Sunday’s clash with the Miami Dolphins to open the 2020 NFL season will signal the beginning of a new era for the New England Patriots, in more ways than one.
For the first time since midway through the 2001 season, Tom Brady – now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – won’t be the starting quarterback for Bill Belichick’s side and, somewhat fittingly, that change is mirrored with the team’s first proper uniform re-design in two decades.
Below left are the outgoing uniforms, launched in 2000 – and of such longevity that they appeared with adidas, Reebook and Nike as makers – with the new outfits on the right (Brady used to wear 12 and new quarterback Cam Newton is number 1).
It should be noted that the new home uniform isn’t totally ‘new’ – in 2016, the NFL initiated the ‘Color Rush’, where teams in Thursday-night games would wear alternate uniforms, generally in one main colour, and the Pats’ one was close to what the new duds look like. The white away jersey will be making its debut, though, and neither will have ‘TV numbers’ on the sleeve/shoulder.
You’ll notice that both home and away uniforms use the same navy pants and socks and the Patriots are somewhat limited in that there are currently no alternative items available.
It should be noted that mashups weren’t very common with the previous sets, but they did happen. For two games in 2002, consecutive clashes against the Green Bay Packers and the Denver Broncos, the away pants and socks were paired with the home jersey (right) – the only time before 2016 that navy-on-navy appeared.
Then, a Color Rush game against Tampa in 2017 saw special white pants paired with the away jersey (left).
Retaining those white pants, or something similar, would, to our minds, make sense in that they would automatically double the number of possible options from two to four. The addition of white socks would then all for a total of eight different combinations.
Lighter pants may happen down the line – the ever-excellent Uni Watch reported that silver pants were considered. In addition, the Patriots acknowledged that fans would like to see a red third option in the style of their classic uniform but the current ‘one-shell’ rule, limiting teams to one helmet style, prevented that as it would create a logo mish-mash, the current ‘Flying Elvis’ clashing with the older ‘Pat Patriot.