Power Ranking the Parts of Penn State's Throwback Uniforms

By Nick Polak on October 4, 2019 at 8:38 am
Penn State Football [Twitter]

There are a lot of changes, albeit small ones, to digest here. Let's do what everyone on the internet does and RANK THEM.

Editor's Note: We originally ran this story in 2017, but wanted to revisit it with the Lions bringing back the Generations of Greatness uniforms this weekend. Enjoy!

Though many of us here at Roar Lions Roar were hoping for a true, all-out throwback to the black and pink uniforms, this new get-up for the Indiana game is pretty slick (And it makes older fans angry! Win-win!).

There are many subtle changes to the current uniform to be looked at here, so while we're doing that, we're going simultaneously rank those changes in order from least awesome to most awesome. Let's get it.

Awesome Change No. 8 - Block Numbers

block #

These look cool and all, but they're not that different from the current numbers. They're just a little...blockier. Which makes sense given the name. I suppose this might be a big deal for architects as it would give them a chance to explain how much sturdier these block numbers are than the ever so slightly rounded block numbers of the present. Then they'll start telling you about the new design they're presenting to their company president on Tuesday that will hopefully be their big break. You'll be like, "Dude, you're not supposed to take the urinal right next to someone", and then you'll get back to your seat feeling uncomfortable, albeit with a slightly better understanding of architectural design.

Awesome Change No. 7 - Liberty Bowl Stitching

lib bowl

Cool hat tip to the 1959 team, who secured a victory that should be replayed every day on Big Ten Network. Might this be the only game ever where the only score of the game came with no time remaining on the clock? Who's to say. Unfortunately, this stitching will be visible to essentially nobody, which makes it a rather inconsequential change unless you know it's there. And even if you do know, you're not going to see it. Just like the fans in the stands that day in 1959 saw essentially no offense.

Awesome Change No. 6 - 50s-80s Era Grey Facemask


Does anyone else confuse "gray" and "grey" constantly? After a quick google search, it seems that "gray" is the more accepted spelling in the United States, and "grey" is more common in the U.K. I also know that it's spelled with an "e" in the Liam Neeson movie, "The Grey" which is about a guy fighting off wolves after his plane crashes and everyone else he's with is killed by said wolves. And while it was a cool ending, I'd kinda like to know whether or not Neeson was able to kill the wolves at the end. Sorry, spoilers. Oh right, the facemask. When was the last time you cared about a facemask other than "Create a Player" mode on NCAA or Madden? And even then, you were probably more worried about what color tint to put on your visor. But hey, at least you'll be able to see this change from the stands.

Awesome Change No. 5 - Lion Shrine Logo from the Class of 1940

lion shrine

I actually like the way the chipmunk logo looks on the uniform now, but this looks very nice. It won't pop on screen in the same way, in fact you likely won't be able to see it without a close up, but it's still a neat look. I've been saying for years that the uniform needs more lions on it, and now my wish has been granted. The next step is for all of the players to wear Nittany Lion suits, and recreate NCAA Football's mascot mode in real life. Yes, that includes the mid-air barrel rolls in place of boring left and right jukes. Imagine Saquon's Rose Bowl run with laterally-moving front flips every time he cut. Yeah. This is how we get there. This is step one.

Awesome Change No. 4 - White Cleats from 1979 Sugar Bowl


When I started writing this, I thought this was going to be my No. 1 pick. But after thinking about it (and all of the other random things that have popped up in my brain since starting this), I decided to move them down the list a bit. If this was the whiteout game, it would be my easy top choice. But in this scenario, I think the other three changes about this one are even better. Make no mistake, though, these cleats are fly. I'll happily buy a new banner for my living room that says
"White shoes,
basic blues with a lion on them,
no names but blockier numbers,
all game."

Awesome Change No. 3 - Blue Pants Stripe


Everything from here on out had consideration for my top spot. I think this stripe looks AWESOME. The plain white and plain blue pants look fine, but I love when themes from different areas of the uniform flow into other areas, and this makes for a really cool continuation of the helmet down to the pants. It just adds something. I dunno. Hard to explain. Pants are good. Pants with a stripe are better. Maybe it's because I like baseball and basically every pair of baseball pants ever has a stripe down the side. Speaking of which, go to Penn State baseball games. They're fun and super cheap.

Awesome Change No. 2 - HELMET NUMBERS


Oh baby. It was tough to not put these number one, but they look fantastic. We actually got a taste of numbered helmets relatively recently when the team donned Michael Mauti's No. 42 on all of the helmets in the 2012 season finale. But these are going to look even more awesome than that. Also, the block numbers are back! That guy in the bathroom told you to check out the helmets, and even though you just wanted him to stop talking, you have to admit that they do look pretty great. And they certainly could hold more weight than boring old, less blocky numbers. Also, these will make Penn State look more like current Alabama. Current Alabama is good. Being like them is good. Unless you try to recreate them, like everyone else in the SEC has. That's bad.

Awesome Change No. 1 - THOSE BEAUTIFUL SOCKS


Hold me. These socks are incredible, and I would happily purchase myself a pair for every day of the week. Plus some backups. Because my God, they're gorgeous. And they look even better as a part of the full uniform than they do in isolation. If nothing else, this entire endeavour (if Penn State's going to spell something the British way, I am too) was worth it just for these socks.

What do you think? What's your favorite part of this retro redesign? Sound off in the comments.

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