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How Ted Thompson’s modeling skills prevented a Packers uniform disaster

The Packers once nearly changed their uniforms, but Ted Thompson helped them avoid a terrible mistake.

NFL: Super Bowl LII Experience Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers have a surprisingly colorful uniform history. From their birth in 1919 through 1958, the Packers sported all sorts of different gridiron getups, including stripes, numbers in circles, the famous Don Hutson/Tony Canadeo gold shoulder yokes, green over green, yellow over yellow, and even white over white (both in the old days and during the Color Rush era).

But after Vince Lombardi arrived in 1959, the Packers’ uniforms have been, well, uniform. With a few minor tweaks, the Packers have essentially worn the same uniform from Lombardi’s tenure through the present day. And it looks great! But it almost didn’t last.

In the early 1990s, Ron Wolf came very close to instituting a seismic shift in the Packers’ sartorial history. In 1993, the Packers had actually scheduled a press conference to announce a change to their uniforms, which would have taken effect for the 1994 season.

Wolf detailed the uniform changes in a letter to esteemed uniform analyst Paul Lukas, who now runs UniWatch, saying the Packers’ Lombardi-era look would be going by the wayside, making room for a modernized, streamlined outfit.

“We will retain the current dark green,” Wolf wrote, “but will switch the pants and helmets from the present mustard yellow to a metallic gold. The stripes that now appear on the Packers’ helmet, jersey and pants will also be removed.”

Certainly no small change! Imagine looking back on highlights of Super Bowl XXXI and seeing something like this.

Fortunately, those uniforms never saw the light of day. Well, almost never. A select group of people did get to the new green and metallic gold threads on the field at Lambeau, courtesy of one Ted Thompson, who ultimately parlayed his unsuccessful stint as a model into a long career as an NFL general manager. (That’s how that works, right?)

Wolf’s proposed uniforms had reached the prototype stage, and he needed someone to show them off. He turned to Thompson. The fashion show did not go well.

“He (Thompson) was on the field down there all by himself,” Wolf told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The guy ran up and down the field. I was thinking to myself, ‘Holy (expletive), I must have been smoking dope.’”

The uniforms were never seen nor heard from again. However, at least two known prototypes of the gold helmet still exist. One belongs to former Packers trainer Pepper Burruss. The other turned up on Antiques Roadshow, of all places, in 2004. The appraiser valued the helmet at between $2,500 and $3,000.