The Green Bay Packers have one of the most classic uniforms in the NFL. Along with teams like the Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers, and other historic franchises, Green Bay has resisted the urges that some teams have given into in terms of “modernizing” their jerseys.
For this writer, at least, my reaction to that decision is a firm “thank you” to the team’s decision-makers.
When Nike got the NFL uniform contract over Reebok in 2012, they instituted a number of uniform features that affected teams around the league. Perhaps the most notable item was the “flywire” collar, which led many squads to change their collar designs. Check out the Cincinnati Bengals’ collar in the left image below, illustrating the odd two-tone collars that many teams have used over several recent years:
Comparison of collars on Bengals' black jersey. Old version on left, new on right. No more Flywire or neck roll. pic.twitter.com/gBmHgwp3Jn— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) August 22, 2017
Meanwhile, the Packers resisted. They refused to adopt this collar style, instead keeping their standard elastic collar with their striped pattern, matching the sleeve stripes on both home and away jerseys:
Ultimately, the Packers haven’t changed anything about their uniforms since the 1997 season, which coincidentally was a year when Nike took over from Starter as the league’s official uniform supplier. That year, the team went from the five-stripe look on the sleeves that they had worn in various forms since 1959 to the current three-stripe pattern.
One APC contributor, Jon Meerdink, suggested a possible subtle tweak: get rid of the collar striping entirely — there were no striped collars in the Lombardi Era, as an example — and add some striping to the socks instead. That might be an interesting tweak, but personally I enjoy the extra little splash provided by the collar.
As for the Packers’ alternate uniform, which currently channels the team’s duds from 1937 to 1948, the complaints are numerous. Personally, I have two major complaints: the facemask and the pants. The Packers break out this uniform once each year, wearing it in a home game with solid brown pants. Oddly, however, the Packers of the late ‘30s and ‘40s seemingly wore yellow pants rather than brown. In addition, the NFL’s uniform policy requires players to wear a single helmet for all games in a single season, which means that the Packers have decided to stick with their traditional yellow helmets (with stickers removed).
Here’s a look at the uniform in its entirety from the 2017 season:
Besides the mismatched pants that don’t make historical sense from a throwback perspective, that green facemask is a far bigger eyesore. Sure, it’s not noticeable from the stands or during live action on television, but replays and close-up photos show it clearly in all its dissonant glory.
Ultimately, the Packers’ primary uniforms are exceptional — a testament to the team’s tradition and history. But while the throwbacks are intended to be that as well, those inconsistencies need to be rectified before they can really be taken seriously.