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The history of Florida State Football’s uniforms

In the digital age that we live in today, looks are valued more than ever with social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram consuming more of our time than ever before. With this being the case, the same can be said within the glamorous realm of the college football world.

The level of appeal that programs strike towards their fanbase, and most importantly recruits, has seen a rampant uptrend in the latter years. Nowadays programs such as Oregon and Baylor have gained a voguish reputation for debuting new uniform combinations almost every Saturday, while teams with a more traditional stance such as Georgia and Ohio State have even received some slight moderations to keep up with the trends that apparel giants such as Nike and Adidas have put forth on one of sports’ biggest stages.

So taking this into account, aside from the alternate combinations that Head Coach Willie Taggart and his regime brought forth in 2018, it’s no secret that FSU, from a traditional standpoint, is far from being a fashionista on the gridiron. Thus having said this, as we enter the doldrums of the offseason, it’s also no secret that Seminole fans across the country have been preaching for the Nike to bring back the elegant white numbers on the garnet top.

But before we dive into the murky waters that surround that specific topic, let’s take a brief rundown on the history of what the garnet and gold have evolved into in over a 100 years of competitiveness on the gridiron.

1904

It doesn’t get more alluring than this and yes FSU football actually predates the 1947 season. This gold and tan combination actually included purple, not garnet stripes among the gold top and was worn by Florida State College players up until the Buckman Act of 1905 abolished the game from the university’s campus.

 

1947

For the first time since 1904, FSU once again became a co-educational institution following WWII, which ultimately ensured the rejuvenation of Seminole football and its signature “garnet and gold” colorways.

Seminole players sported a rather appealing kit, which hosted a gold top with garnet numbering on both front and back with a fathomable garnet and white striped amidst the sleeves of the jerseys. Nonetheless, the garnet and gold pants/helmet required some much-needed reformation, but what can you say, it was also 1947.

 

1954

The fabulous 50’s post-war era brought more than just economic prosperity and rock ‘n’ roll music to the stream of American society. It also brought forth an elaborate uniform combination that the Seminoles and an up and coming Hollywood star Burt “Buddy” Reynolds took forth to the gridiron.

This garnet and white themed uniform was a simplistic but clean look for the ‘Noles, and from this year on the iconic gold helmets claimed their debut and never looked back.

 

1958

This painting depicts the uniform worn by the former Seminole great and Florida State Football Hall of Famer Bobby Renn, who set the standard for all utility players after receiving a variety of awards for his accomplishments at the running back, punting, defensive back, wide receiver positions, and believe it not he was even one hell of a quarterback.

Nonetheless, aside from Renn’s unparalleled feats, the 1958 season saw the introduction of the infamous gold bottoms with a garnet top that featured white numerals that adorned both sleeves. And once again, players donned gold helmets that hosted individuals number on one side of the helmet.

 

1962

Anyone recall the name Fred Biletnikoff? Yes, this is the same Fred Biletnikoff that the prestigious post-season award is named after, which is ultimately presented annually to the most outstanding collegiate wide receiver out of the 130 schools that make up the Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision of the NCAA.

In the picture above is the uniform combination sported by Biletnikoff and his Seminole teammates from 1962 until the 1966 campaign. The ‘Noles boasted a white top with garnet numbers on both the front, back and sleeves of the uniform. Garnet and gold piping were also introduced to the tops in ‘62, to only be paired with fashionable garnet and white stripes that complemented the gleaming gold bottoms.

Last but not least, it was rumored that FSU may have worn three variations of the infamous gold helmets during 1962 campaign, with seniors wearing the “Indian head logo” illustrated above, while the junior class sported a helmet with a version of the tomahawk on both sides, along with freshman and sophomores rocking a mid-20th century version of the infamous spear design that would later be modified into what we know it as of today.

 

1966

The year is 1966, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones have pop-culture wrapped around their fingers, while Vietnam and the Cold War were in full swing. Ronald Reagan was just elected the Governor of California and Lorna Smith gave birth to her youngest child who she would later name Mike Tyson.

For the Seminoles, wideout Ron Sellers was busy breaking receiving records on the grounds of Doak Campbell Stadium, and Bill Peterson was in the midst of his sixth year as the ‘Noles head coach. Uniform wise, Florida State once again displayed a facile white top that featured a trio of garnet stripes on both sleeves. The bottoms remained rather the same, while the classic throwback map of Florida morphed itself onto the infamous gold helmets.

 

1979

The 1979 campaign for the Florida State Seminoles was one for the ages, up until that point at least. In their third year under the realm of the legendary Head Coach Bobby Bowden, the ‘79 Seminoles finished sixth in the AP Poll after winning eleven games for the first time in school history with a defense led by legendary defenders Ron Simmons and the late Monk Bonasorte.

As far as apparel goes, not only did the ‘79 season make history for the ‘Noles statistically, it also put the iconic gold football helmet featuring the garnet spears on the national stage following its debut in 1976. From here the blueprint was set for all of the following Florida State Football uniforms to follow. The prestigious garnet top featuring white numbers and the gold bottoms were officially there to stay as the college football world was brought one of the most recognizable uniforms to this day.

 

1983-1998

From the early 80’s up until the 1998 campaign, the Florida State football uniforms morphed into what most would consider classics in the world of collegiate athletics; with moderate alterations to come over the years that is. With Florida State legends such as Deion Sander and Charlie Ward dominating the playing field of the late ‘80’s and early 90’s it was almost impossible not to like relatively simplistic design that the ‘Noles brought to the field.

 

1998-2014

When Florida State signed with Nike back in 1998, along came the infamous crisp and clean uniforms that most Seminole fans remember from the years prior to the 2014 season. From the schematic uniforms of the early and mid-’90s came the subtle change that brought us the signature embroidery around the collar and sleeves which added a level of appeal that was missing from the teams during most of the dynasty days.

From here, ‘Nole fans would come to appreciate the modern look to the quintessential uniforms that also saw an upbringing of FSU’s first ever “alternate” uniform when the ‘Noles unveiled the all-black uniforms against Boston College; all which came following the university renegotiating their deal with Nike back in 2005.

2014-Present Day

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Last but not least we have the current uniform combinations that Florida State received following their historic 2013 national championship. As we all know the new uniforms came rather unexpected, and Nike did some rather unexpected changes.

The new threads were composed of a more modish “unconquered” twist to the classical design elements that the ‘Noles have sported for over twenty years; and for good reason. Every uniform for every sport was redesigned and now the university as a whole all shared a consistent shade of garnet, something that was lacking far beyond the latter part of the 20th century.

It was a change far beyond the football program itself, and with it came the expected backlash that arises when any school goes through with rebranding its identity. However, with that being said, it seemed as if the new threads carried over well throughout the years; in some way perhaps better than the football program itself did believe it or not.

Nonetheless, despite the tacky gold numbering in the Oklahoma State game and the horrendous gold numbers that compose much of the current home threads; I feel as if the new look for FSU suits the modern era well while still retaining the deep history and connection with the Seminole Tribe. So keeping that in mind, Nike please, for the sake of Florida State’s fanbase and the football program itself, BRING BACK THE WHITE NUMBERS.


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