Now, I'm not a big fan of college football. I find it hard to watch amateur athletes play poorly every Saturday. I understand that, for people who grew up near a major school & were raised to root for it or who went there, their 'fandom' is based on pride, loyalty, what have you, but I could never really get into it. However, one thing I find excellent about college football is the blend of tradition and modernity. College uniforms reflect this really well, as they stay true to what they've always done, but they're willing to try out new concepts, change up the colors, even just for a game or two. Teams like Oregon did they so well that they became legitimate franchises. Now it seems that every school has five alternate jerseys, and perhaps it's gone a bit too far, but I like the idea that a school can keep tradition alive, but still have a bit of fun.
The NFL could take a lesson from this. The league can be too rigid at times, too stuck in tradition. Yes, most teams have alternate jerseys, but it usually trades one solid color for another, like the Broncos oranges vs. the blues. That's cool, but not that cool. Sometimes teams will bring out their retro look, like the Eagles' blue and gold, and that's a nice nod to the bygone days, but that's only one game a season. This year the NFL tried to spruce up their uniforms a little by making a deal with Nike. Well, the only team that changed anything was the Seahawks, who look awesome by the way. All any other team did was add hideous lapel-like stripes to their collars. They look like tuxedo t-shirts. No one is willing to take a step forward and create an interesting new image.
And some teams desperately need an image overhaul. 1) The Browns. My God, enough with the orange helmets with no logo. And you're named after two people who's last name was Brown! How do make it through the day? I understand tradition, but the Brownies have been horrible for so long that it's time for a change. 2) The Vikings. Purple isn't necessarily a bad thing. The Ravens pulled it off by paring it with black. Very nice. The Vikings pair it with more purple. Not nice. And their symbols are awesome, both the Viking man and the curved horns. But they don't do it justice. 3) The Dolphins. They teased fans when they promised changes this year to go along with a new personnel. Well, they're still teal & orange and are represented by a happy dolphin wearing a football helmet. 4) The Raiders. I have no problem with the silver & black, and the pirate man is fine, but he needs updating. He looks like he was invented in 1960 and never changed. Oh wait.
Basically, if I can create a better image for a franchise on Madden '06 than the NFL can, then it's time for an update. Those four teams need a new identity, and should follow the Broncos & Buccaneers into modern times, but the rest of the teams just need to have a little fun. There is no shortage of ideas out there. Check out this concept art:
The NFL and it's teams need to take some notes from artists like this, and from college teams as well, and step up their game a little bit. You don't have to change tradition completely to be relevant, but you need to take some steps forward sometime or you're going to get passed.
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