The ‘Dark Era’ of NFL Uniforms: Documenting the NFC

Yesterday I documented the AFC and its dark era of uniforms, which impacted nearly every team in the conference from traditional teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns to newer teams like the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Today, I’m documenting the NFC and its tilt with darker uniforms, many of which either darkened their primary colors like the Philadelphia Eagles or adopted black to their color scheme. Like yesterday, we’ll begin with the NFC East and work our way to the NFC West.

Let’s begin!

Philadelphia Eagles

Let’s begin with the Eagles, who in 1996 switched from kelly green and silver to midnight green and black as their primary colors. The team also introduced green pants and eventually paired them with the midnight green jersey. Finally, the Eagles introduced a black alternate jersey in 2003 and would eventually pair the black jersey with black pants and socks in 2014.

Detroit Lions

The Lions first introduced black to their uniforms in 2003 and a black alternate jersey in 2005. In 2009, the team revamped their uniforms but black remained as an accent color. In 2016, the Lions introduced a Color Rush combination depicting the team in black jerseys on black pants but this was never worn as the team moved on from black in 2017, instead introducing and wearing a silver Color Rush.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

in 1997, the team moved on from Bucco Bruce and their old ‘creamsicle’ and white uniforms, instead opting for pewter helmets, black, and a darker shade of red while the creamsicle was relegated to just tiny accents. This uniform was introduced with white pants and slowly phased this look away starting in 2003, going predominately with the pewter pants. In 2014, the team revamped their uniform again, keeping an identical color palette.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers entered the league in 1995, using black as a primary color, which was worn on home games during the cooler months of the year.

Arizona Cardinals

In 2010 the team introduced black alternate jerseys and socks. In 2017, the team wore Color Rush jerseys for the first time, pairing black on black.

Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams

After winning the Super Bowl in the 1999 season, the Rams darkened their shade of blue to navy while yellow became gold. The team furthered darkening the concept upon the introduction of blue pants, with this look becoming more common prior to the team’s return to Los Angeles, especially between 2012 and 2014.

Seattle Seahawks

Oh, the Seahawks. They darkened their look in 2002 and paired their ‘gunmetal’ Seahawks blue jerseys with the same color pants. In 2009, they introduced alternate navy pants which they paired on occasion with the Seahawks blue jerseys and the one-time, infamous lime green jerseys. This continued upon the team’s 2012 uniform revamp, with navy becoming a primary color.

San Francisco 49ers

Finally, the 49ers darkened their uniform from 1999-2008, going with a black cherry color and adding black as an accent. While the team returned to a classic look in 2009, they introduced a very infamous black on black look in 2015 which also served as the team’s Color Rush before abandoning the look following the 2017 season.



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