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The history of Minnesota Football uniforms #TBT

The glorious history of Minnesota’s football uniforms!


Note from Hipster: Most of this is a re-post of of a previous post of mine with some additional nuggets added. Enjoy!

I’d like to congratulate myself in proclaiming on September 15, that 2016 would be Tracy Claeys’ last season based solely off of his introduction of helmet stickers. First of all great job me, secondly I think it makes a really interesting point about how cyclical uniforms are. So if you’re interested in reading up on Gopher helmet sticker history or in uniform number trickery from 1921 holler at my previous uni posts.

Without further ado, here is my post on the history of Gopher Football uniforms.


First jerseys, obviously the players themselves are very FTW, and you'll notice not everyone has a jersey. In 1890 everyone was on board with the " U M" button ups. This style would go on until about 1910.

Gopher Football team photo 1889.


The team went black for black's sake. And you thought black jerseys were a new trend?

Gopher Football Champions! 1910


The Gophers wore paneled jerseys. Above is Herb Joesting looking like a hunk.

Herb Jostings, 1924


The Gophers turned golden. Bierman wanted jerseys that would blend in with the ball when the Minnesota players were on offense. (Yes this photo is of Bruce Smith who didn't play until the 1940s, but I don't have a color photo from the 1930s).

Bruce Smith goes full banana.

There weren’t many rules for uniforms in the 1930s. Minnesota went to single and double digit jersey numbers for the first time in 1932. No rule about home team in light jerseys for one team and dark for another. Players used hip and shoulder pads. Helmets were not a requirement until 1939. Bill Bevan of Minnesota and Jerry Ford of Michigan were the last players not to wear helmets in 1934.

October 1, 1932 new uniforms for the Gophers wearing maroon jerseys for the first time(sorry I don’t have a photo). Gold pants, maroon jerseys trimmed with gold shoulders and gold elbow pads. The full gold uniforms (that gave birth to the Golden part of the Golden Gophers, from Halsey Hall) were the most prominent uniforms worn during the Bernie Bierman years. Not everyone loved the full banana look.

At the big ten meetings after the 1939 season one of the topics was the Gopher uniforms. Big Ten ADs wanted Minnesota to change their jerseys after the gold uniforms won the worst dressed award from the conference by a landslide.

One anonymous AD "when are the Gophers going to climb into different uniforms? Not only do they look like a bunch of teddy bears; they are also hard to see and hard to follow, especially when the burnt out fall grass begins to look just like them."


After other schools started protesting the all gold unis, the Gophers held out from a big change for 10 years. In 1949 Minnesota started going with maroon jerseys as the dominant color. Also around this time the team started wearing helmets.

Look! Magazine


These are the best jerseys, ever in my humble opinion. The jerseys stayed much the same throughout the 1960s with the minor addition of player numbers on the helmets.

Bobby Cox on the cover of Sports Illustrated


The Gophers go full on LSU.

LSU or Minnesota?


Things start to get a more modern look.


Shoutout to the brief appearance of stars on Minnesota helmets.


These are the first jerseys I remember.




Uniforms by Champion are always for the loss.


These are now strangely classic.



2012-Present, this is the most current photo I will ever (re)post.

It is interesting to note that my original blog post contained a poll about which jersey is everyone’s favorites. A whopping 587 people voted, and the current uniforms won by a pretty wide margin, which is disappointing. That said 101 of you glorious people voted for the 1992-1995 beauties, good enough for 3rd place.