Jade and Eggplant
April 25, 2016 11:25 AM   Subscribe

More than just an iconic paper cup design (previously), teal and teal+purple were the defining sports uniform of the 90s. Much of the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of the Charlotte Hornets, who kicked of the teal and purple craze in 1988. From there, suddenly teal-clad expansion clubs were popping up everywhere.

MLB: In 1993, both the Seattle Mariners and Florida Marlins incorporated teal as a primary color. In 1998 the Arizona Diamondbacks expansion team included full teal and purple 90s regalia.

NFL: the Miami Dolphins have always had teal as a primary color, but then came the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars. The Eagles went from Kelly Green to teal in 1996, although they still pretend it's 'green.' When asked why the color changed, owner Jeffrey Lurie stated that “our fans want us to look less like the Jets.”

NBA: the Grizzlies, Wizards, and Pistons followed Charlotte's lead in making teal a priority in the 90s.

NHL: BOTH California-based expansion teams the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks had teal as a primary color, although the Ducks tried to disguise their trendhopping as "jade and eggplant." Even the NY Islanders included it for awhile....
In one of the most ill-fated moves in NHL uniform history, the Islanders ditched their trademark royal blue/orange uniforms in favor of a uniform set that a 1960s stoner would have been proud of. The crest was replaced by one featuring a man bearing a striking resemblance to the Gorton's fisherman. The backs of the jerseys featured names and numbers distorted to follow the contours of the bottom stripes. Needless to say, this uniform set was not well-received by Islanders fans.
The Sports Design Blog: The Evolution of Team Colors, and Team Colors By Sport
posted by Existential Dread (38 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
The first time I remember encountering teal+purple was the Olympics-related road signage that went up in LA before the 1984 Summer Games. The colors were chosen, as I recall, because there was no national flag based on those two colors.
posted by The Tensor at 11:35 AM on April 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


I always wondered who started it!! I remember going to Freeport, ME (the headquarters of L.L. Bean) around that time, and wondering why literally 99% of everyone inside and outside was wearing those irritating colors.
posted by Melismata at 11:38 AM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


When did the Wizards ever wear teal? If this is teal then so is Metafilter.
posted by drlith at 11:39 AM on April 25, 2016


Man, seriously, thanks to digital color timing, every movie out of Hollywood is teal and purple these days.
posted by beerperson at 11:40 AM on April 25, 2016


Also a designer "favourite". I remember design articles talking about this colour trend
posted by infini at 11:42 AM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]




Pretty sure we can lay the blame for this color scheme squarely at the feet of Patrick Nagel. He's basically the go-to for the current generation of manufactured memories of the 80's.
posted by GuyZero at 11:47 AM on April 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


> Even the NY Islanders included it for awhile....

Arguably the lowest point in the history of a team that has had its share of low moments. I don't think I'd say it's the worst uniform in pro sports history, but it's got to be one of the worst logos.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:47 AM on April 25, 2016


I genuinely love that Islander's logo. I don't care about Islanders at all, or hockey very much, but I do love crusty old fishermen.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:51 AM on April 25, 2016


today on the internet I read an article about tracking down an incidentally iconic paper cup designer.

I love you internet, be this way forever.
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:53 AM on April 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


GREAT POST

I think about '90s sports design a lot, particularly every time the Carolina Panthers' end zone is shown on tv even though it changed in 2012.

I have a Gorton's fisherman Isles jersey, a friend gave it to me as a gift, and even though I love it dearly every time I wear it I feel like I lost a bet. As for the Jaguars, their fits and starts to have a less awful design has yielded some genuinely interesting results. The matte/shiny helmets are ugly for sure but they're so markedly different than anything else any other team is doing. The relative newness of the team has given them a lot of freedom, I think. No ties to 'throwback' design allows for a lot more risk.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 11:55 AM on April 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


embarrassed to discover home screen background colour has always been tweaked to teal. Why, I don't know... I hate the microsoft looks
posted by infini at 11:56 AM on April 25, 2016


The whole nhluniforms.com site is actually a treasure. Go Hartford Whalers!
posted by Existential Dread at 11:57 AM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]




I just saw this teal-and-purple redesign of the Quebec Nordiques jersey that probably would have actually happened if they hadn't moved the team to Denver.

It is . . . extremely 90s.
posted by Copronymus at 11:59 AM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't think I'd say it's the worst uniform in pro sports history, but it's got to be one of the worst logos.

As far as modern logos, the Sabres' Buffaslug has to take the crown, right? It's reveal unfortunately coincided with the first job where I had any sort of extra disposable income. Thankfully I developed a teensy bit of taste by the time these eyesores were released. Such a nice crest! Such horror surrounding it! Steve Ott's facial expression really sells it.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 12:00 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


This color reminds me so much of the 90s..

Ha, my sisters had a San Jose Sharks Starters jacket. (I chose the Toronto Raptors, expansion team)

The New Jersey Nets had also proposed to use teal (a green whose hue was a bit lower than teal's) and purple in a team rebranding but was thankfully killed.

Guyzero, thanks for posting that Nagel link! That art is from every 80s movie set in LA that I've seen.
posted by fizzix at 12:06 PM on April 25, 2016


The Vancouver Canucks have consistently had the worst uniforms in all professional sports in North America.

This uniform set is widely regarded as one of the ugliest in the history of North American professional sports.
posted by blob at 12:19 PM on April 25, 2016


When I played NBA Live 97 for the MD/Genesis, I dreaded playing in Detroit because of the awful, eye-melting teal and purple of the arena (it looks worse on hardware).

I think at times people get a bit too attached to the idea of tradition in kits, but the replacement of blue/green and red for teal and purple in the 90s was waaaaaay beyond what is acceptable. And unfortunately, Portugal will be using hospital gowns as away kits, because Nike said so. I wish they'd overspend so much in the NFL and the NBA they'd be forced to leave football for good. Their kits have been terrible and this time around, they're just sticking most teams with template kits.
posted by lmfsilva at 12:22 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not to say they should all stick with teal and purple, which was awful at the time and only looks worse as more time passes,* but the teams that constantly change colors create a weird effect all their own, where the fans in the stands become a weirdly jarring, clashing randomly distributed rainbow instead of a unified display. The clashing colors express clashing priorities about team history — teams of course always want to sell the all-new merch, while fans are using the historical jerseys to show long-term loyalty and memorialize their favorite players and eras. Right now I notice this effect a lot in the stands at Marlins and Diamondbacks games (though Arizona's new uniforms create the ghastly-fool's-motley effect all on their own) and it seems to be getting worse for the Padres as well.

* shut up, there's no vaporwave in baseball
posted by RogerB at 12:25 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here in Seattle you'll find as many or more people wearing the old royal blue and bright yellow with the upside-down pitchfork logo of the Mariners as the current teal and blue incarnation. I found it deeply confusing for awhile. And my team growing up was the Padres, and I was bummed when they went from their iconic brown and yellow to just another bland blue and gold.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:33 PM on April 25, 2016


If this site were like seven years older than it is we'd all be talking about what we read today on The Teal.
posted by MoonOrb at 12:40 PM on April 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


Though perhaps not as bad as the Grizzlies, and only cousins to the world of teal-and-purple, The Raptors original red-and-purple logo/jersey also feels firmly of the 1990s. It's even got those '90s little triangles over the letters…
posted by Kabanos at 12:44 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I feel obligated to bring up the Calgary Radz in any thread about pro sports names/logos/uniforms, but while I was looking them up I stumbled across the monstrosity that was the New Jersey Rockin Rollers.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:44 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Note also the trend in 1990s architecture to use teal-ish green as an accent color, which I distinctly remember as being part of the Apple campus and any other building that aspired to that level of coolness. You'd see it deployed as glass, on girders, in tile, etc etc etc... I started thinking of it as a substance called The Bluegreen out of which all these materials could be made. I have a hunch it was mimicking the color of motherboard. Supporting evidence would be appreciated...
posted by gusandrews at 12:54 PM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


What gets lost in the trend is that a lot of these were actually pretty slick. The Sharks, Mariners, and Marlins. The Ducks' original look was iffy, but it beats anything they've had since. The Hornets were pretty nice, too. I might be a little sentimental about the Sharks (91-92 was my first season paying attention to hockey, so I kind of adopted them), but the Mariners' and Marlins' teal stuff are some of my favorite baseball uniforms ever.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:55 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


As far as modern logos, the Sabres' Buffaslug has to take the crown, right?

probably not. The Stars had the uterus jerseys. The Senators had the super nintendo jerseys and this thing. There's probably worse ones, too, but that is not a rabbit hole I want to go down right now.
posted by Hoopo at 2:06 PM on April 25, 2016


The Vancouver Canucks have consistently had the worst uniforms in all professional sports in North America.

This uniform set is widely regarded as one of the ugliest in the history of North American professional sports.


Who was the columnist who said that those uniforms made them look like giant skating O Henry bars?
posted by jrochest at 2:20 PM on April 25, 2016


Bulgaroktonos: "I genuinely love that Islander's logo. I don't care about Islanders at all, or hockey very much, but I do love crusty old fishermen."

Yeah, I think it's okay, too. It's definitely not very traditional, but it's much better than, say, the Kings' "Burger King", the psychedelic Phoenix Coyote, or the deeply, deeply insane Blues' Trumpet.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:23 PM on April 25, 2016




> The Senators had the super nintendo jerseys and this thing

That looks so much like a Blackhawks jersey.
posted by jillithd at 2:34 PM on April 25, 2016


Gosh, this gave me such fond memories of rocking the Portland Sea Dogs black 'n' teal in the 90s. (Bonus: Their logo was designed by the cartoonist who does the Nancy strip!) When they switched affiliations from the Marlins to the Red Sox, their colors changed to (boring) blue and red.
posted by saturngirl at 3:02 PM on April 25, 2016


There are a lot worse color combinations that could have come out of Maine....
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:39 PM on April 25, 2016


Oh, I went to a teal Sea Dogs game on my sole trip to Portland! Hadn't even realized they'd changed.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:25 PM on April 25, 2016


The Canucks would be better served by going back to the maroon-and-white stripes from when they were the Millionaires.

The best jersey in the world is the Milwaukee Admirals jersey. Sadly they updated the logo and it's not nearly as good. Why mess with perfection?
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:52 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm a big fan of the Atlanta Hawks jersey from 1972. Neon green with an electric blue line. I have a throwback of one of these, it's perfect for the beach.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:31 PM on April 25, 2016


I was living in Phoenix during the Diamonbacks' triumphant 2001 season, and lived 4 miles down one street from the ballpark, AND had a neighbor who had a motorcycle who also loved baseball. Saw a lot of baseball that year, was the most fun I have ever had truly following a team for a season.

I shopped around for weeks before I found a D-backs ball cap that was black with a greyscale logo on it, because I really really hated the Purple/Teal team colors. I think I have that cap someplace still.
posted by hippybear at 12:46 AM on April 26, 2016


Existential Dread: "The Eagles went from Kelly Green to teal in 1996, although they still pretend it's 'green.'"

I don't think the Eagles' green does not seem to be teal, it's way too dark for that. It's a world away from the bright, poppy, blue-green of the Hornets and Dolphins.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:06 AM on April 26, 2016


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