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When Irish Shamrocks Are Shining

Shamrock animated splash

By Phil Hecken

Late on Thursday, the Notre Dame fighting Irish revealed their 2016 “Shamrock Series” uniforms (ably covered by Paul yesterday both on the Uni Watch blog and also over on the Mothership). Since Paul covered those already (and you should read those if you haven’t yet), I thought today would be a good day to take a look back at the history of the “Shamrock Series” and the costumes uniforms worn by the Irish in each of those games. Interestingly enough, the Irish are (so far) undefeated in “Shamrock Series” games.

First — a bit of background. Beginning in 2009, Notre Dame has “hosted” an annual off-site home football game known as the “Shamrock Series” — and the Irish have traveled to San Antonio, New York, Maryland, Chicago, Arlington, Indianapolis and Boston. This year they’ll be traveling back to San Antonio to play Army (and why their uniforms have an olive-ish color green).

So, let’s take a look at the uniforms worn in each of those games, shall we? You can click to enlarge the photos below.

. . . . .

October 31, 2009 vs. Washington State; Alamodome, San Antonio

The first S/S game actually didn’t have Notre Dame wearing a special uniform. The team wore their regular gold/blue/gold outfits:


2009b 2009c

. . . . .

November 20, 2010 vs Army; Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY

The first “special” uniforms for the S/S were not all that different from their regular uniforms, except for the color — ND went with green for their jersey. In fact, the jerseys weren’t exactly new — they’d worn those same jerseys in 2005 (against USC) and 2006 (against Army). Even though ND’s colors are blue and gold, they’ve occasionally broken out green tops. The helmet remained the same for this game as well.


2010b 2010d

. . . . .

November 12, 2011 vs. Maryland; FedEx Field, Landover, MD

By the third game of the S/S, the team (outfitted by adidas) began to add some ‘flash’ to the uniform (although not too much), wearing the green jerseys again, but getting a special helmet. These would feature a ‘foil’ stamp and contain a green shamrock (fittingly) on the topper. While it was pretty garish (by ND standards, anyway), it was their first attempt to mimic their iconic golden dome. (They would later do a much better job and that forms the basis for their current helmet).


2011d 2011e

. . . . .

October 6, 2012 vs. Miami; Soldier Field, Chicago

Not satisfied with the piece of flair added in 2012, Notre Dame gave the keys to the car to adidas and let them go to town. This was not a wise decision. The result was a two-‘sided’ helmet, asymmetrical at that, featuring the same gold leaf covering 2/3rds of the helmet (right side), while the remaining 1/3 was blue, with the “Fighting Leprechaun” decal on the left. Jerseys were blue (not too bad, with shiny numbers in a different font), and the pants were a special matte gold with a very wide white/blue/white stripe. Not one of their better looks.




. . . . .

October 5, 2013 vs. Arizona State; AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

Despite being the designated “home” team, this time the Irish decided to wear white jerseys and pants (both brand new) and returned to wearing a very shiny gold helmet (which had a reflective gold shamrock); some players had kelly green undersleeves, and the numbers were gold outlined in kelly. They also wore green belts. This was probably my favorite uniform of the entire series. This would, incidentally, be ND’s last year with adidas, and they did them some justice with these.




. . . . .

September 13, 2014 vs. Purdue; Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Having won the contract to outfit Notre Dame (and not messing with their primary uniforms too much), new outfitter Under Armour was anxious to kick the tires on a fancy design for the 2014 S/S unis. I guess they liked the monochrome (white) uniform worn in 2013, because they decided to outfit ND in another monochrome uniform for 2014. Only it was mono-navy. This time they went with a matte finish gold helmet which featured “ND” (for the first time ever) on the sides, blue jerseys with gold shoulder caps, and blue pants with stripes at odd angles on the thighs. The jerseys had sublimated designs, and the socks were blue, bottomed-off with gold shoes. Not a terrible looking uniform, but not what you think of when you think “Notre Dame.”




. . . . .

November 21, 2015 vs. Boston College; Fenway Park, Boston, MA

Under Armour liked the monochrome look so much in 2014, they decided to do it again in 2015 — only this time in kelly green. Predictably, it did not look particularly good. This time ND sported a sparkly gold dome, with a blue/green stripe, and a facemask that was half blue and half green. The Leprechaun returned to the helmet, but it wasn’t the fighting variety (just angry). The fighting Leprechaun would be relegated to the sleeve caps. Trying to weave a “story” into the uniform, the jerseys had stripes with 11 slashes (to represent the 11 National Titles they’d won or something like that), and the pants again had thigh stripes (in blue and gold), this time extending up the side of the leg to the waist. Socks, shoes and undersleeves (for those who wore them) were all green. Jersey numbers were blue with gold outlines. If you liked kelly green, even this might have been too much for you.




. . . . .

November 12, 2016 vs. Army; Alamodome, San Antonio, TX

I’ll have a full report on this game (for Sunday Morning Uni Watch) once it’s played. But here’s one more look at what the team will be wearing:


It’s probably the most “traditional” (if you can call it that) of the UA S/S uniforms, and at least it’s not monochrome. Gotta see how the muted olive and gold look on the field.

. . . . .

What say you, dear readers? Which is the best S/S set? The worst? Feel free to rank them below.

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UW Friday Flashback

UW’s Friday Flashback

In case you missed it Friday, Paul’s latest Friday Flashback column over on ESPN takes a look at the history of MLB vests (including some discussion of the ultimate sleeveless player, 1950s Reds first baseman Ted Kluszewski, shown here). Paul even wore a vest for the video accompanying the piece.

Check out the Friday Flashback here.


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Uni Watch News Ticker

Baseball News: The Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks, a pitcher, has worn a variety of uniforms (including an awesome Opposuit design), from MBDChicago. As a personal aside, I have that same Opposuit. … Looks like a colorful uni matchup from Japan this weekend with the Seibu Lions (emerald) vs. Softbank Hawks (blue); from Graveyard Baseball. … The West Virginia Black Bears will be wearing these Star Wars-esque jerseys tonight (from OT Sports). … The Bluefield Jays (an Appalachian League affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays) will wear these jerseys for their “Bob Denver” weekend (OT again). … Fans who went to last evening’s KC Royals game got Mizzou-themed Royals cap (from Robert Hayes). … On Monday, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are giving away a Santa hat with bacon for their X-mas in July promotion. … Here’s the full set of 2016 MLB Postseason logos for the coming fall, including the World Series (and here’s a bit more on that). … We may have seen this or maybe not — but the Dodgers raised helmet logos just aren’t working — as evidenced by this splash photo of Justin Turner (from Stetson Pevear). Here’s an even better look. … Here’s a very cool look at the creation of Mike Piazza’s Hall of Fame plaque (from David Goodfriend). … Speaking of Mike Piazza’s HOF induction, the Brooklyn Cyclones will be wearing these jerseys on Sunday to celebrate it (OT Sports). … Here are the camopander jerseys the Pulaski Yanks will wear on Tuesday (h/t OT). … If you happen to be heading to the Mariners game on August 7th, you’ll be able to snag this neat throwback jersey (“thanks to Nike”). … “Interesting making-of article in the Times [yesterday] morning,” says Marcus Kamp, “including this uni-centric tidbit: ‘And, yes, Griffey’s hat is facing forward’.” … Check out the new Ken Griffey, Jr. display at the @Louisville Slugger bat museum (from J. Walker). … OH BABY! Look at this beautiful vertically-lettered placket for the Arkansas Hogs, circa 1910 (from Tanner Winn). … Star Wars-esque jerseys for the Salt Lake Bees (from Brandon Flemming). … Dios mío, look at the uniforms sported by the Fresno Grizzlies last night (from Jenna PK). In case you’re wondering, those are a tribute to the Three Amigos. ‘Tremendous’ doesn’t begin to describe that uni. … Looks like Yoenis Cespedes has a custom shinguard (from Greg Inkpen). … Yesterday evening, the Cincinnati Reds wore red jerseys, something they almost always reserve for day games (from Patrick O’Neill and Alex Hider, respectively). Why? Apparently because it’s Grateful Dead night at GABP (Patrick again). … Last night was Christmas in July at White Sox game. “Sox Players’ scoreboard pics have Christmas sweaters,” says Mike Chamernik. … “I recently rode my bike from New York to Washington. (It took four days of riding rather than the expected three, on account of a flat tire and two short rain delays.),” says Ferdinand Cesarano. “While I was in Baltimore, of course I checked out Camden Yards. And I was pleased to see that some of the garbage cans have Orioles helmets on them. Strangely, however, it is the road helmet.” … Wow – last night Cameron Maybin had super high cuffs (good spot by Dan Kennedy.

NFL/WFL News: Does your kid (or, OK — YOU, if you’re small enough) want to own a fuchsia Southern California Sun jacket? Now’s your chance (from Smelly Hobo). … Speaking of the Sun, check out this great photo of the SoCal Sun and the Philly Bell (from Sports Paper).

College Football News: The WVU Football account has tweeted out a photo of this 125(th Anniversary) flag — wonder if that’s a patch we’ll be seeing on the unis this year. … The University of North Dakota has some new gray uniforms for 2016 (from UND Hoops). … Here’s a look at the new American Conference Championship logo (h/t Clint Richardson). Here’s a bit more on that. … Just like he did at BYU, new Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall is pushing for his team to wear throwback style uniforms. … Because we don’t have nearly enough of these lists, here are the 10 worst college football uniforms of all time — I actually agree with a good number on this list. One responder to my tweet, Jim Bendat, mentioned this awful number from BYU in 1999 should be on that list. Those were only worn once, on 9/9/99 (from Scott Johnston), and were banned by the NCAA. … Looks like the Houston Cougars have some new uniforms.

Olympics News: French designer Christian Louboutin will be part of the Cuban national team’s look for the Rio Olympics. A collaboration between Louboutin and the French online retailer,, was announced Thursday to supply uniforms for the Cuban delegation. The uniforms will be worn for the closing ceremony and other formal events. … Because it needed to be done, Dime Mag has decided to rank all the Team USA hoops unis for the past 40 years. … Ewwww — the lagoon in front of Rio’s Olympic Park is so filthy, the fish are dying.

NBA News: Take THAT Johnny Manziel: A sporting goods store in Oklahoma City has taken a drastic move — marking down some Kevin Durant Thunder jerseys to 99 percent off. The jerseys were hanging on a rack this week at an Academy Sports+Outdoors store in town with a sign advertising them for 48 cents. … Check out this beautiful ABA warmup jacket for the 1967-1968 Pipers (from John Turney). The Pipers called both Pittsburgh and Minnesota home during their ABA years.

Soccer News: AS Roma is celebrating their 90th anniversary with a new Nike away kit for 2016-17. Also, the return of the Lupetto badge (from Anne Celestino). … This is a shame: Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic’s shirt is missing a sponsor advertiser logo (from Yellow Away Kit). … Several ug-lee soccer kit tops were revealed, including Spanish Club CD Pinzón who unveiled Strawberry and Blueberry Kits and these Norwich City 16-17 Third Kits, which are based on their 1992 shirt (from Trev). The last item was also sent in by Josh Hinton who adds, “Norwich City (FL Championship) have a horrible and completely pathetic third jersey. It’s a blessing that third kits are rarely worn by Norwich.” … Here’s a look at Norwich City’s keeper jersey (from Patrick Thomas). … Also from Josh, here’s a look at the MLS Kit matchups for this weekend. … Here’s a look at the Bayer Leverkusen away jersey (from Patrick Thomas).

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And that’s going to do it for today. Apologies on the “somewhat” short post, but I’m out at the summer place and all day yesterday we were literally experiencing gale force winds. I sometimes lose power in a zephyr, so I wanted to get this post locked and loaded earlier than usual.

I’ll be back for my final weekend post tomorrow (until after Labor Day) so I’ll catch you guys then. Until then…

follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


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“Maryland, Wisconsin, potayto, potahto.”

— R. Scott Rogers

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Comments (23)

    Irish fan here. I think the 2011 Shamrock Series uniforms are the best of the bunch. A good balance of tradition and flair. Like the gold leaf effect and the shamrock on the helmet.

    The 2011 Shamrock Series set is one of my favourites of the bunch. I like 2013 set too.

    2012 set is easily the worst.

    Always liked the Shamrock Series Uniforms and out of all the “special one offs” I think this has some merit. As a traditionalist o wish they would stick to more throwback type stuff with a program like Notre Dame.

    My two favorites are the Plain green and the all white. The ones they wore in Chicago wouldn’t be bad if they left the helmet alone.

    Last two years have been the worst of the bunch.

    I’m a BIG fan of the Notre Dame shamrock series this year as I am a 70s child.

    Their font is very 1970s and reminds me of those dark and dreary steak & ale type restaurants my parents drug me too. Even those colors scream “1970 quality color television”.

    Sign me up and tell me where I can get more!

    Man, I’d love to go to a dark and dreary steak and ale place! My inner Ted Baxter/Bob Hartley is bubbling to the surface now.

    Now I have a craving for a steak and the theme song to The Bob Newhart Show stuck in my head.

    According to Wikipedia (so it MUST be true!), Steak and Ale is planning an early 2017 comeback!! Gotta get me a wide tie and some plaid pants so I can attend the grand re-opening properly attired.

    I posted before that the new alternate ND uniforms are awful. This history shown here is a great example of the “slippery slope”. The original alternate green jerseys were great, and used rarely usually against USC. But these pictures show how over time the variations of alternate uniforms and helmets completely suck. Makes me happy that my USC Trojans haven’t gone to alternate uniforms.

    Those chrome helmets/face masks that SC trots out on occasion aren’t anything to brag about.

    It’s primarily based on the carving above the East Door to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus — Notre Dame’s original memorial to its students who died in WW I. That’s where the logo on the helmets/sleeves and the font come from.

    And I was pleased to see that some of the garbage cans have Orioles helmets on them. Strangely, however, it is the road helmet.

    That’s a recycle can, actually. And I so want one of those…but I would paint the front panel white.

    2015: Just the right amount of kelly green, actually.

    2014: Navy Dame.

    2012: So bad you’d think it came from the ’90s.

    “One responder to my tweet, Jim Bendat, mentioned this awful number from BYU in 1999 should be on that list. Those were only worn once, on 9/9/99 (from Scott Johnston), and were banned by the NCAA.”

    No idea where the claim that they “were only worn once” came from. BYU wore them for the entirety of the 1999 season. The NCAA then banned them and BYU changed uniforms for the 2000 season.

    Norwich, how could you? Actually, I don’t want to konw.

    Houston Dynamo, you are playing in Houston in July. Why are you wearing black?

    A couple of points on the Shamrock Series:

    The Shamrock Series began in 2011, not 2009. The 2009 and 2010 were retroactively branded as Shamrock Series games, but they weren’t originally called that. The 2009 game was dubbed “The Showdown in San Antonio.”

    This likely explains why Notre Dame didn’t create special uniforms in 2009.

    The Irish using green jerseys actually dates back to a 1923 game against Princeton (some say 1921 against Iowa, but I haven’t been able to confirm that with any news clipping).

    The Oct. 19, 1923 recap of the game in the Schenectady Gazette reads:

    “‘When college tradition interferes college football strategy, give up the tradition.’ Such is the avowed attitude of Knute K. Rockne, coach of Notre Dame, and on Saturday afternoon, when he sends his army-conquering eleven against the Princeton Tiger at Princeton, Rockne plays to exemplify that attitude by robing his players in brilliant green jerseys and stockings instead of the the traditional dark blue woolens of the Indiana school.”

    As many are aware, Dan Devine revived the green jersey during a 1977 game against USC. The Irish then wore green jerseys at home for the remainder of Devine’s tenure and white jerseys with green numbers as away jerseys.

    Devine’s replacement, Gerry Faust, used them sparingly – once against USC for a full game (1983) and once only in the second half of a game vs. USC (1985).

    Lou Holtz didn’t use anything green until the 1992 Sugar Bowl vs. Florida (“What’s the difference between Cheerios and Notre Dame? Cheerios belongs in a bowl.”) He also used a green jersey in the 1995 Fiesta Bowl.

    Davie used them once – 1999 Gator Bowl.

    Willingham used them once – 2002 BC game.

    Weis used them three times – twice against USC and once against Army.

    Kelly has used them six times – vs. Army (2010), vs. Michigan (2011 – the jerseys were white, but the numbers, helmets and socks were green), and the 2011, 2013, 2015 Shamrock Series games.

    I know a lot of Notre Dame fans think the green jerseys are “cursed,” but the data doesn’t back that up. The Irish are 5-5 in their last 10 games when wearing jerseys that were predominately green, but have won their last 3.

    Also: From the 1977 green jersey game onward, Notre Dame is 26-10-1 (.716) when wearing jerseys that are predominately green.

    So the White Sox are celebrating 1976 and giving away replica (Polo shirts resembling their) road jerseys, wearing their…1983 home alternates.

    Being a White Sox fan is why we go bald prematurely. Makes you wanna tear your hair out.

    Scuttlebutt is that the tantrum Chris Sale threw that got him sent home was his actually cutting up the 1976 throwbacks they were supposed to wear tonight, effectively destroying them.

    If that’s true, that he did trash the jerseys, then that’s gotta be the worst case of a player temper tantrum I’ve ever seen.

    In any case, we’ve got a rain delay after 2 innings.

    That would make more sense; I had heard that he had cut up the uniforms because they weren’t comfortable, which left me thinking they were talking about the Beach Blanket unis, which they have worn previously. The ’76 togs, on the other hand….

    Guess Chris Sale isn’t a fan of leisure suits! Wonder what he would have done if they were throwing back to the shorts??????

    Re: Notre Dame

    The concept of an “home game” that is played “off-site” is indeed an interesting one.

Comments are closed.