Packers Pass On Alternate Jersey...For Now

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The Packers will wear their familiar green jerseys for all of their 2002 home games

They could have looked like no Packers team before them, or simply like one from the history books. Either way, the Green Bay Packers have decided not to utilize the NFL's option to wear an alternate jersey at one of their home games, at least not this season.

While teams, including the Packers, wore 'classic' jerseys in last year's Thanksgiving Day games, a league-wide policy on alternate jerseys was not agreed upon until the NFL owners meetings in March, leaving teams little time to make arrangements for the coming season.

The resulting policy states that in one home game this season, teams can don either classic (a.k.a., turn-back-the-clock) uniforms, or introduce a new one-time-wear uniform, so long as the new jerseys are derived from the team's existing color palette.

In other words, you won't be seeing the San Diego Chargers wearing camouflage jerseys like their professional baseball counterparts, the San Diego Padres.

But even if the Packers have ruled out an alternate jersey for this season, it doesn't mean you won't be seeing one in the near future.

"I decided to postpone that decision until further review," GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said. "I am more inclined to introduce the third jersey next season as we embark on the opening of a new era at Lambeau Field with the completion of the stadium renovation project. I believe the third jersey will have more impact at that time than now."

Which is not to mention that it would give the organization more time to prepare. While nothing is set in stone, the Packers have suggested they would more likely issue a classic jersey than design a new look, which is probably the way to go considering that a gold-helmet, gold-jersey combination could hint of cheese even more than Wisconsinites could handle.

Thus the remaining question would be, to what era might the Packers -- an organization that revels in tradition - turn from which to model their first round of 'classic' uniforms?

Remember before you answer that the last time the Packers had a major uniform change, uprights were still standing within the field of play. It was 1959, Vince Lombardi's first season.

That year, home uniforms consisted of a gold helmet with a central white stripe that was bordered by narrower green stripes, gold pants with the same striping effects down the side and green jerseys with white numbering, including digits on the sleeves above a gold arm band that was trisected by two white stripes.

Since then, the changes have been few, the most significant alteration happening two seasons later when the now trademark 'G' was added to helmets in 1961.

Other changes have been minor and have occurred mostly in regard to the sleeves, which have gradually grown shorter while seeing numbers moved to the shoulders (1984), a 'G' added (1984) and then taken away (1990), and the striping scheme reduced from using two white lines within the gold band to just one (1997).

Thus, to flashback to Lombardi's era wouldn't provide much of a change. So what's left?

One suggestion might be to start with the beginning, but in 1921, when the Packers joined the NFL, or in 1929, when the organization claimed its first league championship, players suited up in long-sleeved outfits that looked more like pajamas.

It worked then. Padding was minimal and the heaviest player on Green Bay's 1929 roster was Robert "Cal" Hubbard at a whopping 250 pounds. But now that guys are tipping the scales near 340, the pajama look could be a touch less flattering.

The next suggestion might be to model the jerseys of the magnificent Don Hutson's era in the late 1930s and early 1940s, as they did during the 1994 season, wearing blue uniforms with gold shoulders and lettering.

It's a 'classic' look that's recognizable to many Packers fans, sure, and it certainly turns back the clock, but it also tosses the team's current color scheme right out the window.

So we blast further ahead, but not too far, and find some inspiration in 1957. That was the season the Packers opened what is now Lambeau Field, defeating the Chicago Bears 21-17 in the first game on what are now hallowed grounds.

The team only went 3-9 that year, but it was the birth of what is now among the most revered sports venues in the country, if not the world.

And when the present stadium renovation is completed in time for the 2003 season, what era to better recognize with 'throwback' jerseys than that one?

After all, the Bears will be coming to town as they do every year. And maybe the Packers could meet them wearing gold helmets adorned with just a single green stripe, wearing green jerseys that have large gold numbers on the chest and on the back, with smaller numbers on the sleeves, just above three gold bands, wearing solid gold pants and gold-striped green socks.

Maybe.

For now, it's too soon to tell. For now, we know only, 'not this year.'

For now, we can only wonder, if the Packers ever decided to turn back the clock, how far might they go?

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