than French. Across three centuries, Notre Dame has been one of the pillars of Irish-American culture. True story: My mom caused a minor scandal in her Irish Catholic family by marrying my dad, a divorcee from a Protestant family with mainly English ancestors. They couldn’t get married in a Catholic church at the time because of the divorce thing. Some of mom’s relatives apparently felt that their disapproval of her marriage were vindicated 19 years later when her first son, me, attended an East Coast Protestant/secular university instead of Notre Dame.

    The Rams wear the shade just brighter than navy, which is similar to the current Milwaukee brewers (it could also be the effect of old gold accenting) Several years ago, the cubs had b.p. caps in this “mid-blue” color as well.

    ….and also the effect of indoor artificial light as both Rams and Brewers play home games indoors.

    Simply put, I think the over-saturation of any color (in two different contexts) is a bad thing. Why do so many teams need to use roughly the same shade of color? Whatever happened to variety? They call it the spice of life for a reason. I would love to see the Broncos wearing their old blue, for example. Same with the Rams. And just for the record, I want to see the Eagles in kelly, but I guess that’s a story for another day.

    It seems in recent years the scales have started to tip in favor of going back to “less intimidating” colors, but we clearly have a long way to go.

    I think you know the reason why. Lots of people like the color navy. Even I would prefer my team in navy over black.

    The problem is many people don’t like unique color schemes or colors used as a primary in kelly, burnt or creamsicle orange, Athletic Gold, tan, brown, teal *puke*, aqua, purple, Vegas Gold, Old Gold, snot, olive or lime green. So what’s left? Black, red, crimson, forest, royal, navy and every shade of blue. Too much emphasis on looking tough, merchandise sales, too many common favorites.

    Then you have ownership in San Diego whom is too stubborn to go with the traditional team color because they think the team’s primary color should match their favorite suit color. Nobody is asking for the tacky 1978 unis again but brown can be done tastefully, just like black or navy. The piss & poop jokes don’t help, either.

    i think the NHL is one of the biggest offenders of NFNS.

    look at all the teams in the past 5 or so years that have added a Navy jersey

    just off the top of my head:
    blue jackets

    (hell, the Invaders did it too… hacks).

    Going back more than 5 years, there were the Islanders, Rangers, Canucks and Flames. Then there are those fabled Nordiques unis. Even the Whalers switched to navy blue before moving. And the Jets….

    I stand corrected about the Flames. They were indeed black, though I could have sworn they were dark blue.

    As for Quebec, these were proposed for 1995-96 but never saw ice time because of the move to Denver.

    Thanks for pointing that our regarding the correct Nordiques prototype colors. I worked hard to correct that image online, including getting the wrong one removed from both Wikipedia and

    The Rangers have had two navy alts in the last 20 tears: the “Liberty” jersey and last season’s “heritage” jersey.

    Islanders have since gone away from the navy and more towards a royal blue echoing the 70’s and 80’s uniforms. Of course they added the stupidest uniform in sports to their wardrobe so it’s a wash.

    Eh, I think Nike just wanted all shades of “navy” to be the same. I don’t think it would keep the Broncos from changing back to royal, for example. They would just perhaps have to share that particular shade with anybody else using royal… which off the top of my head, isn’t being used by anybody right now.

    But of course, I have no real inside source on it. I just don’t think Nike, with all its influence, can wield power over what colors the franchise uses. I could definitely be wrong, though.

    As a Bears fan this just bugs me. I always liked growing up that my team was unique in its scheme. Now the Rams and Texans (an expansion team!) use exactly the same setup for home and away. Just grinds my gears.

    When the Broncos changed to navy, that really made my gears grind. The Rams should really be in royal & Athletic Gold. I can’t really fault the Texans for being navy & red but they really should have stuck with the prototype white helmet.

    I think it’s purely marketing. Most people, especially dudes, like wearing dark colors and grays most of the time. If you’re changing your uniforms so you can sell more jerseys, you’re going to change them to something that people are going to want to wear.

    It’s even more evident in baseball, I think, because you’re selling hats, and most people want dark hats. Every team features blue, black, or red, except the A’s. Even the A’s introduce a black alternate hat every few years and have the dark green one without the yellow brim, so you don’t have to have a brightly colored hat. Even most red teams and some royal blue teams want a black or navy authentic hat for you to buy. That’s why you see the St. Louis blue hats and the Arizona and Cincinnati black hats, and it’s also why the Mets and Blue Jays held on to black for so long.

    Well…one team bucking the trend of switching to navy blue is the Cardinals…who now will no longer wear the navy hats on the road except on rare occasions.

    In the sixties, bright colors were the big trend, thanks to TV and new fabrics too. Old logos/typefaces were often dropped for more mod looks. Since one of the traits of the culture is a passion for rapid widespread adoption of prescribed novelties, a pushback with darker colors and reintroduction of classic logos is unsurprising. We’re probably entering the next light and bright phase, witness the Broncos, Chargers and 49ers recent uni mods.

    As far as the semantics go, isn’t true Navy Blue really the darkest of all blues? The dress blues are so dark that they really do tend to look black, even more so than say, the Bears’ color.

    I think West Virginia football had the darkest blue before black in the Don Nehlen undefeated every 5-years era (e.g. 1980s/90s). Bears blue has been looking more brighter in recent years. I had heard that the Bears currently use the same pantone shade as the Broncos, Texans, Bills 2002-2010, Seahawk accent 2002-2011.

    Let me ask a somewhat different politically-charged question: Is that the Taiwanese Olympic Flag on the sleeve patch of the Chinese Taipei WBC jersey? Can’t tell from the graphic….

    Most likely. Because the People’s Republic of China is such an excellent global citizen, friendly neighbor, and strong advocate for human rights, Taiwan is unable to use the ordinary symbols of nationhood in most international forums. Instead, Taiwan’s national sports teams have to pretend not to be from a country called Taiwan, and so they compete under that Olympic flag. (Thus also the name: Chinese Taipei rather than either Taiwan or Republic of China.)

    It’s akin to the Republic of Ireland being forced to compete as British Dublin with a special flag with neither green nor red and blue on it.

    Hear, hear, Scott. At least, in the list of jerseys, Taiwan is alphabetized as “Taiwan”.

    SShhh, big China might hear you.

    My wife worked in Taiwan for over a year, from 04-05. She was very scared to be there, between the earthquakes and the Chinese missles pointed at Taipai!!

    I also think the proliferation of black and navy is more of a merchandising endeavor than one to make a team appear more intimidating. Grown men are simply more apt to wear a black or navy shirt than a bright red one, whether on the golf course, for casual Friday, going out to the pub for lunch and to watch the game…

    I am not a fan of black of Navy. As a Lions’ fan, I didn’t like their black alternatives they wore from 2004-2007. I don’t mind the black outlines on the current uniforms, but think it would be okay to drop it from the unis and wouldn’t make much of a difference. I do like it on the logo though, to give it a bit more definition.

    As for navy, I always find when a team goes to that color, after being known for another color for so long it is never a good look.

    Patriots, love the reds. They should use the old school reds and use the current logo on the helmets. I also liked the bright blues they originally switched to in 1993 or so, but the design was awful. If they used the template for their current uniforms with the brighter blue, it would probably be a nice look. But they have had tremendous success with the navys, so I don’t see them changing anything anytime soon.

    Bills–worst uniform in the league every year when they switched to navy. Glad they switched back to royal blue.

    Rams–I HATE those uniforms they wear now. Changing from yellow to gold and bright blue to navy. If the rumors are true and they go back to L.A., I hope they bring the classic L.A. look back with them.

    Broncos–I never understood why everyone loved those navy unis. They looked like pajamas to me. Kudos to them for going back orange full-time, however they still just look like the negative of those navy unis and I wish they’d tinker with the orange crush and update it for the 21st century.

    The teams that have always had navy–the Bears, Michigan football. Those are classic and look great. They have identities with those colors. But the ones who switched to it for a more “intimidating” look. Yuck. Don’t like.

    I think it is just a general shift from “happier” colors of a simpler time, to “meaner” colors, probably due to merchandising.

    -Bucs “happy” orange to meaner pewter/red
    -Patriots “happy” red to meaner silver/navy
    -Oilers “happy” Luv Ya blue to meaner Titans same blue but with navy added
    -Falcons “happy” red to black
    -Cowboys “happy” road blues to darker road blues
    -Rams “happy” blue to darker blue
    -Chargers “happy” blue to darker blue
    -Eagles shift to a darker green, etc…

    Question.. if merchandising caused this shift, i.e. it was due to what people will buy, does that mean that as a whole we tend to buy meaner colors, does that in turn mean we are a meaner society?

    Although really if you look at the 1920-1930s, although there were a few “happy” colors, the basic football uniform started out as dark navy over khaki, so maybe it’s just as simple as we went from 10-ish teams in the early years to upper-20s-ish teams in the expansion era (1960-1970s) and greater amounts of teams and more advanced technology meant they could expand the palette and try out different colors, and after awhile they realized (or began to think) that the darker colors looked better.

    Or maybe it’s just a pendulum that swings back and forth… if the league has too many teams with dark colors, it’s natural to think brighter happy colors look better and vice versa. In which case twenty to thirty years from now, we’ll be back to the brighter colors.

    .. and a couple more I left out.. the Broncos and Bills.

    Maybe the pendulum is already starting to shift back.. the Bucs, Patriots and Rams embracing the throwback, the Bills going back to the brighter blue.. Even the Lions adding the black alt in 2005 and dropping it in 2008 could be perfect example of the end of the “going darker” movement and the beginning of the reversal. Similarly the Falcons also dropping their black alt and pants (although their throwback is black) in the same time frame, although Philly & Arizona still have their BFBS alts.

    That would mean the Jaguars are behind the curve, in 2012 shifting from the teal primary to black. When they added the black jersey in 2002, they should have gradually worn it more and more, until around now they’d be just getting ready to go back to the teal. Oh, well, there’s always exceptions.

    Dude did get around. Imagine the bonanza of child support claims had interleague play existed back then.

    The Cowboys switch from “happy” road blues to darker road blues ( I believe for the 1981 season) was a way of dealing with the well-documented blue jersey curse. The only time the Giants wore white at home was in this era, to make the Cowboys wear the blue jersey.

    … yep, primarily merchandising-based reasons, although there were certainly others. (New ownerships, bad luck associated with previous colors, new manufacturers)

    Holy cow, how is that “Anthem Cap” not a real thing? Definitely a “don’t give them any ideas” kind of moment here.

    She’d need to be screaming happily, like Chief Nokahoma, for me to buy the cap. How about a Chief Nokahoma-style screaming face for every team? For the Nats, Teddy Roosevelt already looks like this in real life:

    And Misters Met and Redlegs would be easy fits. Also the Pirates. A screaming German guy for the Brewers, a screaming king or cattle auctioneer for the Royals, a screaming cherub for the Angels …

    Oh the possibilities are endless:

    Dodgers, Orioles: Tommy and Earl screaming at an umpire.

    Yankees: Billy Martin screaming at Reggie

    A’s: Milton Bradley screaming at his wife, dog, grocery clerk, T-Mobile rep

    Rangers: Palmeiro screaming at congress

    Royals: Brett screaming (with red face) at Tim McClelland

    Indians: Albert Belle screaming at a heckling fan

    The Broncos switching from royal to navy is a.travesty. The orange jerseys make it bearable but when we wear navy we look just like the bears. We’ve totally lost our own unique identity as the only professional football team to wear royal blue and orange.

    I’ve been watching German Bundesliga soccer games lately and couldn’t help but notice something interesting. Out of the 18 teams in the league not a single one wears navy as any part of their home uni. Only one team even wears navy as an away uni (Mainz) and one other team wears navy as a third jersey (Bayer Leverkusen). Meanwhile, red is ridiculously popular in Germany, with nine of the 18 teams using it as a dominant color and one more using it as trim.

    The navy trend I place in the larger cultural shift toward a corporate-bland style, which has been evident since the late 1970s. Whether it’s uniforms, business logos, airline liveries, supermarket products, hotel chains, or you name it – compare the color palette presented back in say 1975 with that presented today and the muting and blanding down and de-quirkification of design are really obvious.

    My ex wife used to call this, “The United States of Generica”. Everything has to look the same, everything done not to attract attention but rather to blend in.

    In soccer, navy is rare probably because it is too close to black, which historically was reserved for the officials. Now that officials have a choice of several different colors to wear, you’ll see some navy and black, but usually in alternates, as old clubs aren’t likely to change their primary colors.

    Interesting theory, but there are about half a dozen German teams that wear black shorts as their home uni (don’t know how far back historically that goes) and I can think of a number of famous European teams that have always worn black as far as I can tell: Newcastle, Valencia, Juventus, Inter Milan, to name a few. I think further research is needed on this.

    I was specifically referring to solid or near-solid black shirts. Black shorts have always been normal, and there have been plenty of teams with black stripes, but they would have been half or less than half of the shirt.

    Obviously, “blue” shouldn’t be a team color. It’s too broad. A team could use anything from cyan to midnight and still be “blue”. Any team which lists “blue” as a team color needs to seriously re-evaluate themselves and pick a shade.

    There is an explosion of navy blue in the NFL because those teams want that Chicago Bear “monsters of the midway look. Think about it, Bears have used that color since 1920. They are a charter NFL team. They have the most hall of famers. They have the record for beating one individual team(Packers),etc.

    “We measure everyone these days on Super Bowl victories, and four is simply larger than one.”

    – Jerry Kramer

    Thank God!!

    That act has been weak since BEFORE the (real) Hogs were all retired. I’ve railed against The Hogettes on this board before.

    I am as excited about this as Lukas was when Wayne Hagin was fired!! (He was fired, right?)

    I remember reading a theory (it might have been in one of Okkonnen’s books) that team colors have an inverse relationship to the economy: when we’re in recession, the colors tend to be bright; when things are going well, colors tend to be drab. Look at baseball uniforms during the Depression, when there were lots of reds and royals and experiments with satin, and compare them to the Fifties, when every team was, literally, dressed in grey flannel suits.

    I don’t know if this theory holds up, but since the 2008 recession, the Bills have returned to royal, the Giants have added a bunch of red to their road uniforms, and the Steelers have occasionally gone bumblebee.

    Of course, the Steelers’ bumblebee jerseys were originally from the depths of the Great Depression.

    That reminds me of the superheo color dynamic

    Heroes: red and blue

    Villains: purple and green

    I have native American ancestors, and I’ve never found any of the team names Redskins, Indians, or Braves to be disparaging or demeaning. Further, the Redskins’ helmet logo and the Braves’ recently leaked Indian head cap are not only non-offensive to me, they are just the opposite. I find both examples to be in good taste. Is that not what an Indian brave looked like? He also appears to be laughing, not being savage as some have suggested. Likewise, the Redskins helmet shows a drawing of a dignified native American. Neither is stereotypical or racist to me. I’ll also point out that a recent poll by Atlanta’s Constitution Journal was overwhelmingly (2,511 – 331 as of right now)not offended by the design.

    A case can be made against the Indians’ Chief Wahoo cartoon I suppose, but honestly, he looks more Jewish than Indian to me, and he’s also smiling. Not the least bit savage.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this. One of my objections to the Braves’s “Screaming Indian” logo is aesthetic: it simply does not look like a Native warrior, anymore than the Pittsburgh logo of that same era looks like a pirate, or the smiling, robust dude on the Oakland football helmets looks like a raider: they all look like models from the 1971 JC Penney catalog. They look bad. They look dated, and silly, and kind of stupid.

    My wife and I went to the Houston Holocaust museum a couple of years ago. The docent who led our tour looked like Dustin Hoffman’s older, stouter brother. He was talking about the progression of anti-Semetic laws in Nazi Germany. By 1939, merely looking Jewish was enough to require donning the yellow star. The docent was incensed. “Look Jewish? Look Jewish?” he exclaimed. Then, looking squarely at me, he said, “I’m Jewish. Do I LOOK Jewish?” And I started to giggle, in the Holocaust museum I started to giggle, because if this guy “looked” anything, it was completely and unalterably Jewish. He was horrified. The other people in our group were horrified. My wife was horrified. And I was so ashamed.

    It is so easy to cause offense, so easy to show insensitivity and disrespect to other people, even when we don’t mean to cause offense. So if there’s a chance that somebody could look at a logo, or see a team nickname and think, “Why are they laughing at me? Why are they making fun of me?” why would we mess with it? There are plenty of birds and animals and trees and occupations we can adopt as team mascots. This isn’t 1932.

    So if there’s a chance that somebody could look at a logo, or see a team nickname and think, “Why are they laughing at me? Why are they making fun of me?”

    I’m really curious why you think that adopting something for a team logo means that you’re making fun of it. Sports teams in Detroit didn’t name themselves after Lions & Tigers because they think that big cats are funny, did they?

    That’s clearly not what I’m saying. You’re being argumentative, for argument’s sake. If I have a billion dollars invested in a company, and that company’s existed solely to entertain people, why would I risk any negative attention by affixing a corporate identity that potentially engenders bad feelings?

    When Texas gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams said rape is like bad weather: you can’t stop it, so you may as well enjoy it, he wasn’t saying “I officially endorse sexual violence.” It still cost him the election. “Redskins” may not be pejorative, but it sure sounds that way. Why bother with it?

    The best parallel I can think of is the swastika. Pre-1930’s, it was a benign and popular symbol, used by tons of sports teams. What would happen if you put a swastika on a jersey today? Seventy years ago, “Redskins” may have been inoffensive; that was before AIM, and the Civil Rights Movement, and (whether you agree or not) a lot of consciousness raising.

    Would it really be so horrible to say, this name has the potential to offend. Lets start calling ourselves the Warthogs or the Javelinas or the Mighty Oaks or something.

    After our wedding reception, my mother and mother-in-law decided to accompany us back to our hotel room, to “help you open your gifts.” They finished that project about 11:30, just in time for “Saturday Night Live” to start, which they stayed to watch, in its entirety. They finally left, sometime after 1 AM.

    I have nothing against my mother or my mother-in-law. There have been times when their presence was quite welcome: Mom, for instance, makes a lovely apple pie. And I choose to assume that their gift unwrapping adventure was not motivated by ill-will or maliciousness, but by thoughtlessness, and insensitivity, and a complete failure to recognize that certain realities had changed. They didn’t belong there. Having insisted on being there, they should have left long before they did.

    That’s how I feel about “Redskins”.

    One more thing to throw in about the trend to dark navy.

    Not only have a ton of NFL teams switched to dark navy jerseys, they’re also pairing them with dark navy pants. Teams that have gone darker (Seahawks, Bills, Rams) aren’t just darker, they’ve gone for an entirely navy head-to-toe navy look. It makes the switch to the darker colour look even more pronounced than just a change in jersey colour.

    I just want to address one issue that keeps coming up on native nicknames.

    It keeps getting mentioned that aboriginal peoples don’t much care about nicknames, as if that’s some reason they shouldn’t be changed.

    Today in Canada, first nations leaders are meeting with the prime minister and governor general in a historic meeting to deal with serious issues like rampant poverty, lack of access to clean drinking water, lack of respect for treaty and constitutional rights and land claims. There’s a hunger strike going on within sight of parliament hill to try to bring attention to historic grievances. Terrible problems like alcoholism, solvent abuse and sexual abuse (which still have to be dealt with) aren’t even top of mind right now.

    I think if you asked an aboriginal person in Canada “how do you feel about the Washington Redskins” the answer would be “meh”, not because they’re okay with it but because there are a dozen issues more important right now. But thats not an endorsement of the name.

    Well said.

    Unemployment among Natives is something like 16%. Median household income for Native families is $35,000, $15,000 less than for the country as a whole. Someone who’s house is on fire isn’t spending a lot of time worry about the color of the curtains.

    I don’t have stats, but the situation is much worse for on-reserve natives.

    To be clear – I’m not saying the issue of team nicknames isn’t important. On the contrary, I’m saying that changing offensive names is the right thing to do even if its not a pressing issue for the first nations.

    In that light, it’s almost like the baseball Cleveland club & the football Washington club would be embarrassed to have their native nicknames by association, “oh man, those people have such horrible lives & poverty rates, why are we representing them?” We basically know why those two clubs chose theirs, but I’m assuming many decades ago for other teams it was more about natives being a proud & respectable image. They were probably most likely chosen out of honor than mockery. Wouldn’t picking a native nickname actually be counter-American based on the preceding events, since the United States were the ones who took their land in the first place & the natives were the victims?

    Finally, to follow up on today’s too-clever lede:

    Or sit in the grandstand
    When your team and others meet

    I’m particularly irked by Navy as an accent color. The Dolphins are the worst offenders, but the Bills do it too. There has clearly been a reaction to this, as some teams have reverted back to lighter shades as primary or alt jersey colors (Bills, Chargers).

    I agree with those above who note that overall NFL uni colors have darkened over the past 20 years or so. Thankfully we are seeing some lightening of the dark shades, especially in throwbacks and alt unis, and that is in other sports as well (NBA, MLB).

    Colors go in cycles. People loved powder blue for a while (Oilers, Colorado Buffaloes, UNC, KC Royals) then it came to be seen as “soft”. Now we’re seeing power blue all over the place in sports.

    The wrestling manager Jim Cornette once cut a great promo in the mid 1980s on “the king of prussia” asking why “there was a communist enclave in the heart of pennsylvania.”

    If they were going to change the name, they should have changed it to the King of Prussia Junkers.

    The Denver nuggets is a team that switched from navy to powder blue but as of late they have been going more and more navy.

    BREAKING NEWS: Lingerie Football League to re-brand as Legends Football League. (No word on if this also involves a move to the B1G).

    According to the press release, uni-related aspects of this move include the following:

    * Performance wear replaces all lingerie aspects of uniform.
    * New design of logos removing any sexy female figures.
    * Redesign of shoulder pads to increase protection.
    * Brand tagline shifts from ‘True Fantasy Football’ to ‘Women of the Gridiron’

    kudos to lou sherwood for sharing the marx bros site and to paul for making sure it was in the ticker…

    ironically, we just got the “night at the races” dvd out and watched (again!!!) last week…i love the marx bros!!!

    My thoughts on the navy vs. BFBS trends:
    BFBS is worse because the teams that are going black are not black colored teams. It’s alternate uniforms for marketing and merchandising. The Eagles, the Cardinals, the Ravens, the Jaguars all added unnecessary black alternates that don’t really match their identities.
    BUT, the teams that went navy already had blue in their color scheme and wear the navvy as their primary colored uniform: the Pats, Broncos, Rams, Seahawks. The Bills and Titans have dropped navy primarily, but were still blue teams beforehand.

    i have only once ever chimed in on a political issue on this site, and decided that it was best just to ignore such things and focus on the reason i’m here, as is the reason we’re all here, our obsessive love for uniforms, logos, etc…

    but, i do have a bit of native american in me…not enough to ever talk about really, or consider myself partly minority when i have to fill out govt. forms that ask about ethnicity…so, i don’t know if subconsciously i’m projecting some of my family’s heritage into this issue, or whether i look at it from outside the box, but i do have a comment…

    i always wondered how long those nicknames would have lasted if they had targeted african americans instead of native americans…”redskins” was always offensive to me…not necessarily personally, but just in general, it definitely isn’t a flattering nickname…no more so than “black faces” (or “spearchuckers” or even worse terms for african americans) would be…i can’t imagine it would be okay to have someone come running out onto the middle of florida state’s football field in “black face” carrying a spear if they had chosen the name “africans” instead of “seminoles” as a group of people who formerly lived in that area that they wanted to “honor”…

    that being said, native americans are not african americans, and as a whole, native americans don’t seem to become easily offended by such things, as recent polls suggest…and that’s not a bad thing…i personally think that most people are way too easily offended…call me “cracker”, and i’ll laugh, even if you’re african american…but to use a term the other way around, it’s offensive somehow…

    things change over time…when i was young, we said things as jokes…no one was immune to being the butt of a joke…any ethnicity (which we all have in our ancestry) was fair game for a laugh…since there is some discussion of the marx bros on here today, consider those characters…groucho was a “stage jew”, chico was a “stage italian”, and harpo, a “stage irishman”…try doing that today…some of those same jokes could be considered “hate” speech…we used to have a saying, “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me”…apparently, people became soft during my lifetime…i don’t like it, but it’s a sign of the times we all deal with…

    so, my take is that if native americans are overwhelmingly not offended by these symbols, (something i can’t imagine would be the same if it had been a symbol that “honored” african americans in a similar way), that it shouldn’t be considered a problem…but, our times in general are becoming more and more pc, so it’s no surprise that numerous people who are not native american would like to see the nickname “redskins” changed…personally, that’s the one i consider racist…

    nevertheless, personal views aside, i ran across something interesting i wanted to share about the “redskins” name…it comes from “the nfl’s official encyclopedic history of professional football”…pg 228 discussed the redskins history, starting with the original name “boston braves”, which marshall named after the baseball team of the same name that his football team shared the field with in 1932…in part, it reads, with regard to 1933…

    “Marshall moved the club to Fenway Park, home of baseball’s American League Red Sox. He changed the name to Redskins. Wray quit to coach Philadelphia. Marshall hired a full-blooded Indian as the team’s coach, Will (Lone Star) Dietz. On opening day of practice, the entire club was lined up for the team picture in war paint, feathers and full headdress…”

    there is no mention of dietz being “offended” or in any way going against marshall’s wishes, either verbally or otherwise…which seems to correspond with the suggestion of the results of polls that this isn’t really a big issue to the large majority of native americans today…

    but it is obviously a sore spot to some…which, as i said, i do understand with regard to the nickname “redskins”, and some of the “traditions”…the florida state “mascot” throwing a spear into the ground is one…it’s easy to see the offensiveness to some if you change the name and mascot to “honor” the native african “slaves” who used to reside there…

    so, that’s my take on it…using a blanket approach isn’t really the best way to go, imho, but i understand that in these times it’s going to happen because of the easily offended nature of some in today’s world…if someone (anyone) wants to carry the torch for this, i understand, we all feel the need, i think, to rescue or help others with things that are considered unfair or offensive…

    times are different than they were in my youth, or further back in the 1930s…to me, it’s an interesting look at how much our society has changed in just my lifetime…

    In regards to BFBS & NFNS, I agree with all the points above. There are multiple reasons as to why it is happening.

    One point I didn’t see mentioned is the amalgamation of suppliers to one supplier per league. If you can make a bunch of hats & hoodies in one colour and slap a different logo on them, your profit margin increases. The down side is you become stale, like Reebok did at the end of their NFL deal.

    Referencing the New Era article with their exec, they made black hats with black logos because people bought them. Simple. That fad has stayed for 4-5 years now… Regardless of how fashionable the supplier’s design team is, the team owner will point to the sales figures (in true CEO fashion – pun intended) of whatever team is hot, and will demand his version of it = BFBS & NFNS.

    Some teams went back to brighter colours, due to the throwback resurgence, and this 90’s neon craze. The irony is that Yankees hats are as popular in every other colour as they are in navy. All teams from every league want to sell merchandise like the Yankees.

    Personally, I have seen a push with the younger crowd to embrace their city/team identity (as opposed to 5-10 years ago, when kids wore the team that was hot at the time). This is a good thing for teams wanting to have a unique identity (I hope).

    This year’s pantone colour is Emerald Green, but according to some guy who works for Nike on Chris Creamer’s blog, the Eagles won’t be switching back to Kelly any time soon. Maybe if Justin Bieber or some other little jerk wears your colour, the kids will buy it up. That seems to be the winning formula for teams who are out of touch with the fans.

    Seriously, when was the last time you saw someone successfully wear midnight green? I hate Lurie… I’m 32 and they don’t care what I think anymore; that’s fine, but again, who is wearing midnight green?

    The navy trend follows fashion and color trend as a whole also. Where softer colors trended in fashion and interior decoration, now and for the past few years, jewel tones have dominated.

    And its interesting to read above as gray about to explore onto the scene because its a hot color in fashion and interiors the past several years as well

    Those are not Steve Garvey’s sons. He had his first child back in 1974 right around the playoffs or World Series. I remember that because there was a picture of him, Cindy (his wife) and the newborn in the 1975 Dodgers yearbook.

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