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Supe’s On: The Uni Histories of the Falcons and the Patriots


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By Phil Hecken

The Big Day has finally arrived. Super Bowl Sunday. Apologies (sorrynotsorry) in advance, but this is usually the largest Uni Watch post of the year, and with good reason: today is the biggest game in the biggest sport on the planet: The Super Bowl. And we’ve got quite the spread for you today — hope you’re reading this early.

For the first two segments, I’ll be joined by my buddy and Gridiron Uniform Database co-founder, Timmy Brulia, who has once again (as he has for the past several seasons), provided YEOMAN research into the uniforms worn by today’s Super Bowl opponents, the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots. All of this research has been painstakingly and lovingly worked into the aforementioned Gridiron Uniform Database (or GUD, for short), which readers of Uni Watch know is THE go-to site for NFL (and other football league) uniform histories. Each year, I ask Tim to please send me a yearly breakdown of the uniforms — then I go hunting for the photos which appear with the writeups (which takes me hours, but is honestly a labor of love). I can’t imagine how long it’s taken Tim to do the written research.

Anyway — those who aren’t Uni Watchers will never Get Itâ„¢ — after you read the following, you’ll be able to wow your friends and neighbors at whatever Super Bowl party you wind up attending later today. The Falcons and Patriots didn’t always have shitty uniforms. In fact, both were once quite excellent. Let’s go back in time, shall we?

Here’s Tim:

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Atlanta Falcons Uniform History
By Tim Brulia

. . .


1966: The Atlanta Falcons begin play as the National Football League’s 15th franchise. The team adopts colors of red, black, white and old gold. The helmets are red and feature an emblem of a black falcon (trimmed in white), with its large wing down. Whether by design or not, the bird, on the right side of the helmet, sort of resembles the shape of an “F.” This is seen on the right side of the helmet. The left side of the headgear shows the falcon facing right. The striping on the helmet contains five stripes with a thin gold/thin white/black/thin white/this gold pattern. Jerseys come in white and black. The white jersey features block black numbers outlined in red with the TV numbers placed on the shoulders. The sleeves are adorned with the black falcon facing forward, very thinly outlined in white, then red. The black jersey is styled in similar fashion, with white numbers trimmed in red. The pants are white with thin side stripes in a black/red/black pattern. The socks are black with three separated stripes; a thick inner red stripe flanked by thin outer white stripes.

. . .

1967: Perhaps because the black falcon on the sleeves of the black jersey gets visually lost from a distance, the Falcons change the sleeve logos to white with a very thin red outline. No other changes are made.

. . .


1968: The jerseys drop the sleeve emblems and add stripes to the sleeves and the TV numbers move from the shoulders to the sleeves. There’s actually two sets of jerseys. One set is worn for warm games and both white and black jerseys are short sleeved and feature a white elastic edge, filled in with three separated micro stripes of red and black. The other set is the more familiar durene jerseys and feature three separated stripes on the sleeves. On the white jersey the sleeve stripe pattern is a thick black stripe flanked by thin outer red stripes while the black jersey shows the pattern used on the socks (thick inner red stripe, thin outer white stripes.

. . .

1969: The NFL’s 50th season patch is worn on the left shoulder of the jerseys for the year. The short sleeved jersey set from ’68 is ditched.

. . .

1970: In the merger season, the gold stripes are removed from the helmet, which now takes on an equal width white/black/white format. The jerseys, as now required by the NFL, feature names on the backs of the jerseys, solid black lettering on the white jerseys and solid white on the black jerseys.

. . .


1971: The black jerseys take a hike and are replaced by red jerseys. All the red trim that had been on the black jersey becomes black on the red shirts. The socks are also reversed from black to red, with the former thick red stripe turning to black.

. . .

1978: While the helmet remains the same (albeit with slightly smaller logos and a white facemask replacing the gray), the rest of the uni undergoes some revision. The white jersey now sports a V-neck collar trimmed in red with a hint of black trim, the numbers are now red with black outline, the TV numbers return to the shoulders, sleeve stripes now are equal width (separated) with a red/black/red pattern and between the TV numbers and the stripes, the Falcon logo returns in black with the NOB remaining in black. The red jersey finds a V-neck collar trimmed in black and a new color, silver. The numbers on the red jersey are now silver with black outline with the TV numbers reverting back to the shoulders, sleeve stripes now equal width (separated) with a silver/black/silver combo with the black Falcon logo placed between the TV numbers and the stripes on the sleeves, with the NOB remaining in white. The pants also see a revamp changing from white to silver and the stripe pattern going to a red/thin white/black/thin white/red combo. The red socks lose their stripes and are now a solid color.

. . .

1979: To make the sleeve logos on the red jersey pop a bit, a thin layer of silver is added to the Falcon.

. . .

1984: The facemasks go from white to black.

. . .


1987: The Falcon logo moves to become superimposed over the sleeve stripes on both sets of jerseys.

. . .

1988: A memorial patch (small black football with a white “30”) for deceased cornerback David Crudip is worn over the left collarbone on both sets of jerseys starting October 16th for the remainder of the season.

. . .

1989: A black block “73” for deceased offensive tackle Ralph Norwood is worn on the left collarbone starting November 26 for both white and red jerseys and then later a black block “83” for tight end Brad Beckman is worn on the right collarbone of the white jersey only for the final game (12/24) of the season.

. . .


1990: The Falcons go full stop black. The helmets go from red to black with the black Falcon logo with the white outline remaining unchanged (well, maybe some minute alterations) and the stripes are deleted. The white jerseys are depleted of collar piping and sleeve stripes with the front and back numbers staying as they were on the previous white jersey though the NOB is black with red outlines on the letters. The red jerseys are dumped and for the first time in 20 years, black makes a comeback as the dark jersey color. As with the white set, collar trim and sleeve stripes are eliminated, the numbers and NOB’s are white with red outlines. As for the TV numbers, they appear only on the right shoulder as a special patch commemorating the Falcons’ 20th season is worn on the left shoulder, taking the place of the TV numbers. Starting in Week 7, the Falcons reverse number colors on the white jersey, with the numbers now black with red outline. The pants remain silver, but the stripe pattern is reversed to a black/thin white/red/thin white/black motif. Finally, the socks go from a solid red to solid black.

. . .

1991: TV numbers return to the left shoulder of the jerseys.

. . .

1994: The Falcons wear the commemorative patch for the NFL’s 75th season on the left collarbone area. Beginning November 13th a very small football patch (black on the white jersey, white on the black set) with the imprint of “ZEKE” in honor of deceased equipment manager Whitey Zimmerman. In Week 3, the Falcons wear exact throwback duplicates of the red jerseyed uniform from 1971-1977 and the white jerseyed uni of the same 71-77 era for Week 4.

. . .


1995: A black collar is added to the white jersey.

. . .

1997: White jerseys see a return of red numbers and NOB’s with black outline. The pant stripes also go back to a red/white/black/white/red combo with the red and black stripes of equal width. Solid red socks are worn with the white jersey, while the black socks are still worn with the black jersey. Beginning on November 2nd, an oval Rankin Smith memorial patch is worn on the left collarbone, with a script “RMS.” The patch is black on the white jersey and white on the black jersey.

. . .

1998: The Falcons wear the Super Bowl XXXIII logo patch on the left collarbone of the black jersey for the Big Game.

. . .


2003: The Falcons undergo a major overhaul of their uniform. The helmet stays black, but the logo is altered for the first time in team history. Red flares are added to the trim, the bird tilts forward a little more than before and the white outline also now has a sliver of silver. The white jersey retains its black collar and red numbers and NOB’s with black outline, but the font is modified and a tiny bit of drop shadow is added to the outline. The “sleeves” feature unusual vertical striping with outer black stripes, inner white stripes and a center portion of red, in which the modified black and red falcon is shown facing forward. The black jersey follows a similar pattern with the sleeve configuration, and the numbers and NOB’s in white with red outline. The red jersey makes a return appearance as an alternate jersey with a black collar and the similar sleeve striping and the numbers being white with the black outline/slight drop shadow. A tiny wordmark is added to all the jerseys, with the mark in black on the white jersey and white on the black jersey and red jersey. The outer black sleeve stripes on all sets form a pinstripe wide side panel on the jerseys. There are three sets of pants, two are white, one has a black pinstripe that flares slightly near the bottom of the pant leg (worn with the white jersey and black jersey), the other white pant has a red pinstripe with a slight flare near the bottom of the pant leg (worn with the red jersey) and the third set of pants is black with a red pinstripe that flares red near the bottom of the pant leg. There are three sets of socks as well, black (worn with the white/white set and the black/white set), red (worn with the red/white set) and white with a very thick black stripe (worn with the white/black and black/black sets).

. . .

2004: The red jersey becomes the primary color jersey. The black pants are only worn once, with the alternate black jersey (also worn just once with black socks) and the white socks with thick black stripe is gone.

. . .

2005: Five various combinations are worn: white/white, white/black, red/white, red/black and black/black.

. . .

2006: Four combinations are worn, with red/black eliminated from the mix.

. . .

2007: Same as 2006.

. . .

2008: The league-wide Gene Upshaw commemorative patch is worn for Week 1. For the Falcons, the black circle patch is worn on the left collarbone of the red jersey. Otherwise, the same four combinations as worn in 2006 and 2007 are seen.

. . .


2009: The black jersey and black pants are dropped for good, but the Falcons trot out a throwback hearkening to the 1966 black jerseyed team, complete with red helmet WITH gold stripes.

. . .

2011: A commemorative 10th anniversary 9/11 Memorial ribbon/patch is worn for Week 1, which is affixed to the left collarbone of the white jersey.

. . .

2012: A commemorative 50th year patch for the Pro Football Hall of Fame is worn for Weeks 14 (white jersey) and 15 (red jersey).

. . .

2013: Due to the NFL ruling requiring only one helmet to be used for the season, the popular 1966 red-helmeted throwbacks are terminated and the Falcons are left with just two uni combos.

. . .

2015: A commemorative 50th Season patch is worn on the left collarbone for the regular season on both sets of jerseys.

. . .

2016: For two games, the Falcons wore a mishmash throwback, with the 1990-2002 style black helmet worn with the 1966 jersey/pants/socks combo. In Week 9, for their Thursday night game, for the league mandated “Color Rush” campaign, the Falcons simply chose to wear their white/white combo, with all white socks (though many players chose to wear the normal black socks instead).

. . .

Thanks, Tim! OK, now onto the Patriots:

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Patriots Uniform History
by Tim Brulia


1960: The Boston Patriots are one of eight charter members of the new American Football League. As would be expected given their name, they wear colors of red, white and blue. The helmets are white and feature two red stripes and a blue tri-cornered hat on both sides of the helmet. In the preseason, the Pats wear very generic jerseys, with red numbers on a white jersey and white numbers on a red jersey, nothing else on either top. The pants are white with two red stripes running down the sides. Socks are red and with white crew socks with two thin blue stripes near the top complimenting the look. Once the regular season starts, the Pats tweak the look a bit. The player’s number is added to the helmet in red, positioned between the helmet emblem and the ear hole. The jerseys take on striping, in the form of shoulder stripes, blue/red/blue stripes for the white jerseys, white/blue/white for the red jerseys. TV numbers are added to the sleeves of both jerseys as well. Names are added to the backs of the jerseys, but for some reason, not every player has them. The only plausible I have heard is that it could be that NOB’s were put on the starters and left off the substitutes. The pants get a separated blue stripe to go between the red stripes. The socks also get a facelift, with white socks going with the white jerseys, having a red/blue/red/blue/red stripe pattern, while the red socks accompanying the red jerseys featuring a white/blue/white/blue/white stripe combo. To cap it off, the Pats were crew socks with a thick blue band offset from the top of the sock.

. . .

1961: The Patriots change the helmet logo from the tricorn hat to what would become known as “Pat Patriot.” The logo is an image of a revolutionary minuteman in the center position, ready to snap a football. NOB’s are now on all players’ jerseys. The red jersey stripe pattern is changed to blue/white/blue. The pant stripe pattern is changed from separated red/blue/red to blue/red/blue. The red socks that had been worn only with the red jerseys are now worn with the white unis as well.

. . .

1963: The pants stripes go to three separated stripes. Each stripe has a micro thin blue/red/blue combo that can really only be discerned with a magnifying glass. The sock stripes are altered to a seven stripe pattern of alternating whites and blues.

. . .


1964: The helmet stripe combo now includes a thin blue stripe between the red stripes, while being separated by white, in effect, creating a five stripe pattern.

. . .

1965: Crew socks return and replace the sanitary socks.

. . .

1966: The jerseys get a facelift. On the white jerseys, the shoulder stripes are now separated by white and at the sleeve edge a very thin stripe combo of red/white/blue/white/red is created. On the red jerseys, the stripes are reversed to a white/blue/white pattern with sleeve stripes added to the edge as well, with a very thin blue/white/red/white/blue pattern. Trim is added to each collar with a wrapover effect. Solid red socks replaced the striped socks and are worn with the crew socks. A side note: RB Jim Nance (and perhaps a couple of teammates), for whatever reason wears a red jersey with a shoulder stripe pattern of blue/white/red/white/blue.

. . .

1967: The pants stripes are altered, with a thin northwestern’esque pattern. An inner stripe of blue flanked by very thin separated red stripes. The plain red socks now feature white northwestern stripes that are feather striped in blue. Coupled with the crew socks and their thin blue stripes, the socks look totally bizarre with a mish-mash of uncoordinated striping patterns caused by the odd positioning of the socks.

. . .


1969: The shoulder stripes are removed from both jerseys. The edged sleeve stripes are a very thin blue/white/red/white/blue combo on both sets. The NOB’s are now larger and serifed on both jerseys. The socks go from crazy to plain. Just solid red socks and plain white “sannies.”

. . .

1970: The Pats again go with crew socks and the thin blue bands.

. . .

1971: With the impending move to a permanent home in suburban Foxboro, the team changes its name from the Boston Patriots to the Bay State Patriots for very brief period of time before changing to the broader based New England Patriots.

. . .

1972: For some warm weather games, the Pats introduce a set of mesh jerseys. The difference from their traditional garb includes no collar trim, a very thin blue outline around the numbers and an additional four very thin stripes to the pattern found on the durene jerseys. However, only the red jerseys see action in the regular season.

. . .

1973: The jerseys take on a new look…again. Collar trim is abandoned on both sets. On the white jerseys, the numbers are outline with thin blue and a stripe pattern of thin red/medium blue/thin red replaces the edged stripes. For the red jerseys, the numbers also have a thin blue outline and the sleeve stripes are now a thin white/medium blue/thin white combination. And again, the plain white sannies return to the fold. And finally, this look takes hold and in unchanged for some time.

. . .


1979: The Patriots add a pair of red pants, to be worn with the white jerseys. The side stripes are a thin white/medium blue/thin white pattern. The socks worn with the white over red look are white with the stripe combo matching the sleeve combo (see 1973).

. . .

1980: “Pat Patriot” is increased in size by roughly 25% on the sides of the helmet. Perhaps because the logo is so detailed, the Pats decided to enlarge him.

. . .

1981: The red pants/white socks are discarded and so the white pants/red socks are worn full time.

. . .

1982: The gray facemasks turn white.

. . .

1984: Perhaps to coincide with their 25th season, the Pats redo the unis. The jerseys re-institute the shoulder stripes on both sets, with a separated stripe pattern of red/blue/red on the white jersey and a stripe pattern of white/blue/white on the red jersey. NOB’s are now outlined in blue like the numbers. Red pants return to be worn with the white jersey with a similar thicker stripe pattern as with the 1979-80 red bottoms. The white pant stripes are changed to a triple separated equal width stripe combo of red/blue/red. White socks are worn with both sets of jerseys with a stripe pattern consistent with the stripes on the white pants. The Pats, like the other seven charter members of the AFL, wear a commemorative patch noting their silver “anniversary” on the upper left portion of their jerseys.

. . .

1988: The red pants are scrapped again and the white pants are worn for all games.

. . .

1989: The blue outline on the NOB’s are removed.

. . .

1990: After a two year hiatus, the red pants return to be worn with the white jerseys. The stripes are the same as before.

. . .

1991: The facemasks go from white to red and the blue outline returns to both sets of jerseys.

. . .

bledsoe crop

1993: The uniforms are totally overhauled from top to bottom. Helmets are now silver and the first appearance of the “Flying Elvis” logo comes aboard outlined in white and the facemasks return to a gray hue. The white jerseys have front and back numbers in red, double outlined in white, then blue. TV numbers move to the shoulders and are blue and the NOB is blue. The logo is placed on each sleeve. For the first time in team history, the color jerseys are blue. Front and back numbers are red outlined in white. The TV numbers shift to the shoulders and are white and the NOB is white. Flying Elvis adorns the sleeves with a white outline. The pants are silver with an unusual stripe pattern on the sides, starting at the hip, the stripe starts as blue, then fans out into three separate stripes, abruptly stopping and then turning into three separate red stripes, with the entire stripe package outlined in white. The socks are a solid blue, which ends in a thin red stripe.

. . .

1994: Some slight tweaks are made. The helmets now feature a red mask instead of gray. The torso numbers on the white jersey remain red but are single outlined in blue. Torso numbers on the blue jersey are changed to white outlined in red. Pant stripes are toned down to a simple two-stripe combo, blue back/red front. In Weeks 3, 5 and 7, the Pats don a white throwback uni in the style similar the 1961-1965 era white uniforms. The NFL’s 75th Season patch is worn on the left collarbone area of all jerseys.

. . .

1995: The jersey get another modernized facelift as on the white jerseys the numbers are italicized in red with a blue outline in a slight drop shadow. The NOB’s are also italicized on both jerseys. The TV numbers swap places with Elvis and the logo increases dramatically in size. The blue jerseys feature similar changes with the numbers in white with a slight red drop shadow. The Patriots wordmark is added just below the center front collar. Also around the midriff is a subliminal striping pattern on both sets of jerseys.

. . .

1996: A decal in tribute to the late former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle was added to the back of the helmets.

. . .


2000-01: The uniforms get another moderate overhaul to what is basically their current look. The shades of blue go from a rather straight blue to navy. The letter and number fonts change on both sets. The white jersey features the numbers in navy with double outlines of white and red. The TV numbers and sleeve logos again switch positions, numbers on the shoulders and Elvis on the sleeves. A thick shoulder stripe of navy is added. The NOB is a solid navy. Collar trim is silver. And side panels are added for the first time with a thick stripe of navy, flanked by thin red stripes. The wordmark remains, with the darkened blue feature. Navy pants, to be worn with the white jersey, feature a stripe pattern identical to the side panel of the white jersey, with an added extra pair of thin white stripes on either side of the red stripes. Socks worn with this combo are white with three thin separated navy stripes. As for the navy jersey ensemble, it features the same enhancements as the white jerseys. The numbers are white, with double outlines of silver and red. The Elvis logo on the sleeves is outlined in white and a thick should stripe of silver is added. The NOB is solid white. Side panels mirror the white jersey pattern (thick navy flanked by thin red stripes), which make them almost unnoticeable. The wordmark remains below the center collar. Silver pants, are worn with the navy top, with a thick navy stripe between two very thin red stripes. Socks are a solid navy. In Super Bowl XXXVI, the SB logo patch is worn on the left collarbone of the navy jersey.

. . .

2002: For two games, Week 6 vs. the Packers and Week 8 vs. the Broncos, the Pats go monochrome navy with the white striped socks. These are the only two occasions that the Patriots have gone monochrome. For (Week 13) the Thanksgiving Day game at Detroit, the Pats wear a throwback uni, in the style of their Super Bowl XX uniform, complete with Pat Patriot on the helmet.

. . .

2003: In Week 11 against the Cowboys, the Pats sport a silver jersey. It’s pattern after the white jersey with the only differences being the navy numbers outlined white (instead of silver) and red and the sleeve logos outlined in white. In Super Bowl XXXVIII, the SB logo patch is worn on the left collarbone of the navy jersey.

. . .

2004: For the Kickoff Game (Week 1) hosting the Colts, the Pats sport a patch on the left collarbone to commemorate their status as Super Bowl champions. Week 14 has the Pats wearing the silver jersey at home vs. the Bengals. In Super Bowl XXXIX, the SB logo patch is worn on the left collarbone of the white jersey.

. . .

2005: Again for the Kickoff Game vs. the Raiders, the Pats wear a patch to celebrate their victory in the previous Super Bowl. The silver jersey is worn in Week 4 against the Chargers.

. . .


2006: The silver jerseys makes its cameo appearance in Week 15 against the Texans.

. . .

2007: In the all but perfect season, a memorial sticker for DE Marquise Hill is placed on the back of the helmet and the silver jersey is worn for the last time in Week 3 against the Bills. In Super Bowl XLII, a game Pats fans wished never happened, the SB logo patch is worn on the left collarbone of the navy jersey.

. . .

2008: The league wide Gene Upshaw patch is worn on the white jersey for Week 1.

. . .

2009: The Patriots commemorate their 50th season with a special patch worn on the left collarbone area of both sets of jerseys. As part of the AFL Legacy tribute, for three games the Patriots wore uniforms of the 1961-1965 era team, twice in red, once in white. These jerseys featured the AFL insprired 50th anniversary season on the left collarbone area. The Pats also played a game in London, so the boring “International Series” patch was worn on the right collarbone area of the navy jersey for that one.

. . .

2010: The Pats broke out the red Super Bowl XX throwback for a Vikings home game and for the Thanksgiving game at Detroit.

. . .

2011: The Pats wore a memorial patch on the left collarbone area for Myra Kraft, the spouse of team owner Bob Kraft, who passed away in the off season. The red throwback was worn for Week 5 against the Jets. In Super Bowl XLVI, the SB logo patch is worn on the right collarbone of the navy jersey.

. . .

2012: The Pats don the trusty red throwbacks for Week 7 against the Jets. The next week, NE wears the icky “International Series” on the white jersey for the Wembley game with the Rams. Late in the season, the Patriots don a league wide Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary patch on the left collarbone of the blue jerseys only.

. . .

2013: The throwbacks are discarded.

. . .

2015: For the lid-lifter of the 2015 season, a commemorative patch denoting their victory in Super Bowl XLIX is worn on the left collarbone of the navy jersey.

. . .

2016: For the Week 3 Thursday Night game, the Pats join the Color Rush brigade with a special all navy ensemble, with the jersey containing a red/white/red shoulder stripe combo and no TV numbers, the pants feature a thin red/thick white/thin red stripe pattern with solid navy socks right to the cleats.

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SUPE Trivia/Challenge

Yesterday, reader Jared Buccola posed an interesting question which works well today:

When was the last time both teams uniforms in the Super Bowl had a different color helmet, jersey and pant pairing. For example, this year the Falcons are black/red/white and the Patriots are silver/white/blue. Most home teams uniforms have helmet and jersey match, and away combos have helmet and pants, or helmet and all white. Just something to think about and a fun topic for the page this weekend.

Good question, Jared.

I’ll go one further: can you guys name ALL the Super Bowls in which both teams had a different color helmet/jersey/pant? In a similar vein, discounting jerseys (because one team MUST be in white and the other in dark), how many Super Bowls have featured both teams wearing the SAME color helmet and pants? Finally, how many Super Bowls have featured two teams whose colors (roughly) were identical (i.e. “blue” or “red” — the pantone numbers don’t need to be exact)?

Post your answers below!

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Uni Watch DIY Splash large

A Super DIY Project…

…for Super Bowl Sunday.

Our own Mike Chamernik was manning the UW mail this week, and he received the following e-mail from Steve Speicher, who has done a little DIY Falcons jersey, which he’ll be wearing today (of course). Mike thought it might be good to run on Supe Sunday, and I agree. You can click the photos to enlarge.

Here’s Steve:

Another Super Bowl featuring the Patriots definitely means my making an NFC T-shirt jersey. I decided to make it a two-for-one this year, going with two throwbacks for the Falcons, as I’ll be watching the game with my girlfriend and she wanted to share in the fun.

I had two reasons for choosing a throwback design. First, I’m not at all a fan of Atlanta’s current jersey. Second, their sleeve/side panel combination would’ve been difficult to pull off without screwing up.

I chose the 1998 home and 1986 home jerseys as my models. I thought ’98 was fitting because it was the only other season the Falcons made the Super Bowl. There wasn’t really a reason for ’86, other than I wanted to do a red one from the 80’s and I preferred the logo-above-stripes look to the logo-on-stripes look for the sleeves that they switched to in ’87.

As usual, the collar was the most difficult part to execute. Everything else was a breeze – I think the fact that I’ve been doing this for a few years helps. Also, the sleeve logos were applied facing in the appropriate direction, so I didn’t repeat the mistake from my Lynch jersey a few years back! Small detail – I used the period-appropriate NFL logo for the ’98 jersey and none for the ’86 – looks like that wasn’t added until ’91.

I didn’t take any in-process photos this year, so all we’re left with is the finished products.


1998 Front & Back


1986 Front & Back

If you’re wondering why I chose Jake Matthews…my girlfriend said she wanted the smartest guy on the team, and found an Internet source that said he was tied (with Matt Ryan) for the highest Wonderlic score on the Falcons. Good enough for me! Also, O-linemen rarely get jersey love.


-Steve Speicher

P.S. I’ll be bringing these jerseys to Brooklyn this weekend to watch the Super Bowl with my girlfriend and her friends!

Thanks, Steve. Great job! Good luck to the Falc’s today!

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vilk 5 & 1 b

Because if there is one more thing…

…this post needs…

…it’s a Jimmer Vilk Super Bowl 5 & 1

Folks, I decided the 2017 Super Bowl Super Uni Watch Post wasn’t complete unless we heard from an old friend, Jimmer Vilk, who’s come out of his mid-winter funk (and concussionball boycott) to revive an old favorite of his: the Five And One.

Now, years ago, Jimmer did a Super Bowl 5 & 1, but due to link-rot (and a change in his views), that old list isn’t much good anymore. So, Jim’s going to give us a new one. Just for today. Just for you.

Here’s Jimmer:

. . . . . . . . .

Jim Vilk’s NEW AND IMPROVED Super Bowl 5 & 1
By Jim Vilk

Time after time I’ve told Phil, “I’m done with football 5&1s.” Last time he asked me to do another Super Bowl list I said, “Just link to my old one.” Then I looked it up and found out most of the photos are gone. I also realized Present Me would like to tweak Old Me’s list. So with that in mind, and Morten Andersen’s Hall of Fame induction is one of the reasons I’m in a good mood, I agreed to tweak it.

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Honorable Mentions to Super Bowl 41

. . .

Super Bowl 15
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. . .

Super Bowl 12

. . .

Super Bowl 8
image4 (5)

. . .

Super Bowl 3
image5 (4)

. . . . .

And the best 5, and worst 1:

image6 (4)


Almost a Color Palette Special, plus this is my “I’m not a complete fuddyduddy” pick

. . .

image7 (5)


The blue/yellow Rams just had to make this list, and this was their best looking opponent

. . .

image8 (4)


Goldilocks Jim says, “Original Bengals are too bland… present Bengals are too blech… ’80s Bengals are just right”

. . .

image9 (3)


Pat > Elvis

. . .



Great unis, great field… and mud!

. . .


And the bad one: SUPER BOWL 39

As I said in my old list, no wonder McNabb hurled during this game

I wanted to include a Giants game for Phil. If it’s any consolation, SB 25 *just* missed the Honorable Mention cut. Blame Buffalo’s white pants.

. . . . . . . . . .

It’s OK Jim. The Giants best unis only appeared in one Supe. And it was the one they lost. So, I’m not upset in the least, even if you got most of those top 5 wrong, but I’ll forgive you. Good to have you back.

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In Case You Missed It…

Earlier this week (Wednesday, in fact), with Super Bowl LI on the horizon, Paul had his Uni Watch’s annual Super Bowl column over on ESPN, in which he took look at all the uni-related nuances and subtleties regarding the big game.

While it’s not my most favorite column Paul does on the Mothership (that honor still goes to the Annual MLB preview), it’s definitely up there.

If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, here ya go. As always, it’s a great one!

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: I didn’t realize this: 2017 Is The 60th Anniversary Of The Cubs In Home Pinstripes. This classic look enters its seventh decade this year. Interestingly (and unbeknownst to him that I had this in the ticker) Tom Ekstrand sent that same article into the ticker and made particular note of this photo. He asks, “does Ernie Banks have some extra padding inside his cap?” Great spot — looks like he does! Looks like a protective liner (not quite Alex Torrez-like, but something along those lines). … According to Clint Richardson the Tennessee Volunteers softball squad is “getting checkerboard-stripe happy”. … A(nother) very cool baseball board game: Josh Mancini writes, “I recently acquired this board game, Bottom of the Ninth, and thought you might like these images.” You can view the set of images right here. … You’d really like to see an iconic photo of the 1979 San Diego Padres today, posing in front of elephants in the San Diego zoo, wouldn’t you? Of course you would (from Bruce Menard). … Here’s a really short (and bad) list of the “best uniforms” in baseball. … Latest to join the 3D helmet logo trend: Arizona State Sun Devils baseball (from Christopher Kapis).

NFL News: Falcons receiver Julio Jones has “the dopest tribute to Atlanta” on his cleats (from Megan Brown). … Of course they won’t be able to wear them today, but this article contends both the Falcons & Patriots have A+ throwback jerseys. … Speaking of SB jerseys, NASA has already sent the game-winning jersey into space, which the astronauts will reveal almost immediately after the Supe ends. … So which jersey will that be? Well, Jimmy Fallon’s puppies have spoken, and the Falcons will win. “This Tonight Show clip features the wrong NFL shield logo; using the ‘gold’ shield from the Super Bowl 50 year promotion,” notes submitter Christopher Jowdy). … Hungry before the big game today? Alex Giobbi says, “My local pizzeria’s Super Bowl catering menu is about ten years off.” … “My kitchen chalkboard…” writes Austin Gillis. “I think my rooting interest in to[day]’s game could be easily guessed. … As you’re no doubt aware, the team wearing white today (which the Patriots are) has won 11 of the past 12 Supes. Incidentally, the Pats have done pretty well in their current uni set (and Belichick), going 2-2 in blue jerseys (and they’d probably be 4-0 if not for the New York Giants’ heroics against them) and 2-0 in white tops. Will they be 3-0 in white tops after today? … As we move towards the Supe, we’ve seen some good and some bad soda displays. But snf seems to have found the first FAKE Supe soda display. Sad! … A few fans still wear Michael Vick Falcons jerseys, many years after he departed the team (and the league, and society). I’m all for second chances, and Vick did his time, but I have a real problem with animal cruelty, so it took me a long time to forgive. But I won’t forget. … Jerry Kulig offers a very pervasive argument for not tucking in one’s jersey by offering Exhibit A.

College Football News: It’s still way-way-offseason in NCAA football, but that doesn’t mean the colleges aren’t active. Andrew Cosentino notes “Virginia Tech put together a cartoon of all of their new recruits. They’re all wearing different uniform combinations!” Oh. … “I was looking through some old Sports Illustrateds,” writes Gene Sanny. “This one happened to be a 1983 year in review issue. I happened across a pic showing the Washington Huskies. I’d forgotten all about this. I remember looking at these as a kid thinking ‘geez, they just spray painted gold right over the fast masks and nose bumber pads when touching up their helmets.’ I’m guessing they took off the decals, sprayed over the chipped up areas, and put new decals on. Thought you might enjoy this, I’d can’t recall seeing any other major programs handle it this way.”

Hockey News: OOPS! “Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA used outdated Penguins 50th anniversary logo with only three Stanley Cups on Sunday [sent in yesterday, not sure if he meant “Saturday” — PH] morning telecast,” says Joe Sager. … Last evening, Clarkson Hockey wore some gorgeous 1955-56 throwback sweaters (from Cap Carey). … Yesterday evening, the Manitoba Moose wore their “Polar Bear” jerseys (from JP). Not only are those really nice, powder and navy blue go very well together. … “Don’t know how out of the norm this is in the NHL, and can’t recall if NSH did it, but LAK sans ASG patch now” says Dan Nadwodny. “Only 50th patch.” … The Orlando Solar Bears wore First Responder Appreciation Jerseys last night (from Orlando Solar Bears). … Minnesota and Penn State played a color vs. color hockey game yesterday (from Garrett James). … The New York Islanders held their “Pride” night and used pride tape to celebrate the occasion (from (((Buckner’s Knees)))). … Looks like some Patrick Sharp frankenjerseys were on tap at the Stars/Blackhawks game (from Cheyenne Bauman). … As a result of not paying NHL fees, Sherwood gloves have no makers mark or logo, only numbers (from TheGoalNet).

NBA News: Here’s Friday’s NBA rundown from Zachary Loesl: There is a rather large distance between SNELL and 21 on the jersey; Great artwork on Harrell’s sneakers; Color on color between Chicago and Houston (with HOU wearing the Chinese New Year uniforms as well)/ and finally, a couple of unique photos from Yao’s retirement ceremony.

College/High Scohol Hoops News: During yesterday’s hardwood action, Maryland and Purdue went color vs. color (from Karl Greenfield). … Check out the 1990s graphics and 1992 throwbacks on and off the court at the Cincinnati vs. UConn game yesterday (from Cin City Pride). Here’s another look (from 02/28). … Jimmer Vilk and Catherine Ryan will be pleased to know that Villanova’s 2 championship banners added to Wells Fargo Center, their alternative home court (from Wes Smith). … “Our school played Brownsboro high last night,” says Glenn Stern. “Check out the awesome Indiana – style warm ups. Pinstripes and the jackets with the script team name on the back. Only difference was that they inexplicably tucked them in. Still beautiful though.” … The UTEP Miners wore special one-off Noche Latina uniforms last evening (from HeyzeusL). … K-State and Baylor went color vs. color retina sear yesterday (from Zach). … I am really not sure what this is all about, but North Dakota’s coaches were barefoot to support something called @SamaritansFeet2. … Mizzou and Arkansas went color vs. color anthracite yesterday (via Six Column Sports). … UT Arlington wore military appreciation unis yesterday (from Dustin Perez). … Oooohhh, check out Winston-Salem’s retro throwbacks (from HBCU Gameday). … The Arizona Wildcats wore “State Pride” uniforms yesterday against the Oregon Ducks. … “Penn men’s hoops wears a memorial patch for John R. Rockwell, a major donor to the program who endowed the program’s head coaching position. just FYI, in case you haven’t seen it,” says Tris Wykes. He adds, “The Quakers also have DOPE warmups with the 90-year old Palestra on the back.”

Soccer News: During yesterday’s EPL match vs. Liverpool, a Hull City player had to get a replacement jersey because there was blood on his usual one, and there wasn’t a number on it (from Josh Hinton). Others also noticed this blood jersey (Joe C) and got screen grabs (KT). … “Prem still uses old lion logo on bottom of numbers whilst using new lion logo on sleeves,” notes Rhys McManus.

Grab Bag: I can’t verify this (if someone wants to, have at it), but interesting if true: apparently Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan was inspired by the final words spoken by murderer Gary Gilmore, right before his execution (sent in by Louise Brooks Fan Club). Apparently, it is true, according to James Gilber who notes, “This article indicates that this film,, says TRUE.” … Cricket fan (yes, really) Jimmer Vilk finds this un-bee-liveable: South Africa were taking on Sri Lanka in their third one day international at Wanderers until a swarm of bees descended on the field. Play was stopped as players took to the ground for cover. … Here’s one you don’t see everyday: “Swimsuit Hockey”, as described by the Louise Brooks Fan Club, “the next best thing to lingerie football in the 1920’s. Looks like girl sitting got whacked in the face. Ouch!”

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And that’s it for today. I know it’s a YUGE post, but hey, today’s a YUGE day! Tremendous thanks to everyone who contributed, but especially to Tim Brulia, whose amazing uniform research really makes this the special post that it is.

I’ll be back next weekend (when you finish reading this), but until then…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“USMNT third kit is trash. I wish USMNT fans would quit spending their cash on Nike trash. Stupid templates. Lazy. Unoriginal.”

— The Ponchat

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Comments (26)

    Before now I had never seen a photo of the Falcon’s 1968 banded sleeve jerseys being worn in a game. I thought the black set had only been used on photo day.

    To this day I see more Mike Vick number 7 jerseys on thrift store racks than any other Falcon player. I’ve never been tempted to buy one.

    In 1971 the Falcons draft was filled with unrecognizable names from smaller colleges, and thus labeled the “Brand X Draft.” Players from that class, including receivers Ken Burrow and Wes Chesson, taped an X on the back of their helmet.

    When was the last time both teams uniforms in the Super Bowl had a different color helmet, jersey and pant pairing. For example, this year the Falcons are black/red/white and the Patriots are silver/white/blue. Most home teams uniforms have helmet and jersey match, and away combos have helmet and pants, or helmet and all white. Just something to think about and a fun topic for the page this weekend.

    Without cheating, just looking at a list of the games – I’m not sure it’s ever happened before. Technically I guess you could count the ’77 Cowboys & Broncos, if you consider the Cowboys pants to be a different color than the helmets, which they are, but they aren’t really intended to be.

    I am thinking as well this has not happened before.

    If we are to count the Cowboys in these games, I would count the Super Bowls of the Cowboys vs. the Bills from the ’92 and ’93 season instead of ’77.

    Back in ’77, the Cowboys were still wearing one shade of blue and silver both at home and on the road:


    I would think the helmets and pants in the ’90s would have matched less, similar to today’s problem.

    The Cowboys of the ’90s were wearing the different shades of blue and silver at home compared to on the road, but only the one helmet that was worn with the different shades. The helmet’s shades of blue and silver seem to fall in between those of the home and road uniforms and do not fully match colours as a result.

    To edit my comment – with the Cowboys it is best to say dark and light uniforms – as they wear white most of the time at home and on the road.

    I honestly feel that the difference today is more subtle than in the late 70’s. With the white jerseys, Dallas today (and in the early 90’s) wore pants that are pretty close to the helmet color, while the mismatched pants are used with the blue jersey. In the 70’s, while they only used one set of pants, they weren’t metallic and looked almost blue sometimes.

    This is a great question and one that points at how this game is too close to call.

    Teams with helmets matching their pants have a much higher winning percentage overall in the NFL.

    Expect to see a lot of pride tape during February. It’s “Hockey Is For Everyone” month in the NHL, and every team will be having a You Can Play night, including using the pride tape.

    Steve S,

    GREAT job on those falcons DIYs! I wish the falcons still rocked that 86 red version instead of the arena football looking crap they wear now.

    How much money and time was spent on them? One of the things i enjoy about DYI projects is satisfaction acheived but the other factor is opportunity cost and savings achieved.

    The T-shirts are about $3 each at a craft store. The iron-on transfer paper runs about $10 for 5 sheets, and I ended up needing 9…though I had some leftover from previous years and made some reprints due to a glitchy printer.

    I saved some time this year by finding some free fonts to use. Previously, I’ve made vector graphics of the letters and numerals myself in Photoshop. The fonts I used probably aren’t perfect, but they match pretty well to what I could find in old photos. The most tedious part, by far, is cutting out of all the graphics.

    It’s also a little scary when you’re ironing on – you pretty much have one shot to get it right, otherwise the graphic is ruined…not to mention the shirt might be as well if you can’t get it off nicely. None of that this year though…but as usual, the collar was a pain and hard to execute well.

    I’d say it took me like 2-3 hours to mock up the designs, probably about 4 hours to cut everything out (you have to go slowly!), and another few hours to iron everything on.

    Kinda wish the Falcons had used gold versus silver in the ’03 logo revamp- I’m probably one of few that liked the original color combos. Gold used as outline and minor trim would be nice.

    Amazing that the 1979 Padres, who went 68-93, had four Hall of Famers. (Perry, Winfield, Fingers, and Ozzie) Great photo.

    Beat me to the keypad punch. Great team photo. Gaylord looks huge in this post Cy Young year pic. Compare him to Winfield …

    This is always one of my favorite UW posts of the year, especially when the Pats are in the game (it was the first thing I looked up hid morning, and really makes today feel like Super Bowl Sunday with my favorite team playing). Great job guys.

    Both Super Bowl teams wore perfect uniforms from 1984-1989. The 90s black was OK for Atlanta, but I never liked the black logo on the black helmet.

    Superbowl 44 – Didn’t like the outcome, but that was one good looking Superbowl. Colts home versus Saints road w/Gold pants. – Beautiful!

    SUperbowls 1, 2, & 3 are all great looking too.

    If it’s any consolation, SB 25 *just* missed the Honorable Mention cut.

    So did 37 & 47. Maybe I should’ve taken out 15 and added one of those.

    Reason I didn’t add more newer matchups: they’re almost all Broncos or Patriots.

    The Washington Huskies football team must have had a mini-tradition of getting gold spray paint on their gray facemasks. As a teen, I taped up on my wall a 10/4/71 Sports Illustrated cover featuring Sonny Sixkiller (link:) where the gold paint was clearly sprayed across the top of his facemask.

    I really enjoyed today’s review of the Patriots & Falcons uniforms. There are few teams in the league (perhaps none) whose current uniforms are more dramatically overshadowed by their beautiful designs of earlier eras. My personal Pats favorite is the 1969-72 set and the original 1966 Falcons uniform is also on my all-time top 10. And by the way, one of the co-anchors on the late ESPN Sports Center Thursday night introduced a Super Bowl segment by volunteering that New England needs to bring back Pat Patriot and that the biggest mistake the Falcons ever made was switching away from their red helmets. On these points I’m in total agreement.

    Due respect to Jimmer, but my vote for the best looking Super Bowl would be Super Bowl 7.


    And the worst would be the Patriots/Seahawks.


    Washington helmets , I noticed that as a kid as well – at least ND removed the masks first , etc … I want to say they did this for a few years…

    Egad. After that implosion, the Falcons should be banned from wearing that uniform, forever.

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