The 49ers aren’t likely to undergo a major uniform rebrand any time soon because they did what had to happen a long time ago.

As some NFL teams wade through the muck of altered uniforms that featured different color shades, weird fonts, strange gradients, unnecessary piping and other bells and whistles, they’re finding a reversion back to a more classic look will almost always win more than something ‘new and improved.’ The Jets and Lions most recently announced new uniforms that resemble the more classic looks of the teams’ pasts. The Jaguars have not only simplified their uniforms recently, but they also teased some kind of reversion to their original uniforms with an alternate jersey for this season. The Cardinals did something similar last season. The Vikings did the same about a decade ago in 2013.

For the 49ers, they strayed from their classic red home jerseys and white road jerseys with gold pants in 1998 when they went for a deeper red jersey with a slew of different bells and whistles including a black shadowing on the numbers with some gold trim, different color helmet and face mask, and a logo on the pants. It was a perfectly late-90s style, but it diverted from a classic look and did not age well.

San Francisco from time to time for the next 10 years would rock a throwback alternate that was ostensibly the uniforms they wear now. In 2009 they finally went back to the classic look permanently, learning a lesson a slew of teams are only now learning – nostalgia plays and simpler is better.

That’s a key reason their red and white alternates that are a reproduction of the throwbacks they wore in 1994 when they rocked a version of their 1955 uniforms. First, they look incredible. But there’s also a ton of nostalgia for the mid-90s and there’s a simplicity that makes them timeless.

The 49ers organization saved itself a lot of angst by avoiding the pitfalls of trying to innovate after their shift in the late-90s. They went right back to what works after a decade. Now other teams are following suit and the NFL will be better (at least aesthetically) for it.

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