Preseason Is Just Around The Corner (Right?)

     Today Tim Brulia, the resident historian here at The Gridiron Uniform Database, brings us his look at a phenomenon we've encountered more often than perhaps we expected to -- the "preseason only" uniform variation.

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Preseason Uniform Variations
by Tim Brulia

     When I began my research on this project in 2003, I really didn't dig into preseason games. After all, since they didn't count in the standings, why bother? I knew there were some oddities, but I really didn't go there.

     When I connected with Bill in 2009, he thought it would be a good idea to include preseason unis in the compliation. I resisted at first, but I guess friendly persuation go the best of me. While we didn't actively research the preseason,we thought that if we would bump into an unusual combo, we would fish a little deeper and if it wasn't a regular season game, we would note it as "not worn in regular season."

     We ended up finding a number of preseason only sets along the way, such as the 1970 Chargers jersey with NO bolts, the orange numbers on the 1984 Browns brown jersey, the 1946 Bears orange jersey, the 1954 Browns orange jersey, and of course, one of the more well-known preseason only uniform, the black helmeted Saints of 1969, which we only recently discovered they wore with two different uniform combinations. Bill would note these with the more confident "worn only in preseason" tag above the specified set.  Sometimes teams will wear white pants only during the preseason, and other times teams have played an preseason game overseas and have worn a patch to commemorate that.

Another preseason variation
you know about -  The
Steelers' helmets have no
numbers on them
     Since our launch on June 12th however, our faithful contributors have alerted us to a number of additional preseason only combos, including the green helmets on the 1978 Jets while still wearing the 1977 jerseys, the 1962 Bills wearing a blank white helmet with the red stripe with the 1961 white jersey/silver pants/white socks with blue stripes combo. And how about the 1968 Broncos wearing the new helmet with the orange D/white horse logo while attired in their 1966 orange jerseys!

     Notice a trend here? Yep, it seems like a number of teams that would break out a new look for the coming season would actually keep the "clothing" portion (jersey/pants/socks) under wraps for the regular season, while the new helmets would make a sneak peek for the preseason! Why? Well, my guess would be that a helmet needs a little more "breaking in" than the rest of the uniform. A player wants to keep his noggin as protected as possible and probably the helmet requires more adjusting and a better fit than his other gear. So once the regular season began, the helmet would already be "game ready", with the fit adjustments having been battle tested.

     So, we'd like to thank you for the preseason finds mentioned above as well as others not mentioned.  And if any of you should stumble across a uni combo - preseason or regular season - we encourage you to drop us a line, either by PM or on the forum. Your contributions help to make this the best site of its kind.

     Let's just hope we have a normal preseason soon!

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     Thanks Tim for that look at the "preseason only" unis.  Yes, let's hope this lockout thing is wrapped up in the nearby future.  The Hall Of Fame Game is scheduled to be played only a little more than a month from now, so they better get it settled soon.  Why is it so hard to come to an agreement?  If this side wants "x" and this side wants "y", why can't they just agree to split the difference?  If games are cancelled, that helps no one.

     Like I'm sure many of you, I've been watching the CFL on NFL Network.  I think it's more exciting, the 3 downs, the bigger field, the point for a single... I'd just as soon watch CFL -- except for the fact that I'm not really emotionally invested in these teams.  As an American (sorry, a United States-ian) who really cares whether Saskatchewan or Calgary wins, eh?  Oh well.  (By the way, those guys are doing just fine with 2 preseason games and 18 regular season games.)  Also, to all of you whiners who thought the 7-9 Seahawks shouldn't have made the playoffs last year, Ottawa made the CFL playoffs in 1994 at 4-14.  I'm a Bucs fans -- the Bucs, who along with the Giants missed out on the NFC playoffs at 10-6, were three games better than Seattle -- and did I complain?  No.  It was their own fault, they should have beaten Detroit on December 19.  If they had, they would have made the playoffs at 11-5 instead of Green Bay, oh and we'd probably be celebrating a Steelers, Bears, Falcons or Eagles Super Bowl championship right now, and everybody would still be wondering if Aaron Rodgers is really ready to emerge from Brett Favre's shadow yet.

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     Speaking of the NFL Network, I've decided to cancel the 'pick the top 10' contest due to lack of interest.  Only four people entered, and half of them were us.  (That's right only two of us entered, even all three of us didn't enter.)  Which is fine, this site should probably focus more on uniforms.  Like, for instance, the many uniform updates which we'll be bringing you Tuesday, as well as the second group of players to vote on in the Best NFL Uniform of All-Time tournament.  If you haven't done so, today is your last chance to vote for the first week's matchups.

     Happy Sunday, and happy Fourth of July tomorrow, we'll have an abbreviated holiday blog edition tomorrow, and then back to usual on Tuesday.


  1. Truth be told, I didn't play because I follow the old rule of thumb that "employees" of the company are prohibited from entering any contest!!

  2. we'll that's true, too... I was more disappointed only two people entered, when more than 100 voted for the best uniforms last week.

    I think I waited too long to announce it..

  3. Nice touch putting the Patriots ( my team, Americas most hated I am told ) up for the 4th. Look out, if your a JETS fan, your obese foot sucking slob HC will in the news again, this time getting busted as a John in an all male strip club



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