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Houston Oiler Blue


swisherHOU

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According to a few sites including the The Helmet Project and Helmets, Helmets, Helmets the Houston Oilers used a lighter shade of blue on their helmets until around 1980...one site I saw said until 1991. Even Chris Creamer shows an Oilers helmet with a light blue logo all the way until 1996.

BUT...I don't see this when I look at pictures or video from the Oilers. The blue used on their helmet, even during the 70's was always darker. Where does this idea that they had a lighter shade of blue come from? I know in the early 60's the blue was lighter, and the blue they used in the jerseys and pants seemed lighter, but not on the helmet.

Here's a shot from the 1979 season, with the grey facemask:

0114_large.jpg

and one from the 80's:

33-11237-P.jpg

and one from the 90's:

Matthews,Bruce1.jpg

I think the Oilers "officially" went to a darker shade of blue in the late 80's or early 90's, but their helemt always had a darker shade than what most people think they did.

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It was always called Columbia Blue from at least the 70's through the Luv Ya Blue days with Earl Campbell and Bum Phillips. In Houston when you say Columbia Blue people know that you are talking about the Oilers. They moved after 1996 and the last good team they had in Houston was in 1993. The name was around alot longer than that.

I've heard of this change before, but I was an Oiler fan and I don't remember and I just don't see the difference between 1989 and 1990. Or 1979 and 1980 for that matter. The blue on the helmets are just as dark in 1979 as it is was in the 90's. And the blue on the uniforms are the same. I think the change in the blue had more to do with merchandise than the actual uniforms.

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It was always called Columbia Blue from at least the 70's through the Luv Ya Blue days with Earl Campbell and Bum Phillips. In Houston when you say Columbia Blue people know that you are talking about the Oilers. They moved after 1996 and the last good team they had in Houston was in 1993. The name was around alot longer than that.

I've heard of this change before, but I was an Oiler fan and I don't remember and I just don't see the difference between 1989 and 1990. Or 1979 and 1980 for that matter. The blue on the helmets are just as dark in 1979 as it is was in the 90's. And the blue on the uniforms are the same. I think the change in the blue had more to do with merchandise than the actual uniforms.

or maybe it's just the lighting in the photos that doesn't make it look any different.

the colts are wearing a darker blue this year than they were last year, but in game photos, it's damn near impossible to notice any difference (besides the facemask). maybe the lighting changes from pic to pic are more drastic than the color changes.

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The light will change the color, but I don't think there is anyway you could say that the top photo (the SI cover) has a helmet with lighter blue than the bottom picture (Moon). And if the color change is correct, the bottom picture should be darker, and if anything it looks lighter which I think is because of the light not the color.

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It was always called Columbia Blue from at least the 70's through the Luv Ya Blue days with Earl Campbell and Bum Phillips. In Houston when you say Columbia Blue people know that you are talking about the Oilers. They moved after 1996 and the last good team they had in Houston was in 1993. The name was around alot longer than that.

I've heard of this change before, but I was an Oiler fan and I don't remember and I just don't see the difference between 1989 and 1990. Or 1979 and 1980 for that matter. The blue on the helmets are just as dark in 1979 as it is was in the 90's. And the blue on the uniforms are the same. I think the change in the blue had more to do with merchandise than the actual uniforms.

or maybe it's just the lighting in the photos that doesn't make it look any different.

the colts are wearing a darker blue this year than they were last year, but in game photos, it's damn near impossible to notice any difference (besides the facemask). maybe the lighting changes from pic to pic are more drastic than the color changes.

Very true.

With the Colts, I can tell with the Pantones but visually on the team, I can't.

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The light will change the color, but I don't think there is anyway you could say that the top photo (the SI cover) has a helmet with lighter blue than the bottom picture (Moon). And if the color change is correct, the bottom picture should be darker, and if anything it looks lighter which I think is because of the light not the color.

i'm not sure that the SI cover is a good judge of color in any form, though...

the steelers pants look pastel. the field looks mint green. you can't see any player faces for the deep and contrasted shadows.

the inner-thigh of the oiler on the far right shows just how contrasted the lighting in the photo is. on the outside of his leg, it's almost a light powder blue, but once you get to the shadow created by his body, the pants on his inner thigh look pitch black.

i'm not saying that your argument has no merit at all, i'm just saying that if the general concesus is that they changed the shade of columbia blue, they probably did. this photo evidence isn't solid enough to make me question it. the only photo that looks to have consistent lighting, with which to judge the colors, is the moon pic... earl's pants, all dirt aside, look compeltely dark grey compared to his helmet, but they're obviously the same color. see what i'm talking about?

and even if we had a million high quality photos to choose from, the change in color may have only been as drastic as the colts, like i said. freakishly subtle, but still a legit difference.

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But would you agree that this would be an inaccurate representation?

Oilers.jpg

NO WAY does the blue change that much, if at all. And that's really my point. I've seen it represented that way on the internet a few times and its just not right.

I'll look for some better pictures...but I can put in my tape of the 1979 playoff game against the Chargers and tell you without a doubt the blue on the helmets look almost exactly the same as games played in 1993...only with grey facemasks of coarse.

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But would you agree that this would be an inaccurate representation?

Oilers.jpg

NO WAY does the blue change that much, if at all. And that's really my point. I've seen it represented that way on the internet a few times and its just not right.

I'll look for some better pictures...but I can put in my tape of the 1979 playoff game against the Chargers and tell you without a doubt the blue on the helmets look almost exactly the same as games played in 1993...only with grey facemasks of coarse.

That is WAY WAY WAY off.

The color change in the light blue is very slight, however a little more notacable than the Colts change from last year to this year.

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Oilers_75-80.gifOilers_81-98.gif

If they really did change, this would be a better representation. But the years seem inconsistent. I have a couple people saying they changed in 1981 when they went to the red facemask and a couple saying they changed in 1990.

I think the Patriots color change may be a better analogy. I don't know if I would ever have noticed that they went to a darker blue if I wasn't aware of it because of websites like this one.

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I'll address this in more detail tomorrow, but a 1987 style guide I have shows the Oilers' Columbia Blue as exactly the same as what they eventually are using as "Titans Blue".

That doesn't mean that there couldn't have been an "off" color used on the decals and striping however.

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If they really did change, this would be a better representation. But the years seem inconsistent. I have a couple people saying they changed in 1981 when they went to the red facemask and a couple saying they changed in 1990.

I think the Patriots color change may be a better analogy. I don't know if I would ever have noticed that they went to a darker blue if I wasn't aware of it because of websites like this one.

That looks accurate except the darker blue should be BLUER instead of looking grayish.

And how could you not tell the Pats color change, from Royal to Navy?

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And how could you not tell the Pats color change, from Royal to Navy?

Yeah, I take that back. It was pretty obvious...but if it was only the helmet color that changed, I don't know if I would have been watching a game and yelled out "HEY! They changed blues!"

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But would you agree that this would be an inaccurate representation?

Oilers.jpg

NO WAY does the blue change that much, if at all. And that's really my point. I've seen it represented that way on the internet a few times and its just not right.

I'll look for some better pictures...but I can put in my tape of the 1979 playoff game against the Chargers and tell you without a doubt the blue on the helmets look almost exactly the same as games played in 1993...only with grey facemasks of coarse.

yeah, i definately wouldn't take this image as a serious source of information...

it's like trying to read a roadmap drawn with crayons. :)

however, the 2 3-d helmets side by side are more accurate, imo. like i said, if a change was made, it may not have been very drastic... but a change is a change.

but we all know pantone is the authority on this subject :) he'll settle it.

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I'm not going to dispute a color shift, but the pictures are a bad example. The Sports Illustrated cover looks like a very grainy picture, and everything in it is not crisp, and things are darker than they should be. You can see this in the pants as well, between the SI cover and the last picture of the Oilers.

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As I stated in the past regarding color, I have determined that most professional sports teams didn't start using Pantones to represent their colors until around 1980 or so. Up until that point, I think what teams did was to let the manufacturers match up the fabrics and decals to the best they could.

I've got a great large color pic of the Oilers from the late-60's-early-70's. With the Silver pants and helmets. The Columbia Blue looks fairly close to what they continued to use over subsequent seasons. However, I will also concede that the helmet decal Blue seems a little darker. This is part of the problem that teams have had over the years in attempting to match colors between fabrics and vinyl and print, etc. It's gotten better, but there are still problems. Around 1996 or so, teams started using Pantone Textiles to represent the fabric colors, but there's not really a one-to-one relationship from Pantone solid colors (used in print) and Pantone Textiles. There are like 1,400+ solid colors, and 1,900+ textile colors. And, I'm not entirely positive that manufacturers really use the designated textile colors anyway.

The Oilers' pic I have is too big for my scanner; I'll take a digital pic of it and post it later.

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It just so happened that one of my "connections" emailed me out of the "Blue" and informed me that they had just aquired a 1972 NFL Style Guide. This person is going to scan them all and send them to me, but did scan a portion of the Oilers' sheet. The Blue looks completely screwy. Screwy, I said!

Here's a (rather large in file size) pic created from the huge .TIF scan:

HoustonOilers_1972.jpg

We're thinking that this Blue is somewhere between 646 C and 647 C. Remember, teams didn't use Pantones back in 1972.

EDIT: I don't know why this pic isn't showing up...I'll keep working on it...

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