Pro Bowl Uniforms Never Fail to Attract Attention | Football Uniforms

Pro Bowl Uniforms Never Fail to Attract Attention

Pro Bowl Uniforms

Pro Bowl Uniforms Never Fail to Attract Attention

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The annual Pro Bowl highlights the league’s elite players. It’s a contest between all-stars held during the run-up to the Super Bowl. The uniforms these players wear, however, can be somewhat less than elite. The once-and-done game seems to bring out the . . . um, creative side of the league’s designers.

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A Subdued Start

The very first official Pro Bowl, in 1951, played it straight—red jerseys vs. blue jerseys and red helmets vs. blue—in keeping with the traditional no-nonsense look of the regular season garb.  And throughout the 1950s, things turned even more traditional, with one team wearing white jerseys and the other wearing either red or blue.

The 1960s shook things up, but only slightly. The teams switched to gold helmets emblazoned with the NFL shield while retaining the white vs. red / blue motif. It wasn’t until the 1970s when the first note of silliness was sounded—the introduction of the red pants, worn by the AFC and paired with a white jersey. The NFC stayed true to form, wearing blue on top, white down below.

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Change Comes Quick

Another big change came in 1979, when players wore their regular season team helmets along with their white / red or blue / white duds. The result was something of a mish-mash, making the action kind of hard to follow on TV. But the team helmets have been retained, for the most part, until today.
In 1995, uniform critics had a field day. A drastic redesign featured a Flashdance style shoulder slash that somehow was kept for three years. The addition of stars on the jerseys added even more flair.

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Then, in 2001, things broke wide open, and visual tricks such as “graduation” and “watermarking” became all the rage. Throughout the decade, critics had much more than just a shoulder slash to criticize.

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The Look-at-Me Decade

Since the landmark 2001 contest, uniform changes have come fast and furious. In 2004, players wore odd stretch panels on their pants. Stars were added to the sides of the uniforms in 2006. And more stars were added over the next few years.
The 2010 game featured schizophrenic jerseys: plain in front but with “safety vest” fabric panels in back. In 2012, players could wear long pants, if they wanted to; most said no.

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In the 2014 game, which football fashion mavens remember with horror, the players wore various shades of gray (mild enough)—but the muted tones were enlivened with highlights of either fluorescent orange or neon green.

 

And Today?

Pro Bowl Uniforms
Pro Bowl Uniforms

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In the past few seasons, things have calmed down, at least a little. The uniforms for last year’s Pro Bowl were applauded for their classy appearance: black and white trimmed with gold (to honor the Super Bowl’s golden anniversary). And this year . . . the jury is still out. Many appreciate the return of the red vs. blue tradition, and the lack of extraneous bedazzlement is welcome. But did someone quietly complain that these football uniforms look a little more suitable for dodgeball?

 

You be the judge.

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