Steve from Appleton, WI
I would like to know what year the Packers changed their uniforms from Navy blue and tan to the current green and yellow (gold)?
Since 1959, Vince Lombardi’s first season, the Packers have worn green and gold, or yellow as you called it. But that’s not to say the Packers never wore green and gold during their first 40 years.
I believe the first time they wore green was in 1935. That is based on a Milwaukee Journal color photo. Having worked at the Journal for 20 years, I knew it was a pioneer in color photography. Further research revealed the Journal might have been the first newspaper in the country to use color and did so as early as 1891. By 1927, it also was producing a special Sunday section showcasing its color photography.
When Gene Ronzani replaced Curly Lambeau as Packers coach in 1950, he introduced two new sets of uniforms. One was a Kelly green jersey with large gold numbers and matching pants with a one-inch gold stripe down the side. The other was a gold jersey with green numbers and green stripes. What’s more, the two uniforms were worn interchangeably.
The Packers also wore green and white in 1958, the year before Lombardi arrived.
You also mentioned tan as one of the Packers’ colors, but it’s my impression that was a standard color for football pants, especially in the first decade or two of pro football.
Just remember it was a different time. Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Michalske, who played for the Packers from 1929-35 and again in 1937, once said, “You had your own headgear, your own pants, your own shoes. You bought your shoes. There were different colored socks, different colored pants. You bought everything but your jerseys.”
For more about these jerseys, as well as others from years past, you should view the video of our uniform history that was produced and posted on our website as part of our 100 Seasons celebration.
Shane from York, NE
I love your column. Thanks for sharing such great nuggets about this franchise. Can you give a rundown of the history and development of the Packers’ uniforms? Also, when and why did they settle on green and yellow?
I think if you watch the video, you’ll get a better feel for our uniform history than from anything I could offer here. Also, we have a uniform display in the Packers Hall of Fame.
Keep in mind that when Hall of Fame curator Brent Hensel put together the uniform display for the Hall of Fame, it was a huge undertaking with a tight deadline. Moreover, he had very few old uniforms or color photos at his disposal.
So he and I agree that research should be never-ending. Therefore, if anyone has old color photos or actual game-worn Packers uniforms that might shed more light on this subject please let us know.
For example, I’ve found a black-and-white photo in the Press-Gazette of Curly Lambeau holding up a new jersey in 1937. The caption stated the jerseys were myrtle green with 10-inch gold letters. Additionally, it stated the Packers would wear gold helmets, gold pants and myrtle green socks that season.
That was four years after NFL owners, based on the minutes of a 1933 league meeting, voted to have each team register its uniform colors and wear them. From 1938-40, the Packers listed myrtle green and gold as their colors.
Presumably, they wore those colors rather than ignore a league rule. But, again, I feel like I need more proof before we consider changing anything.
Interestingly, shortly after Lombardi announced in July 1959 that he was changing the team colors to green and gold, end Gary Knafelc modeled the new uniforms and the color scheme was identified as myrtle green with white letters, and gold and white stripes on the arms.
This is merely a wild guess, but Lombardi was attending Fordham Law School in New York City in 1938 when the Packers played the Giants there in their final regular-season game and then the NFL title game. Could he have attended one or both games, taken note of their myrtle green jerseys if that’s what they wore, and reintroduced them, or something similar, when he announced they were changing jerseys in 1959 to make a complete break with the recent past?
Maggie from Kenosha, WI
Longtime reader, first-time writer. I noticed in Super Bowl I, the Packers did not have names on the backs of their jerseys, yet the Chiefs did. Why?
Jim of Schaumburg, Ill., asked a similar question. When the NFL-AFL merger was finalized in 1970, players’ names had to be put on the backs of all jerseys. Prior to that, NFL teams didn’t wear them; AFL teams did.
Steve from Saint Charles, MO
Love your articles, but a wild, tangential thought occurred to me as I read one of your latest. We Packer fans have been blessed with great football players over the nearly 10 decades of the team history, but trying to rank them by "greatness" is a fool's errand fraught with danger. So let's put our money where our mouth is. Who were the stars on the field that were also revenue stars from jersey sales?
Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre, according to Peggy Prebelski, Packers’ director of retail operations.
Carl from Minneapolis, MN
When did the Packers start wearing throwback jerseys?
In 1994, the Packers wore a throwback during the NFL’s 75th anniversary season. They also wore a throwback for their 2001 Thanksgiving Day game. The first jersey they wore in the NFL’s third jersey program was in 2010.
Rick from New York City
The Packers’ 1960s uniforms were beautiful with their striped socks. Why did they change to plain green? They also altered the shades of the green and gold on their pants and jerseys. In the Lombardi era, the pants and helmets were amber, with thin, vertical, double-green stripes. The home jersey was a very dark olive green. Today, this amber has been changed to a sort of orange-yellow (the same color as our taxicabs here in New York) and the pant stripes have been thickened. Also, the green of the jersey has been lightened to more of a basic forest green. To make matters worse, the home jerseys have that tri-color neck design, another change that to my eyes only makes the uniform look gaudy rather than classy.
Your comments are welcome so that’s why I’m posting them. I know the uniform has been tweaked over the past 60 seasons, but except for the color changes, you are more perceptive than I am.