Welcome to the MVictors Uniform Timeline where below you will find a descending timeline of changes to the Michigan football team uniforms over the years.   Originally drafted in 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.

History of Michigan Football Uniform Changes -

Do you have any updates?  Edits?  Tweaks?  Send me an email, tweet at me or post below..

9/12/2015 vs. Oregon State (Ann Arbor, MI)
HELMET: Helmet stickers return:
Effectively this is copy of the 1985-1993 (Version #3) helmet sticker, with a blue ring around the oval, and a darker maize tone.  There are two versions of the sticker, one facing left, the other right.

JERSEY:  Blue tone on home jersey is darker. 
PANTS:  Maize tone on home pants is darker. 
De'veon Smith - Michigan Daily  

Items removed from home uniform:
* Block M from back neckline
* Block M on pants (first time since 1993)

9/7/2015 Ann Arbor, MI
HELMET: At Monday press conference prior to Oregon State game, Harbaugh responds to a question from a handsome blogger and confirms that the helmet stickers did indeed return in 2015, awarded after the Utah game.

vs. Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)
JERSEY/PANTS:  All-white jersey and pants combination return for first time since 1976 Orange Bowl and include with maize and blue stripes on end of sleeves and down the side of the pants.  Design mimics road uniform design worn for the 1973-1975 seasons.  Maize and blue tones are darker [this is confirmed with U-M equipment staff].  

Items removed from away uniform:
* Block M from back neckline
* Block M on pants (first time since 1993)
 Jabrill Peppers Michigan
PANTS: Some players also wear thigh pads with embossed block M:

Photo Sep 03, 6 21 44 PM
HELMET:  Darker tone of maize on helmet:

8/13/2015 via Twitter
APPAREL CONTRACT:  Michael Jordan tweets a short video in which he appears and states, “I’d like to introduce my first football team to the Jordan family.  Go Blue.”

Jumpman Logo 
On September 2 2015, Hackett confirms the “Jumpman” logo will appear on the 2016 uniforms:  “(The Jumpman logo) is on the uniform,” Hackett said Wednesday. “I’ve seen the design.”

7/28/2015 Ann Arbor, MI
LEGENDS/JERSEY:  “The University of Michigan Athletic Department announced today (July 28) plans to take the jerseys associated with the Michigan Football Legends back off the field. Gerald Ford (#48), Tom Harmon (#98), Desmond Howard (#21), Ron Kramer (#87), Bennie Oosterbaan (#47) and the Wistert brothers (#11) — Albert, Alvin and Whitey — will have their jerseys retired in a ceremony against Ohio State on Nov. 28.

At this time, Howard’s No. 21 jersey will officially be retired. Howard’s was the only jersey of the six that was not formally retired at Michigan prior to the implementation of the legends program.”

7/6/2015 Ann Arbor, MI
NIKE and Michigan 
APPAREL CONTRACT: Via press release: “The University of Michigan has reached an agreement in principle with NIKE to become the Wolverines’ official athletic footwear, apparel and equipment provider to 2027, with an option to extend the deal to 2031. The partnership will commence August 1, 2016 and will see NIKE supply all 31 of U-M’s athletics programs with uniforms, footwear, apparel and equipment.””
3/31/2015 Ann Arbor, MI
APPAREL CONTRACT:  Via the Michigan DailyWhile addressing a group of 20 students at the Michigan League, AD Jim Hackett acknowledges U-M is reevaluating the apparel sponsorship:

‘“We’ve organized — this is a secret — a project team to look at the question of, there’s really three players: Adidas, Under Armour and Nike.”

..After the completion of the fireside chat, Hackett told the Daily that if Michigan aims to switch from Adidas, it will have to do so by the end of the year.’

SHOES:  During the meeting Hackett adds, “All the shoes are going to be black, he’s making it more conservative, Harbaugh-esque..”

10/11/2014 vs. Penn State (Ann Arbor, MI)
The the adidas ‘Go Blue’ TECHFIT football uniform in unveiled.
JERSEY: Description from #1000SSS: “The jersey and pants feature metallic blue, laser-cut stripes that shine under the lights while ultra-light, no-sew metallic numbers stretch with the jersey, and the compression base layer features the Michigan “M” on the bicep and “GO BLUE” across the chest.”Dennis Norfleet pregame:
Norfleet sizing up
SHOES:  Most of the players also wear all-maize shoes:
The maize kicks
9/6/2014 at Notre Dame (South Bend, IN)
SOCKS: White adidas socks introduced:
8/30/2014 vs. Appalachian State (Ann Arbor, MI)
HELMET:  Nosebumper, unchanged since 1985 when the manufacturer name was replaced with a label reading ‘MICHIGAN’, now features an embossed block M:
Photo Aug 30, 10 47 18 AM HELMET: Maize paint is a darker shade in 2014 – analysis and comparison here.LEGENDS:  WR Devin Funchess relinquishes the #87 Ron Kramer jersey/patch to wear the iconic (but not Legend) #1 jersey.  So, to start the 2014 season the #11 (Wisterts), #87 (Ron Kramer) and #21 (Desmond Howard) are not on the roster.
IMG_9595 - Grin
8/8/2014 Preseason
The U-M athletic department announces the team will wear “the new ‘Go Blue’ TECHFIT football uniform’ against Penn State on October 11, 2014.More from adidas here.
2/12/2014 Ann Arbor, MI
MISC:  Michigan announcesMichigan announces the hiring of equipment manager Brad Berlin to replace longtime (1974-2013) equipment manager Jon Falk.
12/28/2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl vs. Kansas State (Tempe, AZ)
JERSEY:  Team wears white jerseys with sponsor patch on left chest.
Note an accommodation was made to keep the Legends patch in the same slot, as the sponsor patch was set just over the left collar:
IMG_6861 gallon unitimeline
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:
M Shoes
1 Block M shoes
10/19/2013 vs. Indiana (Ann Arbor, MI)
HELMET:  Team wears pink ribbon for Breast Cancer Awareness on back of the honor.
Michigan helmet ribbon
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.
Gardner 98IMG_2577
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.
2013 Uniform
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):Devin Gardner Orange
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).8 pigskin gardner
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.
The Wistert Brothers #11 - Michigan Football Legends Patch
10/13/2012 Desmond Morgan - Michigan - Gerald Ford #48 Legends jerseyvs. 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:Gerald Ford #48 - Michigan Football 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.
Ron Kramer #87 - Michigan Football Legends Patch
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’:
Michigan - Blue socks, Maize Block M

LEGENDS:  Michigan officially unretires the #47 jersey of Bennie Oosterbaan.
LB Jake Ryan becomes the first player honored with the #47 and wears the Legends patch on his jersey.

Jake Bennie


Bennie Oosterbaan #47 - Michigan Football Legends Patch

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.  Also, team includes a special Cowboys Classic logo on the back of the helmet:
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:
Maize Flakes
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 Michigan Cowboys Classic Uniforms
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.
Michigan Sugar Bowl
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.
2011 Michigan uniforms vs. Michigan State
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.
Michigan Under the Lights Uniforms - 9/10/11 vs. Notre Dame
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.Junior Hemingway - Legends Jersey #21
Desmond Howard #21 - Michigan Football Legends Patch
2011 All home games
JERSEY:  A block ‘M’ added on back neckline of home jerseys.
9/18/2010 #87 Helmet Sticker for Ron Kramer - 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 :)
Tate Forcier - Wingless Helmet 2010
2008 All games
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.Michigan football uniform 2008
1/1/2008 2007 Capital One BowlCapital One Bowl vs. Florida (Orlando, FL)
JERSEY:  Final Nike jersey after adidas deal signed.   Jerseys include Capital One Bowl patch on left chest on white jersey.
July 2007 APPAREL CONTRACT:  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 Bo 48 StickerRose 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:
2005 Alamo Bowl Michigan
2005 All Games
  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):
2005 Rose Bowl shoulders
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’.2004
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.


1/1/2003 2003 Outback Bowl
Outback Bowl vs. Florida (Tampa, FL)
JERSEY: Blue jerseys with bowl logo and sponsor patch on shoulders.
1/1/2002 2002 Florida Citrus
Citrus Bowl vs. Tennessee, Orlando, FL
JERSEY: White jerseys with bowl logo and sponsor patch on right chest, with game date below.
2001 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.
2000 Michigan Orange Bowl jersey
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’1999 Michigan Florida Citrus Bowl shoulders
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:1998 Rose Bowl jersey michigan
1997 1997 blue block M 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:
1997 Outback Bowl jersey
12/28/1995 Alamo Bowl vs. Texas A&M, San Antonio, TX
JERSEY: White jerseys with bowl patch on right chest:
1995 Alamo Bowl
1995 All games Timmy B Patch
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 1994 Holiday Bowl Holiday Bowl vs. Colorado State (San Diego, CA)
JERSEY:  White jersey, bowl logo patch on shoulders.
March 1994 APPAREL CONTRACT: 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.)
1994 All games
PANTS: Blue block ‘M’ added on front left hip increases in size:
1994 block M
1/1/1994 1994 Hall of Fame bowlHall 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.
1994 Hall of Fame bowl 2
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 Rose Bowl shoulders
1993 1993 Hip 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:
1991 Gator Bowl
1/1/1990  1990 Rose BowlRose 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.
1989 Rose Bowl Jersey Shoulders
1/2/1988  1988 Hall of Fame Bowl
Hall of Fame Bowl vs. Alabama, (Tampa, FL)
JERSEY: Hall of Fame Bowl logo patch on left chest
1/1/1987 1987 Rose Bowl Patch 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 1986 Fiesta Bowl 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:
1985 All Games
HELMET:  Helmet decals return with a slight change.  The new stickers feature snarling Wolverine with laces added: Michigan helmet decals 1985-1994
Here’s an actual 1985-era decal via the Dr. Sap archives:
 Michigan Helmet Sticker - 1985-1994
Decals are removed by Lloyd Carr in 1995
1983 All Games
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.1984 Sugar Bowl - Michigan uniforms
1983 All Games
SHOES:  Nike becomes the exclusive shoe provider. Zoom in on the 1983 team photo or check out Bo here:

Bo Schembechler Nikes

1982 All Games
HELMET:  Another helmet design change. The three stripes now converge at the BOTTOM of the back of the helmet.
1981 All Games
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.
1980 All Games
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.
1979 Gator Bowl Greer
1979 All Games
JERSEY: WR Anthony Carter wears a special “tear-away” jersey.   AC from 1980:
1980 Tear Away
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 white space in between:
1976 All Games
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.
PANTS:  U-M goes to maize pants for home and away games. (Pic via GutsNGlue).   Also note that pants are in two different tones of maize which appear in photos in 197619771978.
From 1978, here’s an alternate view of the two-tone pants from a media event:
Michigan - Two Tone pants - Jerry Meter
SHOES:  Nike shoes are introduced, seen below on #41 Rob Lytle.
1976 Rob Lytle and Rick Leach
1975 1975 Blue Facemasks Michigan All Games
HELMET:  U-M changes the facemask color from gray to blue.

HELMET:  Helmet decals get a facelift – now a “snarling” Wolverine head.Michigan helmet decals 1975-1982
An actual 1975-1982 helmet sticker via the Dr. Sap archives:
Photo Sep 11, 8 07 41 AM

1974 1974 OSU BellAll Games
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.

1973 All Games
JERSEY/PANTS: Road uniforms changed to all-white – with thin blue and maize striping on the end of the jersey sleeves with matching striping down the outside of the pants.  This design is worn through the conclusion of the 1975 season (concluding with the 1976 Orange Bowl).

From 1973 game at Michigan State:
1973 Michigan State vs. Michigan (East Lansing)

1/1/1972 Billy Taylor at 1972 Rose Bowl 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.
1971 All Games
HELMET:  Starting in 1971 and through the 1975 season, small number decals are affixed back of the helmets, centered at the bottom:
Michigan football helmet numerals
SHOES: In 1971, Puma-branded shoes are introduced:

Michigan Football wearing Puma shoes

1969 All Games
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. 

1969 BO Decals 
(Don Moorhead’s 1970 helmet via Helmet Hut):
Don Moorhead Helmet with decals 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:1969 black trim

1968 All Games
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.
1968 Michigan football
1962 Away games [or at least vs. Michigan State, East Lansing MI 10/13/1962)
JERSEY:  Away (white) jerseys feature a wolverine “wolverbear” logo just under the left shoulder:
1962 Patch

logo combined

1960 All games
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.Dennis Franklin - Michigan - Leather Helmet Photo to the right via Bentley Historical Library.
1957 All games
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).
1957 helmet numbersJim Pace photo from the U-M Bentley Historical Library:
1956 All games
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:
kramer head
Here’s the photo of Tom Maentz and Kramer used for the cover of the November 12, 1956 edition of Sports Illustrated:
Ron Kramer and Tom Maentz (Sports Illustrated 1956)
JERSEY:  Following the 1956 season, Michigan retires the #87 belonging to Ron Kramer.  (In 2012 Kramer and the #87 officially entered the Michigan Football Legends program and returned to the field.)
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).  Photos via the U-M Bentley Historical Library:

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.
It is one of the earliest known color photos of the Michigan Uniform:
Bob Chappuis LOOK magazine

1946 Gene DerricotteAll games
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.
1940 All games
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:
1940 Harmon Michigan Pants
SHOES/SOCKS:  From a photo of Tom Harmon dated 1940, check out the black hi-top cleats and block ‘M’ on socks:
1940 Old 98
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 headgear (via the 1939 Michiganensian):
1 Kromer running
1930 All games.
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:
1931 Michigan football jersey
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)

Here’s a look at the canaries via a shot from the game in the 1929 Michiganensian:
1928 Michigan Canary uniforms

1927 Result81blksatumutedcool 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.
1915 All games.
JERSEY:  According to U-M Bentley Historical Library, numbers appear on Michigan uniforms for the first time in 1915.
1910s+ All games.
JERSEY/HELMET/SHOES:  Put up for auction in 2010, what appears to be an authentic full uniform from the (approximately) 1911 Michigan football team:
1911 Michigan uniform
1901 All games
An interesting find from author John Kryk at the U-M Bentley Historical Library – a colorized version of the 1901 team photo.  (It’s not known to me when this was done and whether the color tones are accurate, but worthy of posting here nonetheless).


1887 All games
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:1887
1885 All games
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:
1885 UofM script
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:
1879 Team Photo


Ann Arbor, MI
Michigan officially adopts maize and blue as its school colors (more here):

Our college colors were chosen at a meeting of the literary department held in the chapel on Saturday, February 12, 1867, when Milton Jackson, ’67, Albert H. Pattengill, ’68, and J. Eugene Jackson, ’69, the committee appointed for the purpose, reported a resolution in favor of “azure-blue and maize”, which was adopted. In about ten years the colors came to be styled, as they are now styled, yellow and blue. The original blue was neither light nor very dark, and the yellow was decidedly golden. Never has there been any warrant for the sickly yellow and the faded blue furnished by some of the tradesmen of Detroit and Ann Arbor.




Follow MVictors on Twitter


  1. Pingback: The Canary Disaster of 1928 | | Michigan Football Blog

  2. This uniform timeline is awesome. The timeline pic itself is very cool. I know Michigan has not had a lot of drastic changes in uniforms over history. For whatever reason I like those early 1930 jerseys, The #32 pictured and featured here before. I remember reading about the canary or yellow worn vs Navy. I looked for it and found it in Navy yearbooks. Not a great picture but give the idea.
    I think Michigan never wore those friction strips that many teams like Illinois wore in the 20’s The strips going up and down on the front.
    Michigan uniforms in the 20’s and 30’s and from then on have always been rather basic.


    • Thanks Larry and thanks for the Oosterbaan pic. Next step will be to build out more of the deeper history (50s and earlier) and it’ll be a challenge. If you have a shot of the canaries I’d love to see it!


  3. In 1981 the “dramatic” football jersey changes concerned two key changes:
    1. the numerical font on their new Champion jerseys
    2. the size of the mesh holes on the jersey were enlarged (used in some, but not all games).

    I don’t know a standard source for numerical fonts for football jerseys. I use this key:

    Michigan’s jersey numeral font change in 1981 was most evident with jerseys having numbers 2 and/or 7 on them. All other numeral fonts looked the same as previous years.

    From 1969 to 1980 the number “2” on Michigan football jerseys reflected Varsity Classic C.
    Harlan Huckleby 1978: (See No. 2)
    Butch Woolfolk 1980: (see No. 2)

    In 1981, the numeral 2 was represented like the Varsity Classic D font on Michigan football jerseys.
    Here is Butch Woolfolk against Iowa in 1981 (Notice No. 2 is Varsity Classic C)

    Butch Woolfolk December 31, 1981, Bluebonnet Bowl vs. UCLA (notice No. 2 is Varsity Classic C)

    In 1981, the numeral 7 was represented like Varsity Classic B:
    Example: QB David Hall, Michigan 1982:

    Eventually Michigan standardized on Varsity Classic A font in 1984 forward.

    Few teams ever used the 1969-1980 Michigan jersey font again. But in 1994 you can that Penn State did:
    Kijana Carter, PSU TB:
    Kerry Collins, PSU QB:


  4. The socks for the Outback and the Cowboys Classic are actually the same. I have a pair and there is no M on them. Just adidas logos on the front. Here is a pic from the reveal


  5. Pingback: The Uniform Changes Since Bo Era | | Michigan Football Blog

  6. Pingback: The Winged Wizard: Russ Hawkins and Capitol Varsity Sports |

  7. Pingback: Legends Update: Avery #11 (Wisterts), Funchess #87 (Kramer!), Gallon #21 (Desmond), #98 ??? | | Michigan Football Blog

  8. Pingback: Calling Them Crisps (Michigan 59, CMU 9) | | Michigan Football Blog

  9. Greg – You’re right about the jersey “maize” color being different than the helmet and pant “maize.” As you know, I pay a lot of attention to color and the helmet/pant maize at home hasn’t matched well with the home jersey “maize” for a number of years. The other change to the helmets (and that was a great article and photos you posted recently) is the outside stripes have moved further away from the center stripe in the last few years. It would be nice if they were moved “slightly” back toward the center stripe. Great to see you again!


  10. I think your site is not paying enough attention to how the wings and the stripes on the helmet has changed between ’74-’83.

    The height of the wings have changed, and so have the points in which the stripes come up from the wings have changed, too.



  11. Pingback: Not Quite Yet Under the Lights (Notre Dame pregame Photos) | | Michigan Football Blog

  12. Pingback: Sights and Sounds | Spring Game 2015 |

  13. Pingback: Anthony Carter and the Tear-Away Jersey | Storytime with Dr. Sap |

  14. Pingback: The Case of the Missing Decals | Storytime with Dr. Sap |

  15. Pingback: Wearing Nike: A History |

  16. Pingback: Deeper Maize and Blue |

  17. Pingback: Lighter and Darker: 2015 Uniform Updates |

  18. Pingback: Salt Lake City Sights and Sounds Utah 24, Michigan 17 |

  19. Pingback: Dr. Sap’s Decals – Bumper Stickers for the Utes |

  20. Pingback: Decalanalysis: Phase I |

  21. Pingback: Sights and Sounds – Michigan 35, Oregon State 7 |

  22. Pingback: Decalanalysis Phase II: Evolution of the 2015 Helmet Sticker |

  23. Pingback: Dr Sap’s Decals: Rolling over the Rebels |

  24. Pingback: Sights and Sounds: Michigan 31, BYU — |

  25. Pingback: 1984 Holiday Bowl Avenged! | Dr Sap’s Decals |

  26. Pingback: Sights and Sounds: Terrapin Cushions (Michigan 28, Maryland —) |

  27. Pingback: Testudo Champions Dr. Saps Decals |

Leave a Reply