A review of Florida’s uniforms under Dan Mullen
The Gators boast one of the most unique brands in all of college football. The orange, script Gators helmet is instantly recognizable as a symbol of elite athletics and a championship standard. Florida hasn’t drastically changed their uniform in 30 years creating a standard look that has established tradition for the program.
Prior to Mullen’s hiring, previous head coach Jim McElwain experimented with many new uniform combos that undoubtedly generated buzz around the program from fans and recruits but often left lifelong fans of the Gators wonder who they were cheering for.
In 2018, Scott Stricklin forged a new era as the Gators became only the 3rd program in the country to be outfitted in Jordan Brand.
The stage was set for a new approach to uniforms. Two years into the Mullen + Jordan era, how has the Gators uniform selection faired?
Dan Mullen knows uniforms. Along with AD Scott Stricklin, Florida sought to re-establish their brand by wearing traditional jersey’s more. Not only has the brand been re-established through uniforms, but Mullen has also brought a new flare into the program by mixing up combinations and bringing alternate uniforms such as the 1960 Throwbacks.
The key difference between Mullen and the previous era is HOW uniform combinations are presented. Instead of odd, non-traditional combos such as White, Blue, Blue, Mullen sticks to combinations synonymous with the brand. O/W/B is a staple away combination. O/B/B is back in its place as “big game blues”. And any “different” uniform has historical significance (such as W/B/W being a staple uniform of the 1960s).
Yet, fans have still called Mullen’s approach “boring” and too “traditional” particularly during stretches such as the final 5 games of the 2018 season which saw ONLY the traditional O/B/W and O/W/B.
But Mullen has changed up the uniforms more than 4 of the previous 5 coaches. And, if you consider the Throwback uniforms from 2019, Mullen has arguably done more with uniforms than any coach in the history of the program.
Let’s take a look at some statistics since Mullen’s arrival (huge shoutout to @eViLGator on Twitter for helping me track down every uniform since 1990 so I could run these statistics):
- The 2018 and 2019 season each featured more uniform combinations than 16 of the previous 18 seasons
- 2019 featured the 2nd most unique uniform combos out of the past 20 years (8 unique combinations, only 2016 and 2017 top that with 9 combos)
- More combinations than Spurrier, Zook, Meyer, and Muschamp (Meyer even wore as few as 3 uniform combos during his first 2 seasons)
Mullen also brought back the fan favorite icy whites (in year 1 nonetheless) and then took it a step further and gave us 1960 Throwbacks (which fans had been begging for for 13 years).
Mullen is perfectly balancing the brand and appealing the fans. Furthermore, he is appealing to 17–18 year old recruits by mixing up combinations, promising to tweak things, and delivering on that. Oh, not to mention teasing black uniforms.
It’s time to appreciate what Mullen, Stricklin, and the equipment staff are doing with uniforms. The brand has been re-established, not tarnished. Variety is on point, not the focal point. The Florida Gators are setting the standard for college football uniforms across the country.
Next up: How to fix the Florida Gators uniform (I’m looking at you, orange uniforms)
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