The Detroit Lions will be sporting new uniforms this season, with black piping and highlights and what team officials promise is the same trademark shade of Honolulu blue.
But in the big-money world of the National Football League, where 2002 licensed merchandise sales topped $3.1 billion, green is still the predominant color when it comes to team apparel.
Merchandise sales are an important source of revenue for NFL teams, including the Lions, who will be wearing their new uniforms when they open the exhibition season Saturday at Ford Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
…The Lions, who have kept the same basic colors since 1934, ranked in the bottom third among teams in merchandise sales in 2002, according to the NFL. Only one player, quarterback Joey Harrington, was among the top players in terms of jersey sales last season. Harrington ranked third among NFL rookies and 27th overall.
With a popular new coach in Steve Mariucci, a hot new rookie in Michigan State wide receiver Charles Rogers and what promises to be a new attitude on the field, this is a great time to make a uniform change…
—Gary Haber, The Detroit Free Press “Lions will be wearing blue, but seeing green”
The Lions introduced a black alternate jersey in 2005. This was dropped in 2008 in favor of a throwback jersey, which became their permanent alternate jersey in 2009. 2009 also saw the Lions redesign their logos and jerseys.