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What are the new colors for the Arizona Cardinals?

What are the new colors for the Arizona Cardinals?

The Arizona Cardinals are an American football team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They play in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the National Football Conference (NFC) West division. The Cardinals were founded in 1898 as one of the oldest continuously run professional American football clubs in the United States. Over the years, the Cardinals have undergone several uniform and color changes. Most recently in 2021, the Cardinals unveiled new alternate uniforms featuring bold new colors.

Brief History of Cardinals Colors

The Cardinals originally played in Chicago, Illinois from 1898 to 1959. During those early years, the team’s colors were maroon, white and gold. The maroon was meant to match the maroon worn by the University of Chicago, where many of the team’s original players had attended college.

When the Cardinals relocated to St. Louis, Missouri in 1960, the team’s colors switched to cardinal red, navy blue and white. These remained the Cardinals’ primary colors through their move to Arizona in 1988.

Since moving to Arizona, the Cardinals have experimented with several variations of red, white and black uniforms. In 2005, the team debuted an all-black alternate uniform which proved popular with players and fans.

New Uniforms Unveiled in 2021

Leading up to the 2021 NFL season, the Cardinals worked with Nike to completely redesign their uniforms. The new uniforms returned to a classic look featuring bold stripes and the traditional cardinals logo. The main home uniforms are white with red accents, while the main away uniforms are red.

The most notable addition was two new alternate uniforms in unique colors never before worn by the Cardinals.

Black Alternate Uniform

The black alternate uniform features black jerseys with black pants. The jerseys have red numbers outlined in gray and include red and white sleeve stripes outlined in black and gray. This creates a subtle but striking look. According to the team, the black uniform is meant to signify “darkness falls” when opponents face the Cardinals’ defense.

White Alternate Uniform

The white alternate uniform features white jerseys with white pants. This creates a super clean look for when the team plays in especially hot climates early in the season. The jerseys have red numbers outlined in black. The sleeve stripes mirror the black alternate jerseys using red, black and gray.

Uniform Primary Colors
Home White, red
Away Red, white
Black Alternate Black, red, gray
White Alternate White, red, black

Analysis of the New Uniform Colors

The Cardinals’ new alternate black and white uniforms represent daring departures from the traditional red, white and blue color scheme. The white uniform in particular is a dramatically clean look not previously seen in Cardinals history.

The black uniforms connect to the highly popular all-black alternates worn between 2005 to 2019, but the new versions include more creative use of gray and red accent colors.

The unique color combinations help the new uniforms stand out while still maintaining a clear Cardinals identity. Fans had been calling for new uniform designs for several years leading up to the 2021 redesign. Response to the black and white alternates has been overwhelmingly positive.

The black uniforms in particular seem poised to become fan favorites. The bold black and red color scheme provides a powerful, intimidating look for the Cardinals players to wear in big games. It’s sure to become an imposing sight for visiting opponents in Phoenix Stadium.

Comparing Cardinals Uniforms to Other NFL Teams

Very few NFL teams currently use black or white as primary uniform colors. This allows the new Cardinals alternates to stand out as fresh and unique in the league.

The Cardinals black uniforms resemble jerseys worn by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles. However, the Cardinals’ use of black is more complete with black jerseys and pants, compared to the black/white or black/color combinations used by other teams.

The new white Cardinals uniforms are even more distinctive, as no other NFL team uses white as the primary jersey color. Only the Dallas Cowboys occasionally wear all-white “color rush” alternate uniforms. So the Cardinals new white look is truly original for the league.

It’s rare for an NFL team to add completely new primary colors like this. The Cardinals were wise to create alternates that contrast so distinctly from their traditional uniforms. The black and white looks are exciting but still align with the team’s bold red and white identity.

Showcasing Arizona’s Visual Identity

In addition to looking sleek and modern on the field, the Cardinals new black and white uniforms are likely intended to connect with Arizona’s local identity and environment.

The black uniforms call to mind the distinctive black rock formations found across Arizona’s desert landscapes. They also evoke the darkness of long nights in the desert.

Meanwhile, the white uniforms reflect Arizona’s hot, bright sun and the light color palette prominent across the state’s desert scenery. The boldly minimalist white look is perfect for displaying the Cardinals logo and mascot against Arizona’s often clear blue skies.

Overall the new alternates seem carefully crafted to complement Arizona visual motifs. Wearing them allows the Cardinals to showcase their home state’s character and landscapes.

Honoring Arizona’s Tribal Culture

The symbolic meanings behind the new uniforms extend beyond Arizona scenery to also celebrate local Native American culture.

The Cardinals organization works closely with Arizona’s indigenous tribes and is the only major sports team named in honor of Native American heritage. Tribal leaders consulted on the uniform redesign to offer insights into their cultural perspective.

As a result, the alternate uniforms artfully incorporate colors and symbols with special significance to Southwestern tribes. This helps the rebrand honor Arizona’s heritage in an intentional, thoughtful manner.

The black uniform’s gray facemasks are meant to represent the color of silver, which holds ceremonial meaning for local tribes. Meanwhile the red and white colors connect to traditional dyeing methods using plant and mineral pigments.

By thoughtfully incorporating local tribal themes, the new uniforms allow the team to strengthen its bonds with Arizona’s indigenous communities. This respectfully reinforces the Cardinals nickname while avoiding any appropriation of sacred Native imagery.


The Arizona Cardinals new alternate uniforms in black and white represent a bold reimagining for the franchise’s on-field look. The colors are unique in Cardinals history and creatively stand out from other NFL teams’ uniforms.

Beyond looking sleek and modern, the alternate jerseys and pants artfully reflect Arizona’s desert scenery, landscapes and indigenous culture. The black and white designs manage to feel both new and timeless, hinting at past traditions while forging into the future.

Cardinals fans and players alike have embraced the black and white uniforms as an exciting new chapter. They will surely become iconic looks associated with the Cardinals’ promising new era centered in Arizona. Opponents visiting Phoenix Stadium should be prepared to face the mighty Cardinals decked out in their most powerful plumage yet.