This week the Atlanta Falcons are wearing their popular throwback uniforms against the Tennessee Titans. Additionally, the Falcons will wear the black throwbacks on Oct. 27 vs. the Seattle Seahawks, and on Thanksgiving Day vs. the New Orleans Saints.
I saw this as a good opportunity to review the history of the Falcons’ uniforms, so without further ado, let’s get started.
1966-1970 Atlanta Falcons
The 1966 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise’s inaugural year in the National Football League. The uniforms were very unique compared to the others in the league, as the team had black jerseys with white numbers, white pants, and red helmets. They were very similar to the throwback uniforms which the Falcons briefly wore in the early 2000s.
The thin gold stripes on the Falcons helmet were to apparently appease the folks at Georgia Tech who thought the Falcons looked too similar to the University of Georgia’s football team. To fix everything, the Falcons wore two thin gold stripes on their helmets from 1966-1969. This is still a favorite for many Falcons fans. Well-known Falcons who wore these uniforms were linebacker Tommy Nobis and defensive end Claude Humphrey.
1971-1977 Atlanta Falcons
The 1971 season brought the first major change to Falcons uniforms, as the team changed their look from black jerseys to red. Popular players who wore these uniforms were quarterback Steve Bartkowski and wide receiver Alfred Jenkins. Atlanta wore these uniforms well into the late 1970s.
1978-1989 Atlanta Falcons
Silver was introduced in 1978, as the Falcons pants switched from white pants to silver pants, as shown above. I personally like the addition of silver, and it lasted in the Falcons color scheme until the 2002 season. Also, the collar stripes became more detailed, and the road uniforms’ numbers changed from black to red.
This uniform is likely best remembered by older Falcons fans, as the team had its best season up to that point, going 12-4 in 1980. In 1984 the Falcons switched from white facemasks to black facemasks, which has been the case ever since. Falcons such as quarterback Steve Bartkowski and running back Gerald Riggs donned these uniforms.
1990-1996 Atlanta Falcons
As the Falcons entered a new decade, they made another change. The team reintroduced black jerseys as their home uniforms. Even though this wasn’t the first time the Falcons wore black jerseys, this time they had black helmets to go with them. Red was practically removed, as the only red that was visible on the uniforms came by way of thin stripes on the pants and around the numbers. The away jersey for the Falcons even had black numbers now, with black socks. The look started the Falcons in a new direction uniforms-wise, that would be upgraded down the road.
1997-2002 Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons improved on the 1990’s look by reintroducing some red to the away uniforms. The home uniforms basically remained the same, but the away jerseys returned to having red numbers and red socks. The Falcons had their most success up to that point while wearing these uniforms, by not only making their first Super Bowl, but also being the first NFL team to win a playoff game on the road at Lambeau Field. Safe to say, these uniforms hold a special place in the heart of many Falcons fans.
2003-2008 Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons made a revolutionary change prior to the 2003 season, which would reflect their look for many years to come. The Falcons not only changed their uniforms, but for the first time, received a new logo. Also, for the first time in franchise history, the Falcons had an alternate jersey, switching between red and black. The black uniform is something fans still dream about to this day, Another look that had a short run was the Falcons’ black pants. They were stylish and clean, but disappeared into Falcons history following the 2008 season.
During the Falcons’ 2009 season they went back to basics. They kept the 2003 look, but ditched their black alternate uniform and replaced it with a throwback, which is similar to the throwback they wear today, minus the red helmet due to the NFL’s one-helmet rule. Since then, the team has mostly stayed the same, minus a few tweaks, a Color Rush uniform, and alterations to the collar prior to the 2017 season.
Well, that does it folks. Many of us thought that the team could look to update their uniforms as they debuted the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but that was not the case. Although seeing some of the more recent uniforms designed by Nike makes me nervous about a change, I would like to see the Falcons return to a more classic look and bring the black back.
Which uniforms are your favorite, and do you think the Falcons need a change in the future?