I spend a lot of time thinking about sports teams and the colors they wear, and ever since I came across some articles about the psychology of color and how it affects people in their day to day lives, I’ve been wondering whether or not a team’s colors might impact their performance. If you think about crazy things like the color a team’s uniforms, you should click HERE to join me on my Facebook page.
This week I decided to dig into it a little more. I found a study conducted during the 2004 Olympics. Its conclusion was that Red was more likely to win in a sports competition. But before you start calling your favorite team and telling them switch to red uniforms, you need to realize that the study was limited to the 4 combat sports of Boxing, Tae Kwon Do, Greco–Roman Wrestling and Freestyle Wrestling, and that contestants were randomly assigned either red or blue outfits or body protectors.
Interesting results, but comparing only red and blue didn’t cut it for me. Red and Blue are very popular colors in sports team uniforms, but there are a lot of other colors out there too.
So the search continued, but I didn’t have to look far.
Unless you’ve been living off the grid for the last week, you know that the 2015 NFL season is underway. Which means football is on my mind, and my mind naturally went to football to find a way to assess the impact of color on team’s performance. There are lots of color options, there, right? So let’s take a closer look at team colors in the NFL.
First, a little background:
NFL rules allow teams to choose whichever colors they want to represent their team and to be worn by their fans. There is no limit to the number of colors that a franchise can use. In addition to white, some teams choose just 1 extra color (like the Jets and Green), while others select 2, 3 or even 4 extra colors.
Home and Away Colors
The NFL rules also state that home teams get to decide which jersey to wear. Most home teams choose to wear darker uniforms using their primary team colors when at home, so the away teams usually wear white on the road. This contrast in dark and light uniforms makes it easier for players, referees and fans to tell the two teams apart (not to mention it made it possible for TV viewers to distinguish teams back in the days of black and white television).
The Cowboys were the first NFL team to wear white jerseys at home as well as away, and several other teams now regularly wear white at home. Most of the current NFL teams have chosen to wear white uniforms at home during some time in their history.
A Look at Winners in the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl seemed to be a good way to compare winning and losing teams, and with 49 bowl games in history, there was plenty of data to review.
I find it interesting that the “Home” team is designated in the Super Bowl, and alternates yearly between the NFC (odd number Super Bowls) and AFC (even number Super Bowls). That designated home team gets to choose whether they want to wear their color jerseys or white jerseys.
So you’d think that teams would want to wear their team colors most of the time, just like they do when at their own home stadium, right?
Well here are the surprising results:
Over the entire history of the Super Bowl, the team in white has won 63% of the time – a record of 31 wins and 18 losses in the 49 Super Bowl games played so far!
The trend toward winners wearing white is even more predominant over the last ten Super Bowls. Going back to Super Bowl XL, nine of the winning teams wore white jerseys. Only one team, the Green Bay Packers wearing green in Super Bowl XLV, has taken home the Lombardi trophy while in a dark colored uniform.
In most Super Bowls, there is no true “home field” advantage. But maybe the advantage of being the home team is getting to choose which color uniform to wear!
So maybe we need to rethink this whole fashion rule about not wearing white after Labor Day! At least if you an NFL player!
So does a white uniform really increase the odds of a team winning a super bowl? Or is it just coincidence? Leave a comment below to tell me what you think.