Week 11 NFL review: That’s all I can say

This was the perhaps the quietest week in NFL uniforms all season. The only changes came from the small details, that I’ll just discuss in short form here.

Maybe if the Redskins had stuck with yellow pants, Graham Gano would have felt inspired to hit a potential game-winning field goal in overtime. Photo by Getty Images

  • The Redskins who have gone with yellow pants to match their red home jerseys went with white pants in an overtime loss to the Cowboys on Sunday. I loved the yellow pants and was almost as sad to see them go as I was to see the Cowboys beat Washington and move into a first-place tie with the Giants.
  • The Rams looked sloppy again in uniforms and on the field with this all-blue look against the Seahawks.

Week 9 NFL Review: When uniforms flop

Marcell Dareus and the rest of the Bills might have had their moments on Sunday, but overall their white uniforms failed in a loss to the Jets. Photo by Getty Images

My apologies for the delay on this. Time constraints call for me to keep this brief, but more will come next weekend.

The Buffalo Bills tried to rally their team and their fans with a white out at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday. For anyone who watched the game, it’s very fair to say, it flopped.

There was more emotion from the fans at the start of the game given this extra boost from a special uniform worn against a division rival.

However, since this idea did not work out as planned in a blowout loss to the Jets, it is likely the Bills will stay away from white at home for a while. Uniform karma could likely come back to bit the Bills if they continue to try something that hasn’t worked in the past.

A Bill friend of mine hopes to never see these again, and I will say I hope the Bills can turn things around as this season holds the most promise in a long time for the franchise.

Bills going with white at home

Ryan Fitzpatrick and the rest of the Bills will wear white at home against the Jets this Sunday. Photo by Getty Images

For this Sunday’s important matchup with the Jets, the Bills have announced they will wear white at home for the first time in 25 years.

This is pretty shocking news. In my lifetime, the Bills have not gone with this look. The Bills uniforms this season are among the best in the league, and the road look is slightly better than the home one.

I’m not a fan of white at home, but let’s see how it works for Buffalo.

Week 7 NFL review: Ho-hum

Sunday’s NFL slate was billed as one of the least exciting of the season, and it lived up to the hype. While Tim Tebow might have led another fourth-quarter comeback in Miami and the Jets and Chargers entertained us for a bit early on, it was a good thing the World Series was on that night.

The lack of excitement on the field was matched in the uniforms department. With that said, we will immediately move to the quick hits:

Jonathan Stewart and the rest of the Panthers had a very good day against the Redskins in these light blue alternates. Photo by Getty Images

  • The Panthers went with their alternate light blue jerseys in a victory against the Redskins. This look works and certainly brings out the light blue outline on the silver helmets. It also matches another football team that plays in North Carolina.
  • Minnesota chose a throwback look for the second time this season in a close loss to the Packers, which is always nice to see.
  • The Saints dominated the Colts in white at home. I had a sneaking suspicion New Orleans might go this route before the game, but was hoping it wouldn’t be right. There was certainly no getting in the Saints way as their offense soared and Drew Brees ruined my perfect record in fantasy football.

Helmets like White Elephants

Here we have another entry from Alex. This one regarding the emergence of white helmets in football.

Auburn has employed the white helmet for a long time. Always looking good at home and on the road.

But if I do it, then it will be nice again if I say things are like white elephants, and you’ll like it?”

– From “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway

Indeed, there was a time, particularly in pro football, when white helmets were considered a white elephant, or rather, a fashion faux pas. When the Houston Texans were born in 2002 and they introduced white helmets, many alleged “experts” bristled at such a uniform statement.  Arguably, an expansion team should have made a better impression on the league with a better helmet idea, or could have actually made the playoffs once in their first nine seasons.  With neither feat accomplished, perhaps the Texans were on to something with their white helmets. Today, the trend toward the white helmet, in the NFL and even more so in college, is quite prevalent.

More and more teams have gone to the white helmet because it offers that classic look. With the constant uniform changes happening in college football, many teams have either opted to keep or have opted for the white helmet. This weekend, LSU, wearing their not-as-deplorable-as-it-could-be Nike Pro Combat looks, opted for a white helmet with purple “LSU” on each side, went up against Auburn in a rare white helmet vs. white helmet matchup.

Also this weekend, Oklahoma State, in their victory over Mizzou, looked good with an all-white getup that included white helmets.  A revisit to the Oklahoma State Combo Creator reveals that OSU, in addition to their gray and black helmets, actually have two white helmets, one that features an orange “OSU” and another that features that same logo in black.  Of course, OSU has always had white helmets, but it was nice that, when they did decide, for whatever reason, to redo their football unis, they kept those two white helmets, rather than discarding for something that looks like this.

Barry Sanders sported a white helmet with Oklahoma State in the late 80s. The letters on the helmets were bigger, but the helmet has largely remained the same.

Like the Cowboys, many schools have had white helmets as far back as anyone can remember, making the white helmet not a burden to an team’s look, but rather an enhancement. Penn State and Stanford have never deviated from their white lids (although Standard will feature a black helmet on November 27th, when they Pro Combat for a primetime game against Notre Dame). Many other schools have also gone to the white helmet in recent years, with even Oregon finding room in their cornucopia of unis for a classic, white topper.

But this trend is not only limited to the college game. In addition to the Texans, the Jets, Cardinals, Dolphins, Colts, and Titans (formerly the Oilers) all sport white helmets. Additionally, both the Bills and Chargers have made the move from their old helmets to white helmets.

Clearly, the white helmet is (and has) made a comeback.  And, rather than being like white elephants, are embraced by teams looking to return to a more classic, and overall better look.

Week 5 NFL review: Not much to say

Victory Cruz had some pink socks on as he made this great catch in an otherwise horrible game for the Giants. Photo by The Star-Ledger

This week’s NFL games really did not offer much in terms of uniform excitement. While I spent much of my Sunday baking in the sun at MetLife Stadium and watching the Giants play their worst game of the season, the NFL decided to go conservative with the uniforms.

Besides the Patriots who went with throwback uniforms that we discussed earlier in the week, the Giants made a bit of an impact with a shocking amount of pink for their loss to the Seahawks.

The end zones had a pink outline around the Giants in the middle and it seemed like every single player for the Giants had some form of pink for the game.

That’s all there is to talk about at the moment, hopefully the NFL can give us a little more to talk about next week.

Breaking News: Patriots to go with throwbacks

It seems like Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots will wear these throwbacks against the Jets this weekend.

A friend with knowledge of the situation tells me the New England Patriots will wear their throwback uniforms for this Sunday’s divisional showdown with the Jets. These uniforms were worn by New England from 1961-1992.

Last year, the Patriots wore these against the Vikings and wore them frequently in 2009 when it was the 50-year anniversary of the AFL.

My friend told me the throwback helmets and pants were hanging the Patriots locker room Monday after practice. Usually teams do this to break in the equipment during practice leading up to the game.

These are solid uniforms and I am looking forward to the Patriots wearing these in a big game against the Jets.

What’s Maryland Wearing This Week? Week 5

Maryland will go with a pretty simple look of black-on-red-on black against Towson on Saturday.

I apologize for the delay in getting this post up, but with the madness in baseball Wednesday night, there was no time.

Coach Randy Edsall announced last night that this, to the left, would be Maryland’s uniform choice this week.

The yellow jerseys against Temple clearly did not help, so the slight change to red was inevitable.

The choice on red goes back to what Maryland used to wear before they decided to become the Oregon of the Northeast. That is a nice thing to see. Also, the small black stripe on the side is not as noticeable as the red one was on the yellow uniforms, and that is a good thing.

The black helmets and black pants have become a staple over the past three weeks. It’s hard to imagine that will stay consistent for the rest of the season.

Overall, it’s a fine look. Nothing too special to it, keeps in simple in what should be an easy victory for the Terps. Of course, I said that last week, and look at what happened.

Gray Power?

Here we have it, the first post from a contributor. This one comes from a good friend of mine, Alex, who can give a better perspective on the Oklahoma State uniform situation. He attended the school for two years for grad school. Here is his deeper view on the Cowboys’ recent uniform changes.

Oklahoma State receiver Michael Harrison helped the Cowboys begin their gray trend this season in the opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. Photo by Associated Press

Before the 2006 NCAA football season, the University of Oregon unveiled its 384 different uniform combinations that would forever change college football.  Call it jealousy, or just an overwhelming desire to be the same as their peers (a character flaw that is prevalent in our society), but since then, other college football teams have decided the simple distinction of “home” and “road” uniforms were obsolete.  This has led to a rash of teams trying to outdo (see Arizona State) or out-weird (see Maryland) other teams.

That brings us to my alma mater, Oklahoma State, who, backed by seemingly unlimited funds from oil-tycoon-turned-wind-power-guru T. Boone Pickens, unveiled a uniform combination that, while not as egregious as Oregon’s, is still nonetheless perplexing.  Using the Oklahoma State Combo Creator, fans can choose between four sets of pants (gray, black, orange and white), four different jerseys (gray, black, orange and white), and three different helmet colors (black, orange and gray).  While some regard this as a way to put OSU on the map (as if an AP #5 ranking doesn’t do the trick), lost in the cornucopia of uni-combos is the idea that Oklahoma State (and arguably along with other teams), have lost their identity.

You don’t have to attend grad school in Stillwater to know that the town simply loves orange.  The color is as common as dandelions in the spring. At any and all OSU event, the cheer that is most common is simple: one side of the stadium yells “Orange!” while the other side attempts to outdo them by yelling back “Power!”.  Students are not encouraged but expected to wear orange to games, and wearing any other color, no matter what the weather, makes one stand out (and not in a good way).  So, what is curious to me (and to perhaps many other OSU fans) is why Oklahoma State’s uniforms, with all their national attention, a Top 5 ranking, and an offense that can seemingly score points even while sleep, has yet to feature orange in 2011.

Two seasons ago, Oklahoma State football debuted an all-black look for their Thursday night ESPN showdown with then-conference rival Colorado.  The black jerseys and pants, coupled with white helmets with the black “OSU” were met with mixed results in Stillwater, but looked neat nonetheless under the lights in front of a prime time audience.  But OSU followed the tradition of orange over white at home, and white over orange on the road that season, with the exception of their all orange look for Homecoming (which is, as advertised, the best Homecoming celebration in the country).  In 2010, OSU again donned the all-black getup for their yearly Thursday night game, this time against Texas A&M in a 38-35 thriller.  Despite their 2-0 record in the black, OSU stuck with its regular road home combination.  That is, until their game at Kansas, when they wore their road whites with black pants for the first time since 1994.

Justin Blackmon and Oklahoma State kept up their tradition of black on a Thursday night earlier this season against Arizona. It was slightly different from past years because of the orange numbering and lettering on the helmet. Photo by Getty Images

And thus, it started.  The idea that the orange and white simply was not good enough and that black and gray needed to take a more prominent role, giving birth to the highly questionable uniforms they sport in 2011.  Let’s review:  their opening game against UL-Layfette saw the debut of gray jerseys with white and pants and helmets.  Game two, on ESPN’s Thursday Night prime time slot, featured the return of the all black and the white helmets.  Their third game against Tulsa, played in the early hours of the morning thanks to Oklahoma’s signature tornado warnings (I actually survived a few when I was out there) saw the Fighting Gundys in white helmets and jerseys matched with black pants.  The gray helmets and pants, matched with white jerseys, made their debut in College Station last Saturday against A&M.

So, where’s the orange?  Sure it’s in the numbers and trims, but that still doesn’t mean it’s featured.  Even in what the Oklahoma press called Mike Gundy’s signature win, OSU’s signature color, orange, was hardly visible.

Sure, new jerseys are great, and they certainly create a buzz for a program, but at what cost?  A team’s mainstay is their uniforms, which in turn, helps to create their identity for fans, alums and a national audience.  Besides, a team doesn’t need all kinds crazy uniform combinations  to garner national attention.  Just look at these two teams.

The Details in Dallas

Jason Witten must notice some of these uniform intricacies while he is working against defensive backs like LaRon Landry. Photo by Getty Images

How ’bout them Cowboys uniforms?

Well, there are two distinguishing features America’s Team possesses, and they are both only noticeable to the truly obsessive. Besides the fact the Cowboys are one of the only acceptable teams to wear white at home (because they always have), their pants and helmets provide a bit of uniform intrigue.

Let’s start with the pants. Have you ever noticed the silver color of the pants with the white uniforms seems a bit different than their helmet. Well, that’s because they are.

The home pants have a blue-ish/green tint to them, which is a bit of a change from the silver pants they go with on the rare occasion the blue jerseys must be worn.

It’s a bit of a difference but it is something interesting that should be noted by the obsessive uniform observer.

Dallas also has a throwback uniform they usually go to on Thanksgiving that has no silver in it at all, but white instead. It is a departure from the usual white at home look for the Cowboys, and uses white in the helmet and pants.

The second minor detail in the Cowboys uniform is the little blue label at the back of the helmet. It lies between the two thin dark blue stripes and the thick white one.

Besides looking pretty neat, there’s actually a function to this stripe. If you look really closely, you can see the blue stripes have the players’ name written in white lettering on it. It’s nearly impossible to notice when watching on TV, but quite satisfying when it actually is noticed after further inspection.

That’s all for today, with the baseball playoffs starting up later this week, hopefully I’ll have time for a bit of a look at the playoff team’s uniforms during the Division Series. Also, expect a guest appearance from a friend soon on this blog.