How Oregon's Infamous Football Uniforms Went From Classic To Crazy

With a second trip to the college football championship game in five years, Oregon has established itself as one of the top college football programs in the country.

But to most fans, the Ducks will always be the school that started the trend of wild and wacky uniforms that change seemingly every week.

It wasn’t always that way. Before Nike got its grips on the Oregon program, the Ducks wore some of the most classic uniforms in college football. On the next few pages we will take a look at how those uniforms have changed through the years.

In the 1920s, Oregon players wore light-coloured leather helmets, possibly white.

Nothing is more classic than the Oregon uniforms worn in the 1958 Rose Bowl, featuring yellow helmets with numbers on the side and white jerseys with shoulder stripes.

In the early 1970s, the Ducks (dark jerseys) were wearing a simple yellow helmet without logos or numbers.

In the mid-1980s, Bill Musgrave, now the quarterbacks coach for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, modelled a gorgeous and classic football uniform with a 'UO' on the side of the helmet and a standard jersey/pants combo.

By the mid-1990s, the craziest things about the Oregon uniforms were Donald Duck on the sleeves (used with Disney's permission) ...


... and the merit decals on the helmets. It was after Oregon reached the Rose Bowl in 1995 that Nike CEO Phil Knight got involved.

Knight, who ran track at Oregon, began donating money and was asked to come up with uniforms that would help Oregon recruit better athletes.

The first 'space age' uniforms debuted in 1999 with bright yellow, black, and a gigantic 'O' on the helmet.


Those uniforms remained relatively unchanged for several years.

And the white version was actually pretty simple and boring by today's standards.

Then, in the mid-2000s, things started to shake up. At first, the basic template stayed the same, but patterns and wordmarks were added to the shoulders, and the amount of neon yellow grew.

In 2006, some tire-tread patterns were added to the shoulders and pants. But again, the basic template still looked the same.

But then they unveiled a mostly yellow uniform, and things began to change again.

The uniforms really changed at the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl, when Oregon unveiled gold helmets with a faint flame patten (difficult to see in the photo below).

In 2009, wings were added to the jerseys, but more importantly, the school colours of green and yellow became optional.

In 2010, things started to get wacky as Oregon really got in touch with its inner grey.

And there were the mostly black uniforms.

And these uniforms, which were worn in the program's most recent BCS Championship game ...

... with these socks.

And that was when it became 'anything goes.' Here is what Oregon wore to open the 2011 season.

In the 2012 Rose Bowl, Oregon released the chrome helmet, which was very shiny.

At this point, it is hard to even keep track of all the uniforms as they change every week.

School colours? What school colours?

And even when Oregon wears colours, they are often just a loose interpretation. The wackier, the better. Just ask Marcus Mariota.

And when it comes to breast-cancer awareness, you know Oregon isn't just going to add a pink towel or some pink gloves.

In addition to Nike's uniform deal with the school, it is estimated that Knight has donated more than $300 million to the University of Oregon.

Coach Mark Helfrich was recently asked where Knight would sit at games, responding 'wherever he wants.'

SOURCE:, The Dan Patrick Radio Show

In the recent college football playoff semifinal game, Oregon went all apple green for the first time.

In this year's championship game, Oregon will actually tone it down with this white-and-grey uniform. Of course, the school colours are nowhere to be found.

Now check out the how wacky Michigan's new coach can be.

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