Below you will find a descending timeline of changes to the Michigan football team uniforms. First drafted January 2013, this project is a work in progress. A huge thanks to Dr. Sap (Steve Sapardanis) for much of the detail especially during the Bo years, and Craig Barker of The Hoover Street Rag for sending over many of the bowl logos, and to Brandon Ho’s epic online jersey collection.
Updates? Edits? Send me an email or post below..
|11/30/2013||vs. Ohio State (Ann Arbor, MI)
SHOES: Several players wear adidas shoes with a blue block ‘M’ on the heel – one style has a maize wrapping around the ankle, another with a maize stripe around the back:
|10/19/2013||vs. Indiana (Ann Arbor, MI)
HELMET: Team wears pink ribbon for Breast Cancer Awareness on back of the honor.
Team continues to wear LHS decal introduced 10/5/13.
|10/5/2013||vs. Minnesota (Ann Arbor, MI)
HELMET: Team wears helmet sticker that reads ‘LHS’ on the back of the helmet in honor of the late Lucas Higgins Stenavich, the son of former offensive tackle Adam Stenavich.
|9/7/2013||vs. Notre Dame (Ann Arbor, MI)
LEGENDS: Tom Harmon’s #98, retired after Harmon’s final game after the 1940 season, returns to the field. QB Devin Gardner switches from #12 to #98, and dons the Legends patch.
|8/31/2013||vs. Central Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) and presumably for all 2013 games:
JERSEY: A larger block ‘M’ inserted above the nameplate below the back neckline.
GLOVES: Team wears gloves with large maize block ‘M’ on palm.
|8/27/2013||All 2013 games
LEGENDS: U-M athletic department releases names of players that will wear the open Michigan Football Legend jersey/patches for 2013:
* Tight end Devin Funchess: #87 Ron Kramer
* Defensive back Courtney Avery: #11 The Wisterts
* Wide Receiver Jeremy Gallon: #21 Desmond Howard
|4/13/2013||Spring Game 2013 (Ann Arbor, MI)
JERSEY: Team wears special homeplate-shaped patch on left chest, reads ‘CS Mott Children’s Hospital, Spring Game’.
JERSEY: During spring practice quarterbacks wear orange Nike-manufactured Oregon State jerseys with black numbers with Adidas logo sewn on (left). During Spring Game, quarterbacks wear Adidas manufactured orange jerseys (right):
|1/1/2013||Outback Bowl vs. South Carolina (Tampa, FL)
HELMET: Helmets were painted with matte finish for the first time in team history:
JERSEY: Maize numbers with blue outline on white jerseys. Blue covering on shoulders; sponsor patch on left breast. Note: Unfortunately in the Florida sun the bright maize on the white jerseys made it nearly impossible to decipher the numbers from a distance (or on TV).
|11/10/2012||vs. Northwestern (Ann Arbor, MI)
LEGENDS: Michigan officially unretires the #11 jersey of the Wistert brothers – Francis Albert, and Alvin. Safety Jordan Kovacs becomes first player honored with the #11 and wears the Legends patch on his jersey. Albert “The Ox” Wistert, the only living brother, attends the game and is honored prior to kickoff.
|10/13/2012||vs. Illinois (Ann Arbor, MI)
LEGENDS: Michigan officially unretires the #48 jersey of former Michigan center, President Gerald Ford.LB Desmond Morgan (left) is honored with the #48 and dons the Legends patch:
|9/15/2012|| vs. Massachusetts (Ann Arbor, MI)
LEGENDS: Michigan officially unretires the #87 jersey of Ron Kramer. TE Brandon Moore first player honored with the #87 and wears the Legends patch on his jersey the rest of the season.
|9/8/2012||vs. Air Force (Ann Arbor, MI)
HELMET: Helmet numbers removed for remainder of 2012 and beyond…
SHOES/SOCKS: Blue with maize block ‘M’:
|9/1/2012||Cowboys Classic vs. Alabama (Dallas, TX)
HELMET: Helmet numbers return from 2011 season, however, but font is more of a block style and color is a brighter shade of maize—a closer match to the maize uniform color.
HELMET: For 2012 (and continued in 2013), Michigan unveils “a new paint technology on the maize wings on the helmet in order…” and “create a more durable surface.” Note that the paint also included gold “flecks” or flakes – clearly visible in person, tough to see on film or in photos:
JERSEY: White road jersey with maize across the shoulders and down to the sleeve. Blue piping will separated the maize from the white on the jersey. A blue block ‘M’ appeared on the sleeves, numbers were blue.
PANTS: Maize pants, block block M on left thigh.
GLOVES: The Wolverines’ adizero Smoke gloves will featured lyrics to “The Victors”
SHOES/SOCKS: Striped socks with maize block ‘M’.
|2012||All home games
JERSEY: ‘MICHIGAN’ added on back neckline of home jerseys.
|1/3/2012||Sugar Bowl vs. Virginia Tech (New Orleans, LA)
JERSEY: White (road) jersey with two blue stripes on each shoulder, a blue neckline and a blue block M on the upper right chest, Sugar Bowl logo with sponsor patch on left chest.
|10/15/2011||vs. Michigan State (East Lansing, MI)
JERSEY: Unannounced to the public, U-M swaps uniforms after warm-ups in East Lansing to a white version similar to the Under the Lights/Notre Dame jerseys. Upper left breast has block ‘M’, maize and blue stripes on shoulder, blue numbers on chest over white.
PANTS: White pants, blue block ‘M’ on left thigh.
|9/10/11||Under the Lights vs. Notre Dame (Ann Arbor, MI)
JERSEY: Special ‘throwback’ uniforms revealed and marketed prior to the 2011 season. Jerseys feature a large block ‘M’ on mid-chest, mini jersey number on left chest, maize and blue striped sleeves
SHOES/SOCKS: White with blue block ‘M’ on socks.
HELMET: As part of the throwback look, helmets have gray facemasks and more importantly, helmet number decals. For unknown reasons the maize shade on the number decals is darker than the maize on the wings and stripes. Players like them and decide to wear them for the remainder of the 2011 season:
LEGENDS: Michigan Football Legends program begins. Current players will wear the jersey numbers of former U-M standouts. On this day Desmond Howard’s #21 enters the Legends program; WR Junior Hemingway wears #21 with a honorary patch on the jersey breast.
|2011||All home games
JERSEY: A block ‘M’ added on back neckline of home jerseys.
|9/18/2010|| vs. Massachusetts (Ann Arbor, MI)
HELMET: Team honors Michigan legend Ron Kramer with #87 helmet sticker.
|August 2010||Pre-season drills
HELMET: As a punishment, quarterback Tate Forcier (and a few other players) have their wings temporary removed from their helmets :)
JERSEY: “Those who stay will be champions!” and “M GO BLUE” sewed inside jerseys. Interior of shoulder lists each year U-M won the Big Ten title.
JERSEY: “Maize horns” added to white (road) jerseys.
|1/1/2008||Capital One Bowl vs. Florida (Orlando, FL)
JERSEY: Final Nike jersey after adidas deal signed. Jerseys include Capitol One Bowl patch on left chest on white jersey.
|July 2007||JERSEY – PANTS – SHOES/SOCKS: U-M signs contract with adidas for footwear and apparel for all 25 U-M athletic teams. The new agreement begins with the 2008-09 academic year and extends through the 2016-17 season.|
|1/1/2007||Rose Bowl vs. USC (Pasadena, CA)
HELMET: Team honors Bo Schembechler and Gerald Ford, who passed away in November and December 2006 respectively, with 48/BO helmet sticker.
|12/28/2005||Alamo Bowl vs. Nebraska (San Antonio, TX)
JERSEY: Bowl logo/sponsor patch on right chest on white jersey:
JERSEY: Nike introduces a lighter-weight material to the jerseys with design changes. Per an athletic department press release: “The two most visible changes to the U-M jerseys are the names/numbers and the modifications to the away uniform. The player numbers and names on both jerseys will be tackle twill and are stitched on rather than silk screened like the previous jerseys. The Wolverines away jersey returns to an older version (1976) with the removal of the Block ‘M’ from the sleeves and the incorporation of the numbers to the sleeve rather than the shoulder. It also adds the maize piping along the shoulder line to separate the two fabrics.”
|1/1/2005||Rose Bowl vs. Texas (Pasadena, CA)
JERSEY: Rose Bowl patch on right breast, shoulders decorated with different designs denoting back-to-back Big Ten championships (right), and Rose Bowl (left):
|1/1/2004|| Rose Bowl vs. USC (Pasadena, CA)
JERSEY: Shoulders decorated with ‘Michigan’ Rose Bowl logo. Left shoulder reads ‘Rose Bowl Jan 1 2004’, right shoulder ‘Big Ten Champions 2003’.
|11/22/2003||vs. Ohio State (Ann Arbor, MI)
JERSEY: Michigan and Ohio State wear special patch on right chest commemorating the 100th game between the two schools.
Outback Bowl vs. Florida (Tampa, FL)
JERSEY: Blue jerseys with bowl logo and sponsor patch on shoulders.
Citrus Bowl vs. Tennessee, Orlando, FL
JERSEY: White jerseys with bowl logo and sponsor patch on right chest, with game date below.
|2001|| All games post 9/11
JERSEY: U-M adds American flag decal to upper left shoulder area of both navy and white jerseys.
|1/1/2000||FedEx Orange Bowl vs. Alabama, Miami, FL
JERSEY: White jerseys with sponsor patch on left chest, silk screened ‘Michigan Orange Bowl, Jan 1, 2000’ on right chest. Note absence of shoulder logo/Big Jonnies in a bowl game.
|1/1/1999||Florida Citrus Bowl vs. Arkansas, Orlando, FL
JERSEY: Blue jerseys with bowl and sponsor patch on shoulders. Left shoulder reads ‘1999’ below the logo, right shoulder ‘1998 Big Ten Champions’
|1/1/1998||Rose Bowl vs. Washington State, Pasadena, CA
JERSEY: Blue jerseys with shoulders decorated with maize block ‘M’ with bowl logos on either side, with ‘Rose Bowl’ above and ‘1998’ below.
Also Big Ten logo on right chest with ‘CHAMPIONS 1997’ below logo:
|1997|| All games
JERSEY: The white (road) jerseys are changed slightly as an blue block “M” (with maize trim) is added to the sleeves.
|1/1/1997||Citrus Bowl vs. Tennessee, Orlando, FL
JERSEY: Blue jerseys with bowl patch and year on right chest:
|12/28/1995||Alamo Bowl vs. Texas A&M, San Antonio, TX
JERSEY: White jerseys with bowl patch on right chest:
HELMET: Lloyd Carr takes over as head coach and helmet decal award stickers are removed the helmet. Saps mourns.
JERSEY: Patch celebrating Big Ten’s 100th year placed on left chest.
JERSEY: From 1995 (to 1997) U-M Nike home jerseys had a block ‘M’ embossed on the shoulders, which is to say that you could see the impression of it, but only at the proper angle:
|12/30/1994|| Holiday Bowl vs. Colorado State (San Diego, CA)
JERSEY: White jersey, bowl logo patch on shoulders.
|March 1994||JERSEY/PANTS SHOES/SOCKS: Michigan signs 6-year contract with Nike for, “apparel and shoes, totaling more than 23,000 items over six years for football, basketball, hockey, baseball, softball, swimming, wrestling, golf, tennis, field hockey, cross-country, track and field, gymnastics, volleyball, soccer and cheerleading squads.”|
|10/8/1994||vs. Michigan State (Ann. Arbor, MI)
JERSEY: U-M retires the #48 of former President Gerald Ford at a halftime ceremony. (In 2012 Ford and the #48 officially entered the Michigan Football Legends program and returned to the field.)
PANTS: Blue block ‘M’ added on front left hip increases in size:
|1/1/1994||Hall of Fame Bowl vs. NC State (Tampa, FL)
JERSEY: White jerseys; shoulders decorated with maize block ‘M’ over Hall of Fame logo, reads ‘Michigan’ above and ‘Hall of Fame Bowl 1994’ below.
|1/1/1993||Rose Bowl vs. Washington (Pasadena, CA)
JERSEY: Shoulders decorated with maize block ‘M’ flanked by Rose Bowl logo. Left shoulder reads ‘Rose Bowl 1993’, right shoulder reads ‘Big Ten Champions’ with “5” indicating five straight conference titles.
|1993|| All games
PANTS: Small blue block ‘M’ added to the front left hip of the pants for both home and away uniforms.
|1/1/1991||Gator Bowl vs. Mississippi (Jacksonville, FL)
JERSEY: Bowl logo patch with ‘Michigan’ above and ‘1991’ below on left chest:
|1/1/1990|| Rose Bowl vs. USC (Pasadena, CA)
JERSEY: Shoulders decorated with Rose Bowl logo in Bo Schembechler’s final game as head coach. Below logo is ‘Back to Back’ on a scroll.
|1/2/1989||Rose Bowl vs. USC (Pasadena, CA)
JERSEY: White jerseys – shoulders decorated with maize block ‘M’ logo flanked by roses with stems, ‘Big Ten Champions’ script on right, ‘Rose Bowl 1989’ on left.
Hall of Fame Bowl vs. Alabama, (Tampa, FL)
JERSEY: Hall of Fame Bowl logo patch on left chest
|1/1/1987|| Rose Bowl vs. Arizona State (Pasadena, CA)
JERSEY: White jersey, shoulders decorated with maize block ‘M’, rose logo and script ‘Rose Bowl’ and ‘1987’.
|1/1/1986|| Fiesta Bowl vs. Nebraska (Tempe, AZ)
JERSEY: Blue jersey, shoulders decorated with bowl logo and script.
|9/25/1985||vs. Maryland (Ann Arbor, MI)
HELMET: Helmet vendor names on helmet nosebumper is replaced by blue ‘MICHIGAN’ label:
HELMET: Helmet decals return with a slight change. The new stickers feature snarling Wolverine with laces added:
You know how they looked, (a cropped version of Brian Masck’s classic shot):
Decals are removed by Lloyd Carr in 1995
HELMET: Helmet decals are removed for two seasons, returning in 1985.
|1/1/1984||Sugar Bowl vs. Auburn (New Orleans, LA)
JERSEY: For the first time, a special bowl patch/logo appears on a Michigan uniform, the one on the shoulder celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Sugar Bowl.
SHOES: Nike becomes the exclusive shoe provider:
HELMET: Another helmet design change. The three stripes now converge at the BOTTOM of the back of the helmet.
JERSEY: U-M partners with Champion for their team jerseys. The numeral font on the jersey drastically changes – going from bold BLOCK numbers to a thinner, sleeker and more rounded font.
JERSEY: NCAA bans “tear away” style jerseys.
JERSEY: Names appear on the back of both blue and white jerseys per the request of the players.
SHOES: Converse and Pony branded shoes are introduced.
|12/28/1979||Gator Bowl, vs. North Carolina (Jacksonville, FL)
JERSEY: Names appear on back of (blue) Gator Bowl jerseys.
JERSEY: WR Anthony Carter wears a special “tear-away” jersey. AC from 1980:
|1/1/1977||Rose Bowl vs. USC (Pasadena, CA)
JERSEY: Player names appear on the back for the first time and the striping changes on the sleeves – one thick middle yellow stripe is flanked by two thinner blue stripes with some white in between.
Here’s an example from the ‘78 Rose Bowl:
PANTS: U-M goes to maize pants for home and away games. (Pic via GutsNGlue).
HELMET: U-M switches to BIKE helmets for the entire team (90% of the players make the switch – a few still wear Macgregor, Rawlings, or Riddell helmets).
HELMET: Small number decals (that appeared in 1971) are removed.
HELMET: Subtle change to design as the middle-strip “tail” is removed and now all three stripes converge at the midway point in the back of the helmet.
SHOES: Nike shoes are introduced, seen below on #41 Rob Lytle.
|1975|| All Games
HELMET: U-M changes the facemask color from gray to blue.
HELMET: Helmet decals get a facelift – now a “snarling” Wolverine head.
JERSEY: White pants are used for road games starting in 1974 through 1975.
JERSEY: Road uniforms changed to all-white with thin blue and yellow stripes on the end of the jersey sleeves, and matched in same stripes down the outsides of the pants.
MISC: Equipment manager Jon Falk hired away from Miami, OH by Bo Schembechler.
HELMET: Note this is approximately the time when the majority of the helmet reconditioning is taken over by Capitol Varsity Sports in Oxford, OH.
JERSEY: Road/white uniforms change: blue and maize striping appears on the bottom of the sleeves
PANTS: White with blue and maize stripes.
|1/1/1972|| Rose Bowl vs. USC (Pasadena, CA)
SHOES/SOCKS: Back Billy Taylor gets clearance from Bo to wear blue Pumas during the season. For the Rose Bowl, he has the Puma stripe colored maize and adds maize laces. Full story here.
HELMET: Starting in 1971 and through the 1975 season, small number decals are affixed back of the helmets, centered at the bottom:
SHOES: In 1971, Puma-branded shoes are introduced:
Bo Schembechler arrives as head coach and performs a massive overhaul of the uniform:
HELMET: Maize numbers are removed from the sides of the helmets (they return for the 2011 season and the first game for the 2012 season).
HELMET: Award stickers are placed on helmets in the form of solid maize football-shaped decals. (Don Moorhead’s 1970 helmet via Helmet Hut):
SHOES/SOCKS: Team adopts new style of shoe and cleat for use on the newly installed artificial turf in Michigan Stadium. Black trim added on socks.
JERSEY: Block ‘M’ removed from sleeves on home and road jerseys, replaced with numbers:
JERSEY: Block ‘M’ added to home (blue) jersey sleeves (now on both home and road).
SHOES/SOCKS: Black block ‘M’ on white socks. Players are primarily wearing Riddell (black shoes with white & black trim around ankles) and Spot-bilt cleats, but some are adopting the “new” shoe – adidas.
HELMET: Team MVP Dennis “Denny” Fitzgerald becomes the last Michigan player (and many suggest the last player of any college team) to wear a leather helmet. Photo to the right via Bentley Historical Library.
HELMET: Mild change – the center stripe had been extended so that it now goes to the very bottom of the rear of the helmet. (Pics and notes via Helmet Hut).
HELMET: The team added face masks to their helmets for the first time and identified the players with two-inch Green Bay gold numerals on each side of the winged and striped navy blue helmet. (Notes via Helmet Hut).
While the appearance of the helmet numbers is commonly associated with Bump Elliott’s arrival in 1959 here’s a shot from the 1957 Michiganensian pg.354 of Ron Kramer going after a Buckeye during the ‘56 season:
|10/15/1949||vs. Northwestern (Evanston, IL)
JERSEY: Michigan wears white jerseys for the first time while playing Northwestern on the road. (Source: Champions of the West). Photo via the The Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, Iowa) – October 16, 1949:
Via the U-M Bentley Historical Library: Bob Chappuis (and fiancée Anne Gestie) appeared on the cover of LOOK magazine just before the 1948 Rose Bowl game.
HELMET: According to the U-M Bentley Historical Library, the first Michigan facemask may have appeared this season on the helmet of Gene Derricote. More from the Bentley here.
|11/23/1940||vs. Ohio State (Columbus, OH)
JERSEY: Following his final game at Michigan, Tom Harmon’s #98 jersey is retired at the direction of longtime equipment manager Henry Hatch. Harmon later wins the 1940 Heisman Trophy.
Note: The #98 jersey will appear again on the field 73 years later in 2013 as Tom Harmon enters the Michigan Football Legends program.
JERSEY: According to the Michigan Daily, U-M introduced “Yellow, Lightweight Pants” this season. Via the 10/1/1940 M Daily:
“Those drab colored pants of last year have been abandoned in the light of this style wave. And what a ‘light.’ They’re a brilliant yellow now…and knitted at that. This material is supposed to eliminate binding and, of all things, assures a form fit.”
Photo from the October 6 Michigan Daily:
SHOES/SOCKS: From a photo of Tom Harmon dated 1940, check out the black hi-top cleats and block ‘M’ on socks:
|1938 (and forever)||All games – debut on 10/1/1938 vs. Michigan State (Ann Arbor, MI)
HELMET: Fritz Crisler takes over as head coach, introduces the “winged” helmet design. Here’s pistol back Paul Kromer (83) heading toward one of his 2 touchdowns that day in the fresh new header (via the 1939 Michiganensian):
JERSEY: First time jersey numbers appear on the front of Michigan uniforms, evidenced by the end-of-year team photos. Remarkably what is believed to be an actual 1931 jersey belonging to former player Norm Daniels showed up on eBay in 2008:
|11/10/1928||vs. Navy, Baltimore Stadium, Baltimore, MD
JERSEY: Navy insisted on wearing blue, so Michigan team wore “bright yellow jerseys with blue numbers. The team was said to look like canaries, and the uniforms were put away after the 6-6 tie.” (Source: Champions of the West)
|1927||JERSEY: Following the 1927 season, Michigan retires the #47 jersey belonging to Bennie Oosterbaan.(In 2012 Oosterbaan and the #47 officially entered the Michigan Football Legends program and returned to the field.)To the right, here’s a colorized version of Oosterbaan’s 1927 gear thanks to reader Larry.|
JERSEY: According to U-M Bentley Historical Library, numbers appear on Michigan uniforms for the first time in 1915.
JERSEY/HELMET/SHOES: Put up for auction in 2010, what appears to be an authentic full uniform from the (approximately) 1911 Michigan football team:
JERSEY: From the team photo, the majority of the squad wears white jerseys with laces that run all the way up the front. Lightly colored lettering ‘U of M’ letters are sewn on the front:
JERSEY: From the team photo, its appears most of the the team donned dark sweaters with ‘U of M’ brushed or painted onto the front. Several of the players all wear a short beanie cap:
|5/30/1879||vs. Racine, (White Stocking Park, Chicago, IL)
JERSEY & SHOE/SOCKS: According to Champions of the West, the uniform’s for the first game in history consisted of “white, close-fitting canvas with blue stockings and a belt.”Based on the team photo available at the U-M Bentley Library, the team also donned nifty striped hats:
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