Monday, August 15, 2016

SEC Patch History

The more I dive into Auburn's uniform history, the more I enjoy the tiny details that have gotten lost over time. One of my favorites is that of the SEC patches. When was the first time Auburn sported the conference patch? Now there's a random trivia question for you. Believe it or not, it was only 20 years ago - the 1998-99 season. That season was a rough one for the Tigers, aesthetically and athletically. The team went 3-8 on the season and wore the often loved, often hated Tiger Eyes logo on the pants for the first and only time in program history. Thankfully, for many, that was the final time Auburn would wear the orange drop shadow uniforms. 

Nick Marshall throws in a 2014 game against San Jose State
Photo via Shanna Lockwood / USA TODAY Sports
I think what describes that season best is the conference patch issues. Quality control was not a thing back then in regards to uniforms. Where every single detail today is routinely checked and scripted, things were a lot looser then. The SEC patch was rarely placed in the same spot on two jerseys. Take a look below at a few examples

Auburn football players - 1998 - Gabe Gross
1998 was a bad year for Auburn football, going 3-8 on the football field and having
patch problems all over the place (photos via Getty Images)
As you can see, the Russell Athletic logo and SEC patch often swapped sides. I love seeing just how far the conference patch often landed.

This patch placement experiment apparently went so poorly as Auburn would not wear the patch for seven years! The 2005-06 season, the final year under the Russell Athletic banner, would see the return of the now-common conference patch. And no, the Tigers did not wear one during the wonderful 2004 campaign. Thankfully the return of the patch would see a lot better placement treatment than the last time around.

Courtney Taylor - Auburn football 2005
The 2005-06 season saw the return of the SEC patch to
the football jerseys. (photo via Getty Images)
When Under Armour took over the following year, the SEC patch changed to the right chest full time with the UA logo landing on the left side. Since then, the SEC has changed their patch logo considerably twice, but there's been plenty of tweaks throughout the years. Let's take a look from the beginning.

The original patch worn in 1998 was completely orange and blue. Looking back at it, especially after its successors, it's pretty muddy.

SEC Pennant Patch - 1998

Upon its return in 2005, the SEC logo underwent a little tweak. The orange and blue fields switched, and the SEC font went to white, cleaning up the look tremendously. This design would be worn through the end of the 2008-09 season, minus the 2007-08 year.

SEC Pennant Patch - 2005-2009

The 2007-08 was the Southeastern Conference's 75 anniversary, and to celebrate, nearly every single athletic team in the conference wore a commemorative patch. Football teams would wear one featuring the ribbon, while other programs would remove it for their patch.

SEC 75th Anniversary Patch - 2008

After returning to the pennant patch for the 2008-09 season, the next year saw yet another tweak in the design. The SEC as a whole underwent a minor redesign, updating their logo to what you see today. The new football patches reflected the change, replacing the SEC font with that of the new logo. The "laces" on the top of the football has also been removed.

SEC Pennant Patch - 2008-2011

2012 saw the biggest change to date for the SEC patches. Teams across the board switched from the typical pennant-style patch design to a new circular design, reminiscent of the new conference logo.

SEC circular patch - 2012 - current

For something relatively so simple, and something that I'm sure so many people over look nowadays, these conference patches have had a wonderfully unique history to them. In less than twenty years, Auburn has worn five different patch designs, and three uniquely different pennant-style patches! I personally love the current circular patch, and wouldn't be surprised if that one stays around for a good while.

If you think the conference patches were crazy, just wait until you see the helmet decals! That post will be coming later in the football season, so stay connected for when that one comes out!


  1. May be wrong but pretty sure if you look close at that 98 patch it was a NCAA one not SEC. Fans complained about the drop shadow around the numbers and the patch. For 99 the drop shadow was gone and the "patch" moved to the back of the helmet. At least that's the way I remember it.

    1. You can see in this photo that it clearly is an SEC patch in 1998.

      The SEC pennant has been on the back of the helmet for many years. That article will be coming later this season.