When the Seattle Seahawks changed their uniforms in 2012 there was talk of a throwback version, but we’ve yet to see them. So what happened?
As I’m watching the Seattle Mariners play their Memorial Day game today, with both they and the Padres sporting alternate hats in honor of the holiday, it begs a question that’s lingered for a few seasons now….
Why don’t the Seahawks wear throwback uniforms?
First, let’s get one thing straight; the blue, silver and green uniforms they wore from their inception in 1976 to 2001 seemed mostly hideous at the time. I never thought they were intimidating, and was ecstatic when they shifted to the darker blue uni’s and helmets in 2002. But nostalgia is a legitimate phenomenon, and now I long for the old Jim Zorn, Steve Largent era duds.
Imagine seeing those colors, in all their dated striped glory, but in the new Nike Style hugging Kam Chancellor’s physique as he levels another receiver over the middle. Imagine Russell Wilson eluding would-be pass rushers in that sparkling silver helmet.
When the NFL switched their uniform to Nike and the Seahawks became the first team to undergo a major aesthetic face lift, then team president Peter McLoughlin spoke openly about plans to include a throwback uniform. In fact his exact words at the time were “we’re talking about a throwback for sure.”
So what happened?
Most likely the whole idea was crushed by a combination of new NFL rules and a fan vote that went a different way.
Back in 2002, in the midst of their first big uniform style change, the Seahawks put it to a fan vote. Stay with the grey/silver helmet color or go dark blue? By voting in favor of blue, fans may have unknowingly prevented the team from ever going to a throwback. In 2013, the NFL clarified a rule on alternate uniforms, no matter what teams chose to do with the twice-yearly alternates they’re allowed to play with, helmets could not change. It was a safety issue, they said. They didn’t want players changing out helmets that they had custom fitted and felt comfortable (and safe) in. You can change out the decals, but not the helmet itself.
Effectively, this ended any hope of the Seahawks using a full throwback. Sure, they could choose to wear the old silver pants and classic jersey, but it would clash horribly with the darker blue of the current helmets.
Maybe McLoughlin wasn’t aware of this limitation when he made those comments five years ago, or perhaps he thought there was some leeway. There wasn’t.
Whatever the case, what we got was the far-too-subtle-to-really-make-a-difference Wolf Grey pants and jersey, and the expansion era uni style will likely stay locked away forever.
Now, can we just get the NFL to allow us to customize classic jerseys for ourselves? I guess that’s another story for another time.