The History Behind the Seahawks’ Unique Uniform


Aug 30, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) looks for an open receiver during the 1st half against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

What is the most handsome uniform in the NFL? The answer to that question depends on your preference between the classic look and the new vibrant look of teams. Old school vs. New School.

The uniforms in Dallas, San Francisco, Washington, Green Bay and Pittsburgh, for example, are all classic in the sense that they haven’t changed much throughout their respective team’s history.

Then you have the uniforms in Houston, Jacksonville, Atlanta and Tennessee, to name a few. All have incorporated brighter colors to the scheme on their jerseys to make for a more visually appealing look. Then you have the Seattle Seahawks, a team that shocked most of the sports world by unveiling a uniform last year that was either genius or ridiculous, again, based on your preference of the way an NFL uniform should look.

But how did the Seattle Seahawks receive the look it so uniquely holds to its name today? Well, any true Seahawks fan knows that navy blue was not part of the team’s original color scheme. In fact, the “Seahawks” almost never got their trademark name. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the franchise had four other finalists for names when it was awarded in 1974: Mariners, Olympics, Evergreens and Sockeyes. What color do you make the Sockeyes? In any case, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and NFL Executive Director Jim Kensil both liked the Seahawks name because it was “indigenous to the area and aggressive.”

Fast forward two years to the debut of the team in 1976. The beginning of the team and the classic Seahawks jersey. The home jersey was a royal blue with gray pants while the road uniform had a white jersey with gray pants. Both the sleeves and socks had green and blue stripes and the look was finalized by a gray helmet that hoisted the team’s logo proudly – a royal blue and forest green hawk’s head that was conceptualized and based on Northwestern Native American art.

The original look was untouched until 1980, when the team decided to switch from black shoes to white — not exactly mind-blowing but still worth noting. In 1983, player numbers were added on top of the shoulder pads and the socks went from striped to a solid royal blue to match the jersey. The facemask changed color from gray to blue and the Seahawks logo was added to the sleeves on top of the original stripes.

This look remained relatively unchanged until 2002, when the team got its most drastic uniform update in franchise history. According to the Seahawks official website, the colors were changed to “Seahawks blue, Seahawks navy and Seahawks green.” And, for the first time in franchise history, the helmet was changed to blue instead of silver. The team had their fans vote on their preference of the blue or silver helmet. The plan was originally to use both, one at home and one on the road, but per NFL regulations only one helmet cpuld be used during the season. The blue helmet won the vote and the silver helmet was officially put in Seattle’s archives.

The first alternate jersey in franchise history didn’t come until Sept. 27, 2009 – and it didn’t last long at all. Perhaps you remember it? The neon green jersey with dark blue pants that the team wore in a loss to the Chicago Bears was “retired” by then-coach Jim Mora and never saw the field again.

And finally, with Nike taking over NFL uniforms last year, the Seahawks received another drastic makeover. A deep blue highlighted by a lime green color in the uniform that surprised many traditionalists for being too “loud.” But others, including myself, disagree.

According to Nike, Inc.’s official website, the color of the uniforms are “rooted in Seattle’s own environmental hues.” Everything on each jersey is symbolic in its own way to the city of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest in general. The deep blue of the jersey represents the color of the ocean that rolls into the harbor near CenturyLink Field. As for the unique neon green? It’s symbolic as well. Nike went on to explain that the color was “designed to provide a pop of color on the uniform just as the vibrant bright greens pop in the rain-soaked environment.”

More information comes from Seahawks Uni History:

"Jersey incorporates graphics inspired by northwest coastal Indian art. Broad chest graphic outlining the shoulders echoes the stance of a Thunderbird totem. The Seahawks mark above the heart honors the team. Feather-pattern graphic on helmet, in numbers and on pants represents natural elements of the Pacific Northwest, again inspired by the coastal Indian art. The 12 feathers on the pant leg strip represent the 12th Man. 12 feathers are also features on each side of the neckline and the 12th Man logo is sewn on the inside back collar of the jersey."

So there you have it. Love it or hate it, Nike put a lot of thought into Seattle’s new uniforms and so far, the experiment has worked. The Seahawks went 11-5 in their first year with the new colors, including going 8-0 with the blue jersey/pants combination.

Now that you know more about Seattle’s history of uniforms, are any of them the greatest in the NFL’s long history?

Dave Dameshek at is asking fans to vote for the Greatest Uniform in NFL history. The Seahawks earned a No. 6 seed in the NFC, facing off against the No. 11 seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers, another team that modernized its entire jersey for the visual appeal. You can vote for or against every team in the NFL here. Voting for the first round ends July 5 at 5 p.m. EST.

Oh, last thing. What’s your favorite uniform? In Seahawks history or the NFL in general? Are you a fan of the Old School or New School look? Comment and discuss below. Go Hawks!