Five Best And Five Worst BYU Football Uniforms Of All-Time

Apr 9, 2020, 11:36 PM
Ty Detmer - John Beck - BYU Football...
BYU quarterbacks Ty Detmer and John Beck highlight some of the best and worst uniforms the Cougars have worn over the years. (Photos courtesy of Getty Images (left), Deseret News (right))

PROVO, Utah – The history of BYU football uniforms has produced some classic jerseys and also some that need to be thrown out. As someone who loves his fair share of some quality swag, I give you the five best and the five worst BYU football uniforms of all-time.

Five Best BYU Football Uniforms

1987-1992 Home

Ty Detmer - BYU Football - SDSU

(Photo by Mike Powell/Allsport/Getty Images)

In 1987 BYU ditched the mesh uniforms and it was the best move they could have made. These were the jerseys that Ty Detmer catapulted himself into the national spotlight after defeating No. 1 Miami in 1990 to become the Heisman Trophy winner.

1996-1997 Nike threads 

(Gary McKellar, Deseret News)

BYU’s relationship with Nike dates back to the 1970s, but it wasn’t until 1996 that the sports apparel giant’s iconic swoosh appeared on BYU’s football jerseys. The clean, solid-colored pants were underrated plus the color black started to have a bigger presence in these jerseys.

2009 Royal Blue alternate

Andrew George - BYU Football 2009

Andrew George of BYU celebrates scoring the winning touchdown in overtime against the University of Utah Saturday, November 28, 2009. (Deseret News)

Heading into BYU’s regular-season finale against Utah in 2009, it had been 11 years since the BYU football team wore royal blue in their uniforms. The 2009 season marked the 25th anniversary of BYU’s National Championship campaign and to pay tribute to the school’s lone football national champion, BYU came out against rival Utah in royal blue tops, white pants, and a helmet with BYU’s iconic oval Y in royal blue.

Since 2009, BYU has had other royal blue looks, but this one was the best because it was simple, had no chrome in the facemask, and at the time had a back to the future type of feel that aesthetically pleasing.

2017-Present Navy Blue, white pants

Dayan Ghanwoloku - BYU - USC

BYU defensive back Dayan Ghanwoloku (No. 5) celebrates his touchdown against the USC Trojans in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

I’ll admit, my personal preference is seeing BYU wear royal blue uniforms. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t like the navy blue look every once in a while. Just go look at last year’s BYU-USC game. The navy blue jerseys were a nice contrast to USC’s road white uniform with cardinal numbers and gold pants.

This current version of the navy blue jerseys and white pants began in 2017 after BYU dropped the Nike Flywire collar that was a popular fad on Nike College Football jerseys in the early 2010s.

2019 Throwback alternate

Zach Wilson - BYU - Washington

Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

BYU’s game against Washington last year was forgettable but their jerseys were on point. It was a throwback game in celebration of the 150 years of College Football. BYU brought out a throwback helmet that featured a block Y in royal blue with a solid royal blue stripe down the middle.

The white jerseys with royal blue numbers were introduced for the first time since 1998 to go with royal pants that have been worn in previous years (2013 against Utah as an example).

The block Y helmets were a one-time usage but the rest of the jersey was worn again in BYU’s regular-season finale against San Diego State last November.

Five Worst

1940-1941 Orange Jerseys

Photo Courtesy of BYU Football Vault

Yes, BYU once upon a time had jerseys that featured the color orange. That’s going to be a no from me.

1955-1960: Gray Helmets

Photo courtesy of BYU Athletics

I’ve always thought that BYU needs to incorporate gray more into their uniforms. From 1955 to 1960, they did just that by having solid gray-colored helmets. From ’58 to ’60 there were numbers on the side of the helmets.

1999 Bibs

Kevin Feterik - BYU - Bib Jerseys

BYU’s quarterback Kevin Feterik passes on the second play of the game Thursday, Sept 9, 1999 at Cougar Stadium in Provo. PHOTO BY CHUCK WING/DESERET NEWS

I’m not going to lie, 11-year-old Mitch really liked the bibs. Not necessarily for the style but for the fact that BYU was a top priority by Nike to do some innovative. Only BYU and the Denver Broncos were using new jersey materials that were more breathable for athletes while competing. But at the end of the day, these navy blue, vegas tan, and white bibbed jerseys were out of control.

The NCAA shut down these jerseys after one season and BYU then went to a solid blue in the front of their home uniforms.

2004: Last of the tan uniforms

John Beck - BYU - 2004

BYU’s #12 John Beck passes the ball in the first half of play at Lavell Edwards stadium in Provo Saturday November 13, 2004 as the Cougars fall 21-14. Photo by Scott G. Winterton/Deseret Morning News November 13, 2004.

Nike rolled out one more set of BYU uniforms with navy blue and vegas tan as the primary colors. These ones were probably worse than the bibs and fans were irate that there was no last name on the back of the jerseys.

2012, 2014 Blackout

BYU - Blackout - Uniforms 2012

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Riley Nelson (13) warm ups prior to the game with Oregon State in Provo Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. BYU is wearing black out uniforms. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

As more time passes and we are farther removed from the trendy “blackout” faze in college football, I ask myself, why was this a thing? BYU debuted all-black uniforms for the first time in 2012 against No. 10 Oregon State at home. They then wore them again in 2014 against UNLV.

There’s a segment of the BYU fan base that loves these uniforms, but for me, what turns me off to them is the helmet decal. Now the 2016 blackout uniforms worn in Taysom Hill’s last game as a BYU Cougar against Utah State were a slight upgrade because of the improved helmet decal.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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Five Best And Five Worst BYU Football Uniforms Of All-Time