So What’s In a Uniform?

Yesterday, The Detroit Lions unveiled a new look uniform for the team. The new uniform consists of new lettering for the spelling of the word ‘Lions’ and the trademark lion itself is now reared on hind legs with teeth bared. Still boasting the same color scheme, the new uniform is really just an ‘updated’ look versus a ‘new’ one.

After a historic 0-16 finish to the last season, the Lions are understandably looking to re-coup, re-brand, and regain some measure of face in an industry built entirely on winning.

Already, much light has been made of the organizations first attempt to re-cast themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the NFL. With so many gaping holes and question marks within the Lions organization, it is all too easy to ridicule such a move as more folly…but is that truly the case?

Over the last 10-plus years, there have been several examples of just how important a role the uniforms worn by our favorite teams play during the regular season. Here are a few reasons why the Lions new skin may just be a move nothing short of genius.

  • The New England Patriots—Long suffering in their red, white, and blue uniforms that included a man striking a less than manly pose on their helmets, New England had several tough teams and seasons including that incredible 46-10 shellacking they took at the hands of ‘Da Bears’ in 1986. In 1996, the team finally got in touch with their inner ‘queer eye’ and unveiled a new bold look that many a New Englander can gaze upon proudly. Within one season the team made it’s way back to the big show, albeit losing to the Packers, famously marching on to an impressive three out of five Super Bowl Rings including back to back championships in ’04 and ’05.
  • The Denver Broncos—Denver adopted arguably one of the most recognizable looks in NFL history with the 1968 introduction of what would eventually be dubbed the “Orange Crush.” Five years later a young John Elway would join the organization bringing with him some of the most exciting NFL game play of the era. Three lauded Super Bowl losses, including a historic 55-10 drubbing at the hands of Joe Montana’s 49er’s, Captain Comeback seemed headed towards infamy as yet another big time player who ‘couldn’t win the big one,’ but then came 1997. Swapping the famed ‘Orange Crush’ for the now familiar Bronco’s Navy Blue, Denver not only made the big show the very next season but steam-rolled their way to back-to-back championships in 1998 and 1999.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers—As if suffering as one of the single worst franchises in NFL history wasn’t bad enough, this team had the misfortune of being suited up in ‘creamsicle’ colored uniforms even gay guys thought were tacky at best. In 1997 they finally ditched ‘Bucco Bruce” in exchange for a ‘Jolly Roger” and a new, sleek look. Consisting of red, black, orange and pewter, this team took on a whole new life and attitude, battling their way to the top of the NFC South in the 2002 season and becoming the first and only NFC South team to ever win the big show.