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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New York Giants Uniform and Team History

Please click on the evolution of the Giants uniform poster above for a close-up version of the poster. The descriptions below give you some insight and background about the uniforms and/or eras depicted in the poster.

Fall 2022: To purchase a reasonably priced 8" x 24" plaqued mounted version of the Giants poster that's ready to hang on your wall, please visit Heritage Sports Stuff.

New York Giants 1929 uniform
On August 1, 1925, Timothy James Mara helped purchase the All-Collegian Professional Football Club, Inc. for $500 – New York’s entree into the National Professional Football League. He arranged to rent the Polo Grounds to host the team’s games, and named his club the New York Giants after the baseball club that shared the same field. This is a somewhat surprising move by today’s standards because you would never be allowed to name one team after another without being sued. Did you know that the baseball Giants originally got their name because of New York’s “giant” buildings?

Of particular note on the 1929 jersey are the two tan patches under the arms. This material was raised felt, which helped the ball carrier secure the football. Also note that the helmets at this time lacked face-guards and chinstraps.

New York Giants 1930 uniform
Notice the blue ‘yoke’ on the shoulders of the 1930 jersey and the addition of the uniform number on the front of the jersey. This jersey launched the Giants’ red, white and blue tradition – the three colors that grace the Giants’ uniform even today.

New York Giants 1933 uniform
The Giants lost to the Chicago Bears in the 1933 NFL Championship 23-21. Hall of Fame Center Mel Hein was the strength of New York’s line, on offense and defense. Sports ‘aficionados’ might notice how closely this jersey resembles the jersey design of another great franchise – the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. The richness of the red with its wide horizontal blue band flanked by two white stripes across the chest truly resembles a hockey sweater! Note the blue yoke on the shoulders and blue cuffs (almost collegiate in appearance) and the unusual red striping pattern on the blue helmet.

New York Giants 1934 uniform
This is the year of the infamous “basketball sneaker” NFL championship game between the 8-5 Giants and the 13-0 Chicago Bears. On an icy December 9, 1934 in New York, traction at the Polo Grounds was a huge problem. Abe Cohen, a tailor who helped the Giants out on Sundays, scrambled around town and was able to borrow nine pairs of basketball shoes from Manhattan College during halftime. The Giants used the extra “gripping” power to overcome a 10-3 halftime deficit and went on to win the game 30-13 – capturing their first NFL championship!

We think the 1934 jersey and helmet are absolutely beautiful. The helmet: a blue & white mix with reinforced leather offered greater protection than earlier designs. The jersey has a white number with red trim set against a blue body, with a thick white yoke that extends down each arm. Our research shows that the jersey had RED stripes down the sides of the body – whereas other sources portrayed those stripes as being white. If anybody out there has an actual jersey, or color photograph of this jersey – we would love to hear from you!

New York Giants 1936 uniform
What a clean, stunning design! This jersey is yet another evolution of the red, white & blue theme. The cherry red front number and neckline against the blue yoke and white jersey is very simple, yet elegant. Note how the blue yoke matches the vertical panels under the arms as well as the blue on the helmet - a similar design to the 1934 helmet with a bit more reinforcement. Another subtle difference is seen in the pants, which are a darker, gray-blue khaki with white belt and lacing.

New York Giants 1945 uniform
This is a classic look! A white number against a solid red jersey. Note the yoke has been dropped, and the pants are now white. Their traditional blue was found in the helmet – blue with red stripes from front to back (still no face mask on most helmets). In the 1943, 1944 and 1945 seasons, the Giants wore this red jersey for home games. For road games against teams whose home jersey was also red, New York wore a blue jersey with a tan helmet.

New York Giants 1956 uniform
The Giants moved to Yankee Stadium this year and in the process captured their 3rd NFL championship (the first was in 1934, the second in 1938). On December 30, in front of 56,000 fans at Yankee Stadium, the Giants trounced the Bears 47-7!

The 1956 jersey, worn by such New York greats as Frank Gifford, Mel Triplett, Charley Conerly & Rosey Grier, was also the “throwback” jersey the Giants chose to reproduce in 1994 for the NFL’s 75th anniversary. Notice the three stripes (one thick, two narrow) above the numbers on the sleeves. Notice also that this helmet has a single faceguard bar for protection - facemasks began to be used in the 1940’s and by 1956 most players were wearing face masks. The helmet itself is solid blue with a red stripe down the center – a basic style the Giants kept for many years to follow.

New York Giants 1962 uniform
The Giants lost the 1962 NFL championship to Green Bay 16-7. The Giants of this era were a great team, but they came up short in the championship game on more than one occasion. They made it to the NFL Championship game 5 times in the 6 year period 1958-1963 but lost each time. Two of the loses were to the Colts, two to the Packers and the final loss was to the Bears.

This uniform is now almost synonymous with Giants’ Quarterback Y.A. Tittle, one of the most photographed players of this golden age of Giants football. Note that white numbers now appear on both the front of the jersey and on the upper sleeves. The jersey lacks any sort of striping, although the pants have red and blue stripes.

This helmet has what is considered to be one of the best helmet logos ever! In 1961 this beautiful “ny” logo was added to the sides of the helmet, and it remained in use until the end of the 1975 season. The “ny” would return for the 1994 throwback uniform celebrating the NFL’s 75th anniversary, and then return again beginning in the 2000 season. Note also that this 1962 helmet has the uniform number on its front.

New York Giants 1971 uniform
This year was Fran Tarkenton’s fifth and last season with the Giants. This classic white short-sleeved jersey with blue numbers and red & blue cuffs is yet another Giants classic - simple yet beautiful. The pants still have blue and red stripes and the helmet’s front numbers have been dropped.

New York Giants 1986 uniform
The Giants win their first Super Bowl, and fourth NFL Championship (previous wins came in 1934, 1938 and 1956)! Led by Coach Bill Parcells and players such as Phil Simms , “LT” (Lawrence Taylor), Phil McConkey & Mark Bavaro – New York exploded for 30 points in the second half of Super Bowl XXI to beat John Elway and the Denver Broncos 39-20.

This particular jersey is blue with red and white striping along the v-neck collar line and armbands. The numbers are white with red trim. Also notice the helmet with its distinctive “GIANTS” logo. This logo was adopted in 1976 and remained in use until the 2000 season (the only exception was in 1994 when the Giants wore special “throwback” uniforms in honor of the NFL’s 75th anniversary).

Please also note the small circular patch on the left shoulder of the jersey. It reads “Spider 43” and has an outline of a spider and honors Carl “Spider” Lockhart. Lockhart wore #43 and played for the Giants from 1965 to 1975. He died at the age of 43 in 1986 while serving as a team coach.

New York Giants 1990 uniform
The Giants are Super Bowl champions again in 1990! The team Bill Parcells called “the most underestimated” went on to win Super Bowl XXV against the Buffalo Bills 20-19 in one of the most dramatic Super Bowl games of all time!

Note the patch below the left shoulder – a patch worn by both Super Bowl participants. This is the first instance of a special Super Bowl patch worn by both teams during the Super Bowl, a pattern which will be continued sporadically throughout the 1990’s.

A note about the mesh: The Giants and most other NFL teams have worn jerseys made from “mesh” for many years (in some cases dating back to the late 1960’s), but pictures of the 1990 Giants’ jersey mesh seem particularly transparent, making it possible for fans to see the equipment players wear underneath their jerseys. We believe the powers that be deemed the mesh too revealing – and subsequent jersey designs across the league have used a denser material.

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New York Giants 1994 uniform
This 1994 jersey celebrates the NFL’s 75th anniversary, and was known as a “throwback” jersey. All NFL teams wore a throwback jersey for at least a few games in 1994. The Giants’ throwback jersey was a short sleeved throwback to the style worn in the late 50’s and early 60’s - please see the 1956 jersey.

Notice also the special NFL 75th Anniversary commemorative patch below the left shoulder, and the change from the ‘GIANTS’ logo back to the classic ‘ny’ logo on the helmet. The fans loved the “ny” logo so much that in 2000 the team reintroduced this logo as the official team logo.

New York Giants 1999 uniform
1999 marked the 75th anniversary of Giants’ football, an occasion honored by the special commemorative patch worn on the left shoulder on the 1999 jersey. Look carefully around the blue uniform numbers and you’ll notice thin, red trim around the jersey numbers. You’ll also see a small NFL logo just below the “V” of the neck and on the upper left thigh of the pants. Most team uniforms added these two NFL logos beginning in 1991, and almost all uniforms have had them since with the notable exception of the 1994 “throwback” jerseys.

New York Giants 2000 uniform
The year 2000 marked a new era in Giants’ history – both the home and away uniforms went through a major re-design and yielded a complete new look for the Giants. You’ll notice that the uniform numbers are now on top of the shoulders, not on the sleeves.

You’ll also see that the NFL logo is nestled inside a small red triangle in the shirt’s V-neckline, and that this is not a red undershirt – it’s actually part of the uniform! Beneath the NFL logo, you’ll see a small “GIANTS” logo, known as a secondary logotype. The addition of a secondary team logo just below the V-neck is now used by numerous teams. Note also that the sleeves of this particular jersey are elasticized – so defenders can’t grab excess material and use it to their advantage!

New York Giants 2004 uniform
Following the 2003 season, a season in which the Giants appeared to quit midway through, head coach Jim Fassel was fired. The team then began a major off season shake-up that also saw them trade up in the draft to obtain the top overall pick, which they used on QB Eli Manning, the son of New Orleans Saint legend Archie Manning, and brother to Peyton, the Colt’s MVP QB. To back up the rookie pivot they signed former league MVP Kurt Warner as a free agent.

To replace the fired Fassel, the Giants brought on former Jacksonville Jaguars field boss Tom Coughlin to be the 16th head coach in the team’s history. John Mara, the Giants’ executive vice president and chief operating officer was looking for someone to return the Giants to respectability, and Coughlin was his man. “Tom is the right person for this job,” he said, “he has experience as a successful head coach at the college and NFL levels, and he is going to bring an intensity and focus and a commitment to winning that we need and want.”

Coughlin went with his veteran QB Kurt Warner to start the season, giving Manning a chance to observe the game from the sideline. Warner led his team to a 5-4 record, but he threw just six touchdowns with four interceptions in the nine games. He was sacked 39 times, including 24 in his last four games. (he must have been grateful for the week 6 bye!). But for Game 10, in a somewhat controversial move, Coughlin handed the reigns of the team over to Manning. The rookie gave the Giants and their fans energy, excitement and enthusiasm in his NFL debut, but he could not give them a victory. Manning completed 17 of 37 passes for 162 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in his first NFL start. He was sacked just once, the fewest number of sacks allowed by the Giants to that point in the season.

With Manning at the helm, the New York football Giants lost six of their final seven games and finished the year in a three-way tie for last place in the NFC East. They had a 6-10 record along with division mates Dallas and Washington. The Eagles won the division with a 13-3 record; they also went on to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XXXIX.

The on-field leader of the team was RB Tiki Barber. Tiki rushed for 1518 yards on 322 carries and set a team record with nine 100+ yard games. He also gained 1,980 all-purpose yards in 2004, the third-highest total in team history.

For the 2004 season the Giants introduced a “3rd jersey” that they wore for selected home games. The jersey is red in color, with white numerals on the front, back and tops of the shoulders. This jersey is reminiscent of the jersey the team wore in the 1940’s and shown in our 1945 painting. Also present on this jersey, as well as the home blue jersey, is a commemorative patch that celebrates the franchise’s 80th anniversary. This 3rd jersey was worn only at home, and it was worn with their gray home pants. The pants also have a thick red band flanked by two thick blue bands running down the side of each leg.

New York Giants 2007 uniform
Super Bowl winning season - text not yet written.


Celebrate the Giants' uniform history by owning a piece of history:
If you love the New York Giants and the history of the Giants franchise, you might really love to own an original piece of artwork celebrating the team's historic uniforms as seen in the poster at the top of this blog - you can actually own one of those original pieces of art! There are only 16 pieces of original art available for sale, and when these 16 are sold, that's it, they're all sold out.

These original watercolor paintings would make a great gift (birthday gift, anniversary gift, retirement gift, Christmas gift, etc.) for someone you love or even a great gift for yourself (one of these framed pieces would look fantastic in your home or office). Each piece can be bought one of three ways:
1. As unframed art that you could have framed or mounted yourself (the one on the left)
2. Framed in our "Classic" framed version (the middle version)
3. Framed in our "Deluxe" framed version (the version on the right)

If you would like more information about this great artwork including the three ways you could purchase each piece, please visit our New York Giants YouTube video at or go directly to the artwork website where you can see and purchase the artwork.

And if someone you know loves the history of sports uniforms (but maybe another team) and loves great art, please let them know that we have over 1500 pieces of great original artwork for sale at (all NFL teams, all MLB teams, all NHL teams, all CFL teams, select NCAA football teams) or check out each team's video at the Heritage Sports Art YouTube Channel

And please search my blog archive for other blogs on the history of the Giants.


This blog was written by Scott Sillcox and was last updated August 18, 2010. I have tried to ensure the accuracy of the information, but I am human and can make mistakes. If you believe I have made a mistake, please let me know by email at !

Many thanks!!!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent writeup on the history of the team and the uniforms. Did you notice that they missed at least two uniforms? The 1975 uniform with the capital NY and the 5-stripe sleeve from the 1975 season at Shea Stadium and the Giants logo with the 5-stripe sleeve from '76 - '80.


Thank you for taking the time to add a comment - all input is welcome, especially the constructive kind! All the best - Scott