Thursday, August 27, 2015

Delaware Blue Hens (1975-79)

The mid-to-late 1970s saw football uniforms make small but crucial changes to separate themselves from their '60s brethren:
  • The face masks changed from a couple gray bars to a "cage," usually rendered in a team color (some teams, like UNH and Maine, stuck with gray until the mid-80s);
  • The rounded-neck jerseys switched to a V-neck;
  • The shoes went from black to white.
Delaware is the best example to illustrate this, since virtually nothing else in this flawless uniform changed during the '70s. In '76, the Blue Hens switched to white shoes (there were a few holdouts, however), followed by a change to V-necks in '77 and blue face masks in '78. To the casual observer, something looks different about the unis, but just can't place a finger on it, ya know?

The Blue Hens and their white shoes run over Maine in 1976.
These are all from the Blue Hen yearbook.
The Blue Hens and their V-necks take to the air in '77.
The Blue Hens and their blue face masks celebrate in '78.
Also note the "fish-net" mesh jerseys that were in vogue then.

The '78 Hens reached the NCAA Division II championship game and won the whole thing in '79. Why were they still schlepping around in D-II when they were devouring Division I-AA teams regularly during this period? According to "100 Plus: The Story of Delaware Football," the team wanted to move up, but was denied by the school's athletic governing board, which also believed in preventing freshmen from playing on varsity teams, even though the NCAA had allowed freshmen on varsity for several years. Delaware finally joined I-AA in '80.

There's more from the Delaware hen house: 2011-142004-061989-921980-88, 1973-7419721967-71.

I don't know what's going on here, but the zebra looks awfully concerned.

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