As you know, I am a geek when it comes to team uniforms. Every uniform tells a piece of history and adds to the staple of a team’s identity. And growing up as a 49ers fan, I had always appreciated the team’s simple usage of their red and gold on their set.
Then in 1994, my eyes were opened to a new/old uniform set that blew my mind.
That season, the NFL celebrated their 75th anniversary and teams had the option of wearing throwbacks during that season. The 49ers decided to wear a set from the 1950s and it was something I was not ready for.
But as the years went on, I think I’ve started to appreciate it even more. It has grown on me as one of my favorite sets. Of course, the team winning a Super Bowl in them helps a lot too.
Initially, the set was supposed to be a one-time thing. But when the 49ers got superstitious, they decided to wear it for the remainder of the season all the way to the Super Bowl.
What made this uniform so bad was because it doesn’t feature gold. The original set has this paired with silver helmets. The 49ers wore their current helmets with this uniform. The dropshadow on the numbers didn’t feel like it belonged and the black piping on the pants just didn’t feel right.
Plus, there were no numbers on the shoulder pads, making it look bare.
But what I really liked about it was the road uniforms. I have always been a fan of football teams that have white pants that they pair with white jerseys. I always felt that a clean NFL uniform that has white on white really stands out. The 49ers had that and I felt that it was a beautiful look.
What made this uniform set hard to accept was that it was the different one. Out of all the five Super Bowl teams, this was the only one not in the classic set. Montana wore the classic set in his Super Bowl wins. Young won his in this one. (Maybe that’s how he had to get out of Montana’s shadow — look different.)
In all honesty, it wasn’t a very good uniform set. Aesthetically, it was a mess.
It just seemed that there wasn’t a real strong identity to it. And to see the team not having matching helmets didn’t help either. The dropshadow seemed out of place and the addition of black really took away from what this 49ers team was really about.
But by wearing this for the 1994 season, the 49ers created their own identity this year. And they are known for their fifth title in this set. Because of the good memories tied to this set and the fact that for one year, it was so different, it has its place in the 49ers’ fans heart.
And of course, this uniform set would eventually inspiring this brief set. But I am happy at least that right now, the 49ers are back to their roots.
I still am looking for a decently priced throwback Steve Young jersey from that 1994 season. The memories of that season is what makes this mess of a uniform tolerable. And in some way because of the good memories, this uniform set is beautiful because of it.