NFL throwback uniforms: Lengthy course of is well worth the wait as league encourages groups to unveil old-school look


The ever-popular crimson throwback uniforms the San Francisco 49ers wore throughout their 1994 Tremendous Bowl championship season are again — a very long time coming for a franchise starved to return them to the uniform rotation. Because the NFL is beginning to give groups the flexibility to carry again throwback uniforms, the 49ers went by way of a protracted course of to verify the crimson ’94 throwbacks could be in place for the 2021 season — the franchise’s seventy fifth anniversary. 

“The fact is, it takes about two years to make this occur,” 49ers chief advertising and marketing officer Alex Chang advised CBS Sports activities on Friday. “Even with a design that has already existed, you continue to want 18 to 24 months to carry it to actuality. We began that course of within the fall of 2019 to have it prepared for this coming season. It not solely requires a heads-up to the league, but in addition a collaboration with it on what the design is. 

“You need to contain Nike, get entangled with their design crew, make sure that they’re samples with the precise product in hand and the way it matches with the present chassis the blokes are utilizing for on subject, off subject and the way it appears to be like with the consumer-grade jerseys. It simply takes that a lot time, however for us it labored properly. 

“We needed to carry this again for our seventy fifth anniversary celebration. We had been actually completely happy to have that every one timed out.” 

The 49ers had been one of many groups that already had a throwback uniform and alternate helmet design in place, which allowed them to debut a well-liked throwback thread before different franchises. Chang mentioned San Francisco truly makes use of an alternate helmet design once they put on the ’94 throwback uniforms, placing on a throwback oval helmet decal on the aspect and a “saloon font” helmet entrance the bumper they wore throughout that 1994 season. 

If the 49ers had been to have one other alternate helmet in place for 2022, they must submit their proposal to the league by the tip of the month. They’re contemplating a crimson helmet worn by the crew greater than 60 years in the past. 

“There’s actually two choices for us,” Chang mentioned. “Persist with the ’94 helmet, which we’re already utilizing as we speak and we love that look — or a 1955 helmet which was a crimson helmet with a silver stripe and face masks. We’re each.” 

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Groups with well-liked throwback uniforms, just like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, should wait at the very least a yr earlier than they’ll debut their traditional threads. Tampa Bay would have needed to submit their orange Creamsicle uniforms to the league 18 to 24 months earlier than truly debuting them, which wasn’t a assure because the alternate helmet wasn’t formally approved by the league till final month. Chang mentioned groups can have as much as 4 units of jerseys (dwelling, away, two alternates) throughout a season. The Buccaneers presently have three units of uniforms in the mean time — dwelling (crimson), highway (white), and alternate (pewter), so there’s room for a fourth. 

For a lot of franchises, the fourth jersey might be reserved for a throwback that might debut over the subsequent few years. The usage of a second helmet has created alternatives the league desires to embrace, after seeing how well-liked alternate uniforms have change into within the NBA and MLB. 

“They’re seeing that being embraced in basketball and baseball, which is a constructive for us,” Chang mentioned. “The league is encouraging golf equipment to embrace their historical past. They perceive that is fan-centric and the way a lot this historical past means to the followers. There’s that direct reminiscence and the nostalgia issue. 

“What you are seeing from the league is the flexibility to carry again these throwback uniforms with the alternate helmets, so the Kelly Inexperienced (Philadelphia Eagles) uniforms can come again, the orange Creamsicles (Buccaneers) can come again.”

May the 49ers lead a pattern the place the throwbacks change into their everlasting dwelling and highway uniforms? They really tried to make it occur only for this yr in honor of their seventy fifth season. 

“We truly tried to get all 17 video games to be throwbacks, however we ended up with six — which we’re admittedly proud of,” Chang mentioned. “For now the plan is to keep up that closet of our normal common dwelling and away and the ’94 reds as our alternate dwelling and our ’94 whites as our alternates on the highway.”

The throwback revolution is coming within the NFL. The 49ers are one of many groups showcasing the potential of how a lot an alternate throwback can energize a fanbase.  



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