Before I talk about the Jaguars’ new uniforms, I want to take a sec to talk about their old ones. As I’ve said many times, I thought the Jags’ original set was among the best uniforms of its generation — contemporary colors and typography but a very classic deployment of those elements. I especially loved the use of gold trim, which provided a nice bit of warmth to the home and road designs. I had always thought that if they were smart enough to leave this uniform alone, it would eventually be regarded as a modern classic.
Alas, they weren’t smart enough to do that. Let’s look at the emperor’s new clothes:
• The new wordmark: Quick, what did the Jags’ old wordmark look like? Right, I can’t remember either. And face it, unless you’re getting a note on their letterhead, who really cares? That said, this looks OK. Not great, mind you (the little whiskers, or slash marks, or whatever the fuck those are supposed to be, would be laughed out of any undergrad design class), but OK. Good or stupid? Good enough.
• The new helmet: As you’ve probably heard by now, they’ve sprinkled some sort of magic pixie dust on the shell, so it mostly looks black but does this teal color-shift when the light hits it, sort of like the hull of a bass fishing boat (or, as someone has astutely pointed out in today’s second comment, a motorcycle helmet). Way too soon to know how this effect (which is also embedded in the logo decals, facemask, and the type on the nose and neck bumpers) will look on TV or to a QB trying to locate a receiver downfield, which are really the only two contexts that matter. It actually could be cool, although I think it’s more likely to be either ridiculous or indiscernible from a distance. Maybe good, probably stupid, but too soon to say.
• The new jerseys. Leaving aside the asinine seam horns that wrap around to the back (which are too insipid to even discuss — I mean what is that, a zipper?), I really hate the colors. The gold is gone, and so is the warmth it used to provide. It’s bad enough that this looks idiotic, because of the horns, but does it also have to look so cold and drab? Forget about the graphics and just compare the color palettes of new vs. old. It’s no contest — the old one feels rich and organic, while the new one feels mechanistic and plain. Over on the Chris Cream board, someone did a quick Photoshop mock-up of how gold could have been retained as an accent color — still a dumb design, but so much more appealing. Can’t say I’m a big fan of the new number typeface, either. What a disaster. I weep for the loss of the old design. Really, really stupid.
• The new pants: Well, at least they’re not as bad as what the Falcons, Vikings, and Cardinals are wearing. In fact, they’re fine from the front, but I don’t know about those upright tildes on the sides. In theory, they’re not really so different than, say, the Chargers’ lightning bolts, but in practice they look pretty bad, especially in conjunction with the jersey wraparound thingie. I get that it’s supposed to look all sleek and streamlined, but the effect is lost on the big linemen. Oh, and it’s hard to see, but the helmet logo is repeated on the hips, which on the one hand seems like overkill but on the other hand is a rare sighting of gold in this uni design, so I guess I’ll take what I can get. Stupid.
• The socks: They’re going with just one sock design — white on the bottom, black on top — for both home and away, which means major leotard-age on the road. I’m not sure, but I think this is the first time a new NFL uni set has been specifically designed to create the leotard effect. In other words, this is the first time a design team has said, “No, the primary visual function of football hosiery is NOT to provide contrast between the pant cuff and the sock.” Dumb beyond words, but it’s what they’ve already been doing for years anyway. Stupid.
Two final notes:
1) You may have heard team owner whatshisname saying, “From now on we will wear THIS design at home, and THIS design on the road, and you’ll always know what to expect and you’ll always recognize us,” blahblahblah. The implication was that a new uni set was needed to establish a stable visual identity. Yeah, right, as if it was the old uniform’s fault that the team chose to play mix-and-match all the time. This whole “Now you’ll always know what we’ll be wearing” thing is a red herring, a crock — they could just as easily have established a firm identity by sticking with the old wardrobe and using it the way it was meant to be used, instead of treating it like a Garanimals set.
2) Am I the only one who’s getting really fucking tired of Reebok and Nike constantly telling us that every new uni set is “30% lighter” than the last one? At this rate, the uniforms will soon weigh exactly zero ounces, or maybe have an anti-gravity component. It’s even lamer when you hear an NFL team saying things like, “They developed this just for us,” as if Reebok would really develop a fabric technology for one team and withhold it from the rest of the league. Skip the tech lab chatter — nobody cares. Just show us how it looks and tell us who’s responsible for the lame-o graphics so we know whose house to egg.
Shit, man, this whole thing is depressing. Is it too late to go back to this?
In case you missed it yesterday: My ESPN piece about the new steakhouse in Yankee Stadium is here.
Another follow-up from yesterday: If you’re a past or current member of the military, I’m interested in hearing what you think of sports teams wearing camouflage uniforms (my thanks to the many military personnel who responded to this request yesterday). Again, this is only for military past or active military members. If that’s you, feel free to voice your opinions here. Thanks.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Bizarre scene last night in Toronto, as Texas pitcher Darren O’Day got into the Jays/Texases game but wore someone else’s NOB. O’Day had been claimed on waivers earlier in the day and had just arrived in Toronto during the eighth inning of the game (I think he stopped along the way for some poutine), but they didn’t have a jersey for him, so he had to wear Kason Gabbard’s No. 30 jersey (which was apparently laying around even though Gabbard is now in triple-A). Naturally, O’Day promptly gave up the game-winning hit. There’s excellent coverage of this incident, including some good video, here (with thanks to the many, many readers who contributed info and screen grabs on this one.) … Speaking of the Rangers, Ron Washington’s NOB is almost as bad as Salty’s. Looks like an NBA NOB! (Screen shot courtesy of Nolan Brett.) … Check this out: Trevor Hoffman going high-cuffed for a minor league rehab game in Nashville. … Ken Davidoff‘s excellent blog reports that the Yanks have somehow convinced Modell’s to sponsor each Yankee stolen base (maybe because Modell’s has so much experience dealing with shoplifters..?). And people wonder why sports fans are cynical (or why some of us think the magical free market isn’t the solution to all of life’s problems). … Three different No. 5s? Ben Traxel saved that from an old newspaper clipping. “Not surprising in our town that the black kid is the one without a matching uniform, even with a black coach,” he writes. “Surely someone could have come up with a spare #5 for him.” … Also from Ben: “I saw these posters in a shoe store window back in the mid-’80s. At the time, I went in and asked the owner if I could have them when they were done with them. Ended up with these five. The back of this one lists the participants. Don’t think I’d necessarily label Collinsworth a ‘speedster.'” … These KC Chiefs bikes are used at the team’s training camp in River Falls, Wisconsin. Here’s reader Jason Gomez posing with one of them. … Speaking of the Chiefs, they’re practicing without helmet logos, because Todd Hailey wants them to earn their arrowheads. … Never thought I’d have a reason to type the words “Hello Kitty” on this site, but look! … Lots of cool old Packers stuff here. … Awesome basketball warmup jacket (mislabeled as a baseball jersey) here. … Fun team name: the Albany Lawmakers. … Ever eat here? Then you gotta think about getting this. … Man, I don’t know what Sand-Knit was thinking with this (but I’m sure Terry Proctor will tell us). … If you’re into the Padres’ brown/gold color scheme, you may want to consider buying this. … Sooooo much to like about this! … It is absolutely essential that a Uni Watch reader ends up with this — someone buy it NOW! … And here’s one of the greatest cheerleading sweaters I’ve ever seen. … If not for the sun damage on the left sleeve, I’d probably snap this up myself. … One of those soccer teams you’ve never heard of is holding a scarf design contest (with thanks to Patrick Runge). … If you go to this page and click on the video link for the 1990 Freedom Bowl, you’ll see something really bizarre: a reverse-field color match-up, with one team wearing green jerseys and gold pants and the other one wearing gold jerseys with green pants “One of the hardest games to watch,” says Todd Dole. … Note the “P” and “C” columns in this amazing scoreboard photo. “P” is obviously for pitcher, but did scoreboards also list catchers back in the day? If so, why? If not, what is the “C” for? (As submitted by Steve Cook.) … Vince was checking out this Tony Mandarich video and noticed that he wore an “Evil” label on his nose bumper. … History’s weirdest media guide cover? Could be (with thanks to Tris Wykes). … Not uni-related, but the seemingly endless flood of Lenny Dykstra stories (here’s the latest one) is like a car wreck that you can’t stop staring at. Sad, compelling stuff. … You probably know that the old AAFC included a team called the New York Yankees. You might not know that they took more than just their name from the baseball team (good find by Joe DeAngelis). … Outmania! “Seeing the stirrups and white spikes in person — wow, a thing of beauty,” says Tyler Kepner, who covered yesterday’s Yanks/A’s game. … Here’s another quilt made out of running shirts. It was made by Kevin Pazdernik‘s mom. “Once she ran out of running shirts, she moved on to general sports quilts,” he says. “What can I say, my mom loves to quilt!” … The 49ers will officially unveil their new duds this weekend, but word is slowly leaking out beforehand. … Yesterday was Earth Day, so the Astros wore green caps and the Red Sox recycled (get it?) their St. Paddy’s Day getup (plus they added a recycling logo sleeve patch). … A recession is such a good time to buy a $100,000 suit (with thanks to Brinke Guthrie). … Okay, people, because you demanded it, and in honor of JG Ballard’s recent death: a veritable snuff-film sequence of Bryan Redemske’s cycling crash. … The NHL playoffs, as depicted by Rob Ullman.