Anthony Costa sports branding

Anthony Costa

Sports Identity & Design

Vintage 1988 NFL Mail Order Catalogue

September 10, 2015
Retro NFL catalogue

Football loves a throwback, and this 1988 season NFL Pro Line catalogue is packed with gear and merch from a golden age of licensed sportswear.

The first thing that jumps out is the beautiful Joe Gibbs cover. Every daub of Robert Tanenbaum’s portrait has character and conviction. Steve Sabol used to say that pro football is mythology, and it always looks best painted in broad brush strokes.

Check out the variety of brands available. These were the days before league-wide licensing deals, when there were openings for smaller apparel companies to trade on quality and creativity. Cliff Engle sweaters, DeLong lettermans and swishy Starter caps and jackets. Note how the now ubiquitous New Era caps were more budget back in the day. For the cap connoisseur it was all about Starter's S-Star and Sports Specialties’ classic cursive script.

It’s sad to think that the mail order catalogue has all but died out. Relics like this have been a reference point for fashion’s retro reissues. What becomes of pop culture nostalgia without its print archaeology?

Follow Anthony @costasports

Anthony Costa

Anthony Costa is a designer specialising in sports branding. Anthony has appeared on Fox Sports News and SEN radio and is an Australian Sports Commission Media Awards finalist. His work has been featured in The Age, The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and Sports Business Insider Australia.

Follow @CostaSports

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