Football and Fashion

The Super Bowl football championship game is Sunday, February 2. What do football and fashion have in common? Two San Francisco 49er coaches named Nolan. Dick Nolan took over as the Head Coach of the 49ers on January 19, 1968. Then 37 years later, his son, Mike Nolan, took over the job of Head Coach for the team. And both Nolans made history with wearing suits on the sidelines.

Dick Nolan coached the 49ers from 1968 to 1975. He is credited with moving the team towards bigger victories, securing the 49ers first division championship in 1970. He was known for wearing a suit and tie on the sidelines during a game. He picked that up from his mentor, Tom Landry, legendary coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

Here is an audio clip from an LP (translation: Long Playing Record) called “First 25 years of the San Francisco 49ers.” There are no photos in this clip, but if you listen to about 2 minutes, 50 seconds, you will hear a song called, “Touchdown 49ers” –

Nolan senior died in 2007. His son, Mike Nolan, was head coach of the 49ers from 2005 to 2008. When he was hired by the 49ers, Mike wanted to honor his father by wearing a suit on the sidelines and asked the NFL for permission. By this time, there was a strict rule, via a contract with Reebok, that coaches were required to wear “team-logo attire.” At first, the NFL said “no.” Then in 2006, the rule was amended to allow coaches to wear a suit for two home games. On November 19, 2006, Mike Nolan wore a suit for a home game against the Seattle Seahawks. By 2007, the rule was amended again to allow suits to be worn at all home games in 2007. Of course, the only acceptable suit was designed, labeled and marketed by the Reebok company.

And one thing you can do in a suit is dance. Here is, “The Football Polka,” the San Francisco 49ers fight song 1950-1980, with some fun photos.

Best wishes,