NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 03: Creative Director of Nike Football and Baseball Todd Van Horne speaks as Nike debuts the new NFL uniforms on April 3, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Nike)
The Pittsburgh Steelers uniform is one of the most recognizable in all of sports and has remained relatively unchanged for decades. Sure, there have been some minor tweaks here and there, but the design hasn't changed since at least the late 60's.
Nike recently took over the rights to design and manufacture NFL uniforms, and last week, they unveiled each team's new duds. Thankfully, the Steelers uniforms didn't see any major changes. Most teams didn't radically alter their uniforms, either. The only major difference is a lighter fabric that Nike will use.
Some teams, most notably the Green Bay Packers, refused to make even the slightest change to their uniforms, including the fabric, and will even stick with the heavier material from the Reebok days.
The Seahawks don't look like they should be playing in the NFC West. They look like they should be battling for the Pac-12 championship.
Maybe I'm just resistant to change, but I'm glad the look of the majority of NFL teams will stay pretty much the same.
Even when other teams change their uniforms, I just don't like it.
I'm still not feeling the Tampa Bay Buccaneers new uniforms that were first unveiled in 1997. I miss the neon orange jerseys that the team wore for the first two-decades of its existence.
Maybe I shouldn't be too hard on teams like Seattle and Tampa. They're still fairly new franchises, and they don't have the tradition of teams like the Steelers and Packers. They're still trying to find their way, and that includes playing with the design of their uniforms.
Besides, the Steelers weren't immune to making some unfortunate uniform choices before finally getting it right. Anyone remember the hideous "golden triangle" design of 1967?
Of all the teams that have made drastic changes to their uniforms over the years, I think the one that worked the best was the Cincinnati Bengals new "tiger striped" design starting in 1981. The Bengals were founded by former Cleveland Browns head coach Paul Brown in 1968, and legend has it he intentionally patterned his new team's uniforms after the Browns as a way to get back at them for firing him. And maybe there's something to that legend, because quite frankly, with the exception of the word "Bengals" on the side of the helmet, there was very little difference between the Bengals uniforms of the 1970's and the ones that the Browns were sporting. The change in '81 was more than welcome, and I doubt any future designer will be able to drastically alter the Bengals current uniforms; they got it right in 1981.
Maybe my resistance to new uniforms is a sign of getting older, because when I was younger, I thought a new Steelers look would be very cool.
In my high school days, I traced a picture of Rod Woodson out of a magazine and decided I was going to radically change the team's uniform.
The jerseys remained relatively the same, but the famous gold stripes on the sleeves were gone and replaced with the iconic Steelers logo. Also, instead of the gold pants for both home and away games, the team would wear white pants with their black jerseys at home and black pants with their white jerseys on the road. The iconic logo would be removed from the helmet (blasphemous, I know) and replaced with "Steelers" in script ON BOTH SIDES (even more blasphemy).
At the time, I thought it was really cool. But looking back on it, the uniform resembled something straight out of the CFL.
I'm glad the Steelers themselves never got the itch to radically redesign their look.
Today, I couldn't even imagine cheering for a Steelers team with drastically different uniforms. Check out these futuristic designs. Did you scroll down to see the Steelers uniforms? Gross, right?
I know the Steelers wear their alternate throwbacks a couple of times a year, and I actually think they're pretty cool. But I'm glad they still wear their more traditional uniforms the other 14 games.
Why mess with perfection?
If it ain't broke, don't redesign it.