If You Hear Hooves, It May Be Zebras After All

NFL Game Officials Uniforms
by Tim Brulia
In most every single team sport (volleyball and water polo are the only exceptions I can think of), there are not two but THREE teams on the playing surface. The two competing teams, and the officials.
In every historical uniform database that I am aware of, no description or graphic portrayal exists of the uniform history of a sport's officials' uniform through the years...until now.
The Gridiron Uniform Database is pleased to present the newest addition to our research findings, a descriptive chronological history of Game Officials uniforms of the National Football League, All-America Football Conference and American Football League from the very beginning (1920) to today. You can find the chronology under the research tab at the top of the Gridiron Uniform Database's main page.
The chronology lists the years when major changes occurred to the unis as well as when any change, however minor, occurred to the uniform. We also include the details of the AFL's officials and the AAFC's officials uniforms as well.
We also include the four occurrences of memorial armbands that were worn by NFL officials.
We even include special patches and special occasion uniforms by the refs over the years.
A couple of "Did You Know's?" to whet your appetite...
1) Did you know that for the first 27 years of the NFL, a ref didn't have to wear a cap if he didn't want to?
2) Did you know that for Super Bowls I and II, the combined NFL-AFL officiating crews wore a special uniform?
There's many more little tidbits like that throughout the research. Please take a look!
And as always, please alert us at the Gridiron Uniform Database if you spot any errors or something else we may have missed, either by email or on our forum.


  1. Do you guys have any plans to do pre-1933 NFL uniforms?

  2. Eventually. We've had some readers already say they'd start doing some research for us. Right now our goal is to get 1933-current as close to 1005accurate and completed as possible.



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