The New York Giants jersey history spans back almost a century, all the way to 1925, back in the days when NFL jerseys looked more like sweaters than their modern-day counterparts.
It was the early days of the NFL, when instability caused most teams to fold before they could even develop a reputable fan base. But the Giants survived, bringing with them a long history of uniforms to the fold.
A Word on the NFC Teams
Barring a few, most of your NFC teams have a long and complicated history when it comes to NFL jerseys, and the Giants are one such team. Unlike the AFC, where only three teams were part of the original NFL, founded before 1960, the NFC teams comprised of the original NFL, including the New York Giants along with their divisional rivals the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles.
The Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Arizona Cardinals all make up NFC teams with long, winding histories. Therefore, I’ll provide a link to HeritageSportsArt so you can gain a better visual on what the teams looked like prior to 1960, rather than allowing myself to even begin to attempt to explain the looks, as again, the early days of the NFL are complicated.
One reason behind choosing 1960 as my starting point is simply because it is believed to be the year the modern-era of the NFL kicked off, as the rival American Football League (AFL), whose former teams now make up the American Football Conference (AFC) started play, as well as being the first NFL season that Pete Rozelle took over as NFL commissioner, launching the NFL into becoming the premier sports league in America.
For the New York Giants’ earliest uniforms, go ahead and click here to gain a better visual insight.
The Giants base uniforms consisted of plain royal blue jerseys with white, block numbering located between the shoulder and sleeve.
The away jersey consisted of red, block numbering, sleeve numbers, plus red Northwestern stripes. This look remained with the Giants until 1964, when the team dropped the Northwestern stripes on the road jerseys.
In 1966, the road jerseys received another makeover, this time switching the number coloring from red to royal blue with royal blue numbers located between the shoulder and sleeves, along with a blue-red-blue stripe combo at the sleeves.
The Giants released a second road jersey in 1970, moving the striping to the base of the sleeves, which became permanent in 1972.
1975 saw the team overhaul their jerseys and entire uniform. On the home blue jerseys, red now outlined the white, block numbers while a red-white-red-white-red striping combination was added on the sleeves.
The road jersey was white with blue numbers trimmed in red outlines, with a red-blue-red-blue-red stripe combination on the sleeves.
The team overhauled their jerseys and uniforms again come 1980 to the look that would see two Super Bowl victories in the 1986 and 1990 seasons.
The new look contained elements from both the uniforms of the 1960s and of the 1975 overhaul, but to a lesser extent. The home jersey now consisted of a red-white-red sleeve pattern while the road jerseys switched to blue-red-blue. An identical striping pattern was also added to the collar, and red still outlined the white numbers on the home jersey and the blue numbers on the road jersey.
Other than tiny modifications to the collar and numbering font, this look remained consistent throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
In 1994, the Giants participated in the NFL’s 75th anniversary Throwback Weekends, featuring the team’s 1961 threads.
2000 and Beyond
In 2000, the Giants overhauled their jerseys for the first time in two decades, again featuring mixed designs from the past.
The home jersey for the most part resembled its 1960 predecessor, with changes coming in the color, which now saw a darker version of royal blue, along with the TV numbers relocating to the top of the shoulders, which became a common practice in the NFL due to teams requesting tighter-fitting sleeves to reduce holding calls.
On the white road jersey, the numbering color switched back to red for the first time in decades, except the nameplates on the back of the jersey still appeared to be blue. Also, blue trim outlined the red numbers.
In 2004, the Giants introduced a red alternate jersey that closely resembled the team’s primary blue jersey, perhaps inspired by the 1994 film, Little Giants, a sports comedy about youth football where the protagonist team, the Giants, wore a similar jersey. The red alternate appeared for select games in 2005, 2006, and 2007.
In 2016, the Giants participated in the NFL’s color rush, introducing a white jersey similar to the one worn between 1981-1999, featuring the blue-red-blue stripe combination at the sleeves, blue numbers, and red trim outlining the numbers. The uniform has been worn on select occasions since.
I’m a fan of the Giants’ look, but not so much that I would rank it in the top ten. For me, while both the home and away jerseys aren’t broke, they can use a little fixing, or should I say, returning, to the 1981-1999 look. To me, the colors stood out more with the outlines, and I’ve always been a fan of striping at the sleeves than the plain or accented look, both of which are dated to the 1960s or early 2000s, respectively.
If I had to grade the current jersey combos, they would receive a solid ‘C.’