White Out Shirts Through The Years
Penn State’s White Out is among the most recognizable traditions in sports. More than 107,000 fans clad in white pack Beaver Stadium for the Nittany Lions’ biggest home football game of the season, creating one of the most hostile environments in college football.
Penn State athletics capitalizes on this tradition every year by selling t-shirts specifically designed for the White Out. In years past, fan input decided which shirt would be released for sale, but Penn State released its own designs for each of the past two years.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and check out some of those White Out t-shirt designs.
The 2008 White Out shirt featured a…unique design, to say the least. The front of the shirt features a surprisingly great design of the Nittany Lion Shrine, while the back features an oddly-shaped design with “PSU 2008” and a football helmet overlay.
If not for the front side, this one would be a dud, but it was released ahead of a Big Ten championship-winning season.
Although the Nittany Lions went 11-2 and beat LSU in the Capital One Bowl, 2009 was the year of t-shirt controversies for Penn State. Six whole students complained about the front side of the shirt’s appearance of a cross and requested its removal from store shelves.
Those complaints fell on deaf ears — the shirt sold more than 30,000 times — but not before Fox News picked up the story. Penn State lost that season’s White Out game to Iowa and dealt with another controversy surrounding “Terrelle Cryer” shirts before he scored three touchdowns and led the Buckeyes to victory at Beaver Stadium.
The 2010 White Out shirt featured a much smoother (less controversial) shirt design. The Symbol of Our Best takes up most of the front of the shirt with “Roar Lions Roar” placed above him.
The back of the shirt is also much simpler, calling Beaver Stadium “the White House” and making a couple other snow and avalanche analogies. As great as this shirt was, it didn’t accompany a successful season on the gridiron; Penn State went 7-6, including a 41-31 White Out victory over Michigan.
Although the front of this shirt is a bit bland, the “S” on the back made up of 30 rows of “Success With Honor” singlehandedly makes it the greatest t-shirt design of all time.
The Nittany Lions finished that season with a 9-4 record and lost the 2011 White Out game to Alabama, but sanctions loomed in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
The first White Out t-shirt of the sanctions era used “tradition” as a central theme. Without context, this is actually an excellent t-shirt design that deservedly won that year’s fan vote, but head coach Bill O’Brien and the university’s attitude following the sanctions made “tradition” a questionable choice of theme for the shirt.
Penn State finished the 2012 season with an 8-4 record and lost the White Out game to Ohio State.
The 2013 White Out shirt is probably the simplest one of the bunch, but it works well. The front says “White Out” in block letters with lines above and below it, while the back just features Penn State’s signature chipmunk logo.
While the t-shirt’s design may be straightforward, the 2013 White Out game was anything but. Allen Robinson made the most iconic play of the sanctions era to set up a 43-40 quadruple-overtime victory over then-No. 18 Michigan. The Nittany Lions finished that season with a 7-5 record.
There’s a lot more to the 2014 White Out shirt than its predecessor from 2013, featuring the state of Pennsylvania prominently on the front. The design on the back foreshadowed the team’s Stripe Out, which was introduced in 2015. “There’s simply no better student section in the country than the one at Beaver Stadium” takes up the entire back of the shirt with the font alternating between blue and grey.
Penn State lost that season’s White Out game in overtime to then-No. 13 Ohio State. The Nittany Lions began the season with four straight wins, but lost six of eight games to end the regular season with a 6-6 record. James Franklin capped that season off with the team’s first postseason victory of the post-sanctions era.
2015’s White Out shirt is one of the cleaner designs. It’s simple, but the silver text on top of the white base looks incredible. The front says “2015 Penn State White Out” above a smaller chipmunk logo, and the back reads “We Are Penn State.”
The Nittany Lions finished that season with a 7-6 record and played a rare daytime White Out that season — a 28-16 loss to Michigan in their final regular season home game.
Penn State began a two-year phase of white-on-white designs in 2016. This design features “White Out” in block letters on a square in the middle of the shirt, and “Ready, Set, Roar” appears below the square.
This White Out shirt accompanied perhaps the Nittany Lions’ most important victory in White Out history. Grant Haley returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to propel Penn State to a 24-21 upset of then-No. 2 Ohio State. That victory was part of a nine-game winning streak, which included a Big Ten championship.
The 2017 White Out shirt is my personal favorite in the history of the White Out. Its design centers around the “Avalanche Of Sound” created at the White Out game; the back says this in white font on top of a sound-wave. The front features Penn State’s chipmunk logo on top of another sound-wave.
Penn State’s performance in the White Out game lived up to the beautiful shirt design. The second-ranked Nittany Lions blew the doors off of No. 19 Michigan, effectively ending the Wolverines’ conference and national championship aspirations.
I wasn’t a huge fan of this year’s White Out shirt design when it was first unveiled, but it’s grown on me. “Penn State” arches over the chipmunk logo, which is filled by a panoramic photo of Beaver Stadium during a White Out game. The “We Are” on the upper back part of the shirt is also a nice touch.
The Nittany Lions started the 2018 season 4-0, but Ohio State ended its unbeaten run with a 27-26 come-from-behind victory at Beaver Stadium.
Penn State went off the beaten path a bit with its 2019 White Out t-shirt. The front of the shirt warns anyone who reads it to “EXPECT EXCESSIVE NOISE,” which is written in a blocky, static font. Penn State’s chipmunk logo also makes an appearance below the warning.
Meanwhile, the back of the shirt spells out exactly what event it was designed for with “WHITE OUT” in similarly static font and “PENN STATE” and “2019” above and below that, respectively.
Note: This post has been updated to include the 2019 White Out t-shirt.
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