The Steelers have a new throwback jersey. Here it is:
It’s not all that different than the Steelers’ usual look. The most obvious tweak is the white numbers on the chest, back, and shoulders are a little bit more boxy. They have what people in the fonts community would call serifs, or what you and I would call “little points.”
In this way, the Steelers are going full Iowa Hawkeyes. You have to look closely here, but pay attention to the numbers and how they have a bunch of little sides to them:
That’s different than the usual Steelers jersey, which has a smoother style of number:
The Steelers have moved in Iowa’s current direction. The irony is the teams’ jerseys were already a lot alike, and the Steelers got there first.
In 1979, then-Hawkeyes coach Hayden Fry asked the Steelers for their permission to overhaul Iowa’s uniforms in the Steelers’ image. The Steelers were at the height of their Steel Curtain days, and the Hawkeyes wanted to look like them, so they did.
Remember, these are throwbacks. The Steelers’ font used to be like this, too:
Can you be a copycat if you make a subtle tweak to copy a team that was already copying you? I’m not sure, but the Pittsburgh alternates are extremely Iowa, which is in turn extremely Pittsburgh.