The 1994 NFL season marked the NFL’s 75th anniversary. The significance today is that in 2019, with training camps opening up all around the league, is the NFL celebrating its 100th anniversary. While the NFL’s age may be minute to a number of teams playing in the U.K.’s Premier League, such as Man U, Liverpool, and others being founded in the 19th century, the NFL contains a long, long history with something called uniforms.
Back in 1994, most of the league’s teams participated in throwback weekends, so today I’m linking such uniform combinations to this article for readers to see some outrageous uniforms the teams wore while celebrating the league’s 75th.
Later, I’ll give you my take on whether the league is or should adopt throwback uniforms to wear this season to commemorate 100 years of America’s Game.
The Arizona Cardinals wore an old rendition of their former Chicago Cardinals’ uniform, with plain white helmets, a gray facemask, and a small number at the upper right-hand side of a red jersey along with gold pants. You can see a photo of the uniform here.
The Falcons threw back to their old red helmet shells. Their white jerseys included black numbering with red outlines with red, black and white horizontal trim on the shoulders. The team would also don red jerseys with white numbering and a black outline.
The Bills wore a less accurate throwback, with blue jerseys, white and red horizontal sleeve striping, and a red helmet featuring a white standing buffalo, contrary to the would-be accurate white helmet with red standing buffalo, as the team wears as throwbacks these days.
Perhaps one of the stranger looks of the 1994 throwback series belonged to the Bears. They wore their navy helmets with no markings (no attempt was made to wear obsolete leather helmets), with vertical navy and burnt orange stripes, featuring a white number at the top right-hand side.
The Bengals wore a rendition of their 1968-1980 Cleveland Browns-like uniforms bearing orange helmets with the script ‘BENGALS’ across the helmet sides along with black jerseys with white, block numbering on the darks, with a white-orange-white horizontal sleeve combo.
The Cowboys wore a modernized version of their 1960 throwbacks, keeping their silver helmet and double outlined star (as opposed to the white helmet and navy star), of white jerseys, navy blue numbers with a white and navy outline, and navy shoulder panels with a double-outlined star on the shoulders.
Photo evidence suggests the Broncos wore both home and away looks, much like the Falcons listed above, so I’ll describe both (note that if I found photo evidence, I describe the look in the article and provide a link to both photos). Denver wore their 1960s throwbacks, with orange helmets, a white bronco as the decal, orange jerseys with white numbering, blue shoulder panels with a vertical white stripe.
The team’s road look consisted of blue numbering with orange outlines, orange shoulder panels with white numbering within the panels, flanked with orange, vertical striping. As one can (kind of) see with this image against the San Diego Chargers).
The Lions’ 1994 throwbacks mirror the same throwback the team wears to this day with silver helmets featuring zero markings, blue facemasks, blue jerseys with no markings, white block numbering, and plain, silver pants.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers wore blue jerseys with yellow numbers and yellow shoulder panels as part of their home look. Their pants were beige while their helmet remained the same, except the team removed all decals. They also wore a light jersey, featuring blue numbers with yellow shoulder panels.
Known today as the Titans, the Oilers wore their 1960s throwbacks, consisting of Columbia blue jerseys, white, round numbering, and a Columbia blue helmet with the white oil derrick on each side along with a stripe down the middle of the crown.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs, at first glance, appeared to have not participated Throwback Weekend. However, at second glance one can see the absence of shoulder striping, telling me they indeed wore throwbacks that season, ones that belonged to their 1960s squads.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams bore throwbacks to the 1950s, with blue helmets, yellow ram horns, a yellow jersey (similar to their modern-day Color Rush), blue numbers, and blue, horizontal Northwestern stripes. Checkout this photo of Jerome Bettis donning the throwback.
Another team that didn’t appear to have participated at first glance were the Dolphins. However, one can see the helmet logo resembling that of the 1966 team, with the leaping dolphin’s head positioned in the center instead of its entire body.
The Vikings’ jersey resembled that of their early teams, bearing those similar to throwbacks they’ve worn in recent years with the jersey stripes situated at the sleeves. These uniforms actually strongly resemble the team’s current uniform, but without the modern renditions.
New England Patriots
The Patriots donned their old ‘Pat Patriot’ look, one that they actually retired prior to the previous season in 1993. At this link, you will find a photo of Drew Bledsoe wearing the oldie, something Tom Brady got to do when the former AFL teams celebrated their 50th anniversary back in 2009.
New Orleans Saints
There is photo evidence depicting the Saints wearing both home and away looks. Their away whites featured black and gold striping, gold numbers with black outlines, and gold helmets with the old school fleur-da-leis. The home look consisted of a black jersey with gold numbers, white outlines, along with white and gold horizontal striping.
New York Giants
The Giants’ home throwbacks in 1994 were, well, almost identical as today’s team from a helmet and jersey standpoint, with the only difference being the darker and less metallic shade of blue. The team also wore a road throwback similar to the team’s current road jersey.
New York Jets
The Jets also wore two looks, resembling the team’s 1960s throwbacks. The road duds included jerseys similar to what the team donned a few years down the road in 1998, with green numbers, green shoulder panels, along with a vertical green stripe bordering the white.
The home look was the complete opposite, with white numbering, white shoulder panels, along with a green and white stripe bordering the outline.
This throwback was not accurate from a helmet standpoint, since as one can see from clicking the above links, the team wore green helmets with the old Jets’ logo instead of white.
The Raiders wore uniforms similar to what they wore a decade and a half later in 2009, with white jerseys, silver numbers, black outlines, along with their 1963 helmet logo. Here you can see a photo of Tim Brown wearing the look.
Typically, I link and even research sources to verify what I already know about NFL helmet and jersey history. What I didn’t know was that the Eagles indeed participated in Throwback Weekends, wearing a uniform that threw back to the team’s seasons in the 1940s-50s. The jersey was white with two horizontal green stripes along the sleeves with green, block numbering.
The Steelers’ throwback look in 1994 sort of resembled the ‘bumblebee’ uniform they wore as throwbacks a few years ago, except this one contained the Crest of Pittsburgh on the front, with a number to the upper right.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers wore their throwback look often, including Super Bowl XXIX. It consisted of an identical jersey the team wears today, except the numbers contained dropshadow. They also had a road edition as well, similar to what they wore in 2018 against Los Angeles. The team paired this look with white pants rather than gold.
San Diego Chargers
The then-San Diego Chargers throwback strongly resembled that of their current powder blues, which have now switched to their primary jersey in 2019, of course, as the LA Chargers.
The team’s 1994 throwbacks resemble the throwbacks worn today, with the burgundy jersey, gold-beige pants, gold, block numbers with white outlines, along with a plane burgundy helmet.
I realize not all thirty-two teams made the cut here. The Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, and Jacksonville Jaguars did not exist at the time. Also, there is no photo evidence that I have found to date that neither the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, nor Tampa Bay Buccaneers participated in throwback weekend. This could be due to the fact the Browns and Colts wore similar uniforms throughout their existence to that point (the Browns overhauled their uniform in 2015) while the Buccaneers were only in their 19th season.
Now, to answer the question posed at the top of the article. Should the league hold a Throwback Weekend? Even with the 2013 helmet rule where teams are prohibited from wearing multiple-colored helmets during the season, I’d give it an ever resounding yes. To see looks, iconic looks, from years’ past might just invigorate fan bases to demand a return to the old classics, such as the Eagles’ kelly green and silver, or the Broncos’ sky blue and orange.