The New York Giants will wear retro 80s and 90s uniforms for 2 games of the 2022 NFL season
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — The New York Giants are bringing back their classic 1980s and 1990s uniforms for a pair of legacy games this season.
The jerseys will be updated versions of what the team wore at the franchise’s first two Super Bowls.
The Giants will wear blue Nike jerseys with white and red trim, along with a secondary helmet bearing the “GIANTS” wordmark on the side, for home games against the Chicago Bears on October 2 and the Washington Commanders on October 2. December 4. The Giants will also hold match day events around these classic matches to encapsulate a successful celebration of this era.
Wednesday’s announcement continues an offseason filled with teams introducing new uniforms, a trend that dates back nearly two years when the NFL changed its rules and allowed teams to use a second helmet.
“I get letters from [Giants] fans all the time on different topics. A lot of them write to me about the uniform,” co-owner John Mara said. “They wanted to see that uniform used again for at least some of our games. That’s kind of what led to this.”
The Giants wore these now retrograde uniforms and helmets from 1980 to 1999 before returning to the “NY” imbedded on the helmet for the 2000 season.
It was a natural choice to use ’80s and ’90s uniforms for Legends games, as the Giants franchise is still defined by these teams, built around a fierce defense led by Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor and coach Bill Parcells. These teams also included all-time fan favorites such as Harry Carson, Phil Simms, Carl Banks, Mark Bavaro, Leonard Marshall and Joe Morris – star players who wore these uniforms and helped the Giants win the Super Bowl after the 1986 and 1990 seasons.
Players such as Michael Strahan and Rodney Hampton also wore these jerseys from the early 1990s.
“That era really defines the success of Giants football,” said Pete Guelli, Giants senior vice president and chief commercial officer.
It was natural for the Giants to reintroduce the uniforms, which are immediately available for public purchase, against Chicago and Washington – two classic NFL franchises intertwined in history with the Giants. The Giants beat Washington 17-0 in the NFC Championship Game en route to their first championship in Super Bowl XXI. They beat Chicago 31-3 in the Divisional Round en route to a Super Bowl XXV triumph over the Buffalo Bills.
“They were our playoff opponents for some of our most successful seasons,” Mara said. “I just thought it would be appropriate to bring them out for those games. Washington was obviously in that 1986 championship game. Also played Chicago in the playoffs. [in that era]. Two traditional teams that have been around for a long time. We thought they were the right games.”
The Giants don’t tinker with their uniforms often. They’ve been conservative and traditional over the years in terms of uniform choices, Mara said, and he laughed thinking of a launch several years ago of a red-on-red uniform called “The Fireman” suit.
The Giants’ most recent change was the introduction of a red stripe on their white pants last season, which elicited a “great response”, according to Guelli. They also brought back the helmets with the “GIANTS” wordmark to use with their color uniforms.
Getting to this point is part of a five-year plan instituted by Guelli when he was hired in 2019. This particular uniform project was spearheaded by VP of Digital Marketing Nilay Shah. Equipment Manager Jackie Miles and Director of Creative Services Doug Murphy were also heavily involved, as well as ownership.
“Historically we haven’t made a lot of changes, and we’re always going to be very strategic in what we do, but this is the second – what I would call a relatively big change – in the last two years. And I don’t think we’ve made any changes since 2000 before that,” Guelli said. “I think it shows a desire on our part … and also to maintain the story.”
The jersey announcement fits with the Giants’ desire to stay true to their history. The classic modern evolution uniform that will debut this season includes Giants-specific touches, such as the classic red-white-red heritage neckline that has “Once a Giant, Always a Giant” stitched to the inside collar. This phrase, which has become a Giants staple, is strategically placed so players and fans can see it every time they put on the jersey.
“Obviously that was my dad’s motto and something he uses all the time,” Mara said. “It’s a big part of our tradition and our history. We thought it would be a cool thing to add in there. It’s something we try to live up to. It’s a tough business. Players come and go But most of the people I meet after their careers are over are still grateful that they were giants at one time and they are still welcome here and treated well when they come back in. I think that’s an important part of our heritage and our history.
“It’s more than just a motto. It’s something we try to live by.”
There could be more uniform changes in the future for the Giants, who are always looking for potential modifications. But for this season, at least, they’ll be diving into their history for a new old school look.
“I think it will be well received,” Mara said. “It never ceases to amaze me how excited people are at the slightest change you make to your uniform.”