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 6 NFL Review: A Bold Move

Tom Brady found his rhythm late in white at home to beat the Cowboys on Sunday. Photo by Getty Images

Week 6 in the NFL brought much more uniform action than usual. We saw everything from throwbacks to alternate jerseys to a white jersey at home from a team that never does and a team wearing colors, that never does.

We’ll focus on the Patriots choice of white at home to force the Cowboys into their bad luck blues. While the Patriots seemed to be thrown off by the switch for much of the game, Tom Brady finally acclimated to the new threads in time to lead a game-winning drive in the game’s waning moments.

It was truly a bold move by the Patriots to go with these white uniforms at home. The news came out earlier in the week that this would happen, and it would be to force to Cowboys into their road blues they have not worn in quite some time. As a Giants fan, I was in favor of this move, but I hope it does not become a trend among other teams in the NFL.

The Cowboys road blues use a much darker blue and feature a star on the sides of the shoulders, a feature not seen in the usual home uniforms. They are certainly ugly uniforms and I understand why the Cowboys try to avoid wearing them at all costs.

The Patriots uniforms are nice, pretty much a typical road jersey. New England could have also gone for a silver look they wore a few times in their past, and still forced the Cowboys to go with their blue uniforms.

With that, we’ll move on to a busy quick hits:

James Starks joined the Acme Packers on Sunday in a helmet that was trying to simulate leather helmets of old. Photo by Getty Images

  • The Packers wore a 1920s throwback against the Rams on Sunday. The brown helmets are supposed to simulate a leather helmet the team wore back in the day. However, it ends up looking more like a Notre Dame uniform. The numbers in the circles are very strange, but I guess that’s what they did back in the 20s.
  • The Bengals wore an orange alternate against the Colts. They are not as good as the usual black uniforms, but not all that offensive since the helmet is also orange.
  • The Falcons wore a very nice throwback in their victory over the Panthers. I love the red helmet along with the black jersey. It’s probably the best look Atlanta has ever worn.

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.

NFL Review Week 4: Real men wear pink

San Francisco wide receiver Josh Morgan flew through the air with pink accents to make everyone in Philadelphia aware of breast cancer on Sunday. Photo by Associated Press

The past three Octobers have brought a once unfamiliar color into the NFL … pink.

I’m not sure when October officially became Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but the NFL certainly has done a great job of making fans aware of that fact for the past three seasons with different types of pink all over the field. Whether it comes in the players’ gloves, towels, shoes, mouth guards, wrist bands or chin straps, pink becomes the dominant color in the NFL in October.

Now, I know that I have never been more aware of breast cancer than when I’m watching the NFL for the month of October so the league has definitely accomplished what it hoped to with the pink accents all over the field.

When it comes to the look of the uniforms, it generally doesn’t have too much of an impact, at least for me. The pink is definitely noticeable, but now that this is the third season of it, the impact isn’t as shocking as it once was.

If anything, I believe it adds a bit of excitement to the games to see what each team will look like while wearing the pink accents. It also leaves it up to the player to wear as much or as little pink as they want.

Overall, the idea is great because it is all for a good cause, and since the trend will seemingly continue for the rest of the month, it gives every stadium around the NFL multiple chances to make those in the stadium fully aware of breast cancer.

Besides the pink all over the NFL, the league also saw black come into play for teams that usually go with another color scheme, and with that we’ll go to our quick hits.

Ray Rice looked nice in an all-black uniform for Sunday night's blowout of the Jets. Photo by Getty Images

  • The Ravens took on the Jets on Sunday night and completely dominated in an all-black look that is more than solid. For the Ravens, I think this is the look they should always go to in night games. The black pants and black jerseys work well because Ravens themselves are actually black. It is also intimidating to see Ray Lewis coming at you in all black.
  • The Cardinals also went with a black jersey for their controversial loss to the Giants. For Arizona, the black seems very out of place with the white helmet and white pants. Seems to me like they only make these jerseys to sell a few more Larry Fitzgerald shirts at the gift shop. Also, a cardinal is red, not black.
  • The Rams went back to their sloppy blue-on-white look for a home game and it was reflected in their play in a loss to the Redskins.
  • The Jaguars went with white pants and a white jersey at home. Nobody cares about Jacksonville (even people in Jacksonville) so it didn’t bother me that much.
  • The Chargers went with white at home again … SIGH.
That’s all for this week, like always, let me know if you see anything I missed or any comments you might have.

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.

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.

NFL Week 2 Review: Remember the (New York) Titans

Quarterback Mark Sanchez and the Jets rolled in over the Jaguars yesterday in these stellar throwback New York Titans uniforms. Photo by The Star-Ledger

This week in the NFL did not have too much action in the way of bold fashion statements. The NFL has restrictions on uniforms, keeping teams to only two games in their alternate uniforms per season. This makes sure there are no teams like Maryland or Oregon in the league where they play ……. for pay (thanks, Mike Francesa).

The one team that did make people notice them for more than just their stellar play on the field in a dominant performance over the putrid Jacksonville Jaguars was the New York Jets. As they have done in the past, the Jets went with these New York Titans throwback uniforms.

Overall, these uniforms are pretty solid considering they are throwbacks. I would not like them as permanent uniforms for any team.

I am always a fan of stripes along the shoulders, which adds some solid detail to this otherwise simple uniform. The same could be said for the white and blue stripes along the side of the gold/yellow pants (I really can’t decide what color they are).

The best feature here is the decidedly gold numbers. They are simple and effective. The absence of any kind of outline on the number helps it almost fade into the blue of the shirt and makes it clear these are throwbacks.

Looking at the helmet also makes it clear the Jets have become the Titans for this particular game. Again, the stripe is definitely gold which helps with the helmet. Also, the lack of any writing on the sides of the helmets gives a clear indication it is a throwback.

While the uniforms were stellar, the look of the field at MetLife Stadium and the surroundings all pointed to this being a Jets home game. While I understand the New York Jets were actually the ones facing the Jaguars, I wish the people at the Meadowlands would have changed the end zone from the usual green coloring with white letters to a blue coloring with gold letters saying “Titans”. It would have completed the day and made everything about the uniforms work.

The Chargers make some changes to their end zone when they go with the powder blues and it completes the entire look of the game. The difference here is the Chargers play on natural grass while the Jets are on FieldTurf, which I imagine might cause some problems for a brand new end zone for just one game, but it would help immensely.

Bills running back Fred Jackson had a strong game and looked good while doing it in Buffalo's new home uniforms. Photo by Getty Images

That’s all for the New York Titans, a few other teams made some uniform news so here are a few quick hits:

  • The Tennessee Titans went with white uniforms at home in their victory over the Ravens, one of my major pet peeves if you’re not the Dallas Cowboys or Miami Dolphins.
  • The Saints and Panthers also went with white at home. I understand the move for the Panthers because it can be hot in North Carolina this time of year, but I still prefer the usual black uniforms or their alternate light blues. However, the Saints choice just bothers me. They play in a climate-controlled dome, why do you have to wear white at home?
  • The Bills debuted their new home uniforms in a thrilling victory over the Raiders that saw them score a touchdown on every possession in the second half. I really like these uniforms for the most part, the only thing I could do without is how the stripe on the helmet gets wider at the back. Why is it like that? It ruins a nearly perfect uniform.

All right, enough for today. Here’s a little preview of what is coming for the rest of the week, including what I hope to be a usual Tuesday staple of reviewing the uniform history of the teams featured on Monday Night Football:

Tuesday: A look at the Rams and Giants uniform transformations

Wednesday: End Zones, the chance for freedom in field design

Thursday: What’s Maryland wearing this week?

Friday or Saturday: What uniforms have to do with the Red Sox collapse