It is theme week across SB Nation. This week, we are taking a look at jerseys — from the best, to the worst, to the outlandish. Today, we will start the conversation by trying to find the best jerseys in New England Patriots history.
Earlier this month, the Patriots unveiled a new jersey redesign for the 2020 season and beyond. The new look was seen as polarizing, but it did get us thinking: Where does it rank on the list of Patriots ensembles through the years? And what, in general, is the best of them dating back all the way to the 1960s? With all of SB Nation having a theme week this week, now is the perfect time to explore this topic — and to take a journey back.
The Originals (1960)
The Patriots were founded as the AFL’s eighth and final franchise in 1959, and introduced the classic red-and-white look that would be the color scheme for more than three decades. What stands out about the original uniforms worn during the team’s inaugural season is the helmets featuring a tricorn as well as the jersey numbers.
The Red and White (1961-1968; 1984-1992)
When Patriots fans think “throwback” these days, they think about the general look worn by the team from 1961 to 1968 and again between 1984 and 1992. The uniform does have the same elemental features as the original, but added red pants for the road jerseys as well as the Pat Patriot logo on the helmets. The team wore the road version of this jersey in its first Super Bowl appearance after the 1985 season.
The 70s (1969-1983)
In 1969, the Patriots introduced a redesign that moved the striping on the jerseys from the shoulder pads down to the sleeves. At first those stripes were smaller before looking like the graphic above between 1973 and 1983. Other than that, the look remained virtually the same and was worn by the club for a combined 15 years.
The Redesign (1993-1994)
After James Orthwein Busch bought the team, he overhauled the team’s look. Gone were the days of the red-and-white jerseys as well as Pat Patriot, replaced by blue-and-white with silver as a prominent feature and the new “Flying Elvis” logo. The variation of the outfit pictured above was worn in 1994, with the 1993 season featuring red numbers on the blue home jerseys. After 1994, however, the jerseys were redesigned again.
The 90s (1995-1999)
In 1995, and now owned by Robert Kraft, the franchise again had a design overhaul. While the features established in the mid 90s remained in place, the jersey design was changed: the logo was placed on the shoulders and the number font modified. The Patriots wore the white road version of those jerseys during their appearance in Super Bowl 31.
The Dynasty (2000-2019)
With the new millennium came considerable changes. Not only did the Patriots bring Bill Belichick and Tom Brady aboard to kick off the most successful dynasty in league history, they also changed their look again and replaced the blue elements with navy. The look was worn for 20 seasons and in all six of New England’s Super Bowl wins: the team wore the blue version for two victories (Super Bowls 36 and 38) and the white for its other four (Super Bowls 39, 49, 51, 53). Between 2003 and 2007, the Patriots also used a silver alternative as its third ensemble.
The Color Rush (2016-; 2020-)
In 2016, the Patriots debuted their all-navy Color Rush look. Originally worn as a look specific for appearances on Thursday Night Football, it quickly entered the regular rotation as a number three uniform and was adapted as the primary look earlier this year. The organization also introduced a road version with navy-colored pants and white jerseys — essentially an adaptation from the previous white jerseys worn between 2000 and 2019.
With that all said, which look do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!