20. May 2011 · 9 comments · Categories: 2011

The Freep released these not final renderings of the throwback jerseys for the Notre Dame game (HT: mgoblogger Rescue_Dawn).  U-M Media relations advised they won’t comment on the jersey until it’s official, done, and in hand.  Nothing official here!

In the meantime, here’s what the Freep posted:

throwback The Freep staff writer added this:

If this Michigan football jersey looks like something Bennie Oosterbaan or another Wolverines star from yesteryear might have worn, well, that’s the point.

Well, Bennie O. didn’t wear anything that looked like that I can assure you, and I’m not sure if any other star from yesteryear did either.  Here’s Oosterbaan in 1927 for instance:


I’m sure there are certain constraints the athletic department and adidas are dealing with (material, size, and marketing–they want to sell a bunch of these, after all).  The question mark for me concerns those stripes on the sleeves.  I don’t recall stripes having a prominent presence on the gridiron, really, at any point in M history.

Here’s a look the 1899 team photo, with Captain Allen Steckle donning the uncoveted maize and blue killer bee stripes:


It might strain your eyes, but the jerseys worn by the Yostman of 1920 had a faint pinstripe on the sleeves:


The Mellow Mustached Men of Michigan’s inaugural “foot ball” squad of 1879 rocked these stripped fedoras:


So if I were designing these jerseys, I would have gone with a more basic design utilizing the more traditional block M, here in 1898:1898 If they feel they needed to spice them up, maybe add a design a la the actual Oosterbaan photo above, or slap some lines indicating where some old jerseys have makeshift shoulder pads sewn in as seen here in 1901:


Maybe something more like this (wider M, with makeshift shoulder pads):


Again – nothing is official so please only panic quietly to yourself until we see the final designs.  

Whatever happens, at least they didn’t throwback to 1885 (!)…although we definitely need more top hat-and-cane-clad Magicians in our team photos!:


Update:  Eureka!  Well, sort of.  Here’s the 1889 team photo with most of the players either just back from Jackson prison or donning a thick-striped jersey (with turtlenecks): (HT: mgoblog and Doctor Saturday).  BZZZzzzzzz:

And P.S. to Brian, yes, there really is a Horace Prettyman:


  1. Hey Greg :) Great stuff as always.

    I may be the only person on the planet that really likes this design direction.

    Throwbacks don’t have to be replicas, but inspired by previous generations. And, as you have indicated, this uniform is influence spans multiple decades. I think it is great.

    If this was on sale today, I would buy it :)

  2. I thought the great thing about the Big Chill jerseys was that they were firmly rooted in an actual jersey design, that of the 1945-48 hockey teams (with a few slight tweaks, of course). I would much prefer a throwback design that is more simple, like a 1940s jersey with only a number on the front and back of an otherwise blue jersey and the maize to be toned down to its historical hue. But like you said, this isn’t final…though hopefully not as “not final” as the Big Ten division names…

  3. Designed by the same person who thought up the waterfall?

  4. Are you sure you didn’t throw in some pictures from Southern Michigan?

  5. Daniel Medrano

    Greg, there is a photo in the Bentley Archives of two Michigan Players with Jerseys that have stripes on the sleeves (they look more like hash marks, but are stripes none the less). The photo is in the section on the Winged Helmet and the photo is purported to be from 1937 when the new “Princeton Helmet” was introduced. If you care to see it and can’t find it, I will email it to you. Thanks for the great posts.

  6. This makes sense, if I were Michigan’s AD, I also would have the team wear uniforms that invite us to look at their history instead of at their future.

  7. I’m a very long time watcher and I just imagined I’d stop by and say hello for the 1st time. I actually enjoy your posts. Thank you