Ladies and gentlemen, our long national nightmare is over.
Confession: I’ve known about this change since early December, when a little birdie told me about it but swore me to secrecy. So if anyone recently spotted me with a big smile on my face for no particular reason, now you know why.
Everyone wants to know what the new threads will look like. I don’t have any visuals, but I do have a description from the little birdie, which he’s willing to share now that the Bills have gone public with the news. So here it is — a Uni Watch exclusive:
These new Bills uniforms are clearly modeled after the later Simpson-era design, including the white helmet, but they’ve been updated to include a tiny amount of navy blue trim.
In my opinion, the navy blue is probably not necessary, but the uniforms do look quite good, and any sort of socks are an upgrade in my book. I wish they would update that darn logo, though. I’ve always preferred the solid red standing buffalo to the blue leaping buffalo, but I don’t think the retro logo works seamlessly with this new set, either. It is what it is. An upgrade, for sure.
Interesting. A few thoughts:
• I am so happy about the helmet color switcheroo. Never liked red helmets for this team. As many of you probably know, the only reason they switched from white to red in the first place is that the AFC East was full of white-helmeted teams back in the day, and the coaching staff thought QB Joe Ferguson might throw fewer interceptions if his receivers were easier to pick out on the field. Didn’t help, but they stuck with the red lids for nearly 30 years. Thank god that’s over.
• Here’s a big thing to keep in mind: Many people have forgotten that the current set was originally worn — and meant to be worn — like this. Now, that isn’t a good uniform, but it’s nowhere near as bad as things got when they decided to go monochromatic at home. So while the new set definitely sounds like an upgrade, a lot of its advantages will be lost if the team insists on sticking with blue-over-blue.
• This is just the latest confirmation that Nike will not be giving the league a wholesale makeover. If that were the case, the Bills would’ve waited one more year. Instead, they’re making a uni change in the last season of the Reebok contract. As I’ve been saying all along, it ain’t Nike’s league yet. And even when it eventually is, don’t assume that they’ll be able to make drastic changes to the way the game looks.
Live free of hideously tacky colors or die: As if the Bills news wasn’t enough, there was also an extremely positive development yesterday in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, where a proposal to designate purple as the official state color died in committee after attracting only one vote. In your face, accursed color of death!
The lone “Yea” vote was cast by Rep. Brendon Browne, a state legislator who, in a mildly scandalous happenstance, also happens to be a Uni Watch reader. I spoke to him yesterday shortly after the purple proposal had gone down to a glorious defeat.
Uni Watch: First, let’s start with you. How long have you been a New Hampshire state representative?
Rep. Brendon Browne: I just started my third two-year term.
UW: And where is your district?
BB: I represent Dover.
UW: Hey, that’s where Lisa Carver is from! Do you know her or her family?
UW: Too bad — she’s quite a character. How far is Dover from Concord [the state capital]?
BB: About an hour.
UW: So you commute.
UW: How many representatives does the New Hampshire House have?
BB: New Hampshire has the third- or fourth-largest legislature in the English-speaking world, behind the British Parliament, the U.S. Congress, and India, if you count them as English-speaking. We have 400 representatives and 24 senators.
UW: And how many of those legislators do you think are Uni Watch readers?
BB: Very few, I would imagine. The job pays only $100 a year, plus mileage, so it’s a citizen legislature. A good portion of the representatives are retired.
UW: So you’re one of the young bucks. What do you do for a living?
BB: I graduated from law school last year, and I’m still looking for work. So any Uni Watch readers need a lawyer, I’m available. One of the first things I learned about politics is that sometimes you just have to be shameless.
UW: OK, let’s talk about the color situation. Does New Hampshire currently have official state colors?
UW: How did the purple movement come about?
BB: A grade-school student named Kristyn Demers came up with the idea during a class trip to the Statehouse. And she asked her representative to introduce the bill.
UW: Did it ever gather any legislative steam?
BB: Not really. There’s sort of a consensus that we should take a step back from designating holidays and other official state designations.
UW: But you were a supporter of the purple legislation, right?
BB: Well, I was the one member of the committee who voted for it.
UW: What committee is that?
BB: The Legislative Administration Committee.
UW: And that’s the committee that a bill has to pass through if it’s about designating an official state this or that?
BB: Yeah, basically.
UW: And why did you choose to support this?
BB: Well, our official state bird is the purple finch, our state flower is the purple lilac, and our official state tartan is white, green, black, red, and purple. And I thought purple would just help us stand out a little.
But honestly, if you give me any state and any color, I can probably go on Google and in 20 minutes I can come up with a connection for it. This is the first color proposal that’s come to my attention, and there’s a benefit to being first. I think there’s something to be said for the fact that this schoolgirl was the first one to come up with the idea and got her representative to bring it up in the House. It’s important to reward our youth when they get involved in the political process.
UW: A good civic exercise.
BB: Exactly. Of course, as someone pointed out to me today, it’s also a good civic experience to see your bill lose. But I think its nice for her to know she got at least one vote.
UW: But what about the girl’s representative — the one who drew up the bill — didn’t he vote for it?
BB: He’s not on this committee. He would only be able to vote for it if it made it to the floor.
UW: Now, in this era of red states and blue states, New Hampshire is sort of famously non-aligned. And if you combine red and blue, you get purple. Was that part of your thinking?
BB: Not really, but it has been pointed out to me, yeah. I believe we were the only state that voted for Bush in 2000 and Kerry in 2004, so we’re sort of the prototypical purple state.
UW: Now, purple is the color of royalty. And America’s founding was specifically based on a rejection of royalist principles. Don’t you think that makes purple inappropriate as a state color?
BB: I know you’ve written something to that effect before, so I figured you were going to bring that up. I suppose one could look at it that way.
UW: Did your office receive any calls or e-mails from your constituents regarding this matter?
BB: Well, I don’t really have an office.
UW: Oh. Well, did you personally receive any feedback?
BB: I think I got a couple of e-mails — a few in favor, a few against.
UW: If the measure had passed, what exactly what that have meant, in practical terms? Like, would you legislators all have started wearing purple sashes or something?
BB: I don’t know. We do have a Tartan Day — I forget when, exactly — when everyone in the legislature wears their tartan ties, tartan scarfs, and so on. And there’s a nice display in the visitors’ center that has little representations of the various state symbols, so I guess they would have added purple to that in some way.
UW: Now that the measure has failed, is that the end of it?
BB: Yeah, that’s pretty much it. But ever since this issue came up, I’ve been thinking, “I wonder what Paul Lukas would think about all this.” What are your thoughts? Would you have opposed it?
UW: Honestly, aside from the aesthetic considerations, I do think the royalty connection makes it inappropriate as a U.S. state color.
BB: You know, one thing worth adding is that the woman who conducts the class tours of the Statehouse says most of the fourth graders seem to be opposed to it — especially the boys, because they think it’s a girly color.
UW: Yeah, that’s the other problem with purple. The way it’s applied now in marketing, it’s used almost exclusively to appeal to women. I can’t say it’d be the worst thing in the world for men to be disenfranchised by something — we’ve certainly gotten more than our share over the years — but it still seems like an official state color should be for everyone, and purple just doesn’t feel that way.
BB: I can understand that. Although I do have a purple shirt and a lavender tie that I sometimes wear.
UW: Oh, wow. I wish you hadn’t told me that. Please tell me you don’t wear them together.
BB: [Long pause.] I try not to.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo will be wearing a full-cage facemask when he returns from an eye injury later this week (with thanks to Ben Traxel). … Way back in 1998, I wrote a travel article about western Nebraska. Now a bar in that region is installing its own curling sheet. Might have to make a return visit (with thanks to Chris Bisbee). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: The intersection of MLB and facial hair appears to be limitless. … Several readers have noted that when Mike Myers reprised his “Wayne’s World” character on SNL last weekend, he wore a current retail replica with the NHL shield removed, presumably so it would look more like period-appropriate. … The folks at Baseball Prospectus have used a bit of uni sleuthing to figure out which game Ferris Bueller was watching. … Someone on the Chris Creamer board posted photos of the Flames’ Heritage Classic gear. … College hoops news from Rob Montoya, who writes: “On Saturday, Colorado State will be wearing orange alternate uniforms in tribute to their days as the Aggies of Colorado A&M. To prevent an eyesore (even though it still may be one) New Mexico will wear their home silver alts.” … Interested in knowing what happens to game-used Oregon football uniforms? Look here (with thanks to Lee Clarkson). … Fiftieth-anniversary uniforms for WVU (with thanks to Joshua Exline). … Stop me if you’ve heard this one before — or better yet, stop Terry Mark, since it’s his story: “Strange scene in Goshen, Ind., on the opening night of the high school girls basketball playoffs. Central High brought their whites for their game against Concord, who were also wearing white, so Central borrowed backup jerseys from the host school, Goshen.” Further details here. … The Lightning have already put their new logo at center ice (as spotted by John Muir). … Kind of sad to realize that an MLB team with a doubleheader on its schedule qualifies as big news. … Darren Rovell is a very good reporter — much better than I am — but his work has always lacked any semblance of a moral compass. Like so many business writers, he operates from the premise that what’s good for business is good, period. Which is how he ends up putting out tripe like this. … Mmm, 1941 Cubs — tasty (big thanks to Jerry Wolper). … Fun DIY project from Peter Halbrooks, who writes: “I wanted to make some Red Sox shirts for my daughter and her cousins. But since the Sox’s home jerseys are NNOB, I had to think of a different way to personalize them. If I’d had more time I would have made proper stencils or iron-ons, but instead I got some fabric paint and blank shirts at Walmart (total of $14 spent for all three). I’m pleased with how they turned out.” … Some late-breaking eBay finds from Brinke, including an absolutely sensational Broncos poster, a set of AFC mini-pennants, and uh, whose jacket is this again..? … David Phelps thinks it was a little unprofessional for Digger Phelps to be calling last night’s Notre Dame/Louisville while wearing a Notre Dame sweater. Doesn’t Digger know all the cool kids are wearing Brent Musberger sweaters nowadays? … Nice bit of douchebag karma in this recap of last night’s Memphis/UCF game. Key passage: “UCF dropped to 0-8 since adding a Nike sign to their jerseys following their 14-0 start to the season. The Knights already had the ‘Swoosh’ on their shorts, but wanted to add it to their jerseys as well after drawing plenty of national attention with their undefeated start and No. 18 ranking” (big thanks to Brent Brezinger).
Twin Cities reminder: Two major figures from our comments section — Ricko and R. Scott Rogers — will be meeting up tonight, 7pm, at Bunny’s, where I had the pleasure of watching last year’s NFC Championship Game. All readers are welcome and encouraged to join them.