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Sports Then and Now

When it Comes to Uniforms, Old is New Again

Posted on June 28, 2011 by A.J. Foss

For the 2011 season, the Buffalo Bills will go back to using white helmets.

This past weekend, the Buffalo Bills unveiled their new uniforms, royal blue jerseys and white helmets with the charging buffalo logo on the helmet. The “new” uniforms are actually similar to the uniforms the Bills wore from 1974-1983, before they switched to red helmets beginning in 1984.

The Bills are the latest pro sports team to update their uniforms by going back to their “throwback” uniforms.

The trend of throwback uniforms began in 1994 when the NFL celebrated its 75th anniversary by having every team wear a simulated uniform from their past.

The throwback uniforms were very popular with fans, especially in New York where both the Jets and the Giants went back to their 1960s uniforms to be used as their regular uniforms.

Since then, most teams have used throwback uniforms as their third or “alternate” jersey, wearing them once or twice a year, with the exception of the San Francisco 49ers, who went back to their 1980s uniforms in 2009 and the San Diego Chargers, who have gone back to a white helmet like the team had when it was in the AFL, but has not made the powder blue jersey as the regular home jersey, but continuing to use it as their “alternate” jersey.

This trend is even more popular in the NBA where five teams since 2009 have gone back to a uniform from the past or apply past colors to their current uniforms.

These teams include the Philadelphia 76ers, who have gone back to the uniforms and colors they used during the Julius Erving era, while the Utah Jazz have returned to their original music note logo and the purple colors they used back in the 1980s.

The latest NBA team to go “retro” is the Washington Wizards, who have applied the colors and uniforms the team had in the late 1970s and early 1980s when they were known as the Washington Bullets.

The Wizards’ move is similar to that of their co-tenant Washington Capitals of the NHL, who in 2007 went back to the red, white, and blue color scheme the team used for their first 21 seasons.

Around the same time, the NHL’s Vancouver Concocts began using uniforms with the team’s original colors of kelly green and royal blue, which the team used when they entered the league in 1970.

In addition to the Capitals and the Canucks, the Buffalo Sabres have gone back to their original logo of a buffalo and two crossed sabres with blue and gold colors.

While several “retro” or “classic” uniforms have come back, they are still some old uniforms that could return such as the Denver Broncos “Orange Crush” uniforms or the uniforms the Houston Rockets wore during their championship years in the mid-1990s.

Either way, the more “old-school” uniforms, the more the better.

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