Iconic Jerseys of the NFL: Then and Now

Image Source: Chris Chow


Iconic Jerseys of the NFL: Then and Now


There's hardly a fan of the NFL that wouldn't consider wearing their team and favorite player's jersey on match day. Jerseys mean so much to fans. Beyond just being clothing materials, they are a symbol of pride and honor for the team they dearly love. And if you ask a regular NFL fan, nothing beats having at least one jersey in your wardrobe.

Thanks to modern innovations, many things have been made easy for NFL fans. They are more connected to teams and players than ever before. Football lovers can stay in touch by playing fantasy football, researching Super Bowl LVI bets online and purchasing jerseys of their favorite players with ease. Back in the day, this wasn't the case.

What Jerseys Mean to Teams and Players

Jerseys mean a lot to players, teams, and clothing brands. They serve as a source of good revenue and help push the league's global appeal.

Every team and player would be happy to top the jersey sales chart the same way record labels like Columbia or RCA love to have the Number One song on the Billboard Hot 100. Topping the jersey sales chart is that significant; it could mean more money, better endorsements, heightened popularity, and a stronger bond with fans if well received.

A surge in jersey sales could be due to huge signings, anticipated draft picks, or rebranding. Strong sales indicate high demand, which could be influenced by factors such as a player's popularity or a team having a superior fanbase.

By the way, huge signings or contract extensions could also influence the kind of endorsements a team gets from clothing brands. A considerable number of jersey sales could mean more collaborations with brands and a rise in shares. It could also indicate good 'fan reception.' Poor sales, on the other hand, could signal the need for rebranding.

Some NFL Jersey Changes Over the Years

Over time, we've seen teams change their jersey designs and colors. These changes have been known to affect jersey sales, either positively or negatively. Usually, an uptick in sales indicates favorable acceptance, while a sales drop could mean another rebranding.

More than ever before, the NFL has been incorporating new styles and designs to further push its appeal across the United States and worldwide. Nearly a quarter of NFL teams made changes to their jerseys in 2020 alone, thanks in part to fashion innovations.

As NFL fashion continues to improve in this decade, it's only fitting to take a good look at the then and now jersey looks of the two oldest NFL teams:

Arizona Cardinals

The oldest team in the NFL has come a long way when it comes to jersey changes and rebranding. Back in the days, it was the iconic plain white jersey with a red jersey number — a stand-out uniform in the Cardinals' history. Arizonans may never forget Joe Conrad's 1963 heroics rocking this jersey as he led the league with 73 receptions.

Fast forward to the mid-2000s to date, and we have the Cardinals adorning a different look. The team still maintains the white color, but with red colors on the shoulders and side panels to match the jersey number. If you're from Phoenix, Larry Fitzgerald will most likely be the first player that comes to mind when you think of this new look.

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears, a team established in 1920 and formerly known as the Decatur Stanleys, wore uniforms that were far from anything you'd see today. On first look, you'd think Captain America took a cue from the Bears as their jerseys are pretty much similar: leather and long-sleeved uniforms with a helmet. The late Hall of Famer, Red Grange, wore this during his playing days.

The Bears have ditched this old look for a more modern look and have maintained this to date, although with a few modifications. This means that greats like the late Walter Payton and superstars like Andy Dalton have basically worn the same jersey.


"Change is constant," and we can say the same about the NFL. The styles and trends of the previous century aren't the same today, leading to NFL teams adopting new uniform designs and overall looks. We should expect to see more changes in the decades to come.