BlueSky

New Orleans Saints - A Uniform Odyssey

Recommended Posts

I've been looking at a lot of Saints uni pics in doing some research on having a throwback jersey made and it struck me that they've gone through an astounding number of design changes. Most variations are fairly minor (i.e., likely unnoticed by people who don't read boards like this) but damn there are a lot of them. Here's the journey; unless noted otherwise, the opposite color jersey was identical in style to the one pictured.

 

1967-68 - Thinner numbers, outlined; 5 sleeve stripes that all touch; blk/wht/blk stripes on helmet/pants. Side note: this is hands down the most beautiful uni the Saints ever wore.

ernie-koy-of-the-new-york-giants-blocks- 

 

 

1967 - Some players, most notably Jim Taylor, had wider numbers on the same jersey template (note #54 with thin numbers)

b950cc6cf53fec433d71e01266474d58.jpg

 

Except when he didn't... (Note also the cage facemask, where Taylor always wore a 2-bar. But no one else wore #31 during that era, so it's him.)

 

Taylor_Jim_cropped2_Saints.bmp

 

Now it gets really Twilight Zone-ish, and we may never know the reasons behind some of this stuff other than that the expansion Saints were a very disorganized outfit.

 

Jim Taylor only played for the Saints in 1967 and part of the preseason in 1968. Here's a pic of him in a 1967 home game vs. the Eagles with the wht/blk/wht helmet stripes that no one else on the team wore until the third game of the next season. 

 

f1f6a1d9e5759feac36acce5c6e58e7d.jpg

 

This pic is from the game at Philly two weeks later, in November 1967 (note sideline spectators in overcoats). Taylor is again wearing the wht/blk/wht helmet stripes that the rest of the team didn't wear until the 3rd game of the 1968 regular season.

 

24770237969_3fcd4f0e68_o.jpg


 

Some opponents had weirdness going on too. Notice anything about the end zone? (Screenshot from video of the Saints' victory at Washington on 12/17/67.)

59d69eff0d709_ScreenShot2017-10-05at17_04_48.png.c69e002afead8a73b151c95bc4ee4e96.png

 

Moving on to 1968, here's the team now wearing the wht/blk/wht stripes they had for the last 12 games. Well, almost the whole team (note right tackle's pants stripes).

25137940165_80e711ab01_o.jpg

 

 

1969 brought the infamous black helmet, gorgeous but worn only the preseason because no one in the Saints' front office thought it necessary to inform the NFL of the change. Good grief. Note also the new jersey with plain white numbers and 5 separate stripes of different widths. Pants stripes are back to blk/wht/blk.

cacc86374270c33f45b599e1b7ab598a--saints

 

 

From a ‘69 joint practice with the Chargers; ‘67-‘68 jerseys now being worn for practice.

 

sps-library14021817000-0002jpg-d23a3eff2

 

Later in '69, these beauties arrived - gold numbers, outlined, with separated stripes of uniform width (there were 5 stripes but Kilmer cut his sleeves off).

1969-saints-cowboys-billy-kilmer.jpg

 

Even later in '69, the awesome NFL 50th season patch was added, as seen here on the road jersey (Abramowicz also cut his sleeves).

 
saints_receiver_danny_abramowicz.jpg
 
To be continued...I'm already exhausted after covering just three seasons. 😮

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great work.

 

You haven't mentioned the sock change(s).  Some time in 1969 (possibly from the beginning of the season), the Saints switched from white crews socks and black socks with five stripes to white striped tube/crew socks over black knee high socks (see the Billy Kilmer picture).

 

The only team I can remember wearing socks like that is the early 70s Bills (no picture to reduce the risk of threadjacking).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful uniform for what was an awful team.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How does a team have such a great looking original look and not use it as their standard uniform?  (I'm looking at you too Dolphins!)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, leopard88 said:

Great work.

 

You haven't mentioned the sock change(s).  Some time in 1969 (possibly from the beginning of the season), the Saints switched from white crews socks and black socks with five stripes to white striped tube/crew socks over black knee high socks (see the Billy Kilmer picture).

 

The only team I can remember wearing socks like that is the early 70s Bills (no picture to reduce the risk of threadjacking).

 

Thanks, much appreciated. You're right, I missed the socks and should also mention the enormous helmet logo in the early years as well. 

 

 

3 hours ago, Bobster said:

How does a team have such a great looking original look and not use it as their standard uniform?  (I'm looking at you too Dolphins!)

 

 

 

Couldn't agree more.

 

A very interesting note on the black helmets: according to an unofficial Saints history website, owner John Mecom, Jr.'s plan was for the Saints to have two regular season helmets, wearing the black on the road and the gold at home. Which is the reverse of what aesthetics might dictate since I think the gold helmet looks better with the white away jersey and the black helmet would have been amazing with the black jerseys and gold numbers.

 

Before we go on, just take a moment and think of the apoplexy on this board had it existed at the time. It's truly hard to believe that all of the uniform highjinks covered so far occurred within the span of three seasons.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, BlueSky said:

 

A very interesting note on the black helmets: according to an unofficial Saints history website, owner John Mecom, Jr.'s plan was for the Saints to have two regular season helmets, wearing the black on the road and the gold at home. Which is the reverse of what aesthetics might dictate since I think the gold helmet looks better with the white away jersey and the black helmet would have been amazing with the black jerseys and gold numbers.

 

Interesting. Philadelphia did this for 1969 (Green at home and white on the road IIRC).  Had this happened, I wonder if the NFL would have accepted this as a thing.

 

Very neat study. I look forward to this.

 

To all - please leave this thread alone regarding the Saints, much like @leopard88 did above.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably an unpopular opinion, but I think that black helmet is better than the gold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really don't understand why the Saints rarely ever wear gold pants anymore. The black yoga pants look awful. I mean, they won their only Super Bowl wearing gold. You would think they would embrace it more than they have in the years since.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Curtos07 said:

I really don't understand why the Saints rarely ever wear gold pants anymore. The black yoga pants look awful. I mean, they won their only Super Bowl wearing gold. You would think they would embrace it more than they have in the years since.

I'm with you 100%.  The black pants are a TRAVESTY, a joke, and to a large degree, bad luck-- we seem to lose more often in them.

 

I'm pretty sure it's a BFBS thing, and I've heard so many younger folks saying things like, "Ooh we look so bad-ass in the all-black outfits"...

 

Total BS. I'd prefer an LSU/Georgia Tech look focusing on the gold helmets/white jerseys/gold pants look most of the time, maybe going over to black jerseys for home games the second half of the year (say, from the weekend before Halloween on).

 

And burn the black pants.  Burn them all. Never let them see the light of day again.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Sec19Row53 said:

Interesting. Philadelphia did this for 1969 (Green at home and white on the road IIRC).  Had this happened, I wonder if the NFL would have accepted this as a thing.

Looks like it was the other way around...white lids at home, green on the road (and 69 also gives us the now-oddity of the Steelers being a white at home team)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/5/2017 at 5:47 PM, BlueSky said:

24770237969_3fcd4f0e68_o.jpg

Gotta love shoulder loops that actually loop around the shoulder. Imagine that. I still refuse to believe that Nike, Adidas and Under Armour can't come up with a way to make this possible on a modern template.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Busy week at work but I'm ready to move on. First though, just another little mystery that will likely never be solved. 

 

Billy Kilmer wore #17. He wore it at UCLA...

 

BillyKilmerUCLA.jpg

 

...and with his original team, the Niners, where he was drafted as a RB (weird in itself given that he ended up taking Washington to the Super Bowl and making the Pro Bowl as a QB).

img13258707.jpg

 

Bonus trivia: Kilmer was the player whose fumble was infamously returned the wrong way for a safety by the Vikings' Jim Marshall at Kezar Stadium on October 25, 1964.

 

Anyway, he also wore #17 with the Redskins, where he went after leaving New Orleans:

 

a3a38a99ef61ba63e1ddcfcdee1bec3b.jpg

 

And of course he wore it with the Saints. (That's actor Charlton Heston with Kilmer. Heston portrayed Saints QB Ron "Cat" Catlan in the 1969 film Number One.)

 

new-orleans-saints-qb-billy-kilmer-266x3

 

 

And yet there's this practice photo from 1968. It's clearly Kilmer, but he's inexplicably wearing #16:

 

1968-press-photo-new-orleans-saints-bill

 

 

Maybe such things shouldn't be surprising considering that the Saints supposedly reached the field for their first-ever training camp practice in 1967 only to discover none of the equipment people had remembered to bring out the footballs.  :lol:

 

Here's Heston as a Saint. They made him #17 so they could use NFL Films footage of Kilmer to show "Catlan" playing in games. Movie was forgettable (you can get it on DVD) other than a LOT of superb shots of those gorgeous 1967-68 Saints unis. Note that #22 on the bench has the '68 wht/blk/wht pants stripes while everyone else has the blk/wht/blk. I can hear our OCD members' heads exploding.  :P 

 

59e4f1b44c376_HestonasaSaint_NumberOne.png.6d710dcad1919a2ede52bde67cb08a00.png

 

 

On to 1970 soon.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, BlueSky said:

Billy Kilmer wore #17. He wore it at UCLA...

 

BillyKilmerUCLA.jpg

 

...and with his original team, the Niners, where he was drafted as a RB (weird in itself given that he ended up taking Washington to the Super Bowl and making the Pro Bowl as a QB).

img13258707.jpg

 

 

 

He was a single wing tailback at UCLA.  That is more of a hybrid position, which involves both running and throwing.

 

I've read in a number of places that the 49ers drafted him to be part of their then-revolutionary shotgun formation QB rotation (which subbed in a new QB on almost every play) because he was a threat to run or pass.  John Brodie was used mostly to pass, while Bob Waters was used mostly to run.

 

Now, back to our discussion of Saints uniforms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On to 1970.

 

For me at least, the main thing the Saints accomplished in their first three seasons uniform-wise was to ruin pretty much anything they wore from then on. The look here isn't terrible, it's just absolutely inferior to their previous sets.

 

There always seems to be uncertainty and change around their unis in those years. For example, this is how I recall the white 1970 jersey - plain black numbers with no outline. This is definitely from '70 because the players is Don Talbert, who only played for NO in '69 and '70. Note also the change to a mesh jersey and screened numbers from the solid materials and stitched tackle twill numbers used in previous years.

 

Saints%2070%20Road%20Don%20Talbert.jpg

 

 

But the pic below has to be from 1970 too because 1) they didn't wear black numbers in '69, and 2) QB Edd (yes, 2 "d"s) Hargett was only there through 1972 and the Saints didn't play the Cardinals in '71 or '72. So this has to be October 11, 1970*. Don't some of these numbers, Hargett's TV numbers in particular, look to have a very thin gold outline? I've burned my eyes trying to figure out if it's there or a figment.    * Hargett's numbers from that game: 13 of 38 (:wacko:) for 220 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT - that's a 41.6 QB rating. Saints lost 24-17.

 

Saints%2070%20Road%20Edd%20Hargett,%20Ca

 

 

Here's the black jersey from that year (Talbert again, so it's 1970) and damn if these numbers don't also look to have a so-thin-it's-pointless outline:

 

Saints%2070%20Home%20Dan%20Talbert.jpg

 

 

There's only one thing I know for sure about the Saints in 1970 - where I was on November 8th. That would be in Tulane Stadium to see Tom Dempsey nail a 63-yard FG as time expired to beat the Lions 19-17. It is a huge bummer that my ticket stub got lost somewhere along the road of life.

 

alg-dempsey-jpg.jpg

 

 

There's a video with the radio call for anyone interested. It's worth watching just for the ref who's so excited he hops off the ground signally that it's good.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any chance the first Talbert picture shows a practice jersey?  The other white jerseys you posted don't appear to be the same mesh material.

 

As a another theory, maybe they only wore the mesh jerseys during warmer weather, such as in the preseason and early season.  A number of teams such as the Dolphins and Vikings used plain short-sleeve jerseys during the same season that they used striped jerseys (though sometimes the Dolphins were mix-and-match during the same game).  My recollection is that the plain jerseys were usually worn early in the season.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, BlueSky said:

On to 1970.

 

For me at least, the main thing the Saints accomplished in their first three seasons uniform-wise was to ruin pretty much anything they wore from then on. The look here isn't terrible, it's just absolutely inferior to their previous sets.

 

There always seems to be uncertainty and change around their unis in those years. For example, this is how I recall the white 1970 jersey - plain black numbers with no outline. This is definitely from '70 because the players is Don Talbert, who only played for NO in '69 and '70. Note also the change to a mesh jersey and screened numbers from the solid materials and stitched tackle twill numbers used in previous years.

 

Saints%2070%20Road%20Don%20Talbert.jpg

 

 

But the pic below has to be from 1970 too because 1) they didn't wear black numbers in '69, and 2) QB Edd (yes, 2 "d"s) Hargett was only there through 1972 and the Saints didn't play the Cardinals in '71 or '72. So this has to be October 11, 1970*. Don't some of these numbers, Hargett's TV numbers in particular, look to have a very thin gold outline? I've burned my eyes trying to figure out if it's there or a figment.    * Hargett's numbers from that game: 13 of 38 (:wacko:) for 220 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT - that's a 41.6 QB rating. Saints lost 24-17.

 

Saints%2070%20Road%20Edd%20Hargett,%20Ca

 

 

Here's the black jersey from that year (Talbert again, so it's 1970) and damn if these numbers don't also look to have a so-thin-it's-pointless outline:

 

Saints%2070%20Home%20Dan%20Talbert.jpg

 

 

There's only one thing I know for sure about the Saints in 1970 - where I was on November 8th. That would be in Tulane Stadium to see Tom Dempsey nail a 63-yard FG as time expired to beat the Lions 19-17. It is a huge bummer that my ticket stub got lost somewhere along the road of life.

 

alg-dempsey-jpg.jpg

 

 

There's a video with the radio call for anyone interested. It's worth watching just for the ref who's so excited he hops off the ground signally that it's good.

 

 

Yes, those numbers do have thin gold trim. As leopard88 noted, it wasn’t uncommon for teams to wear “simplified” mesh jerseys in the beginning of the year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice work , BluSky. Spent several years as a small kid in Tulane Stadium watching them get hammered in those uni's. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, cubbies06 said:

Nice work , BluSky. Spent several years as a small kid in Tulane Stadium watching them get hammered in those uni's. 

If I had to watch a team that bad, I'd get hammered too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/6/2017 at 10:42 AM, Sec19Row53 said:

Interesting. Philadelphia did this for 1969 (Green at home and white on the road IIRC).  Had this happened, I wonder if the NFL would have accepted this as a thing.

 

Very neat study. I look forward to this.

 

To all - please leave this thread alone regarding the Saints, much like @leopard88 did above.

Sorry to Phil-jack this but saw this today in an article on local players that played in major pro sports. I wanted to include it solely based on the dates. It was a home game too. For some reason Phila liked making Dallas wear their "unlucky" blue jerseys. 

59e77794324fe_eaglesvscowboys.png.a80fba9c21cf2e453474963e61a0ce3e.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, MJWalker45 said:

Sorry to Phil-jack this but saw this today in an article on local players that played in major pro sports. I wanted to include it solely based on the dates. It was a home game too. For some reason Phila liked making Dallas wear their "unlucky" blue jerseys. 

59e77794324fe_eaglesvscowboys.png.a80fba9c21cf2e453474963e61a0ce3e.png

I recall the Eagles doing that relatively frequently until Reid ended it due to not being superstitious.  Hell, didn't the Giants get into the act for a minute?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.