In Episode One of the jersey history section, I’m going over the most notable New England Patriots jerseys in franchise history. From the Pat Patriot reds to today’s navies and even to the short-lived grays, this article covers each look from the Patriots since 1960.
1960 – 1992
When the Patriots debuted in 1960 as the Boston Patriots, the team wore similar red jerseys to what was worn over the next thirty-two seasons.
Stated at the top of this section, the home look consisted of a red jersey, white numbering, plus two white stripes surrounding a single blue stripe.
The away version flip-flopped the jersey color and numbering, while two blue stripes flanked a single red.
As stated earlier, this look remained consistent until 1992, with only minor alterations, including dropping the vertical striping from 1970 to 1983, which featured different variations of horizontal stripes, and at times, no striping at all. From 1984 to 1992, the vertical striping returned.
The white jerseys returned for a year in 1994 as many NFL teams donned throwback uniforms in recognition of the NFL’s 75th anniversary.
The team also brought back both the home reds and away whites to commemorate the American Football League’s (AFL’s) 50th anniversary in 2009. This look remained until 2013, when the NFL banned multiple colored helmets for a single team during the season, forcing the Patriots to abandon their Pat Patriot throwbacks.
Upon purchasing the Patriots, Robert Kraft introduced a radical uniform redesign.
Gone were the red jerseys, instead replaced with royal blue with red numbering which was later changed to white in 1994 with red drop shadow.
The road whites consisted of red numbering, in which blue drop shadow was added to the look.
A new logo appeared on the jerseys’ shoulders, today known as Flying Elvis. If one remembers from my helmet article, I go into detail about a proto-Elvis being introduced as a potential new helmet logo during the 1979 season but a fan vote during halftime at old Foxboro Stadium shot the idea down.
This also marked the first time silver appeared on the team’s jerseys.
The royal blue jerseys during this time consisted of red numbers (again, changed to white in 1994), white shoulder numbers, and the new Flying Elvis perched on the sleeves. If one looks closely they can spot vertical stripes on the jerseys as well.
The away whites kept red numbers from 1993 through 1999 with blue shoulder numbers and Flying Elvis on the sleeves.
The Patriots underwent a second redesign prior to the 2000 Season.
Navy blue replaced royal blue and the Flying Elvis logo was also darkened.
The home uniforms now consisted of a vertical silver shoulder stripe along with white numbers featuring a red outline. Blue side panels outlined in red also debuted. Flying Elvis remained on the sleeves.
The whites kept the same blue side panels, navy numbers, with Flying Elvis perched on the sleeves.
These jerseys remained fairly consistent throughout the millennium.
In 2003, the team debuted silver jerseys, which resembled the away whites in almost every aspect. These jerseys hung around for five seasons, ultimately dissipating following the 2007 season. Since the NFL almost always requires one team to wear dark and the other white, teams playing against the Patriots would wear their dark jerseys when the team opted for silver.
As part of the NFL Color Rush, the Patriots debuted a jersey that resembled the old Pat Patriot design, except the primary color consisted of navy along with two red stripes flanking a white. To date, this look has been worn three times.
A hardcore traditionalist, I would love to see the Patriots return to normalcy as the current uniforms, while winning six Super Bowls, have become dated in today’s league, much like the Cincinnati Bengals, Atlanta Falcons, and Arizona Cardinals.
The current look is one that epitomizes the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady Era, and therefore will always be associated with winning.
Whether the Kraft family decides to go in a different direction remains to be seen, but it’s highly likely the team might stick to the jerseys that became synonymous with championships.
While I’d love to see a return to the Pat Patriot look, I completely understand why the team may stay put.
Related Article: Evolution of the New England Patriots Helmet