By Phil Hecken
Now that the Super Bowl is upon us, it’s time to take a look at the uniform history for the designated home team, the Denver Broncos. I’ve called upon uniform historian Tim Brulia to give us a rundown of the entire uniform histories of both teams, as he has done in past years. As you’re no doubt aware, Tim and Rob Holecko (along with Bill Schaefer) run the Gridiron Uniform Database. For inline images, you can click to enlarge. For the links within the years, I have made every effort to ensure that the image corresponds to the year being described. If you missed yesterday’s Seattle Seahawks history, Click Here.
And now, I’ll turn the rest of this over to Tim:
Denver Broncos Uniform History
By Tim Brulia
1960: As one of the eight charter members of the American Football League, the Broncos take the field in brown, yellow and white colors. The helmets are brown with a white stripe and the players jersey numbers in rounded white on the sides. The away jerseys are rather generic, white with brown block front, back and sleeve (TV) numbers. The home jerseys are identical except that they are yellow in color. There are NO names on the backs of the jerseys. The pants are brown with two thin yellow stripes on the sides. The socks you ask??? Yeah, the socks are those immortal vertically striped socks, brown and white when worn with the white jerseys and brown and yellow when worn with the yellow tops.
1962: The Broncos torch (literally) their 60-61 uglies before the start of the season. In their place is a whole new identity. The helmets go from brown to orange with a white stripe and a very strange looking blue horse on the sides. Jerseys also undergo a thorough re-brand. Away jerseys are white with blue numbers on the front, back and sleeves, with three blue stripes under the TV numbers. Home jerseys go from brown to orange with white numbers on the torso and the sleeves, with three white stripes under the TV numbers. Pants are a more conventional white with thin blue/orange/blue stripes on the sides. Socks are a solid orange. Before we go, the goofy blue horse on the helmets apparently are too hard to see, so the Broncos change the color of the horse from blue to white, effective with an October 14th game at Oakland.
1965: While the helmet and pants basically stays the same, the rest of the uniform undergoes some change. The road jersey has blue trim on the crew neck collar, with a thin orange outline on the blue front and back numbers. NOBs are straight blue. The sleeve trim undergoes major change, with the TV numbers in white with thin blue outline in an orange area that is flanked by a blue stripe above and below the orange portion. The orange jersey sports a white crew collar, with white front and back numbers with thin blue outline and straight white NOBs. The sleeves have TV numbers in white inside a blue area with a white stripe above and below the blue area. The socks change from orange to blue. The orange also appears to have a more reddish glow about them.
1966: Everything stays the same, except the helmet undergoes some tweaking. Rather than a plain white stripe, the helmet now features a rather thin white/blue/white combo and the silly horse is now thinly outlined in blue. If you look closely, the horse’s eye is a star!
1967: Apart from the socks, the uniforms undergo some notable changes. The helmet changes from orange to blue, with a white stripe flanked by very thin orange stripes, and the horse is removed and replaced by…nothing. The helmet is sans logo. The white jersey now has block style numbers with orange trim on the torso and sleeves. NOBs are blue. Sleeve stripes are separated in a medium blue/thin orange/medium blue style. For the orange jerseys, the numbers are block white with blue trim on the front, back and sleeves. NOBs are white. Sleeve stripes are separated with a medium blue/thin white/medium blue pattern. The pant stripes are reversed to an orange/blue/orange combo.
1968: All remains the same, except for the helmet and an addition. After a one year logo exile, an orange serifed D with a white outline added around the outer edge of the D. Inside the D is the front end of a white horse with a snort of steam that overlaps the D. The stripes also change to a thicker white/orange/white combination. The addition is a set of orange pants that is worn with the white jersey. The orange pants have a blue/white/blue stripe pattern.
Side Note: The GUD has a nice article on the Broncos “D” Logo Variance AND 1967 & 1968 Denver Broncos. — PH
1974: By now, most players sport white cleats, and blue cleats briefly make an appearance on some players. It’s about this time that the reddish hue of orange disappears.
1975: The facemasks go from gray to white. The blue socks are changed to white socks, with the stripe motif matching that of the white jersey sleeves. For the Broncos last home game, the Colorado Statehood Centennial patch is worn on the left shoulder of the orange jersey. White cleats are worn exclusively (save for the kickers).
1976: The Broncos play musical socks, with yet another change, going back to blue socks, with three orange stripes, flanked with white feather striping.
1983: For the first game of the season, the Broncos wear a memorial patch for Assistant Coach Rich McCabe.
1989: The sleeve stripes change a bit. The stripes are no longer separated. On the white jerseys, the stripes are thin blue/medium orange/thin blue while the orange jerseys striping is now thin blue/medium white/thin blue. Oddly enough the striping on the orange socks is unchanged.
1994: The NFL 75th season patch is worn on the left collarbone area of both jerseys. The sleeve stripes on both jerseys shrink in size. The NOB’s are outlined to match the number outlines on both sets of jerseys. Like virtually all other NFL teams, the Broncos wear throwbacks to commemorate the NFL’s 75th Season. The Broncos wear 1965 vintage uniforms, with the helmet the exact same as worn from 1962-1965. The jerseys are similar to the 1965-1966 style, with slight differences and feature the NFL/75 patch. The pants are the current (for 1994) style and the socks are solid blue. Each throwback (white and orange) is worn once.
Side Note: Nice photos and history on the 1994 throwbacks on the GUD. — PH
1997: The uniform is overhauled. Helmet: Now navy blue (with navy mask), with the logo now a forward facing white head of a horse with an orange mane. Striping is now three orange stripes starting in the back with the outer two stripes ending at a point before the inner stripe, which itself ends at a point before the front edge of the shell. Jerseys: A) white with navy collar, navy special font numbers on front, black and shoulders trimmed in orange, with straight navy NOB. Broncos wordmark in navy just above front numbers. Navy side panels with a thin front orange outline that curl around front of armpit and comes to a point flanking the collar. Pants worn with this jersey are white with striping that matches side panels and curls slightly to the front coming to a point just above pant edge. B) navy with orange collar, white special font numbers on front, back and shoulders trimmed in orange, with straight white NOB. Broncos wordmark in white just above front numbers. Orange side panels that curl around front of armpit and comes to a point flanking the collar. Pants worn with this jersey are white with orange striping that matches side panels on the navy jersey and curls slightly to the front coming to a point just above pant edge. There’s also a navy set of pants introduced with the unveiling, but it is not worn during the regular or post season. Socks: solid navy with a thin orange stripe separating the navy from the white sanitary socks. When the Broncos appear (victorious) in Super Bowl XXXII, they wear the logo patch on the left collarbone area of the navy jersey.
2002: The Broncos add an orange alternate to the mix, with a navy collar, white special font numbers on front, back and shoulders trimmed in navy, with white NOB trimmed in navy. Broncos wordmark in white just above front numbers. Navy side panels that curl around front of armpit and comes to a point flanking the collar. Pants worn with white jersey are worn with the orange jersey.
2009: The Broncos commemorate their 50th Season with a special patch worn on the left collarbone area of all three (white, navy and orange) jerseys. All four combos were worn. As part of the AFL Legacy tribute, for a couple of games the Broncos wore the uniforms that were supposedly never to be worn again, the infamous brown and gold unis from 1960 and 1961. These jerseys featured the AFL inspired 50th anniversary season logo patch on the left collarbone area of both the white and yellow jerseys. One note of interest is that the vertically striped socks were worn without white sanitary socks and some players decided to style up the verticals by twisting the stripes around, creating a bit of a candy-cane effect to the stripes. So all in all, there were six different uni combos worn this season.
2012: For the first time since the 1997 redesign, orange jerseys become the primary home jersey as the navy jersey is relegated to an alternate status and is worn only once with the navy pants. For two weeks late in the season, the Broncos wear a commemorative patch for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary only on the white jersey.
Thanks, Tim! Wonderful, wonderful stuff! Let’s all give a big hand to Timmy Brulia for the fantastic Broncos (and Seahawks) uniform history both yesterday and today.
Are you ready for some Super Bowl?
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
We begin today with Jim Vilk, who has broken out the crayolas yet again, this time for a redesigned UMd hoops set:
Thinking of a distinctive yet restrained way to welcome Maryland to the B1G. Maybe pinstripes?
Originally I designed a simple home uniform, then added the pinstripes…then thought of using them to call to mind the state flag.
We close today with Stephen Scheffel, and who has four “European Concepts” as he calls them, for football:
I got four concepts for you. I originally wanted to do one for a London team and when I finished them I thought it would be fun to do a theoretical European division. I did a team for Berlin, Paris, London, as well as Rome. I tried to do names that had something to do with the city instead of the usual fierce jungle cat.
I wanted to do a London team that was not called the Royals so I looked to the most famous detective across the pond. (Batman being the most famous here) I chose the navy, maroon, and forest green color scheme because I wanted the uniforms to appear classy and elegant. I think the creme helps with that as well. Most of you will probably hate the horizontal pant stripe and I understand that. I have been doing a lot of concepts recently and I’m always looking for ways to keep the classic look while still being fresh and modern.
The name Valkyrie comes from the name of the assassination attempt on Adolph Hitler. I wanted to go with a simple and minimalist design for this team. The black on white contrast looks good and there is not a team in the NFL that uses this scheme. (The Raiders being the closest with black and grey) My goal was to use the red as little as possible.
The name obviously came from Rome’s close ties to Roman Catholicism. I really think the color scheme of royal blue and yellow is vastly underused. The tip of the logo gave me the idea for the circles in the strips and on the collar. This uniform may come across as a little loud, but I think its unique and not too over the top.
The French Resistance:
This is one of my favorite uniforms I’ve ever done. I thought the name was very appropriate. I designed the logo myself. The cross like symbol is the symbol on the flag of the French Resistance. I used the exclamation point at the end of viva! for an alternate logo. I love when teams use something different like that as an alternate logo like the the Rays Batting Practice hats. I thought adding gold would make it a little different than the Bills uniforms.
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
for the Ticker
Got an e-mail from T.J. Allred, and it’s a little too long (and far too good) to just be relegated to the ticker. Here’s T.J.:
Not to beat a dead horse, but I was going through more of the mid-1960s Madison High yearbooks on line and found some more interesting photos.
The 1966 Basketball team photos show white uniforms with the orange and white dots but also an alternate uniform with a white top and predominantly white short with what looks like patterned stripes. The socks look to be orange and black horizontal stripes. There were no photos in this book depicting any uniforms other than these two so I’m not sure if one was home and the other road. By the way, the only three colors I have ever seen in a Madison uniform are orange, white and black. For reference, this photo of MHS 1974 Football shows the shade of orange worn by Madison.
The 1967 basketball photo shows a few more photos of the alternate uniform from various angles. For reference, Two Rivers High School unis were green and white (sometimes with some gray).
The real surprise was the 1966 football uniform. In this photo and this photo you can see that they wore pants that were orange on the front and white on the back with a black stripe down the sides. The white jersey has “RAMS” on the shoulder pads with “RA” on the right shoulder and “MS” on the left shoulder. I couldn’t find a photo of the predominantly orange jersey where I could tell if the same was true for it.
Anyway, I thought it was a pretty cool look.
Sweet finds, Tommy. OK, now onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Olympic News: Henrik Lundqvist has revealed his Olympic Mask (h/t Matt Harris) and goalie pads (h/t Terence Kearns), here’s another look (from John Muir) for Sochi. … On the ladies side, USA goalie Molly Schaus has revealed her mask (more on that here).
Baseball News: “You may have already covered this, but I just picked up this cap at Grandstand Sports across the street from US Cellular Field,” writes John Borovicka. “It was billed as the 2014 Home Alternate Game hat.” … Check out the Tostitos ad on helmets of Team Mexico (Hermosillo) at Serie Del Caribe.
Super Bowl News: “Seahawk fever here in the NW corner of the country.” writes John Kimmerlein “The fandom is taking all sorts of forms.” … Here’s a look at the Seahawks endzone and the Broncos endzone for today’s game. … And here’s a closeup of the closeup of the Broncos endzone (h/t Matt Stone). Several twitterers wondered why the Broncos endzone wasn’t predominately orange. This is a good question, since the Mile High endzone isn’t blue (or at least not usually). … Also, Bobby Fenton points out Seattle’s end zone for the game has the NFC logo on the left and the team’s logo on the right, while Denver’s has the team logo on the right and the AFC logo on the left. … Hmmm. 48 years ago, what was still not called the “Super Bowl” played to a 1/3 empty LA Memorial Coliseum. … Paul is quoted in this ComplexStyle article, entitled, “A Closer Look Inside the Making of Nike’s Super Bowl Uniforms.” … Not as funny as it once was, but still pretty funny. … The Helmsley Building will be lit in winning team’s colors Sunday and Monday night –- will it be Seahawks or Broncos colors? … And ladies, here’s some advice for the Super Bowl. Remember, “Don’t Fake It.”
NFL News: “A horrible image, as poor people are removed from their homes to make way for development in Quezon City, Philippines,” says Cort McMurray. “Weirdly, one of the residents appears to be wearing a Minnesota Vikings jersey.” … New helmet design for the Green Bay Blizzard (thanks to Caleb Bentz). … On CNN.com yesterday there was an article on NFL players diagnosed with CTE. In the gallery, there’s a John Mackey in a Chargers helmet. Richard Lewis asks, “Could he have brought his old Colts helmet with him? What looks like a vestige of his old Colts’ logo is under the numerals. Looks like the bottom of the horseshoe in the (Colts) picture falls just about where the ‘ghost’ horseshoe falls in the (Chargers) picture. The nose pad is different but otherwise it looks like the same helmet.”
Basketball News: If you didn’t know it, there was a changing of the guard yesterday. Get ready for sleeves and ads. … “Georgetown counters Michigan State’s throwbacks with new road alts: black with an all-over Kente cloth pattern,” writes Caleb Weaver. “Yes, yes, BFBS and all that, but these look pretty sharp if you ask me. Plus, they make sense given Georgetown’s uni history and historical role in the college basketball world.” … Oooohhhh. Check out the awesome socks in this newspaper clipping (on the N.C. Central University hoops team), which was sent in by Bob Tremalgia. … Great 1972 photo of Iowa Fieldhouse from the Iowa Archives (h/t @HoopsCathedrals). … “Basketball centennial patch?” asks Mike Engle. Photo here, which is from this article. Mike “never heard of or seen that patch. Was that a league-wide item?” Anyone? … Check out these retro game warmups that Illinois State wore against Drake (h/t @Philly_Madison), also here (thanks to Roger Cooper). … Pinkuary becomes Pinkuary: The Detroit Mercy’s women’s team wore pink jerseys Saturday when they hosted Green Bay. “An assistant coach said the team will be wearing them all month long (not sure about road games … didn’t ask),” says submitter Scott Held. “The unis also featured ‘TITANS’ on the backs. The women normally do not have last names on the backs of the jerseys.” … Really cool jersey for Benedictine University at Springfield Bulldogs. Submitter Dustin Semore notes, “They play in the NAIA. I do the radio for the Freed-Hardeman girls — so I get really cool shots of unis from the lesser known college association.” … So, I got this tweet, and sure enough, the went with #WearBlack. … Derek Aschman notes “This high quality NBA merchandise is being sold. … NFL foreshadowing? Trés Lawless was running scoreboard for an Elite Sports League basketball game in Nashville and noticed the two teams competing, Sumner Sting and Jr. Bucs, were wearing the colors of the two teams in the Super Bowl (Sting in Navy and Neon and Bucs in Navy and Orange)! The Bucs (Broncos) ended up winning 25-18! … Things got a little weird on ESPN’s twitter feed when Syracuse defeated Duke. What would they have put in the Orange’s mouth if Duke won?
Hockey News: Friday night L.J. Sparvero saw the Michigan Wolverines vs. Wisconsin Badgers college hockey game. “It looked like ketchup and mustard bottles on the ice.” Better photos here, here and here. … There sure were a lot of Sutter brothers and their offspring. I remember the Sutter Brothers on the Islanders quite well during their glory days in the 1980s.
Soccer News: The Orlando City SC Lions, who will be moving up to Major League Soccer in 2015, have unveiled a new set of uniforms for the 2014 season. These kits are for USL PRO, the “final iteration of the jerseys the club will wear in the third-tier of American professional soccer.” … Wondow has 9 goals in 6 games since getting an extra ‘W’ during the Gold Cup. It’s inside his shirt today (h/t @NellXam). … A while back Fernando Cardenas wrote with some pics of the new kits for Colombian teams. There were still some missing including Independiente Santa Fe, so here’s the “lions’ skin” and some others: Inependiente Santa Fe, Junior de Barranquilla, Fortaleza FC (this one didn’t change, they decided to keep the one they wore when they got to division one last year, manufactured by colombian brand FSS) America de Cali (this one did change from FSS to Adidas), and Once Caldas. … Fernando also found a “pretty hilarious video” (funnier depending fluency in spanish) showing Xabi Alonso and Cristiano Ronaldo arguing at Real Madrid team practice over which brand is better, Nike or Adidas. He explains, “Ronaldo says Xabi’s shoes are pure plastic and Xabi responds by saying Nike (who is footwear sponsor for Ronaldo) is a basketball brand that has only been in the business of soccer for 3 days…and that he should have team loyalty, being that Adidas makes all Real Madrid apparel.”
Grab Bag: Apostrophe Catastrophe submitted by Scott Crawford comes in the form of this shirt. “It is marketed by Baylor University for their point guard, Odyssey Sims.” … Here’s an interesting piece on f1 drivers new permanent car numbers (thanks to Ben O’Connell). … Team Napkins? “Has anyone ever sent these in to Uni-Watch?” asks Jim Mellett “Found the UCLA sample on eBay and then found a link to a large number of Universities.” … “Why is a jersey called a jersey?” asks Kurt Esposito. The answer comes from Mental Floss. … With the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, the aesthetic of Pacific Northwest Native American tribes is getting a lot of UW airtime this week, Laurence Holland thought he’d pass this along these minimalist posters of superheroes rendered in the Haida style by Jeffrey Veregge.
And that’s going to do it for this fine Groundhog Day. Here’s hoping most of us suffering through a pretty brutal winter have a critter who didn’t see his shadow this morning. Always good to know I’m named after Punxsutawney’s finest critter. And enjoy the big game (and the commercials). Don’t forget, ladies, pick a team, don’t fake it, dress comfortable-chic, show your colors, and bring it on!
Thanks again to Timmy B. for his most excellent uniform histories yesterday and today!
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“[I]t’s interesting to see how Dan Snyder is reaching out mainly to partisan political consultants, rather than ordinary corporate or sports communications and marketing folks, to craft his strategy for defending the name. Among Snyder’s aides on the Redskins nickname defense is George ‘Maccacca’ Allen, noted American expert in using nicknames to honor people of color.”
–R. Scott Rogers