On the new uniforms, the number ‘4’ is more than a number. Here's a look:
The unique font is a tip of the hat to Gerald Ford and diversity.
(Former UM interim athletic director Jim) Hackett, who played football at Michigan, has always been moved by the famous story from the 1930s about Michigan football teammates Gerald Ford and Willis Ward, the second African-American to play on the team.
Georgia Tech refused to play Michigan on Oct. 20, 1934 because of Ward. University officials had Ward, who would become a lawyer and Wayne County judge, sit out the game and Ford, who would go on to become a U.S. president, threatened to quit the team because of the incident. Ward asked him to stay.
In a team photo, Ford and Ward are seated next to each other. The No. 4 on Ford’s jersey No. 48 is like all the other 4s on the team – the top of it extends. The way Hackett sees it, though, it’s like a "little hat" from Ford’s jersey.
In Hackett’s mind, the top of that 4 is actually pointing toward Ward, showing solidarity between the two.
All of the new UM jerseys feature the same 4 font, though Hackett acknowledges it "looks like you want to saw it off." So if you see the number and wonder why it looks that way, just think about Gerald Ford and Willis Ward.