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Saints Announce Surprise Move to Wear Throwbacks This Week

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Here’s a pleasant surprise: The Saints yesterday announced that they’ll be wearing their late-1960s throwbacks for this Sunday’s game against the Rams.

The last time the Saints wore this design as a throwback was in 2016 — six years ago. That seems like a long gap (frankly, I didn’t even realize they still had this throwback as an active wardrobe option), but then I did a bit of digging and learned that the Saints have a really weird history with this throwback. According to the Gridiron Uniform Database, this will be the seventh time they’ve worn it. Check out the years and intervals:

So yeah, it’s been a six-year gap since the last time they wore this uniform, but that’s pretty consistent with their history. Weird!

The big difference this time around, of course, is that players often don’t bother wearing real socks anymore, so we might not see all the New Orleans players suiting up in those gorgeous striped hose. Still, considering that the Saints usually go black over black for home games these days, the throwback will definitely be an improvement, socks or no socks.


ITEM! 2022 Gift Guide Now Available

The winter holidays are just around the corner, which means it’s time for the 2022 Uni Watch Holiday Gift Guide, your go-to source for the coolest uni-related gift items for that special someone on your shopping list (or just for yourself).

The Gift Guide is now available over on Substack. You can read the first chunk of it here. To read the whole thing, you’ll have to become a paid subscriber, which I hope you’ll consider doing. Thanks!

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I’m going to be out and about from roughly lunchtime through 10pm, so I’ll be slow to respond to comments, emails, etc. Play nice while I’m away, yes? Yes! Thanks. — Paul

Comments (62)

    Any reason to have the Saints wear the gold pants is a good one. They are superior to the black ones a million times out of a million.

    100%! I don’t mind the white over black on the road, but black over gold at home is one of the best-looking combos in the league, it’s a shame they never do it anymore

    Amen – while at least black is part of the color scheme, they look 1000% better at home with gold pants!

    Beautiful! In a perfect world this uni set would be their primary look going forward. The best uniforms in football have a complimentary color pants. 49ers gold, Cowboys blue-silver, Raiders silver , Packers yellow Etc..
    And there is nothing more simple, yet magnificent on a football jersey than stripes on the sleeves. This retro Saints look is epic.
    Do you hear that Nike ? We all need Dolphins retros back. For good. .Falcons red helmet retros permanent. The pajama pants color matching the color of the jersey are so ugly . The gradient fading on the uni numbers (Falcons, Rams) are atrocious. Dots on numbers and stripes (Commandos) are godawful.
    Sorry for the rant. I grew up in the 80’s so I expect perfection!

    I agree to a point. Certain teams would look considerably better throwing it back. Saints, Dolphins, Eagles and Vikings, to name 4. But if every team went back to a classic look, it would not be as special. Certain teams have done tasteful modern uniforms – Jaguars (finally, after some hot garbage), Texans, Chargers and Jets (if they would leave the BFBS in the dumpster) all did well.
    I don’t understand why the NFL can’t enforce socks (or leggings that look like socks). Jalen Ramsey wouldn’t be allowed to play for the Rams in a red helmet or black jersey, so why is the uniform allowed to be not uniform? Is personal expression that sacred a right that you allow people to look like they didn’t get the same memo? Socks or leggings is a choice but the leggings should be colored to look like socks – including the sweet striping.

    I agree that some modern uniforms look decent, but I wouldn’t count the Jaguars or Jets as those teams (especially not the Jets—all of their previous unis were much better). Chargers are gorgeous, Bengals are decent and Texans are ok if slightly boring, but those are pretty much the only modern uniforms I like/tolerate. Jags should go back to their original 90s look and the Jets could throw back to literally any previous uniform and I would be happier than seeing them in these arena-league unis that they wear right now. But I know I’m probably in the minority on those opinions.

    Agree. There are certain pairings that just visually work better for football uniforms. If your team has as light helmet (white, silver, gold, yellow) your pants should be the same color as the helmet. If you have a dark helmet that is the same as the jersey color you should have white or another light color pants (e.g. Steelers/Rams/Commies yellow pants). And if you have a darker helmet that doesn’t match the jersey (Broncos, Browns, Falcons when they wore red helmets…) you just go with white pants. Really the only exception I can think of to this rule is when the Ravens go black/purple/black. In their case both the black and white pants work for them.

    NFL used to have uniform police. Players were fined for small infractions. Obviously, those days are long gone. Today, it’s a uniform free-for-all. High socks. Low socks. No socks. Different colored socks. Cleats that come in a rainbow of colors.
    It’s a mess in the NFL and worse in MLB.

    Not to mention untucked jerseys, t-shirts that are longer than the jerseys, no real knee or thigh pads, pants above the knee – it’s a visual disaster!

    Wow, everyone including Paul is missing the biggest reason for the sloppiness of current football unis, speed.

    The tighter your jersey is, the shorter your sleeves, the lowers the wind resistance and increases your speed.

    Pads add weight and decrease your speed as do longer pants. Solution? Bike short style pants and lose the thigh and other leg pads. When was the last time you saw ANY player with hip pads or a neck roll? In fact, NFL Films just did a little story on the disappearance of the neck roll and how todays players think it looks “whack.”

    Actually, the NFL still has uni police, and the players are still fined. But the fines don’t matter to people with million-dollar salaries.

    Also, white tights are not an infraction (although I wish they were).

    Actually, Ramsey went back to wearing yellow socks (and was presumably fined for it) last Sunday.

    But in any case: When I said the fines “don’t matter” anymore, I was speaking broadly. How about this: Fines no longer seem to be as effective a disincentive as they once were. They may deter some players, but most just ignore them and do what they wanna do.


    Perhaps instead of a fixed amount (say $20K), how about the fine is rendered as a percentage of annual salary? So if you’re in violation of the uni police, you are fined a fixed percentage (say 5%) of your yearly salary. This might make the higher earners — those who can most afford the penalty — think twice about it.

    As the top sports uni reporter, have you ever gotten feedback as to why players are so sloppy or un-uniform now?
    Is it not caring how they look? A desire to stand out? Thinking that the untucked shirt, etc actually looks better?
    I have to imagine that regardless of what you think a good uniform design is, there would be consensus that a team looks better when they are, well uniform.
    I’m actually ok with players having a choice from various team colors on which gloves they want to wear, or perhaps if they want a white or team colors base layer under their jersey. But the degree to which players are so haphazard now seems odd. When has disheveled ever been preferred over tidy in aesthetics?

    I have to imagine that regardless of what you think a good uniform design is, there would be consensus that a team looks better when they are, well uniform.

    I think you are mistaken. Many of today’s players value self-expression more than uniformity. What you (and I) think of as “sloppy” or “disheveled,” many of them think of as “swaggy.”

    Not saying they’re right; just saying that I think you’re basing your question on a faulty premise.

    “Cleats that come in a rainbow of colors.”

    I know, right? How DARE NFL players show any sort of support for LGBT people/rights.

    The NFL still has the uniform police. You can’t be on the sidelines unless you are wearing gear that is approved by the league, which means Nike or one of the other clothes suppliers to the NFL.

    Officials also wait outside both locker rooms and inspect random players by giving them a patdown to see if they have vaseline or stickum on their unis.

    And the league isn’t required to announce EVERY fine they lay on players.

    But keep on whining, NONE of the players or leagues are ever gonna go back to the boring two unis per team “act like you’ve been there before” boring garbage.

    I’m hoping for the 100th anniversary of the NBA the league comes out with a different jersey for every team for every regular season game.

    Huh?? Obviously, you’re very easily confused. When I talk about a rainbow of colors, it has absolutely nothing to do with LGBTQ rights. It has everything to do with players wearing random white, red, blue, yellow, green, etc shoes regardless of their team’s uniform colors.

    I believe they were using “rainbow of colors” to refer to “any and all practical number of colors” and specifically not matching teammates, not to disparage actual rainbow flag/LGBT cleats.

    Great unis from the neck down for sure, but yikes… the gold on the pants and the gold on the helmet don’t match at all.

    They seemed match in their inaugural season. But old photos aren’t the best evidence for color investigation.


    There was DEFINITELY a better match (much more like “old” gold) in their first season link, link

    By the late 1960s though, the mismatch was much more apparent link

    I wonder what would have happened if the team were permitted to wear their black shells, and if they’d gone with that instead of the gold, how things would have turned out today


    This prompted me to look up the college teams that most famously wear “Old Gold” – Purdue and Vanderbilt. Nope, they’ve gone to the washed-out champagne gold too. And that’s not even at the whim of a monopolist uniform supplier that wants to save money by cutting back on available shades.

    Why can’t they get Old Gold paint onto any of the modern helmets?

    I do not like the black shirt black pants combi of the Saints so I say yes to this. Even if the golden hues of the helmets and the pants do not match. It is very rare in football that gold helmets and gold pants do match, just ask Notre Dame, Navy, Georgia Tech and others.

    Man, if the Saints could match up the gold pantone on that uni it’d be among the best in the NFL. They should go with this one full time.

    Saints need to just have a black version of the color rush jersey and a pair of gold pants (with black white black stripes) and black pants (with white gold white stripes) and striped socks. Although I personally love the gold pants, Saints fans seem to belove the all-black and the all-white (color rush) sets. The white pants they wear with the standard uniforms even if they just had a thick black stripe a la the gold pants with a gold fleur de lis up near the waist.

    I do wish the Saints would ditch the sleeve Fleur De Lis logo for the Louisiana state logo… never been a fan of teams that have the exact same sleeve logo as the helmet.

    Not this Saints fan. As a New Orleans area native, I’d be happy if the black pants were burned. They work with the white jerseys, but the gold pants are better with either jersey. And while the Color Rush look is solid, the team needs black or gold-topped socks to pair with those white pants. Either way, gold pants are the way to go, regardless of whether it’s the modern jersey or the throwback.

    I too prefer the Louisiana boot patch over the fleur, but there’s too many Saints fans along the Gulf Coast and up into Mississippi and south Alabama to stick with a state-specific logo these days. That said, I’d be happy to see them replace the patch with stripes.

    …and I would wager, again, that at least in their inaugural season, the Saints’ helmets, jersey numbers and stripes, and pants all matched with their beautiful copper-gold hue.

    Interestingly, the Giants wore white at home every game that season link — but still wore their blue jerseys (on the road) for four games…meaning there were a lot of teams wearing white at home in 1967

    White at home, 1967:
    Browns (all home games)
    Cardinals (1 game)
    Eagles (1 game, against the Saints)
    Falcons (2 games)
    Giants (all, they played home games that season at Yankees Stadium)
    Steelers (6 games)
    Saints (all)


    Don’t know why the Saints don’t wear gold pants more often given they wore them when they won the Super Bowl.

    Echoing the comments about the Saints’ gold helmets not matching the throwback pants, but it’s still much better than the mono stuff. I would suggest the throwback jersey and pants would also look nice with a black helmet. Not the current alt helmet, but the one they toyed with way back. I seem to recall a photo of Kilmer wearing it in pre-season (I think). Basically, it was just the color-reversed normal helment – black shell with a gold fleur-de-lis (and I really enjoyed typing that word).

    I agree with everyone here, gold pants > black tights. But I miss the Reebok metallic gold. The Nike beige doesn’t hit the same

    Amen sir. I can’t understand how Nike can’t make a decent pair of shiny britches. Ruins the Cowboys’ uniforms too, and wouldn’t shock me if it has impacted the Pats’ recent redesign with navy pants as the default option.

    The Raiders metallic silver pants come out okay. Does anyone know if Nike’s supplier is doing them or if they are still being sourced from Ripon (who supplied the Reebok-era uniforms).

    The Cowboys have always had issues with matching the helmets and pants going back to when they first adopted the “silver blue” in 1964. I remember them going with a very gray color in the early 1970s before getting bluer again in 1974.

    But I doubt the metallic vs. matte fabric impacted the Patriots as they wore the matte fabric Nike pants starting in 2012.

    Is “Uniwatch” Trademarked? Or “for people who get it”? Curious – didn’t see it on justia. Maybe I’ll file for it ;-P

    Saints. That is their best look. Thank you. Here is hoping the Rams do some of the LA smog looking uniforms just so we have something to talk about. JK, Rams please don’t mess this up for us.

    They should return to this look full time. Or at least bring back that shade of gold. Their current pale gold reminds of a grandpa’s car. Not exactly intimidating.

    Why the Saints continue to use their current “we stole this gold from the 49ers” helmets over their original older gold helmets is beyond me. I would LOVE to see them make these are something like these their full time set.

    As a Saints fam, I’m kind of embarrassed with this look. None of the “gold” matches. Yellow mustard pants. Brown mustard jersey numbers. Gold helmet.

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