Friday, October 21, 2016

Good Guys Wear White, Again: Packers Color Rush Review

Although our modern eyes are accustomed to seeing road teams in white, that wasn't always the case. The Green Bay Packers managed to get through the first nineteen seasons of their existence without a white jersey at all.

In 1938, the Packers unveiled the first white jersey in team history.

Curly Lambeau introduced it as an alternate to his preferred navy blue because of the "color clash" caused when the Chicago Bears came to town in navy jerseys of their own.

Last night, nearly eighty years later, the Bears came to Lambeau Field and the home team again wore white. Lots of white.

I'm still opposed to the whole "Color Rush" promotion, but the Packers should be given a great deal of credit for not using it as an excuse to create another "authentic" jersey for retail. The only new elements are uniform pieces that aren't sold to the public. The team seems to have made an attempt to thread the needle between conforming to the NFL's mandate while respecting their own æsthetic heritage. Plus these new pants didn't look all that bad.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) calls a play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
As many people have pointed out in recent days, this is the first time the Packers have worn white at home in 27 seasons, since the first two games of the 1989 season.

As we expected, the pants were white with a green/gold/green striping pattern down the side. This matches the pattern first revealed on Monday, not the one originally announced last month, which would have added small white stripes to replicate the road jersey striping.

photo credit: Evan Siegle,

The pants stripes looked so much better than the sleeve stripes, in part because the white stripes serve only to muddy the design. In heraldry, this is the rule of tincture; you don't place white and gold next to each other. There just isn't enough visual contrast to distinguish the two, so the pattern blurs and blends at any distance.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
The second reason the pant stripes looked so much better than the sleeves is that they were dyed in to the fabric and not screened on.

That's something I've never liked about the current Packers jerseys; the cheap-o painted-on stripes. The Steelers can have their sleeve stripes sewn into the jerseys, so why is the Pack stuck with this retrograde 1980s technique?

There was another antecedent to the Color Rush uniforms; the Packers briefly wore white socks at the dawn of the Vince Lombardi era, who included them in his original 1959 uniform.

Those striped socks, which only lasted one single season, would have looked great with the similarly-striped white pants.

On the whole, the "Color Rush" effect was striking. Solid white certainly stood out against the field, the stands, and the drab black-ish blue Bears players.

photo credit: Sec19Row53,

That's not to say that the Packers' Color Rush uniforms were entirely uniform. There were some minor deviations from the all-white "shoulder to toe" look.

photo credit: Evan Siegle,

Several players wore gold shoelaces. Wide receiver Davante Adams took it a step farther with gold shoes.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) celebrates after making a touchdown catch during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
WR Randall Cobb wore gold sanitary socks.

photo credit: Evan Siegle,

They appeared to be at least two separate socks, layered on top of one another.

photo credit: Evan Siegle,

In addition, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix wore Pinktober shoes.

photo credit: Evan Siegle,

Mercifully, he was the only one.

The overall effect of this "Color Rush" uniform reminded me more of soccer than football.

photo credit: Mirror Online

Although the white pants weren't all that bad, I really hope to never see them on the field again. The Packers just don't look right without their gold pants. The beauty of Lombardi's uniform is matching the pants to the helmet, gold with green and white Braisher stripes. There is one lasting effect I'd like to see, though; last night reinforced my feeling that it's time to bring back the original road jersey striping pattern.

There is an opportunity to fix the current jersey's flaws while reclaiming Lombardi's visual legacy.

It would look better, it would honor the team's glory days, and I can even make a crass commercial argument in favor. I don't know how many white jerseys the Packers sell, although anecdotal evidence suggests it is a distant, distant second to the home greens. This could be an opportunity to change that in some small way.

Come on, Packers. The franchise's 100th Anniversary is on the horizon, and let's see if we can't right this wrong before then.

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