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WFL Pants Plan

During the 1975 WFL exhibition season the league attempted to experiment with players wearing color coded pants. Below is the actual press release from the World Football League, dated June 30, 1975.

WFL to Experiment with Color-Coded Pants

New York - In an attempt to increase the fan's understanding and enjoyment of pro football, the World Football League will experiment during the exhibition season with pants that will be color-coded to a player's position.

All offensive linemen will wear purple pants, running backs green pants and receivers orange pants, while defensive lineman will be dressed in blue, linebackers in red and defensive backs in yellow. The various colors are emphasized by vertical striping. Quarterbacks and kickers will wear white.

Willie Spencer and Lonnie Stewart of the Memphis Southmen

Chris Hemmeter, president of the World Football League, announced that the experiment will be tried in four games. They are Memphis at San Antonio and Southern California at Philadelphia on July 19, Hawaiians at Jacksonville on July 26 and Philadelphia at Portland on July 27.

The various colored pants are the idea of William B. Finneran, a New York management consultant, who devised the action point for last year's WFL.

Finneran refers to the pants idea as "color dynamics" which he defines as "the concept of implementing means whereby one's visual appreciation of dynamic movement is significantly increased."

Color coding will allow the fan to be constantly on top of what is happening on the playing field. Who is that player cutting across midfield that the quarterback is throwing to? Is it a receiver or is it a running back out of the backfield? Who is desperately trying to cover that receiver? Is it a defensive back? Or has the receiver been isolated on a linebacker?

The pants, which Finneran refers to as "color grids", will provide the answer as the action is taking place. And the term "red dog" which means a linebacker blitz of the quarterback will now have real relevance.

The colors will also allow the fan to immediately recognize defensive formations, such as the Miami Dolphins' famed "53" defense. Extra defensive backs or linebackers in on a play will stand out. Spectators will be able to see how a zone defense works by watching how the red and yellow pants align themselves on passing plays.

"Most importantly," says Finneran, color coding is for the benefit and enjoyment of the fans. It has no significant impact on the game itself." The concept will insure easier comprehension of the game and for those sometime fans, such as women. In a sense the color grids will serve as the TV "color commentator" for the crowd at the stadium since they will help explain the action. They will also of course improve viewing on color television.

Southern California Sun vs. Philadelphia Bell
Date - July 19, 1975 - WFL Color Coded Pants
Location - Franklin Field - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
WFL players experiment with color coded pants during pre-game warm ups.

NOTE: This film clip is used with permission and may not be used without the permission of the original owner(s).