The Daily Helmet: Anniversary Patches Part I
As you may know the NFL is celebrating their 100th Anniversary this season and to mark the occasion they released their version of the NBC “The More You Know logo”. Really uninspired stuff.
Forgetting all that for now, let’s take a look back to some of the anniversary patches teams have worn over the years. I will break this up in two parts, because 100 years of football is a lot to cover. I also will list some of the memorial patches worn through the years.
Using the great Gridiron database as a guide, here is a short history of anniversary patches worn by NFL teams.
As far as I can tell, and there may be something i missed, the first anniversary patch worn by an NFL team was not for the anniversary of the team, but of the city. In 1951 the Lions, along with the Tigers and Red Wings, wore a City of Detroit 250th Anniversary patch on their sleeve.
In 1958 the Steelers would celebrate the bicentennial of their city with a patch.
While technically not a patch, the Chargers did add the All-America City crest to their helmets in 1963.
In 1969 all sixteen NFL teams wore a 50th Anniversary NFL shield on their jerseys. It was a great simple design that looked good on the uniforms as well as make it super easy for amatuer football historians to identify the year of photographs of players wearing it.
1975 Denver Broncos Colorado Centennial patch
In 1975 the Broncos wore a Centennial patch for the state of Colorado starting in December of that season.
1975 American Revolution Bicentennial Patch
The Bengals and Redskins would wear an American revolution Bicentennial patch for the Hall of Fame Game. The Cowboys and Steelers would sport the same patch for Super Bowl X. The Steelers on their chest and the cowboys on their sleeves.
In 1976 a couple of teams marked the occasion. The Eagles wore a Liberty Bell 76 patch on their sleeve. The St. Louis Cardinals would also wear an American Revolution patch on the 1976 preseason. The Cardinals are also listed to have worn a mystery patch as well that preseason, where they would play one game in Tokyo, Japan against the Chargers.
1982 Steelers 50th Anniversary patch.
In 1982 the Steelers celebrated their 5oth anniversary with a pair of patches. One white one and one black one.
A few teams wore memorial patches in 1983. The Bears wore a George Halas memorial patch and the Broncos wore a Rich McCabe memorial. McCabe was a defensive backs coach who died of cancer in January of 1983. The Chiefs wore a memorial of their own for Joe Delaney, who died tragically in June of 1983 trying to save a couple children who wore drowning in a small pond in Louisiana.
1984 was a big year for Anniversary Patches. All of the AFL teams celebrated their 25th anniversary, with the exception of the Bengals and Dolphins who don’t really consider themselves original AFL franchises.
Giants Wore a Spider Lockhart patch as a memorial.
Bengals wore a Cincinnati bicentennial patch.
Falcons wore a couple memorials for Brad Beckman and Ralph Norwood.
Eagles wore a black helmet stripe as a memorial to QB coach Doug Scovil who died in December of that year.
The Vikings wore a patch to commemorate their 1969 NFL Championship.
Bears wore a football shaped Fred Washington Memorial.
Falcons 25th Anniversary.
Dolphins marked their 25th anniversary and had a Joe Robbie Memorial.
Saints 25th Anniversary.
The Bears gave Mike Singletary his very own patch for the final three game of the 1992 season.
The Eagles wore a memorial patch for Jerome Brown.
Steelers 60th Anniversary.
Colts marked their 10th season in Indianapolis.
Packers 75th Anniversary.
Jets 25th Anniversary of Super Bowl Win. They also would wear throwbacks to mark the occasion.