Green Bay Packers introduce uniform based on the 1950s, but don't call it a throwback. This one blends the old with the modern.
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers introduced their first new, old uniform in six years Thursday in an homage to the 1950s.
It's not entirely accurate to call them throwback uniforms, and the Packers don't. They refer to them as the 50s Classic Uniform, which allows for the fact that some changes were made. As a concession to current players, the striped socks and yellow pants were replaced. As a concession to eyeballs everywhere, the Kelly green jerseys were upgraded to a darker green.
Josh Pegram of Wisconsin Rapids, among the first fans in the Packers Pro Shop Thursday, said the new uniforms are a nice blend of the past and modern eras.
"I think it's pretty sharp," he said, a description echoed by Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy.
"Our players love this. We'll wear it against the Washington Football Team (on Oct. 24), a team that has a pretty good history itself, though not as good as ours," said Murphy, a former defensive back for the Washington team.
The original uniforms were the second time the Packers wore green, said team historian Cliff Christl. The first was in the 1930s. The 1950s version could be worn with yellow, white or green pants. The modern version will include dark-green pants, and no Packers "G" on gold helmets. The uniforms will be worn one game a year for the next five years.
"They're great," said Brandon Hofmann of Germantown. "We like going back to the 1950s and the history behind it."
The 1950s are often thought of as a mini-ice age in the long line of Packers championships, but Christl said the decade was anything but boring.
"It was certainly the most eventful decade in our history in terms of keeping the franchise alive," he said.
By the 1940s, the NFL was trying to figure out how to get the Packers out of Green Bay. In 1950, the Packers held their third of five stock sales, and the first in which "Joe fan" was allowed to participate.
"Shares ballooned from more than 400 to more than 4,000," Christl said.
It was also the decade when:
The Packers signed the team's first Black player, Bob Mann.
The new stadium that is now Lambeau Field was approved and built.
Vince Lombardi was hired as coach.
Many of the Lombardi-era players, including Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, Forrest Gregg, Jerry Kramer, Ray Nitschke and more were drafted.
"There also was a huge fight over control of the franchise," Christl said. Coach Curly Lambeau lost that battle and the Packers remained a publicly owned team in Green Bay.
For his part, Christl likes both versions of the uniform, the historic and the update. He said Curly Lambeau had generally better taste in uniforms than Lombardi, who was color blind.
Murphy pointed out that recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Dillon, the Packers' all-time interceptions leader, played in that 1950s uniform.
In addition to jerseys, the merchandise mix includes jackets with a "GB" logo similar to that worn by Lombardi, sideline apparel similar to that which coaches will wear this year, mugs, hats and more.