The NFC’s History of Monochrome Uniforms

Unlike the AFC, the NFC’s history of monochrome uniforms inadvertently began in 1964 (the modern era, at least), when the Minnesota Vikings, despite being the home team, were forced to go with purple pants on purple jerseys when the Detroit Lions showed at the Old Met wearing their light jerseys, forcing the entire first quarter to be played with both teams wearing white.

Prior to 1960, monochrome was rare, but not neglected, with teams like the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, and Philadelphia Eagles wearing the look during select seasons.

But, let’s see who bit and when in the modern era. Unlike the AFC, you’ll see a couple more holdovers in the post-1960 era, with teams like the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys (both of whom had worn mono-white, however) neglecting to pair the same colored jerseys in pants together.

And with the Cowboys, we’re going to begin with the NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys

As mentioned, the Cowboys have yet to pair blue on blue, though they will on occasion pair white on white as part of their alternate Color Rush uniform. A version of this uniform was also worn in 1994.

New York Giants

The Giants have never paired color on color.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles first busted out midnight green on midnight green in 1997 and wore the look again in 2002. They also have worn midnight green pants with black jerseys, but neither look survived past 2004. The team has, however, in recent years, worn black on black.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins have gone mono-burgundy in 2008, 2009, and 2017. They were initially supposed to wear a gold on gold Color Rush look in 2017 but the team refused to wear the uniform, instead going with burgundy on burgundy for their Color Rush game.

Chicago Bears

The Bears paired blue on blue first in 2002 and again in 2006. The look wasn’t seen again until the Color Rush era, beginning in 2016. It was last used in 2017.

Detroit Lions

The Lions were given a black on black Color Rush look in 2016 that never saw the field. In 2017, the team has been given the option to pair blue on blue, as well as silver on silver, which has occurred in both 2017 and 2018, with silver on silver appearing once more in 2019.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers have not paired green on green or gold on gold, though they did pair white on white for the NFL’s Color Rush.

Minnesota Vikings

Perhaps the most interesting history rests with Minnesota. The team initially went mono in the 1964 season for a game against the Lions due to the latter team’s failure to bring their dark jerseys to the game. Mono came about again in 2007, just one year after the team heavily redesigned their uniform but wasn’t seen again until 2010. The Vikings went mono again in 2013 before taking another break from the look, reintroducing it in 2016 as part of the team’s Color Rush which was seen again in 2019.

Atlanta Falcons

From 2003-2008, the Falcons went monochrome with their black jersey on black pants. Initially, the black jersey was a primary look but upon switching to red as the primary starting in 2004, became the alternate and the black on black became the sole combo with this particular look – with the team also experimenting red on black in 2005. The team wouldn’t pair color on color again until 2017 when they wore red on red for the first time in team history for the Color Rush and the look hasn’t been seen since. The team will have new uniforms in 2020, so it remains to be seen if a new mono look comes with the new uniforms.

Carolina Panthers

While the Ravens were the first team in NFL history to regularly pair dark jerseys atop dark pants, the Panthers’ prototype was going to head in this direction prior to pre-1995 changes. The team instead unveiled black on black in 2012, a look that was also seen in 2013, 2018, and 2019, as well as the 2015 and 2016 preseason. From 2015 to 2017, the team wore a Carolina blue on Carolina blue Color Rush look and beginning in the 2018 preseason, wore Carolina blue on black, a look that resembled the team’s initial prototype in the early-1990s.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints first wore mono-black in 2001 for all eight home games and in 2002, revealed a one-off gold on black alternate. From 2006-present, black on black has remained a popular staple with the team.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In 1995, the team proposed to wear orange on orange for a game, but the idea was rebuffed. In 1997, the Buccaneers started wearing pewter pants along with their red jerseys when the team underwent a rebrand and the look has since become regular. As for monochrome itself, it wasn’t until 2015 did the team unveil such a look with the advent of the Color Rush, which has become the Bucs’ alternate jersey.

Arizona Cardinals

The team first paired red on red in 2002 and the look has since become an alternate one, appearing each season except 2005, 2008, 2012, 2015, and 2016. Also, the team unveiled a black on black Color Rush alternate in 2017, which has also been worn each season.

St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams

The Rams first unveiled mono in 2005, pairing navy on navy, which the team wore from time to time over the next twelve seasons prior to the retiring of the navy and gold jersey after the 2017 season. The Rams also wear their yellow on yellow Color Rush as an alternate. It remains to be seen if this uniform will remain following the team’s rebrand.

San Francisco 49ers

The Niners first went monochrome in 2015 when they revealed an infamous black on black look, which lasted until 2017 before getting phased out in favor of a white on white alternate.

Seattle Seahawks

Mono was first unveiled in 2002 when the Seahawks paired gunmetal blue on gunmetal blue as the regular home uniform. This look remained a mainstay until the uniform swap of 2012 when they paired navy on navy as the regular home look. Prior to the 2012 rebrand, the Seahawks sparingly paired gunmetal blue on navy pants, as well as a one-off lime-green alternate on navy. In 2016, the team unveiled an action green on action green Color Rush and have since worn the look as alternates and paired the action green with navy pants for the first time in team history in 2019. The team also owns a wolf gray on wolf gray alternate.

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