Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Will Replace the Acme Packers?

NFL uniform regulations establish a five-year lifespan for alternates; teams don't have to wear their alts every season, but they can't introduce a new one until five seasons have passed. That means the Packers' 1920s-era alternates, introduced in 2010, can be replaced as soon as next season.

Paul Lukas at Uni Watch is breaking news that it will actually happen:
Heard yesterday from a trusted industry source, who shared the new Nike/NFL 2015 youth catalog with me (the cover of which is shown above). This isn’t as good as seeing the adult catalog, natch, but it nonetheless offers some interesting hints regarding what’s in store for next season.
Uni Watch

Looking at the home jerseys, we can see that the Browns are getting new uniforms, represented by a blank graphic so as not to leak the design:

Uni Watch

The same story for the road uniforms, no new changes except for Cleveland.

Uni Watch

Now we come to the alternates. This is where it gets interesting. The Browns are getting new alts, as might be expected, but so are the 49ers, the Dolphins... and our Packers.

Uni Watch

Here's a closer look:

Uni Watch

So that's it. The Packers will have new alternate jerseys next year. That could mean a full alternate uniform, like the current throwbacks, or a new jersey in team colors. Given that non-throwback alts need to stick with the team palette, that would mean a gold jersey. They've been selling them as fashion jerseys for over a decade; next season we could finally see something like this take the field.

But let's hope not.

They could even pair it with a pair of white or green pants; the NFL's regulations are remarkably lax on pants, presumably because they don't sell those.

But let's hope not.

I think it's far more likely that we'll see another throwback instead. I hope we'll see another throwback instead. But what era?

My hope is that we'll see a return to the classic Curly Lambeau uniform of the 1940s.

It would keep the gorgeous (and presumably lucrative) navy and gold color scheme.

This is also the uniform in which the Packers won two World Championships, the first in 1939 and the second in 1944. And the gold yoke is tailor-made for this era of magically-shrinking sleeves.

The Packers re-created this uniform once before, for the 1994 league-wide celebration of the NFL's 75th Anniversary.

I'd say they were moderately successful in re-creating the vintage look.

The basic idea is good, but look at the yoke on Don Hutson's jersey, which falls above the curve of his crew-neck. The gold on Favre's jersey comes right down and obscures that line.

The yoke also covers the entire sleeve, when it really should just cap the shoulder.

Given the period (throwback uniforms had only come into vogue three years earlier, and this was the NFL's first attempt), they aren't bad. But they could do so much better now.

Steve Wåhlin of Minneapolis-based design firm BAKER created a series of concept uniforms for the Packers which we featured a couple years ago, before the Nike takeover. One of his concepts was based on that classic 1940s look.

Change the metallic gold of his proposal to the classic athletic gold, adopt a more traditional block number font instead of Wåhlin's custom numbers, and you could have an excellent reproduction of classic Lambeau-era aesthetics in modern materials.

So that's one option. There's another one that could be equally interesting; the 1935-36 green and golds.

For two years, including a World Championship season in 1936, the Packers wore kelly green jerseys with gold raglan sleeves.

Here's a look at those uniforms in action at 1935's training camp in Rhinelander:

And against the Chicago Cardinals on September 13, 1936:

Off-tackle power play (above) gains ground for the Chicago Cardinals against the Green Bay Packers. The Cardinals, wearing light-blue pants and bright-red jerseys, have made a big hole for Al Nichelini, No. 43, their fast ball-carrying back. Harry Field, No. 31, Cardinal tackle, is cutting back toward the center of the line to block the Packers backfield men.
So this seems a real possibility, although a-slightly-lighter-shade-of-green seems somewhat less marketable than a completely new color like navy.

So what do you think? A gold fashion-style jersey, one of those throwbacks, or something else entirely? We should find out sometime after the Super Bowl.


Tommy Phillips said...

My guess is actually just a throwback to the "extra stripes" of the 90's such as the Super Bowl years, as they're coming up on the 20th anniversary of both appearances. But if they're going only for something marketable, then I expect something out of the "blue."

A_Lerxst_in_Packerland said...

I love the Lambeau era update with the athletic gold and more traditional number font as you suggest, but I must have stripes on the socks!

This would continue the alternate color palate, which does look pretty nice IMO.

Gotta say, though, I wouldn't be disappointed in the kelly green and gold colors from the 1935-36 unis, either.

Rusty Rayner said...

I am with you; Definitely the yoke design. Hopefully they can do a better job recreating it than they did in 1994.