Lions’ new uniforms include return to black alternate jerseys

The Detroit Lions just wrapped up their most successful season in a generation, creating memories for fans young and old alike. The city is set to host the 2024 NFL Draft next week, which should highlight all things Lions and Detroit over the course of the three-day event. It’s the sort of joint momentum that doesn’t come along often.

So, then, what better time than now to keep the good times rolling? The Lions did just that Thursday evening, unveiling a trio of new uniforms ahead of the 2024 season.

“We are excited to launch a new era of Lions football,” Detroit Lions president and CEO Rod Wood said in a news release. “Honolulu Blue and Silver has defined the Detroit Lions for generations and I am proud that we found a way to continue to evolve the look with a nod to the past and a focus on the future.”


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The new uniforms have been years in the making. NFL teams are allowed to re-imagine their uniforms every five years. The Lions took advantage, as they enter what they hope will be an extended period of success.

Detroit’s leadership team met with Nike with a few goals in mind. They wanted to re-establish Honolulu Blue, with a richer tone that hearkens back to an earlier era. They emphasized silver — not gray — with the current iteration, and it’s featured in detailed ways like outlines on the numbers, stripes on the sleeves and pants. Overall, the Lions’ updated uniforms are an ode to the ’90s, while adding their own modern twist — including the re-introduction of black jerseys.

On Thursday, a crowd north of 5,000 was on hand at Ford Field for a first look at the new uniforms. The festivities started with a speech from Lions principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp, who thanked fans for their support during the 2023 season and playoff run. Next up was coach Dan Campbell, a strong proponent of the new alternate uniforms, followed by Wood and several players past and present, with videos to accompany each uniform reveal.

Here are some details from the unveiling of the uniforms, as described by the Lions on their website and in a press release.

“One Pride”: The home uniforms

The Lions’ home jersey features a redefined Honolulu Blue with a classic white number font encased in silver borders and reimagined shoulder striping. The inside collar of the jersey is inscribed with “ONE PRIDE,” acknowledging the team’s passionate fans that pack Ford Field each home game.

Second-year tight end and All-Pro Sam LaPorta was the player representative sporting the new look, with Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders joining him on stage.

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“The 313”: Road uniforms

Detroit’s road jersey presents in classic white with blue numbers encased in silver outlines and shoulder striping in blue and silver. The inside collar of the white jersey is trimmed in Honolulu Blue as a nod to not only the Lions’ gritty style of play but an homage to the work ethic that built Detroit into an iconic American city. The back of the collar features a “313” wordmark and for the first time in team history, the Lions will wear “DETROIT” across their chest on the road. Defensive tackle Alim McNeill rocked the white uniforms in his No. 54, joined on stage by a legend who shared the number in former linebacker Chris Spielman.

Both primary uniforms feature all three of the teams’ classic colors. The jerseys also feature a patch under the inside back collar that pays homage to William Clay Ford, the team’s longtime owner who secured the team’s future in the Motor City. Inspired by Ford’s classic style, the patch mimics a custom suit label and uses the WCF logo with iconic stripes above his penned signature. Both primary jerseys can be paired with either a silver pant option that features blue and white striping down the leg or three unadorned pant options — silver, blue or white.

“Motor City Muscle”: Black alternates

The black jersey features blue classic numbers wrapped in a silver outline on a black background and striping in blue and silver on the sleeves. The “LIONS” wordmark will lay across the chest and “MOTOR CITY” is inscribed on a blue trim inside the back color. The black jersey can be paired with either an all-black pant or the team’s blue pant. Safety Kerby Joseph donned the new black alternates, joined on stage by Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

During the event, Wood revealed that Campbell himself asked about black uniforms three years ago, ahead of his first draft in Detroit. Campbell had a chance to wear the Lions’ old black uniforms as a player. He asked Wood when the Lions would be bringing them back. Wood’s response?

“When you win the division title,” he told Campbell.


“The Classic”: Throwback uniforms

Finally, the Lions’ closet will continue to feature a classic uniform as a nod to the late 1950s teams that dominated the early era of professional football. The redefined blue is the only change the team made to the classic uniform, which will still feature classic numbers in silver with no outline. The jersey will be paired with silver stripeless pants and blue socks.

In addition to the uniforms, the Lions also made tweaks to their helmets. The NFL offered teams unveiling new uniforms this offseason a chance to add a third helmet, but Wood said the Lions opted not to with a lot of changes on the way already. They’ll look into it moving forward, though.

(Photo of Kerby Joseph: Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)

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