A Look Back At The Orange Tigers
At least once a year there is discussion here at Track’em Tigers about whether Auburn should deviate from their traditional blue and white jerseys and perhaps try something a little different. With Oregon wearing new look uniforms almost weekly and Florida State resembling lizards more than Seminoles with the way they change their colors, some fans like the idea of mixing things up a bit.
Auburn people have strong opinions about how their Tigers should dress on game day. In past polls we’ve run, Auburn fans have overwhelmingly favored sticking with tradition. Other SEC schools seem to be more accepting in making wardrobe changes. Just this past season we saw Tennessee, Florida, LSU, Georgia and South Carolina make uniform adjustments. There may have been more. These are the ones that quickly came to mind.
Over the past 30 years, Auburn’s uniforms have deviated from tradition only a few times. In the early 1980’s, Pat Dye’s teams wore orange face masks for a few seasons. Personally, I thought it was an awesome look. During Terry Bowden’s tenure, he chose to line the jersey numbers in orange. Everyone has their own ideas about good fashion. For me, the orange trim was plain terrible.
The most famous uniform change game during the Doug Barfield era when Auburn wore orange jerseys on four occasions. As a 10 year-old, I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I still have my old orange Charlie Trotman jersey put up for safe keeping. Looking back now, let’s just say I’m not nearly as impressed.
Barfield’s use of orange jerseys as a motivator for his teams in big games didn’t sit well with most Auburn fans. Rightfully so, Auburn people felt that if you needed a ploy to win, then things weren’t where they should be football wise.
Shortly after being hired, Pat Dye was asked about whether his teams would ever break out the orange jerseys. Dye quickly answered, “No, Auburn’s colors are blue trimmed in orange, not orange trimmed in blue.” While Tommy Tuberville didn’t alter the team’s uniforms, he did change how the fans dressed, asking them to wear orange while in the stadium. It’s a tradition that has now become permanent. So I guess you could say the fans do wear orange trimmed in blue.
The above video is a production put together by Georgia fans during its 1980 national championship season. It’s the best video of the old orange uniforms I’ve ever seen. I was in Jordan-Hare Stadium that day and have to say it was very cool seeing the team come out for warm-ups in blue and then return for the game in orange jerseys. As an adult looking back now, it was more a sign of desperation than cool. I understand why my father hated them. For the record, Auburn hung tough early before falling late to Herschel Walker and the eventual national champs. I guess Herschel was color blind.
What are the chances of Auburn trying something new in the near future? Who really knows? But if fans have a say so, the uniforms we saw on New Year’s Day will be the same ones our grandchildren see 20 years from now.
That’s fine with me.
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