The Miami Dolphins jersey history dates back the team’s founding in 1966. In recent years, they have seen a renaissance when the team re-debuted the 1966 throwbacks as alternates and even in 2018, when the team updated their look by getting rid of the navy blue outline, two positive changes in a 20-season array of negativity, including a change in both 1997 and 2013.
But, as the trend toward the classic look continues, especially as the rival New York Jets recently reverted to a modernized shade of kelly green, called Gotham green, the Dolphins may have also signaled returning to their roots as aqua and orange takes over once more.
When the team debuted in 1966, the aqua jerseys contained coral (orange) and white sleeve stripes with white TV numbers outlined in aqua just above the stripes while the whites bore coral and aqua stripes, aqua numbering, with coral outlines.
This look remained steady until the late 1980s when TV numbers were moved to the shoulders while the team inserted the leaping dolphin logo on the sleeves, just above the stripes.
These jerseys remained almost constant until 1997, with minor changes to the striping.
In 1997, the team opted for a new look, this time dropping the stripes to the edge of the sleeves while modifying the dolphin logo. While the leaping dolphin remained, the sunburst in the background was simplified and the dolphin was given a more human-like, serious expression.
Also, navy blue was added to the team’s aqua numbers and coral outlines, serving as a drop shadow.
In 2003, the team unveiled coral jerseys, thought the look was rarely worn. These jerseys were an inverse to the aqua primaries, with aqua serving as the outline color on white numbers while navy drop shadow remained.
In 2013, the team again modified their look with a simpler shade of aqua while the numbers bore both coral and navy outlines with minimal drop shadow.
The shoulder sleeves were gone and the leaping dolphin logo was heavily modified with a sleeker, faceless dolphin in front of a new sunburst. For the first time, navy now resided in the logo while previously serving as an accent color.
When the NFL unveiled color rush jerseys in 2016, the Dolphins’ version consisted of an identical look to their short-lived coral alternates from the early-2000s, but an inverse of the current jersey design.
During this time, the team also revived a modernized version of their 1966 throwbacks which are worn during select home games, with the leaping dolphin returning to the logo.
Finally, in 2018 the team made one final adjustment to their jerseys, ditching the navy almost outright except for its nominal presence in the current logo. Coral outlines returned on a full-time basis and the jersey now resembles its pre-1997 counterparts.
Though I’m a huge fan of the 1966-1996 oldies, and any variation of such, I can’t complain too much about the team’s recent look other than the logo patch on the sleeves, since I’m all in for the leaping dolphin. The switch back to aqua and coral while rejecting the navy was a bold and sensible move, given that navy wasn’t part of the team’s original color scheme, so this is something I support.
For a bonus point, the Dolphins are one of those teams who tend to wear white at home, especially during the warm September and October months, forcing opposing teams to wear their dark look in the Miami sun. I’ve always been a fan of teams who wear white at home since the original idea of doing so was to allow fans to see a variety of opposing teams’ colors when attending games before color TV took the world by storm.
So, ideally I’d like to see a full reversion back to the team’s current alternates, along with the leaping dolphin, but I’m not going to complain. I like the look enough to state it beats the 1997-2012 design, as well as the 2013-2017 jersey, so for the first time in twenty seasons the team has something.
Dolphins Alternate (Original)
Dolphins Color Rush