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Today's Tidbit... Football Jerseys with Emblems
Early football teams often had the school letter or letters on their jerseys, and the first numbers on football uniforms arrived in 1905. But it was not until 1937 that the NCAA required teams to wear numbers on the front and back of their jerseys. Some conferences required numbers earlier than that, but failing to specify the types of numbers, coaches pulled a few tricks by using four-digit numbers or Roman numerals on their team jerseys. In addition, there were many patterns of friction strips that adorned jersey fronts from 1915 to 1935 or so.
Still, a few schools put emblems on their jerseys rather than or in addition to numbers. There is nothing inherently wrong with doing so since hockey teams prominently feature emblems on their jerseys, and baseball has emblems, such as the cardinals perched on bats, so why shouldn't football join in the fun?
Well, a few did just that back in the day, so here are a few images of football teams with emblems on their jerseys when others wore numbers.
The 1925 Furman jerseys are among my all-time favorites. Rather than be the team with targets on their backs, they chose to be the team with targets on their fronts. That takes pluck.
Next up was the Bison from Bucknell. Not only did they go head-to-head with their toughest opponents, but they also displayed their willingness to butt into anyone with their opposing bison, plus numbers.
Our last emblem also originates in Pennsylvania but brings a foreign, even aristocratic, element to the great American game. Below we present the Marquis de Lafayette proudly profiled on the chests and bellies of American men from Lafayette College.
Since the yearbook image does not display the emblems well, the tighter shot below shows them better. Still, there’s a tad too much detail for the folks in the cheap seats to make out.
So, there you go. Emblems on football jerseys never became popular, but you can’t say they never tried it because we have pictures showing they did.
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