Monochrome Whites, Part 2

Today at The Gridiron Uniform Database, our "graphical engineer" Bill Schaefer breaks down the use of monochrome white uniforms in the NFL, a topic we first broached here in the blog on June 26.

 ~ ~ ~

When constructing the graphics for thousands of uniform combos going back to the 1930’s, you discover some things about yourself as far as ‘what you like’ and ‘what you don’t like.’  The first thing I discovered was how much I detest mono-white uniforms.  I freely admit to being in the camp that likes the mono-colored uniforms, even when my Bears wear (and always lose in) the mono-navy, I like the look.  My favorite look, however, is a 2-color combo with jersey and pants being two completely different colors.  This does not include white.  White should not be considered a color.

The Redskins wearing burgundy over yellow. The Lions wearing blue over silver.  The Raiders. The Steelers. The Packers.  The Rams. The Bucs.  These, in my opinion, are good looks.  Why?  The colors pop!  Without color, what do you have? White.  My artistically-inclined students would remind me that white light is actually made up of all of the colors of the rainbow.  Remember playing with a prism in middle school science and making rainbows?  Well, no one wears a rainbow on their football uniform.  The University of Hawaii did away with them quite a while ago.

I’ve found that there are exceptions and those revolve around a simple principle – you can’t screw up a uniform comprised of two colors when one of the two is white.  (I know. I just called white a color but bear with me.)  The Colts and the Jets.  For whatever reason, I don’t have a problem with their mono-whites (except when the Jets wear the white socks with the horizontal stripes instead of the plain green ones, which they haven’t done since ‘07).  I know for the Colts it probably has something to do with the fact that they actually tried blue pants (3 games in 1995) and it just didn’t work out.  The late-1960’s Rams went mono-white with their blue and it worked. The Eagles of the 1950’s and 1960’s went mono-white in combination with green and it worked.

My question is, if you’re going to bother incorporating multiple colors into your uniform, why do you need so much white?  I’m surprised no one has trotted out in this combo to the left yet.  Oh, wait. Someone did and they lost to Burt Reynolds! 

Here’s the funny thing I’ve noticed.  I can just about tolerate any mono-white uniform…as long as their opponent isn’t wearing white pants.

Why should that make a difference?  What do I mean, you say?  I’ve taken the Tampa Bay mono-white and placed it against both the Falcons throwbacks and the bi-colored Saints because of their similarities of utilizing black. 

Looking at just the jerseys and pants in the pair-up versus Atlanta, notice that the lack of color in three of the four aspects (jerseys and pants only) just makes everything look so…blah.  But when the same mono-white is paired against the Saints combo, well…the entire result is not so bad.

Fans pitched fits back in 2007 when we had the ‘privilege’ of watching this game (Jaguars vs Saints - right) – the opposite of the ‘polar bear in a snowstorm.’ Why is nothing ever said when the overabundance is plain, boring white?  I’ve seen it said that mono-white uniforms are ‘clean and crisp.’  When should football ever be ‘clean and crisp’?

The most egregious offender of the ‘mono-whitism’ was easily the 1988 and 1989 Patriots.   Seriously, Pat Patriot had more going on than this uniform.  Placed side by side with the totally mono-white and I think you’ll see my point.

The worst situation of all occurs when the mono-white team wears a white helmet and plays another team wearing white helmets and white pants.  Try Miami versus the Jets, for instance. What are you saying when the only team colors being displayed are on 1 team jersey and everyone’s socks? 

This being said, the first uni-tweak that I will be presenting here at The Gridiron Uniform Database blog next week involves these very same Dolphins.   Stay tuned.
~ ~ ~ 
Thank you, Bill, for that look at monochromatic white unis.  I for one, as a Buccaneer fan, am fairly ambivalent about the Bucs' mono-white look.  With the white jersey I'd prefer the pewter pants over the white, although I can absolutely say I hate the red-over-pewter look, preferring instead the Bucs' red-over-white look the best.  To me the pewter pants just show sweat too much, and the red-pewter is just too dark a combo.  I'd be just happy if they went with only the white-pewter and red-white as their only unis combos.
We'll look for your follow-up and the first-ever Gridiron Uniform Database tweak next week.
In the meantime, voting continues in the Best NFL Uniform Of All Time Tournament right here.


  1. Great minds think alike! Bill's first paragraph articulates exactly the same feelings I have about NFL uniforms. I detest mono-white, I like the mono-color and love the 2-color non-white uniforms. Being a Redskins fan, I think the burgundy jersey with yellow gold pants is the best uniform in the NFL. However, I do like the Colts with Blue pants and the Jets when they wear green pants or mono-green.

  2. "I do like the Colts with Blue pants and the Jets when they wear green pants or mono-green."

    I did/do, too, Shock. I'm just saying I'm not as opposed to these particular mono-whites as say Miami, Cleveland, or Seattle.

  3. I find the mono white to be boring, even with the Colts and Jets. I preferred the blue pants the Colts tried and the green pants the Jets sometimes go with. The Chargers and the Browns shouldn't have ditched the yellow and orange pants, respectively, in the '80s. It only really works with the Dolphins and Seahawks, as pairing their colored pants with their white jerseys is a little jarring.

  4. Phill With Two LsJuly 14, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    I'm not a fan of the mono whites either... EXCEPT when it's an all white team (helmets included) going against a team with colored jerseys, pants and helmets. Always liked the contrast. When I was a kid in the 70's I especially liked the Cardinals in all white going against teams like the Rams or Cowboys. Those games looked great to me.

  5. EXACTLY as I tried to show with the Bucs example. Mono-white against a team with white pants...yuck. Monowhite against a team rocking the 2 non-white colors...tolerable.

  6. I frikkin hate mono-whites on colored helmet teams. The only team I think it's ever really worked for was the 80's & 90's Bengals, because of the tiger striping in the trim. The Browns, Bears, Chiefs, Ravens, etc. all look(ed) better with pants that match their helmets.

    Of course, I don't particularly like white jerseys in general, but that's a whole other issue.



Blog Archive