When the Dolphins face off with the Chicago Bears tomorrow night, they will be wearing their aqua uniforms. In Sunday afternoon’s win over the Titans, however, the Fins wore white uniforms. As has been the case for much of the team’s recent history, the Dolphins have worn white at home for day games and aqua (or orange) at home for night games. But this was not always the case.
When the expansion Dolphins began play during the 1966 AFL season, they wore aqua uniforms for all of their home games, day or night. This trend would continue until after the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. Despite the revolutionary and freewheeling reputation of the AFL, no team in that league ever wore white at home.
For the Dolphins, things changed in, of all years, 1972, when they first wore white at the Orange Bowl on September 24th against the Oilers. The Fins would wear white at home throughout the entire perfect regular season with two exceptions: in October against the Bills and in a Monday night game against the Cardinals, establishing a trend that has held throughout much of their history: dark uniforms at home for night games.
While the Fins have certainly been one of the most visible “white-at-home” teams in NFL history, they are certainly not the first to try it. In fact, when the NFL did away with the rule that home teams had to wear their dark uniforms in 1964, several traditional franchises wore white at home. Some, we’ve come to get used to, like the Browns, Cowboys, and Cardinals. Even the Giants, Vikings, and Steelers, though, experimented with white at home in the mid to late 60’s.
Another twist for the Fins has been whether they’ve worn the white pants or the aqua pants with their white uniforms. The last few years, the standard has been white tops/white pants at home and white tops/aqua pants on the road, but that was not always the case. From 1990-1993, the Fins mainly wore the aqua pants with the white jerseys at home and then again for many games between 1996 and 2000. The team has not worn the aqua pants and white tops at home since a 10-3 win over the Patriots in September of 2000.
It appears the last time the Dolphins wore aqua uniforms at home for a regular season day game was all the way back in November of 1980, against the 49ers, in a game that kicked off at 4 o’clock.
So there you go, a brief history of the Dolphins color-of-choice in home games. A big, big thank you to both Paul Lukas of Uni Watch as well as Tim Brulia, who has done the legwork to put together an exceptionally comprehensive list of teams wearing white at home, and also provided some great background info.
NOTES: The Fins wore aqua as the “home” team against the Giants in London in October of 2007, though that was technically a night game (kickoff was at 6pm local time). Also, the Fins have worn aqua at home for a handful of day playoff games since 1980. Additionally, Twitter user @Christopher_CK reminds me to add in the fact that the Fins wore aqua tops with aqua pants in a December game against the Bears in 2002. I believe the only other time they’ve worn that combination was a Monday Night game against Philadelphia in ’03.
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