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Saturday, April 11, 2020

The NFL Throwbacks Collection of Products


I wanted to share some quick, big picture information about the NFL Throwbacks Collection.

What is the Throwbacks Collection?



Most of the North American pro sports leagues celebrate their history with a family of licensed products that the leagues market under a separate name/brand – a set within a set. So if a league has 250 licensees, maybe a subset of 15-20 licensees might be given permission to sell products using logos and names and images from the "historical archive" of that league.

The league's various heritage/vintage/throwback programs are known as:

1. MLB - Cooperstown Collection
2. NHL – Vintage Collection (formerly Legacy + Heritage)
3. NFL – No formal name, but it used to be the Throwbacks Collection and is sometimes now Throwback Authentics
4. NBA – Hardwood Classics
5. NCAA – College Vault (schools that work with CLC as their licensing partner)



1. MLB Properties began their vintage line, The Cooperstown Collection, in 1988-ish.

2. NHL Enterprises began their vintage line, initially conceived as the Legacy Collection but changed pre-launch to the Heritage Collection, in 1991-ish to coincide with the NHL’s 75th anniversary. The line was renamed the Vintage Collection in 2002 and is still going strong. The first seven NHL Heritage Licensees in 1991-ish were:
- American Needle & Novelty
- CCM/Sport Maska
- DeLong Sportswear
- Mirage Elliot & Kastle Inc.
- Nutmeg Mills
- The Roman Company
- Woody Sports


3. NFL Properties launched their vintage line, NFL Throwbacks, in 1991, well ahead of the NFL’s 75th anniversary in 1994. The “Throwback” line of products gradually disappeared in the late 1990’s. The NFL does not have a current formal vintage/heritage program but they do have a collection of vintage logos and only select licensees are allowed to access those logos, so in a sense they do have a subset of licensees that operate in the vintage space. IN 2012 the NFL was calling it "NFL Legacy", but that expression seems to have come and gone much like The Throwback Collection.



The first seven NFL Throwbacks licensees in 1991 were:
DeLong
Mirage
Nutmeg Mills
Riddell
Roman Pro
Starter
Tiedman & Co.

4. NBA Properties launched their vintage line, NBA Hardwood Classics, in 1998. (Don’t confuse the vintage product line with the TV show - in 1999 the NBA launched a TV show on NBA TV called “NBA’s Greatest Games” and in 2004 renamed it “NBA TV: Hardwood Classics presented by The History Channel”.) The NBA’s Hardwoods Classics line of products is still going strong.


5. The NCAA licensing group “CLC" launched a vintage program in 2007 called “The College Vault”. Some of the early College Vault licensees included:
- adidas
- Artehouse
- ASC (American Stamp Collectibles)
- Asgard Press
- Banner Supply
- Boelter Brands
- Mitchell & Ness
- Nike
- Original Retro Brand
- Tailgate Clothing Company
- Whitman Publishing
- WinCraft
- Winning Streak Sports




Ok, let's focus on the NFL and the history of their Throwbacks Collection...




In 1990 the NFL announced the NFL Throwbacks Collection and products began to be sold to consumers by select licensees in 1991.

In 1990 or 1991 the NFL published the ad below that indicated the following seven companies were the first Throwbacks licensees (see the bottom line of the ad for the company names). It's interesting to note that the ad itself is very skimpy on product details in terms of photos - they are hiding the sweatshirt with a framed photo. This suggests to me that they were almost certainly putting the cart before the horse - my guess is the licensees hadn't even created product but the NFL wanted to shake the trees and promote the line.
DeLong (jackets)
Mirage (outerwear)
Nutmeg Mills (sweatshirts)
Riddell (helmets)
Roman Pro (ball caps)
Starter (ball caps)
Tiedman & Co. (jerseys)




In 1993 (perhaps 1992), the NFL published these three ads promoting the NFL Throwbacks Collection and they reference the following nine licensees. Here's a link to Bruce Burke who created the ads.
American Needle (ball caps)
Champion (jerseys)
DeLong (jackets)
Long Gone (sweatshirts)
Mirage (outerwear)
Nutmeg Mills (sweatshirts)
Riddell (helmets)
Roman Pro (ball caps)
Starter (ball caps)








In 1994 the NFL published an amazing 260+ page NFL Merchandise Catalog that I have a copy of, but they don't even identify who their NFL Throwbacks licensees are. I can tell you that of the nine Throwbacks licensees in 1993, by 1994 two are no longer even NFL licensees (long gone are Long Gone and Roman Pro), so perhaps the list of Throwbacks licensees looked like this in 1994:
American Needle (ball caps)
Champion (jerseys)
DeLong (jackets)
Mirage (outerwear)
Nutmeg Mills (sweatshirts)
Riddell (helmets)
Starter (ball caps, jackets)

Please note: If you'd like to read about the NFL first Throwbacks Collection jersey licensee, Tiedman & Co. - click here.

Between the mid 1990's and the present, the Throwbacks name comes up here and there, but it's clear the NFL lost their enthusiasm for the brand. As mentioned above, the NFL toyed with the NFL Legacy line in 2012-ish. But the only licensee who has taken the Throwbacks name and run with it are the great folks at Mitchell & Ness, makers of terrific vintage style jerseys, t-shirts and ballcaps and a few other products. On the NFL side of things, they have created their own logo that incorporates the Throwbacks name and they have used this logo with their jersey product line for some time and it currently looks like this. But keep in mind this isn't an NFL initiative - it's Mitchell & Ness' doing.




Turning the hands of time to 2020, the NFL does not publish a list of heritage / vintage / legacy / Throwback Authentics licensees. But here are at least some of the current NFL licensees who have a vintage line:
47
5th and Ocean by New Era
Ebbets Field Flannels
Fanatics Authentic (signed collectible)
FOCO
Majestic (Polo's and t-shirts)
Majestic Threads (T-shirts)
Mitchell & Ness
New Era
NFL Pro Line
NFL Pro Line by Fanatics
Nike
Starter
Vineyard Vines
Wincraft
Winning Streak Sports

Thanks for reading and as always, let me know if you have any questions or new information for me to incorporate into this posting.

Scott

Friday, April 10, 2020

Telling the story of the origin of NFL Throwback jerseys - Tiedman

NFL Throwbacks – In the beginning…

If you search “Throwback uniform” on Google, Wikipedia chimes in with this statement:
“The first companies to produce throwback uniforms were Tiedman & Company Sportswear (college football, basketball, hockey, NFL and World Cup soccer), Mitchell & Ness (Major League Baseball), and Ebbets Field Flannels (Negro League baseball). All three companies are still in business; Tiedman & Company relaunched in 2009 under the brand name Tiedman & Formby Vintage Athletic Co..”

Allow me to re-write this statement a bit more accurately:
“The first companies to produce league licensed throwback jerseys were:
  • MLB licensed throwback jerseys – Mitchell & Ness in 1989
  • US College football licensed throwback jerseys - Tiedman & Co in 1990
  • NFL licensed throwback jerseys - Tiedman & Co in 1991
  • NHL licensed throwback jerseys – CCM Sport Maska in 1992
As of 2020, Mitchell & Ness has been bought and sold several times but is still very much in business, ditto CCM. Tiedman & Co. and its successor Tiedman & Formby Vintage are no longer in business.”

Today I want to focus on Tiedman & Co. and the NFL’s first licensed line of throwback jerseys – launched in 1991.

In order to tell the story, I have to tell some of the story of the founder of Tiedman and Co. - Craig Tiedman.

If you’re a sports nut and if you love the history of sports, especially baseball, you may have heard the story of Moe Berg whose life story has been told in two films - 2018's The Catcher Was A Spy and 2019's Spy Behind Home Plate,  and in several books including The Catcher Was A Spy.


Moe Berg was truly a renaissance man who played major league baseball for 16 years from 1923 to 1939 (even though he had less than average MLB talent), graduated from law school, served as a spy for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, helped undermine Germany’s plans to build an atomic bomb, turned down the US Medal of Freedom, is the only person to have his baseball card on display at CIA headquarters and was known as "the brainiest guy in baseball”.

And Craig Tiedman, founder of Tiedman & Co.? He is an American apparel designer who speaks at least six languages (English, French, German, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese); started an apparel company at a young age and sold it to a conglomerate for a handsome profit two years later, then went to college (Colorado); started a consulting firm Oxford Research Associates, LLC advising the US Government; served as the Economic Development Advisor for the U.S. Department of Defense; started another apparel company; went to graduate school at Oxford and Cambridge; advised the US Naval Research Laboratory, the US Geological Survey and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; served as the NASA Lead for India, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, and negotiated over 35 space act agreements; led in the creation of a new NASA Office for "Organizational Readiness"; served as Counterterrorism Analyst at the U.S. Department of State; and is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Hawaii.

All this and yet try to find a picture of him on the internet!?! Holy smokes Craig’s life so far would also make a great book and movie - and I think he's only 50!

This blog posting, believe it or not, isn’t really about Craig, it’s about the line of NFL licensed throwback jerseys he helped create that sold from 1991 - 1993. Or put another way, it's about the line of NFL throwback jerseys he produced in 1991 and that Champion Products, a division of Sara Lee, produced in 1992 and 1993 with Craig in an advisory role.

I have a little trouble separating Craig’s personal story from that of his company (the same can be said of almost all entrepreneurs), so let me list some more “facts” so you can better understand the background. Please take some of the following facts with a grain of salt – as I have often quoted my father as saying “Never let the facts ruin a good story”, and I think Craig might agree.

- Craig graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1999

- He started his business Tiedman & Co. in 1989. According to Craig, the company became the first in the world to design and sell retro jerseys for football, soccer, basketball and hockey.  It was also the first collegiate-licensed brand in the vintage category (1990). Nordstrom Department Stores “discovered” the brand in 1990 and took the brand national.

- In 1991 (Scott thinks late 1990), the NFL selected Tiedman & Co. as the first licensee for NFL Throwback jerseys because, as Craig wrote, "of the company’s attention to detail in representing a team’s history".

- Craig claims that in 1992 the NHL offered his company the first NHL vintage license for hockey sweaters (a claim I can't quite agree with – Tiedman & Co. is not listed in NHL literature from that time as one of the first 7-10 NHL Heritage Collection licensees).

- Tiedman & Co. received a lot of media attention throughout the 1990’s, with full page fashion spreads in GQ, Details, USA Today, Elle, and other leading fashion and trade publications. In 1991, Sportswear International featured Craig Tiedman as one of the hot new sports fashion designers and NBC’s George Michael Sports Machine featured the company’s NFL Throwbacks line during the 1992 Superbowl.

- In 1992 Craig sold his NFL product line (but not Tiedman & Co.) to Champion Products (a division of Sara Lee Corporation) in a transaction that Craig says gaves his investors a five-fold return on their investment.

- From 1993 – 1996 he was an advisor to Champion (how active an advisor it's hard to say) to further accelerate the development of the NFL Throwbacks Collection and brand, and was part of the effort that saw Champion generate over $50M in revenues for vintage NFL Throwbacks products under the Champion brand name. His consultation included aiding the NFL in 1994 with the launch and execution of its first “Turn-Back-The-Clock” NFL season, when all 28 NFL teams at the time wore throwbacks during the NFL's 75th anniversary season in 1994.

- In the 1990’s he launched the “Vitesse Sportswear” line in time for the 1994 World Cup hosted by the U.S., becoming one of the first companies to design and sell vintage soccer shirts.

- In 1998, he worked with basketball legend Bill Russell and the NBA to develop a concept for the first vintage line for the NBA. (Note to readers – is this true? Did the NBA not have a vintage line until 1998? I would welcome any info you may be able to share.)

- Throughout the 1990’s Craig consulted with various brands including Wilson Sporting Goods, The Walt Disney Company, and the U.S. Olympic Committee in developing vintage sportswear collections.

- In 1999 it appears as it Craig shuttered Tiedman & Co. and embarked on a wild ride career-wise through the 2000’s and 2010’s.

- In 2009, alongside his wife, Louise Formby, he started a new company called Tiedman & Formby Vintage Athletic Company LLC., aka T&F Vintage Athletic Company.

- Craig wrote an elaborate story (see below in italics) about the Tiedman and Formby names creating the impression that this new company was perhaps a merger of two existing companies and brands, whereas it was simply the creation of a new company with his last name and his wife’s last name. I love it!

- In December 2011, the remarkable Paul Lukas of Uniwatch wrote an article about Tiedman & Formby that said:
“Tiedman & Formby is a comeback project of sorts for Craig Tiedman, who pioneered football, hockey, basketball, and soccer throwbacks back in 1989 under the brand name Tiedman & Co. Sportswear. This was when Jerry Cohen (Ebbets Field Flannels) and Peter Capolino (Mitchell & Ness) were creating the market for baseball throwbacks. Craig eventually sold the business to Champion and did other things with his life until 2009, when he and his wife, Louise Formby, reactivated the brand. They’re currently assembling a growing collection of NCAA licenses, so we’ll likely see more of their product in the years to come, and I hope to write about them more extensively soon. If you haven’t already checked out their stuff, I suggest taking a peek.”

- In 2013, Craig wrote about T&F Vintage on the company website that “Our goal is to re-invent the billion dollar vintage sportswear category we created in the first place. We initially focused our efforts on the collegiate licensed products industry and are now a leader in the category of “authentic” college throwbacks. The company is currently negotiating with several professional sports teams and leagues to expand back into the pro ranks, and offer sports fans a different fashion twist to ‘retro’.”

- In 2013 Craig also wrote “We invented ‘Throwbacks’ - a multi-billion dollar sports fashion category - in the 1990’s. We were the NFL's first licensee for throwback jerseys and sold our license (were bought out) to a major sports apparel brand, achieving a 5x return for our investors in 2 years. We relaunched the brand in 2009, and now offer men’s and women’s vintage sports jerseys, and own 100% market share of the Collegiate-licensed industry. Our products are Made in USA of historically accurate vintage fabrics.”

- In 2015 Craig wrote "In 1989, I created the first sports fashion brand to offer vintage sports uniforms ("Throwbacks") to the market. In 1990, the company obtained the first college licenses in the "vintage" category, and in 1991, we were awarded the first NFL Throwbacks license by the National Football League. By the end of the 1990’s, our NFL line had achieved over $45M in sales, and we spearheaded and developed the first vintage lines for the NBA, the NHL and World Cup Soccer.”

- In 2015 Craig wrote “T&F is a follow-on brand to Tiedman & Co. Sportswear - the first NFL Throwbacks licensee in the 1990's, and the first brand to introduce vintage football, basketball, hockey and soccer jerseys to the apparel retail market. Our brand achieved over $50M in sales in the 1990’s, and we sold the rights to our NFL line to Champion.”

- In 2015 Craig wrote “In 2009, my business partners and I relaunched my brand to focus on under-serviced markets in the vintage jersey category, such as US colleges and professional soccer clubs. We are a recognized leader in these niche licensed markets."

- In 2015 Craig wrote “In 2009, Louise Formby and I relaunched the former throwbacks brand to address an under-serviced category in the sports apparel market: collegiate-licensed throwbacks, and women's vintage sports fashion apparel. We now own over 60 college licenses -- and 100% market share -- to reproduce college throwbacks and we are also in discussions with several professional sports leagues to pursue new licensing opportunities."

- In 2015 T&F closed their doors. As of 2020, the company’s Facebook page is frozen in time, as is Craig’s Twitter account.


- In 2017, Craig summarized his 1990-1999 sports apparel history as:
  • 1990-1999, As President and CEO of Tiedman & Company Sportswear, Ltd., created the popular nostalgic retail collection called "The NFL Throwbacks;"
  • The category of "Throwbacks" (nostalgic sportswear) is the #2 selling category on eBay, and the NFL Throwbacks have sold over $200m at retail since 1991;
  • In 1992, Mr. Tiedman sold the NFL Throwbacks collection to Sara Lee Corporation and their Champion Products Division, and from 1992-1996, consulted for Sara Lee's personal products company, Champion Products, in licensed products, Champion's branded collection, and other specialty lines;
  • In 1993, Mr. Tiedman served as Senior Designer for the U.S. Olympic Committee, helping create a Team USA Collection (1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway, and 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, U.S.A.);
  • From 1996-1999, Mr. Tiedman consulted for various firms in the apparel industry (including Wilson Sporting Goods, U.S.O.C., and the Walt Disney Co., etc.), creating end-to-end value chain solutions;
  • Work for clients included securing international factory relationships, and the creation of collections for licenses with the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and major U.S. colleges.
- In 2017, Craig summarized his 2009-2015 sports apparel history as:
  • T&F Vintage Athletic Company
  • Partnered with Asian factories to create a fast-growing sports apparel brand: Production Manager for China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan
  • Managed relationships with over 25 factories in Asia
  • Planned production cycles, product development, and communications
  • Lowered costs by 40% over a five year period achieving margins 20% higher than industry standards for American sports brand, leading to exit and 5x ROI.

Scott’s summary? When Craig Tiedman writes about himself that he is a "Sports junkie who invented Throwbacks - awarded the first ever NFL Throwbacks license in 1991", he is basically correct, but let’s re-write the statement to “Sports junkie who invented NFL throwback jerseys – was one of the NFL’s first seven Throwback licensees for the 1991 NFL season.”

=================
As mentioned above, here (in italics) is the brilliant piece he wrote about the "Formby" part of Tiedman & Formby - it's just too good not to include.

1889 – The Name “Formby”

The “FORMBY” brand began in the 1880s, when James Booth of Lancashire, England began performing slapstick comedy on the British Edwardian music hall circuit under the stage name “George Formby.” Booth adopted the name George Formby when he was sitting on the platform and saw a goods train on its way to Formby, a seaside town north of Liverpool. He decided that the name George would go well with Formby, because it was a common name at the time. George Formby became the hit of the circuit by developing a slapstick routine while dressed in a bowler hat, oversized shoes, and a walking cane – an act, which influenced a young up-and-coming English performer, Charlie Chaplin.

George Formby, Sr. had a philanthropic side to him as well – he was active in the recruiting campaign for the British Army at the beginning of the First World War, and spoke at recruitment rallies. By the 1920s, the “Formby” brand name was established in the British entertainment industry.

The eldest son, George Formby, Jr., followed in his father’s footsteps, and became Britain’s highest paid entertainer spanning the decades of the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. George developed a new comic act with a ukulele, and starred in British blockbuster films with Gracie Fields and other top actresses. Continuing the Formby family commitment to philanthropy, George served in ENSA (the British version of the American USO) and entertained several million British and Allied troops in North Africa and France during WWII (Click here and here to view some of the YouTube clips).

A European phenomenon, Formby’s movies are now considered classics (click here to view). Any British football (er, soccer…) fan would know the Formby name well, and indeed, some fans sing Formby songs at matches.

The Brand Today = Tiedman & Formby Vintage Athletic Company

In 2009, one hundred and twenty years since the building of the “Formby” brand name, and twenty years — almost to the day — after starting the first throwbacks brand in history, we merged the “Tiedman” brand with the “Formby” brand, and reincorporated as “Tiedman & Formby Vintage Athletic Company, LLC.”  Our goal is to re-invent the billion dollar vintage sportswear category we created in the first place. We initially focused our efforts on the collegiate licensed products industry and are now a leader in the category of “authentic” college throwbacks. The company is currently negotiating with several professional sports teams and leagues to expand back into the pro ranks, and offer sports fans a different fashion twist to “retro.”

We have built upon our legacy, and are absolutely committed to designing and producing the highest quality, meticulously researched, authentic reproductions of vintage jerseys and apparel. We are committed to our corporate slogan: “Anti-Sweatshop/Pro Opportunity” and are members of the Fair Labor Association.

========

Now with that background in mind, let's get back to the NFL Throwbacks Collection of jerseys.

Here are what I call the Characteristics and Features of the 1991 - 1993 NFL Throwbacks Collection of jerseys.

1. I cannot find a single NFL Throwback jersey anywhere on the internet that says “Tiedman & Co.” – none. The Tiedman & Co. name on an NFL jersey is essentially invisible. If anyone reading this has other information, I would love your input!

2. That being said, I have identified 28 NFL Throwbacks Collection jerseys (thus far) that I believe were released from 1991 – 1993.

3. I think the “Tiedman” jerseys were always made by Champion, even in Year 1 (1991) before the 1992 sale to Champion. Craig must have contracted with Champion in 1991 for Champion to be the manufacturer of the jerseys and that’s why all the photos of jerseys have a Champion logo in the neck/collar (see below) and the Throwback label on the front also incorporates the Champion name/logo (see further below). So to me it becomes clear why Champion bought the line – it just made sense to eliminate the middle man (Tiedman). And I’ll bet there was pressure from the NFL to eliminate the middle man as well – the NFL would sooner have had a brand name like Champion as the licensee than Tiedman & Co., and when it became apparent to everyone, especially the NFL, that the jerseys were identified as Champion, that likely sealed the deal. I realize that’s speculation, but speculation based on experience. Once again, if anyone reading this has additional or contrary information, please share! 
Champion neck/collar label

4. I have come across three different “styles” of 1991 – 1993 era Throwbacks Collection jerseys.

A. One style has a single label on the lower front hem (a “Throwback Collection” label) plus a “made-up” patch on the chest or sleeve of the jersey - more on the made-up patch below. I have found 23 such jerseys.

Lower front hem label

Jersey Patches on front or sleeve

B. A second style has a single label on the lower front hem (a “Throwback Collection” label) but no “made-up” patch on the chest or sleeve of the jersey. I have found 12 such jerseys, several of which overlap Style A above.

Lower front hem label

C. A third style has two stacked labels on the lower front hem - a “Throwback Collection” label) plus a team-specific label either above or below the other patch. And there is no “made-up” patch on the chest or sleeve of the jersey. I have found 5 such jerseys, two of which (Joe Namath and Deacon Jones) also came in Style B.



5. If I had to bet, I’d say that in Year 1 of the license (1991), the jerseys were Style A with the single label on the front plus the “made-up” patch. I’m guessing the next season they were Style B – with only the single front label and no made-up patch. And in 1993, I’m guessing they had a double label (Style C) – the Throwback label + a specially made team label. And by 1994 they (Champion, or Champion and the NFL) had largely dropped “Throwback Collection” as the NFL shifted to the Vintage Collection (aka Throwback Vintage Collection), and the jerseys had a single standard Champion label on the lower front hem of the jerseys and no on-jersey references to the “Throwbacks Collection”.
Note: When I say the NFL had largely dropped the Throwback Collection name by 1994, I realize it comes and goes in subsequent years, but the NFL never pushes the brand like they did from 1991-1993. See the 1993-ish ads below that the NFL created to support the brand. But by 1994, I have a copy of the NFL's magnificent 260+ page 1994 NFL Merchandise Catalog and it scarcely mentions the Throwbacks brand or any products.



6. In the 1980’s and until 1990, Sand-Knit and then MacGregor Sand-Knit was the supplier of NFL jerseys. From 1991 to 2000 it was Sand-Knit and Russell Athletic, but also Champion, Starter, Logo Athletic, Wilson, Puma, Nike, Reebok, adidas and Apex. So it makes sense that Champion was a new supplier to the NFL and Craig Tiedman would have gravitated to a new supplier keen to make their mark.

7. I think the jerseys (Style A, B and C) all had the vintage NFL logo on the back as seen below. That is also one way to know it’s a 1991-1993 era Tiedman/Champion product and not another manufacturer.



8. Unlike what Mitchell & Ness and Ebbets Field Flannels were trying to do with their throwback jerseys (primarily for baseball), when Tiedman began in 1991, he wasn’t suggesting that his jerseys were meant to be true reproductions of previously worn jerseys. Instead, his concept was more that the jerseys were comfortable wool jerseys that could be worn much like a sweatshirt. If my guess in #4 above is correct, then In the inaugural Throwbacks season – 1991 – he added a “made-up” patch to each jersey. By “made-up” I don’t mean to be disparaging, I simply mean it was a patch that was never worn on an actual NFL in-game jersey, it was just something Tiedman the designer made up to add flair to each jersey. Remember that NFL jerseys are much more plain looking than NHL and MLB jerseys because football requires a big bold uniform number on the front of the jersey and there is no room on the jersey for a logo (that’s why helmets were invented ha ha). I believe Tiedman came up with the patch as a way to add some color and flair to his jerseys and I applaud the idea.

9. Also, and interestingly, Tiedman & Co. never made a big deal of the jerseys paying tribute to a particular season – almost none of the jerseys have any reference to a specific season. This is very different from almost all other throwbacks – all other throwbacks (NFL, MLB, NHL) paid tribute to a particular season. Instead Tiedman’s focus was almost entirely on the player whose number was being honoured. For instance, Tiedman & Co. would say it’s the Cleveland Browns Jim Brown Throwback jersey, not the Cleveland Browns 1958 jersey.


With all that being said, here are the “28” different jerseys (25 different players plus three no-name jerseys – Green Bay, Philadelphia and Washington) that I have come up with so far. And keep in mind that my Style A + Style B + Style C vs 1991, 1992 and 1993 is pure speculation on my part – so if I have the facts wrong, please straighten me out!



Year 1 – 1991 – Style A – This jersey has a single label on the lower front hem (a “Throwback Collection” label) plus a “made-up” patch on the chest or sleeve of the jersey. I have found 23 such jerseys.

Chicago Bears – Dick Butkus

Chicago Bears – Gale Sayers

Chicago Bears – Walter Payton

Cleveland Browns – Jim Brown

Dallas Cowboys – Roger Staubach

Green Bay Packers – No player’s name

Green Bay Packers – Bart Starr

Green Bay Packers – Paul Hornung

Green Bay Packers – Ray Nitschke

Kansas City Chiefs – Len Dawson

Miami Dolphins – Bob Griese

Miami Dolphins – Larry Csonka

Miami Dolphins – Paul Warfield

New York Giants – Frank Gifford

New York Giants – YA Tittle

Oakland Raiders – Ken Stabler

Philadelphia Eagles – No player’s name

Pittsburgh Steelers – Joe Greene

Pittsburgh Steelers – Terry Bradshaw

San Francisco 49ers – Joe Montana

San Francisco 49ers – Jim Brodie (I could use a better pic if anyone has one!)

Washington Redskins – No player’s name

Washington Redskins – Sonny Jurgensen


Year 2 – 1992 – Style B – This jersey has a single label on the lower front hem (a “Throwback Collection” label) but no “made-up” patch on the chest or sleeve of the jersey. I have found 12 such jerseys, several of which overlap Style A above.

Chicago Bears – Dick Butkus

Chicago Bears – Gale Sayers

Cleveland Browns – Jim Brown

Dallas Cowboys – Roger Staubach

Green Bay Packers – Bart Starr

Green Bay Packers – Ray Nitschke

Kansas City Chiefs – Len Dawson

Los Angeles Rams – Deacon Jones

New York Jets – Joe Namath

New York Giants – Frank Gifford

Oakland Raiders – Ken Stabler

Pittsburgh Steelers – Terry Bradshaw


Year 3 – 1993 – Style C – This jersey has two stacked labels on the lower front hem - a “Throwback Collection” label) plus a team-specific label either above or below the other patch. And there is no “made-up” patch on the chest or sleeve of the jersey. I have found 5 such jerseys, two of which (Joe Namath and Deacon Jones) also came in Style B.

Baltimore Colts – Johnny Unitas

Buffalo Bills – Jack Kemp
Jack Kemp Version 1 - See the sleeve stripes

Jack Kemp Version 2 - See the sleeve stripes

Los Angeles Rams – Deacon Jones

Minnesota Vikings – Alan Page

New York Jets – Joe Namath


And with that, let's call it a day - that's a heavy blast of info!

As mentioned numerous times above, fire any questions or additional info at me - I'd really appreciate the feedback, especially if it's polite!

Thanks -
Scott