Sunday, January 3, 2010

1994 meets 1944

As part of the National Football League's 75th Anniversary celebration, every team wore throwback uniforms for select games. The Packers dipped into their history to don the navy-and-gold of Curly Lambeau's heyday, as seen in this team photo given away to fans at the Wild Card playoff game against Detroit:

The throwback uniforms, designed to evoke the 1938-1949 togs which saw the Packers win two World Championships, were worn against Philadelphia on September 18th, Tampa Bay on September 25 and New England on October 2nd.

The shoulder patch commemorates the League's diamond anniversary.

A road white version was worn only once, at a Monday Night Football matchup against the Bears at Soldier Field on Halloween.

The canvas-colored pants are an interesting choice, possibly motivated by a bad photograph of the old uniforms. We do know that for at least some of this period the Packers of the day wore gold pants (albeit in varying shades, as the different materials reacted to the dye):

I suspect that the problem might have originated with the Bowman cards from 1950, which featured player photographs traced and hand-tinted. For some inexplicable reason, the Packers' pants were colored a lovely shade of minty green:

Back in 1994, that card set was one of the only available color representations of Lambeau-era Packer uniforms. Might khaki have seemed preferable to light green?

These throwbacks continue to surface at auction from time to time, almost invariably misidentified. In 1998, several team-issued (but not game-worn) home and road throwback jerseys were re-branded with Brett Favre's name and number and sold at auction, leading to a glut of phony "Favre gamers" on the collectors' market.

Although the Packers gave out the throwback photo, they wore their regular home uniforms during that 1994 Wild Card playoff match at Lambeau. It was a great game, as the Packers held Barry Sanders to -1 yard rushing and beat the Lions, 16 to 14.

The fans' euphoria would be short-lived, as the Packers fell to Dallas in the divisional round the following week, but on that one day in December the Packers looked like they might be ready to recapture a little of the magic of Curly's World Champions.

No comments: