2021 Purdue Football Uniform Season in Review

Game By Game Breakdown

With the return to stadiums, we were welcomed home to Ross Ade to one of the most spectacular performances of a Purdue football team in recent years. While the scoreboards looked great more often than not, the team also brought out some amazing looks — including the legendary Gold Jersey. Let’s examine each game.

Game 1: Oregon State, Boilermaker Black Out

Purdue opened the season for the first time since 1990 wearing all Black — which was also a team from the Pacific Northwest/Pac12, Washington.

In addition to being the first game in all black, it was also the first time the black helmet featured unique decals outside of a Military Appreciation Day game since 2014 — Hammer Down Cancer against Michigan State.

The team would win against a P5 team in the season opener for the second time under Brohm and kick the season off with party lights.

Game 2: UConn, Away Black

Purdue pulls out the Black/White/Black combo, which has been notoriously awful since returning to play. Riding an 11 game losing streak in this combo dating back to 1990, the Boilers find a way to kill the ghosts against a Husky team who sat out the 2020 season, and held 6 straight losses dating back to 2019. Hanging 49 on UConn — which would be the second most points scored on them all year — while also holding them scoreless — their only shut out of the year, proved to be a very meaningful outcome.

Purdue also wore special 9–11 memorial decals on the back of their lids.

Wearing Black helmets in the first two games has not been done since 1990, but this is the first 2–0 start with Black lids since 1958.

Game 3: Notre Dame, White Gold

Purdue brings out the gold lids for the first time of the year and pairs them with the return of the white pants for the first time since the Cradle of Astronaut’s game in 2019.

After suffering the team’s first loss of the year, the current white pants fall to 2–5 and 0–2 against the Irish.

The last time Purdue won against Notre Dame was 2007. The last time Purdue won at Notre Dame was 2004. Both of those times were the last time Purdue wore Gold pants At/Vs Notre Dame and won. Since then, Purdue has gone 0–8 and hasn’t worn gold pants. I’m not saying, I’m just saying — Pack the Gold Pants in 2024.

Game 4: Illinois, Throwbacks

Purdue welcomes home the 2001 Rose Bowl team and wears their Brees Era throwbacks — with the Tiller Era Helmet Decals.

The Throwbacks are a recreation of the jerseys that Nike acquired during the Champion turn over. They have been brought back to life on the Vapor Untouchable template. It is speculated they are paired with the standard gold pants.

For the second time, these recreations take on an opponent from Illinois (Northwestern, 2020) and this time they collect the W. This was the 100th win for the helmet using the decals that Tiller chose.

Game 5: Minnesota, The Return of the Gold Jersey

I have never been more stressed out leading into a uniform reveal than this week. With teases of Gold going around here and there from Purdue Creative, I was 100% convinced the powers that be were screwing with me.

Of course after actively arguing against it all week, Purdue pulls out the Gold Jersey for the first time in 18 years.

Purdue paired them with the Black Pants, a first since 1986 against Indiana.

It was also the first time since at least the 1950’s that a Purdue Gold Jersey was worn with a Black helmet.

While a full breakdown of the Gold Jersey will come this off season, it was without a doubt an incredible sight to see them return in person.

Game 6: Iowa, Grey Pants?

Purdue upsets a questionably ranked #2 Iowa team on the road. That would be the second surprise of the week as the team unveiled they would wear the light grey pants on the road for the third time and second time at Iowa.

People close to the program reported that they were shocked as the pants were sent to surplus to be sold at the start of the year along with the grey jerseys, but it seems that someone had a change of heart.

These pants have been generally less than appreciated by fans, but Hawkeye fans must absolutely hate them after losing to them in 2017 and then 2021.

Game 7: Wisconsin, Traditional Home

There wasn’t much to do about this one, but it was the first look at the current set gold/black/gold. The ‘Traditional Home’ set has become less used much to the disappointment of traditionalists.

In 2020, the 7th game on the schedule was also the first time Purdue wore G/B/G at home. This ties the record for the longest season delay Ross Ade has seen this combination — for years where this set was an option at least.

Emails earlier in the week confirmed that they would wear Gold Helmets with the Hammer Down Cancer Ribbon on the back of the helmet. This would be the second year in a row they wore this set for the HDC game, but in 2019 they wore stripes with Tyler Trent’s initials and words of motivation that he used to describe a Boilermaker.

If you’d like to donate to the Tyler Trent Foundation, information can be found at the Purdue Cancer Center’s page.

Game 8: Nebraska, Away Black

After a disappointing home stint, Purdue went back on the road, and repeated their first uniform combination of the season. Of course, a mighty Big Ten team would knock off UConn, but did that game truly remove the demons from the black/white/black combination?

Purdue came out defensively with their heads on fire. The Nebraska Defense’s legendary Black Shirts would look faded in comparison to the Black Helmets and Black Pants which picked off Martinez 4 times on the day including a 45 yard Pick Six.

Proving the Road to be more favorable than home perhaps, Purdue won their second game in this combination — a feat not done since at least the 1950s.

Game 9: Michigan State, Camo Black Out

While it is not a surprise that Purdue wore a special helmet for Military Appreciation Day, except this wasn’t Military Appreciation Day. The Oregon State game came over the Veterans’ Day weekend and as such, the team put out a special set of camo decals to go with the camo sideline gear that Nike provides for November — along with the NFL initiatives.

The camo pattern is inspired by the M81 pattern used by the US military from 1981 until the early 2000s. That pattern itself is a larger print of the ERDL Highlands pattern developed in 1948 and would sit dormant until the Vietnam War.

I was very much disappointed by the team wearing green against Michigan State — even in just small amounts-but clearly I was wrong.

aidan oconnell gestures to another player by shaking his finger at them during the michigan state game
Aiden O’Connell’s finger wag will always be a reminder of my mistakes.

This would be the second home game for the Boilermaker Blackout, and the third time for black pants at home this year.

Game 10: Ohio State, Away Gold

Not looking to do anything fancy, Purdue went with the standard Away Gold set — pairing the gold helmet with the gold pants and white jersey.

It was the first time Purdue wore the gold pants on the road since week 2 of the 2020 season at Illinois when they also wore Gold/White/Gold.

While nothing of importance came from this game statistically, my friend Andrew Lind got some great shots of the team for Sports Illustrated.

Game 11: Northwestern, Traditional Away

Posting the original image for my own shame — I created all the options I would need so I could quickly swap out the marquee, but in my haste to generate the graphic, I forgot to hide the Chrome and Gray options — check behind the helmet. Surprised no one called me out.

For the first time in 8 years, Purdue wore Gold/White/Black. While it was the primary away option from 1997–1999 and then again from 2006–2010, it was whittled down to twice a year in 2011 through 2013.

While this combo wasn’t worn much, it also hadn’t won much. The last victory came in 2010, also against Northwestern.

Game 12: The Bucket Game, Traditional Home

Ending the season at home is always a treat, and with nothing on the line except the bucket for the first time in years, Purdue looked to provide no distractions.

For the first time since 2012, Purdue tried nothing fancy — Current Gold, Black Jersey, and Gold pants. In fact, this combination hasn’t lost to Indiana since 1996–8 straight wins.

The 2017 match also featured Gold/Black/Gold, but it used the Tiller Era stickers to honor the late coach. With this in mind, Purdue is undefeated wearing The Tiller Era Helmet at home against Indiana.

Actual Red/White/White on the left, versus concept Red/White/red on the Right. Photo from Chad Krockover.

While Purdue wore a traditional look A/B/A, we were not so lucky to see Indiana play along. While wearing their Red lids, they wore white jerseys and pants. Using a photo from Krock Photography, I had to wonder if they wore Red pants, how much better it would have looked.

Game 13: Tennessee, Music City Bowl, Showtime Black

For the first time in what feels like forever, Purdue enters the post season..and returns to Nashville.

Drawing Tennessee in a friendly destination was hard, but aesthetically the match up would be a treat. Chad Fields, the Tennessee Tracker, had openly hoped for a modernized rematch of the 1979 Bluebonnet Bowl — Gold/Black/Gold versus White/Orange/White. The colors would provide suitable contrast even by today’s television/regulation standards, but unfortunately we bore witness to the stereotypical MonoBlack vs MonoWhite experience.

Tennessee did not wear their orange pants much to everyone’s dismay, and they did not trot out the Dark Mode helmets. As Chad pointed out, it was the first time Tennessee wore White jerseys in a bowl game since 2007.

Though it was the third time wearing all black, this was the first time Purdue used the traditional gold decals in the combo. This was the first time in Purdue history that a football team took the field wearing a black helmet. All other generations of black lids either fell on down years or were before the expansion of the post season.

New for this game was the replacement of the Keyes memorial sticker with one for Matt Rector. Matt passed away unexpectedly in November after serving 14 years with the university. He was a long time Sports Information Director and worked closely with the Football program.

That’s a Wrap. Maybe

My gut and sources tell me that we have seen the end of these football jerseys. With their debut in 2016 almost closer to Tiller’s retirement than current day, it’s time for a change.

They have been worn for a nice number of games and pulled off a 31–38 record overall. After rattling off 8 straight losses in the 2016 season plus the Brohm opener, ending their tenure at a minus 7 seemed unlikely.

Purdue rolled out 17 out of 45 combos in their 6 year run with these pieces. This does not include the Gold Jersey combo, The Cradle of Astronauts, The White/White/Black game in 2019, or the Throwbacks; it does include the 5 different Chrome combos as those helmets existed multiple years.

The Grey Jerseys will likely not be seen again regardless if the redesign happens or not. After not seeing them for two years and hearing rumors they were tossed at the start of the 2021 season, I would be incredibly surprised to see them again or for them to be included in the next redesign.

Gold jerseys returning were met with less excitement than I would have liked. Shout out to Trevor Peters for trying to give the crowd some insights into the drought of gold jerseys during his live game coverage, but given the rain and the loss, the message flopped as much as their hope for a triumphant return. I expect new gold jerseys to be in the next redesign, but they may be locked up for a special occasion.

The Throwbacks will likely carry forward, as the current gold pants will either be kept for that purpose or easy to reorder stock Vegas Gold pants and the jersey is on a ‘modern’ template already.

The Chrome Lids are likely gone, but the shells exist somewhere — assuming they weren’t already sold.

While Purdue has not announced NIL deals coming out for custom jerseys, I believe it is due to the eminence of the new looks for Mens Basketball and Football. For the first time, you’ll be able to get an ‘authentic’ Purdue jersey with a player’s number and name on it, and the player can get some walking around money for it.

Long Form content to coincide with the Boiler Uniforms Tracking Project

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Discounting Gretzky’s records, not all NHL goals are created equal

The Álvaro Morata Saga

Throwback: Mookie Bobbleheads

Super Bowl LV: Amidst the Pandemic, The Big Game goes on

There Will Be No Equality For Women In Cycling Until The UCI Mandates It

Basketball In Chicago

10 Principles of Psychology You Can Use to Improve Your agen poker

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Boiler Uniforms

Boiler Uniforms

Long Form content to coincide with the Boiler Uniforms Tracking Project

More from Medium

Prioritizing action: How we created a bilingual texting service to help get people vaccinated.

✨Welcome to @HRCrossing- a #metaverse space that is very similar to the real world but has a…

Are NFTs a future solution to the climate crisis?

How does social media affect feminism in modern society?