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CU Unveils New Football Uniforms

Courtesy: David Plati, Associate AD/Sports Information
Release: June 02, 2007
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Jordon Dizon, Terrence Wheatley, Bernard Jackson and Tyler Polumbus model CU's 2007...   By CUBuffs.com

BOULDER — The University of Colorado football team will don a new look this fall, as Saturday the school unveiled a revolutionary new design by NIKE, exclusively made for the Buffaloes.


               Head coach Dan Hawkins and six current players participated in the presentation at Folsom Field introducing CU’s new “threads.” It following opening comments from KOA-Radio’s Mark Johnson, the play-by-play voice of the Buffaloes, and Hawkins; former CU coach and athletic director Eddie Crowder was also in attendance.


               After the video, Scotty McKnight and Joe Sanders came out wearing last year’s uniforms, followed by Jordon Dizon, Bernard Jackson, Tyler Polumbus and Terrence Wheatley modeling the new ones.


The revolutionary changes involve new age fabrics and materials that will benefit the players during game conditions.  From a design standpoint, incorporating one of the official school colors, silver, back into the uniform for the first time since 1981 was one of the main components of the makeover.  Overall, it will make for a faster looking, modern design.


It’s the first major overhaul in the football uniform since 1985, when the Buffs returned to black jerseys they had adorned between 1959 and 1980.  From 1981 through 1984, CU wore two different shades of blue after a Board of Regents mandate formed a campus committee to explore adding or changing colors that represented the athletic teams.


The home jersey will continue to be black, but for the first time, will include both of the official school colors, silver and gold.  The COLORADO emblazoned on the chest will be a bit smaller in size and will now be in gold rather than white, the only color it has ever appeared in on the home uniform.  There will be also be gold trim on the front, sides and back, with the name plate on the back also to be in gold.  The numbers on the front and shoulders will be in silver, marking the first time since the 1981 and 1982 seasons that significant use of the color will be featured in the football uniform; the numerals those seasons were silver as well.  The road jersey will be white, with black numerals with silver trim and additional gold trim elsewhere on the top; names will be in black.


There are two colors of pants, gold and black.  The gold pant has silver trim a little over one-third of way down from the waist, while the black pant has gold trim in a similar fashion.  The CU interlocking logo graces both sides.


Colorado’s exclusive contract with NIKE calls for the manufacturer to supply all 16 varsity sport programs with practice gear and game uniforms.


“We are fortunate and honored to have a partner like NIKE provide such outstanding services for us,” athletic director Mike Bohn said.  “This uniform enhancement gives us a new look of distinction, and is a direct result of NIKE’s expertise in design, production and vision.”  CU and NIKE first became partners in 1995, and are now in a third long-term agreement together.  


Aside from the different look, there are several main technical details of the new uniform.  These include:


Ø    Innovative Fit.  The new jersey has an updated design and new performance fabrics producing a tight shrink-wrapped fit, thus minimizing “grab” points that opponents can hang onto;


Ø    Weight Reduction.  Both the jersey and pants are lighter weight;


Ø    Increased Ventilation.  A light-weight mesh is added in areas traditionally covered by non-breathable fabrics (upper back, neck and under arms), now enabling heat to escape;


Ø    Improved Moisture Management.  Both jersey and pant are produced with the most technical uniform fabrics by NIKE that hold far less moisture, thus carrying less weight; this is very significant in the game pants.



 Colorado Football Uniform Evolution


               Here’s a chronological look at the known evolution of University of Colorado football uniforms:


circa 1958

A student newspaper editorial decries CU’s uniform colors of silver and gold as, “unsatisfactory.  Our teams always look poorer than the other conference schools.”  CU wears what is tantamount to a gold sweater with black numbers at home and a white with black numerals on the road, as no real changes are made until 1946 (for one game) and then until 1959.


The one game? CU wore navy blue uniforms for a Sept. 28, 1946 game at Texas.  The Longhorns won, 76-0, and those uniforms were never seen again.


During this period, number colors often changed, and as uniforms improved, there were naturally several modifications.  But the color schemes for home and road remained consistent.  


1959—The basic look for the next several decades is born, as CU wears black jerseys for the first time in its history, with white numbers and a gold pant at home; white jerseys with a black number are worn on the road.  Over the next 10 seasons, the helmets go through changes from silver to gold and with horns to numbers.



circa 1972

—The first appearance of an interlocking CU on gold helmets (replacing player numbers).  This particular mark proved to have staying power and would be incorporated into future logo artwork, both for athletics and the university overall.  It was a solid block CU, reminiscent of the one that appeared under the logo born in the 1940s.


1979—The numbers at home are enlarged and are now in gold with a white border.






May 28, 1981—Blue officially adopted as the primary uniform color in place of black after a Board of Regents mandate at its January meeting and subsequent follow-up recommendation by a campus committee.  Originally suggested to be “the deep blue Colorado of Colorado’s sky at 9,000 feet” by then-Regent Jack Anderson, jerseys were officially an “Air Force Blue” though different than the blue the Air Force Academy’s sports teams wore.  Numerals are silver and outlined in white, and the pant remained gold, but with a blue stripe, for both home and road.  Football helmets remained gold but with blue logos.  CU’s trademark south end zone is painted blue, the first color change since it was created after the track was removed in 1966.  CU’s coach at the time, Chuck Fairbanks, has been routinely, and falsely, credited for the color switch through the years, which was not overly popular with Buff fans.


circa 1982

1982—The numerals switch from silver to gold, with the trim remaining in white. 


1984—The colors are altered slightly, as the blue is enhanced to a darker hue, with the numbers in a yellow-gold, but borderless; complaints rain in from many, as players can’t be identified from stands and in black and white photos and game films it appears as if players wore no numbers at all.  The pant remained a similar yellow-gold with a blue stripe and white trim.  Bill McCartney had the football team twice don black jerseys (against Oklahoma and Nebraska) in a similar way that Notre Dame broke out its green jersey for big games.  There actually had been talk about CU doing it first for its 1983 home game against the Fighting Irish.    


April 24, 1985—“Black is Back” read the release announcing that athletic director Bill Marolt would allow head coaches of all CU sports teams (then 14 in number) the option of returning to black as the primary jersey color.  The pant moves toward a metallic gold with no stripes (though in 1991, the road black pant had a gold stripe).  McCartney’s throwback efforts the previous season were the impetus for the change; the football jersey had a blue stripe on the arm for the 1985, 1986 and 1987 seasons before it was dropped altogether in 1988.  The Big 8 logo graced one sleeve.  The south area behind the end zone with COLORADO is once again painted black (for ’85).


December 30, 1985—A standard in basketball, the football jersey has COLORADO emblazoned across the front for the first time for the Freedom Bowl versus Washington.  Other than switching to italics in the current machine style font in 1997, it becomes the signature look on the uniform for the next 21 seasons and one that several other schools also replicate.


November 28, 1987—Football wears all black (jersey and pant) for the first time in a 24-7 loss to Nebraska.


1988—Football switches to the black pant for road games.  It remains standard for well over a decade, until the 2000 team wears all white for a road game at Southern California.   


circa 1989

1996—The first real tweaking of the uniform since the blue stripe came off in 1988 as the font changes for the COLORADO as well as the numerals, with the stripes eliminated from the sleeves.  Numbers are white with gold trim at home and black with gold trim on the road.  In subsequent years (1997, 1998), some silver is utilized as trim within the number.


September 26, 1998—For the Baylor home game, the Buffaloes don a sort of “throw-back” jersey that is gold in color with black numbers (with silver trim), along with black helmets (silver logo) and a black pant.  It’s the only time any of the components of the look (other than the pant) are used.


November 1, 2003—Against Texas Tech, the Buffs don gold pants for a road game for the first time since 1987; the team proceeds to wear all three selections (black, white, gold) through 2006, though white disappears following 2005.


September 18, 2004—A one-time look, thankfully to many, the Buffaloes wear the black jersey but with the white road pant against North Texas.  The look is shelved pretty quick and not used again.


June 2, 2007—Silver is reintroduced into the color scheme, as both the jersey and pant are overhauled.  The black home jersey has silver numbers and gold trim in a new design never before incorporated in CU’s look, while the white road top has black numbers with silver trim and additional gold trim elsewhere.  Pant colors are black and gold; the black pant has gold trim, the gold pant silver trim.  New fabrics also improve issues from heat management and uniform weight to making it increasingly hard for the opponent to grab various points.