What is a throwback uniform?

Today I encountered an interesting debate on Twitter when I saw this post.

The list talks about the best throwback uniforms in the NFL and the #1 spot went to the Chargers.

Wait? The Chargers are wearing throwbacks this year? Well, actually, they aren’t. But somehow, this article included this set into the throwback debate.

This made me think about what constitutes as a throwback. The throwback idea is essentially a team reviving a uniform (throwing back) that was once worn in the past. You can look at the team’s history and pinpoint where that uniform was once worn.

What the Chargers have may look similar to an old uniform but it is not a throwback. It was inspired by the classic uniform but it essentially a recoloring of their current uniform. Not a throwback because the team NEVER wore this uniform set at any point in their history.

Compare the real throwback to what they wear now.

The team lists it as a “throwback alternate” (which is misleading and wrong) but it not a throwback if we look at the definition of throwback. The original uniforms didn’t feature navy blue. It has the player number on the helmet. The TV numbers are on the sleeve, not the shoulder. Even the pants designs are different. Similar design, but not a throwback.

Perhaps I don’t understand the meaning of throwback. Or people these days just don’t know how to define it.

But what we have right now with the Chargers — that’s not at throwback. They aren’t wearing this:

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