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Team Colors Listings


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As you all know, I am completely obsessive about colors in sports. I need serious psychological help, but that's not why I am posting this thread.

I have been doing some updating of my Sports Franchise database with NFL facility/venue information, and also continuing to improve my section on team colors. I have been buying the NFL Record & Fact Book for years now - in fact, I have them since they started publishing them in the current format (1984). I also have the 1982 and 1983 editions that split the books into two - an oversized "Media Information Book", and a paperback that was entitled "National Football League Record Manual". AND, I've got another format that was an official publication - the "NFL Report". This was another paperback-sized book that was published in the '70s through the '80s...I have them from 1973 through 1990. Side note - the 1973 and 1974 editions were called the "Official National Football League Guide". I would love to find earlier editions of this book - I believe they go back a couple of years prior to '73.

All of these books have some elements in common - besides rosters, team-by-team analysis, team records, etc., they also list facility information (including capacities and playing surface information - I love that stuff too), and "official" team colors.

What makes me crazy about these team colors listings are the inaccuracies contained within them. I think what happens is that some marketing person is told to provide this information to the book publishers, and they just kind of make something up to send to them. For example, my favorite mistake currently, is the way the 49ers' colors are listed. The NFL Record & Fact Book lists them this way: Metallic Gold, Cardinal Red and Beige. "Beige" is the flat, non-metallic version of the Gold that is used as an alternate when printing. It should NOT be a "team color"! In fact, I believe the Niners still call their Gold "49ers Gold", if anything, the colors should be listed THIS way: Cardinal, 49ers Gold and Black. Yeah, Black is a significant color in their color scheme, yet it is not even listed.

What I've been reminded of with these older books, is how strange some of the interpretations of the colors were in the "old" days. For example, did you know that the Colts listed their colors as Royal Blue and Silver from (at least) 1973 through 1979? The Colts actually DID incorporate Silver into their uniforms from 1982 through 1986, but why Silver was listed before 1982 is a mystery to me. Was there some logo that we've never seen that had Silver in it? Was it just a color that they intended to use, but never got around to it?

Also, most of you know that the Falcons had Old Gold stripes on their helmets from 1966 through 1969. What's odd is that they continued to list Old Gold as an official color through 1978 (even though 1978 was the year they added Silver). I think this was just an oversight by the Falcons' front office myself.

With my Team Colors lists on the SSUR, I specify the colors that are actually used by the teams as "official". My philosophy is this: if it is a color that exists in the uniforms, it's a "primary" color. If it is only present in a logo, then it is a "secondary" color. If it is only present in an alternate jersey, or a secondary or alternate logo, then it is an "additional" color. Road uniform colors in baseball get designated separately, as do Gray facemasks ("Misc. Equipment Color") - when Gray is NOT a team color.

Here is my interpretation of how the current NFL colors should be listed - I should note - I have "secondary" colors listed in parentheses, and additional colors are NOT listed:

  • Arizona Cardinals: Cardinal Red, Black, White (Gold)
  • Atlanta Falcons: Red, Black, White (Silver)
  • Baltimore Ravens: Black, Purple, Metallic Gold, White (Red, Yellow)
  • Buffalo Bills: Dark Navy Blue, Red, Royal Blue, Nickel, White
  • Carolina Panthers: Black, Panther Blue, Silver, White
  • Chicago Bears: Dark Navy Blue, Orange, White
  • Cincinnati Bengals: Black, Orange, White
  • Cleveland Browns: Brown, Orange, White
  • Dallas Cowboys: Royal Blue, Navy Blue, Metallic Silver Blue, Silver, White
  • Denver Broncos: Broncos Navy Blue, Orange, White
  • Detroit Lions: Honolulu Blue, Silver, Black, White
  • Green Bay Packers: Dark Green, Gold, White
  • Houston Texans: Deep Steel Blue, Battle Red, Liberty White
  • Indianapolis Colts: Royal Blue, White
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: Teal, Black, Gold, White
  • Kansas City Chiefs: Red, Gold, White (Black)
  • Miami Dolphins: Aqua, Coral, Navy Blue, White
  • Minnesota Vikings: Purple, Gold, White
  • New England Patriots: Nautical Blue, Red, New Century Silver, White
  • New Orleans Saints: Old Gold, Black, White
  • New York Giants: Dark Blue, Red, Gray, White
  • New York Jets: Hunter Green, White
  • Oakland Raiders: Silver, Black, White
  • Philadelphia Eagles: Midnight Green, Black, Charcoal, Silver, White
  • Piittsburgh Steelers: Black, Gold, White (Red, Royal Blue, Gray)
  • St. Louis Rams: Millennium Blue, New Century Gold, White
  • San Diego Chargers: Navy Blue, Gold, White
  • San Francisco 49ers: Cardinal, 49ers Gold, Black, White
  • Seattle Seahawks: Pacific Blue, Dark Navy Blue, Bright Green, White
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Buccaneers Red, Pewter, Black, Orange, White (Silver)
  • Tennessee Titans: Navy Blue, Titans Blue, White (Red, Silver)
  • Washington Redskins: Burgundy, Gold, White (Black)

Obviously, there are some secondary colors that included that could be questioned. For example, Arizona's Gold, Baltimore's Red and Yellow, Kansas City's Black, Pittsburgh's Red, Royal Blue and Gray, Tampa Bay's Silver and Washington's Black. All of these are only present in the logos of the respective teams, but applying my standard of designating these as secondary colors makes it necessary to list them in this way. Interestingly enough, the only Silver in the Falcons' scheme is in the logo. It doesn't appear anywhere else in the uniform now, so it becomes a secondary color.

Also, I have applied the NFL and Reebok's color standards to these color names. For example, there is a color called "NFL Dark Navy" that the Bills, Bears, Texans, and Seahawks use, so when appropriate, I have used "Dark Navy Blue" as the official listing of the color. In the Record & Fact Books, the Seahawks' colors are listed as "Seahawks Blue, Seahawks Navy and Seahawks Bright Green". Taking the actual color standards, they really should be listed as "Pacific Blue, Dark Navy Blue and Bright Green". The NFL has listed "NFL Pacific Blue" as the primary Seahawks' Blue.

I know that the Cowboys listing here will be the subject of some debate - it's difficult to interpret how they should be listed (with accuracy anyway).

Enjoy. I would think that this might stir up some conversation.

(At least, those of you who care about these kinds of things. The others will run away screaming with their arms flailing about.)

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I imagine there are certain colors that, while technically the same color (PMS 286 Blue, for example), are called different names by different teams, which must make it harder to catalog them.

Which colors have the most name variations in the same league?

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Which colors have the most name variations in the same league?

I'm not sure about the same league (it will take a little research), but one Pantone color that has a wide variation of color descriptions associated with it is 202 C. In my database, have it listed as Red, Dark Red, Deep Red, Burgundy, Maroon, Garnet, Cardinal Red, Brick Red, Wine, and even "Georgia Bronze" - which is what the Atlanta Thrashers call it.

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"Georgia Bronze"

"Florida Teal"

"Sunset Orange"


I think one of the biggest problems is that teams state that they use a PANTONE solid coated color (i.e. PMS 202 C), yet when you open up their color files, it really is PMS 202 CVC, which can be a different shade/hue than the original PMS 202 C.

Now some teams that feature metallics as key colors (say, the Buccaneers and its precious Pewter PMS 8600) list the flat version as the official color, since printing in metallics is (most likely) not going to take place a majority of the time.


And yes, PANTONE, you need to pick up those musical instruments and relax before your head explodes due to Rubine Red, Reflex Blue and my personal favorite, PANTONE 18-2143 Beetroot Purple.

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I just got done playing piano for about 20 minutes.

Shakes the cobwebs out. Nothing like a string of tunes such as "Riders Of The Storm", "The Patty Duke Theme", and "Rock With You" mixed in with some obsure Pat Metheny songs to clear your head before moving on to other things. Later, I'll pick up my trombone and flugabone and do some long tones and flexibility exercises...

As far as Pantone colors go - yes, there are many various interpretations of Pantone colors. However, the "CV" designations are an older color library. "CV" stands for "Computer Video", so "CVC" designated "Computer Video-Coated" (coated paper stock) and "CVU" stands for "Computer Video-Uncoated". These are obsolete Pantone libraries that have been replaced by the new Coated, Matte and Uncoated libraries. In fact, Pantone, Inc. just released a new version of their "Colorist" software, which lists updated RGB values for all of their solid Pantone colors (1,400+ of them) - including the aforementioned Coated, Matte and Uncoated colors. They also include separate color libraries for the Adobe (1998) color space...again, for C, M and U.

I came up with a method for getting all of this new information into my Color database fairly easily, and have also modified my databases so that I can choose which color library to use when generating these color listings...

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And here I thought I was the only one obsessed with the NFL and it's colors and all that other information. While I'm not quite able to buy the guides, I do buy an annual with all the information every year. I remember when I was in fourth grade, I had this book that had listed all the colors like that, and I also got to a point where I named them myself.

Before I had a computer, I made this b&w car visor that had all the helmets on it into color and updated the teams helmets every year. Drew them by hand and cut them out. The hardest part was trying to match the pewter color of the Bucs helmet. I think I had to mix three marker colors to get that one right.

However one thing that's always bothered me is why so many people call yellow gold, when I hear gold, I think the metallic gold.

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However one thing that's always bothered me is why so many people call yellow gold, when I hear gold, I think the metallic gold.

I think that's just for marketing. "Gold" sounds more masculine than "Yellow".

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One thing I've noticed about Pantone colors is the inconsistency to which they're applied. If you open open file that lists a color as "Pantone 185C", for example, the CMYK breakdown is different from the 185C I use myself in Illustrator & QuarkXPress.

I have also seen universities that list the color as one Pantone color, but use graphics with different colors. I think the biggest offender I found was Northern Illinois. I can't remember specifics, but in its Graphics & Standards manual, it lists a specific color scheme for the Athletic Department, but if you open up some media guides, camp & ticket brochures, the athletic logos on those documents use different Pantone colors.

The school can't even keep its own identity consistent among departments :D

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PANTONE 185 C is currently listed as C-00, M-91, Y-76, K-00, so if you see breakdowns for anything other than those values, chances are you're dealing with an older color library.

As far as college/university Pantone colors, I have noticed that more often than not, the "university" colors are different than the Pantone colors used by the athletic teams. Happens all the time...NIU is not the only offender with this.

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I'm not surprised. I just think it's funny that the school lists 195C (a guess) as the red for the athletic department & sports identities, but when you inspect a pdf from the athletics site, the color is different (say, 186C). Not a huge discrepancy (probably minute to the naked eye), but inconsistent nonetheless.

For shame, Northern Illinois :(

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However one thing that's always bothered me is why so many people call yellow gold, when I hear gold, I think the metallic gold.

I think that's just for marketing. "Gold" sounds more masculine than "Yellow".

Agreed. Plus, there's that whole thing about "yellow" being associated with cowardice-- "What, are ya yella?" "Yellowbelly" etc.

It always bugged me, as well. Especially, since all of the teams I support-- LSU, Georgia Tech, the Saints and Hornets-- use one or the other of those colors (with Georgia Tech being called the Yellow Jackets, yet using "Old Gold" as a color. Sheesh.)

And speaking of the "interestingly named" colors-- hey, there could be thread about that stuff alone. The Texans are a great example, with the "liberty white" "battle red", etc. I recall the Orlando Magic's colors were originally listed as Magic Black, Electric Blue and Quick Silver. And the old Arena Football New Orleans Night colors were listed as Midnight Blue, Moonlight White and Sunset Orange.

Of course, PANTONE has all this stuff listed correctly, I'm sure...


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That's a beautiful looking database.

The fact that it is full of colors is simply scary.

Actually, that's just the Color Values database.

All of the team information is stored in another database, and they cross-reference each other.


I could give a big, boring tutorial if anyone's interested...databases are what I do.

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Pantone- I think I've finally figured out your obsession with colors. I'll bet that when you were in grade school you wanted that big 64-color set of Crayolas, but had to settle for the puny little eight basic color box. Now that you're a big boy you've vowed never again to be color-deficient in your life- ever. :blink:

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