The Change That Wasn't
Do you see Aaron Rodgers to the left? Do you see how nice he looks, sporting that iconic green uniform and yellow helmet? The same one Brett Favre wore...and Reggie White...and (basically) Bart Starr. It's truly an icon of the National Football League and it's hard to imagine the Packers wearing anything different. But what if they did? It seems like a near impossibility, but it actually almost happened once.
It's hard to explain word for word, so here's a short article from the Packer Report as it appeared on September 18, 1993 (courtesy of awesome Packer blogger Chance Michaels at The Wearing of the Green (and Gold)):
Possible Color Change Outlined
There was a rumor Sunday the Packers would have a press conference concerning their uniforms colors during the week following the Eagle game. This, however, seemed certain: The Packers plan to change their uniforms next season, retaining the current dark green, but switching pants and helmets from the present yellow to metallic gold.
The Packers hope the changes will be approved by the NFL Properties by the beginning of next month so they can wear the new uniforms next season. Among other changes are the removal of stripes now on the helmet, jersey, and pants.
Packer President Bob Harlan told the Milwaukee Journal the gold was not the same as that worn by any other team and that it was selected by General Manager Ron Wolf and Coach Mike Holmgren. Harlan said the helmet would be switched from yellow to gold and have a large green "G" on each side and the jersey would have a smaller green "G" on each sleeve. The white numbers on the green home jerseys and the green numbers on the white road jerseys will also have a gold outline. The pants will be plain gold.
"Years and years ago, we wore a gold helmet and gold pants," Harlan said. "And I think that's what Ron wanted, a simpler uniform. They didn't want to look like New Orleans or the 49ers. They looked at different golds and picked out what they liked."
As a Packer fan, two words come to mind: holy cow. From the way the article's written, a color scheme change seems to have been all but a done deal. Those proposed changes were detailed in a letter from then-CEO Bob Harlan to the unofficial king of sports uniforms Paul Lukas (of the amazing Uni-Watch.com, a daily read for me). Among the highlights, this devastating paragraph:
"We will retain the current dark green, but will switch the pants and helmets from the present mustard yellow to a metallic gold. The stripes that now appear on the Packers' helmet, jersey and pants will also be removed."
Can you imagine waking up one morning in 1994 and seeing a different Packer team than you'd ever seen before? What if the Packers won Super Bowl XXXI in a different uniform? Would we remember the Brett Favre-era differently if colors were different? Would this have opened up the door to perhaps another switch in the future, perhaps back to blue and gold on a permanent basis? There are so many questions that come up, but fortunately we don't need answers to any of them because the switch never happened.
To me, this is a fascinating chapter in Packer uniform history, but it's also one I'm glad is closed. I don't think there will ever be any major discussion about changing the Packers' uniforms on a permanent basis in the near future, given how iconic and well-established the current look is. But just for fun, it's fun to imagine what that change might have looked like. Perhaps, according to the aforementioned Mr. Michaels, something a little like this: