Uni Talk: Going outside your color scheme, wearing outdated uniforms, and some of our favorites


In the final part of our six pack of uniform discussions, Rick and I discussed a variety of topics, including some of our favorite uniform sets around pro sports. Click on the appropriate link for our thoughts on the Cavaliers, Browns, Indians, Ohio State, and the first part of our general topics discussion.

Rick: Let’s go ahead and talk about some of the other trends in uniforms. One of the trends that bugs me is the use of uniforms that aren’t even close to a program’s actual colors.

Kirk: Can you give an example?

Rick: The most common one is black. Kentucky and Nebraska are the two that jump out in memory as teams that wore black uniforms when that isn’t even one of their primary colors. Or secondary really.

Grey is another color that schools are wearing now. Miami is going with a ‘smoke’ uniform. Tennessee wore one.

Kirk: True. Nebraska does have the whole “Blackshirts” thing in their tradition, but it is a new idea for their actual uniforms. It goes back to the BFBS (black for black’s sake) discussion. Teams get away with black and gray uniforms even if they’re not in their scheme because they’re fairly neutral. I can understand the reasoning because black uniforms (like the New Orleans Saints) can look really slick.

But, not every team needs a black uni.

Rick: There’s also the red, white, and blue uniforms, and the camouflage and the pink… it just gets to be a lot when every week you are wearing something else for something else.

Kirk: I was specifically annoyed by the Northwestern wounded warrior uniforms that surfaced last week. I think their heart is in the right place, but just because you *don’t* do something like that, it doesn’t mean that you don’t care. I also don’t think the NFL pink month is really necessary. I’m as in favor of breast cancer awareness as the next fella, but overexploiting it for profit isn’t the right idea. Maybe a week, but there’s no need for a month.

Rick: The Northwestern situation was not handled well by the school or Under Armour.


Let’s get away from college football for a minute.

The alternate craze isn’t just hitting football. The NBA has seen it’s share lately. What do you think of the sleeved jerseys?

Kirk: At first, I thought they were silly. I’m still not sold they’ll stick, but I do understand from a marketing perspective how going away from the tank tops could lead to more jersey sales for adults. And, this is coming from someone who has (counts to himself) 6 tank top basketball jerseys.

Rick: I can’t say that I feel very strongly either way on these. It could be because they haven’t invaded the Cavaliers’ court yet.

2000futuremlbjerseysKirk: Yea, I think that’s when I’ll have a stronger opinion as well. I think the Warriors’ model does look pretty slick, though I’m not as high on the Christmas day lineup with the giant logos. It reminds me of the bad “future” jerseys in the MLB from around 2000.

Rick: One NBA uniform item that got shelved because of strong push back from fans is the ads on the jerseys concept. What do you think about ad patches? Are they unavoidable?

Kirk: While I don’t feel as strongly as someone like Lukas about this, I’m certainly not in favor of them. It’s bad enough this has permeated through all of the stadium names, but the uniform shouldn’t be a billboard. Companies change names, merge, go out of business, and just don’t renew sponsorships. If the only reason my jersey is out of date is it has the wrong sponsor, that would tick me off.

Rick: Right, there are enough reasons that uniforms go out of date in Cleveland as it is…

Speaking of which, do you ever wear a jersey of a player that is no longer with the team?

Kirk: I wore/still wear my Zydrunas Ilgauskas gold early 70’s model (with the feather cursive) frequently. Z is probably my all-time favorite Cavalier, and his number will soon hang in the rafters, so that’s probably a little bit of a unique case. I bought a white Cribbs jersey on heavy discount last season when he was still on the team. I would still wear that one probably, though I would wear it at home or to a buddy’s house rather than to the game itself. I also still have two LeBron James jerseys stored away somewhere in my parents’ house.

I know that one thing I do when I buy a player jersey is try to project how long they’ll be here to get bang for my buck. I’d never buy a Bynum jersey. I did buy Kyrie and Tristan jerseys. I bought a Haden jersey two years ago. And I *know* that’s why so many people were pissed when they bought Richardson jerseys.

Rick: My daughter loved Shin-Soo Choo. I knew he wasn’t long in Cleveland. I converted her into a Kipnis fan. That’s the jersey she has. Glad I didn’t rush out and grab the Choo.

Kirk: It’s sort of fashionable, if you want to call it that, to wear an out of date Browns jersey. It’s a hobby, a sadistic hobby, but a hobby) for some of us to do the scavenger hunt for a Dwayne Rudd, Jamir Miller, or Wali Ranier uniform. Still, I’m a guy that likes to be current, so unless they’re a “forever Cleveland” guy, I have a hard time wearing an out of date name.

seahawks grayRick: Nike recently took over the NFL uniforms. So far Seattle is the only team that has had a radical redesign, but I would guess more are coming. Which NFL teams are most in need of uniform upgrades?

Kirk: Ahh, those crazy folks up in the Pacific Northwest! I actually like the Seahawks slate blue/gray/neon green scheme a lot. Those neon green alternates they had in the past are one of the best I’ve ever seen. I also like their current gray alternate. If you made me picks a couple of teams, I would start with the Bengals. Their helmet is hideous. Ours may be boring, but theirs is just ugly. I guess it’s kind of their thing, and they’ll never change it, but the rest of their scheme doesn’t do anything for me either. Looking real quick, I’d quick hit say that the Texans could stand to do something too. The Jaguars need to go back to the drawing board on their new styles of unis in addition to their roster. That new helmet is nauseating!

I’m guessing you’ll pick the Chiefs… for the ketchup and mustard comments regarding the Cavs’ set.

Rick: I’ve never been a big fan of the Titans uniforms. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Chiefs get an update either, but I don’t typically throw them in the condiment category. They really don’t feature yellow much.

The Bengal stripe helmets may be past their prime. I’ll give you that one.

Kirk: Funny, I know the Titans have had that look for a while, but I like that shade of blue on them. If I had to give props to a couple of other teams, I’d highlight the Packers, Eagles, and Panthers. And the Bucs. That pewter is unique.

Rick: Give me one uniform you love for each of the big three leagues.

No Cleveland.

Kirk: NFL – The Seattle Seahawks alternate, NBA – Dallas Mavericks blues, MLB – Oakland Athletics (green and gold both).  The Worst: NFL – Jaguars, NBA – anything Milwaukee Bucks outside of the logo itself, and MLB – Miami Marlins anything.

marlinsunisRick: Those Marlins uniforms are horrific.

I’ve published my favorites on the site before, but I’ll repeat them. The Chargers with that white helmet. Love them. The SF Giants have a great uniform. I like Portland’s NBA uniforms and Golden State’s bridge uniform.

Kirk: I’ll second the Giants having a great black/orange look with that lettering. I’ve got one more final thing for you. You have been granted the power to make one uniform happen for one of your teams. What is it?

Rick: Well, it would either be a return of the new expression wine and gold uniforms that we discussed at length for the Cavs or the blue alternates for the Indians that we talked about. I would probably lean towards the Cavs.

Kirk: There are so many options that we discussed. I’d love to make the Ohio State basketball team’s primary home jersey the gray version with Buckeyes in cursive and red lettering. I’d also really like to see that 1908 Indians block C throwback just as it is except maybe a different cap. But, I’ll go with making the Cavaliers current gold alternate their primary home jersey. I’d change the lettering to the logo lettering that we’ve talked about too. As Goldmember would say, “I love GOLLLLLLLD!”

Rick: So, there is talk of a WFNY uniform podcast coming soon. Want to tease the readers?

No Cavs player is more polarizing among the WFNY crew than Dion Waiters (Jason Miller/Getty Images)


Kirk: I think the podcast will give us a chance to elaborate on some of the themes and ideas that we have that just didn’t fit into one of our articles. Adding Craig to the equation as a third opinion always makes it interesting. It should be fun.

Rick: And if any readers want to submit questions or topics, we’d love to hear them.

(Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images)

  • tnb

    I think, in relation to the specific.point of the pink NFL jerseys, it isn’t done so much as a marketing ploy to get you as an adult male to buy a jersey. I think its done for the many many many women who buy ‘pink’ jerseys already, because they’re ‘adorable’, and who dont get to see them used in relation to a game. Running a pink jersey helps a lot of female fans identify with an onfield product that they normally might not and also helps them support a cause important to a lot of women. Some men will try to say that girls should just get regular jerseys anyway, but that’s really not how it works. I think its a good move by the NFL to try and create some interest in female fans so they can try to grow that segment of the market more.

  • Kildawg

    If I could change one team’s uniforms, I would bring back the Orange Pants as the Browns primary, keep the brown pants as an alternate (but add orange and white stripes down the side), also bring back the Alternate Orange tops; and shelve the all-white look until more orange and brown are added to (at least) the tops. Outside of baseball, all-white irritates me.

  • Garry_Owen

    I’ve thought about chiming in on the Northwestern uniforms in relation to a previous article (I think Mr. C brought it up in the comments), but declined to do so. I didn’t want to get philosophical or preachy. Since it’s part of the primary discussion now, though, I think I’ll go ahead:

    Aside from the fact that I think US flag uniforms are plainly tacky – if not in violation of the Flag Code, I really don’t have a problem with Northwestern’s rollout. Obviously, the “blood” imagery was an unintentional thing. But even considering the presence of the imagery (however subjective, subliminal, or unintentional), I have absolutely no moral outrage. IF you’re going to make a statement about the sacrifice of veterans, then there is no better imagery. The red of the flag itself stands for the blood that has been shed. I’ve lost friends and have friends that have shed their blood for the country and the flag. Their blood is what really matters, and I’m okay being reminded of it. Indeed, I think we NEED to be reminded of it. Their sacrifice is not some sentimental notion, and it isn’t pretty; but it’s definitely real. There’s no need, in my opinion, to sanitize ourselves from it.

    Now, is it something that should be on a football uniform? Probably not, at least not intentionally. But in the face of an obviously unintentional act, I think the right conversation is not “gee, how inappropriate was that?!,” but rather, “wow, I know they didn’t mean to do so, but it’s pretty evocative and powerful.”

    Two cents; perspective; whatever. There you have it.

  • mgbode

    one recent development that I found surprisingly good in uniform design:

    the neon/highlighter colors were too much as the main/base color. but, as an outline of the numbers (seahawk jersey pictured in article), on the inside of the gloves, and on the cleats, it really helps the uniform POP and looks really sleek.

    the best teams to incorporate this design: Seahawks & Notre Dame.

  • mgbode

    I like the choices above from Kirk for best uniform in each sport (non-cleveland).

    here are mine:
    NFL: Lions blue jersey w/ silver pants
    MLB: Dodgers’ all-whites
    NBA: Spurs’ gray (w/ large spur, small number, and faint white pin-striping)

  • RGB

    Awww yeah…

  • Garry_Owen

    NFL: Chicago Bears
    MLB: Have to agree on the Giants – but also like your Dodgers’ home set.
    NBA: No idea. Don’t really follow the NBA; but when I try to stream of consciousness the thing, I come up with “New York Knicks.” Just seems classic.

  • Grif_E

    A certain subset of women who like the pink jerseys. There are just as many who would freak out if it wasn’t associated with breast cancer awareness.

  • Chris S

    I’ve wanted to use the Seattle unis as a template for the Browns to upgrade color scheme. Using neon orange in place of green, and a combo of gunmetal gray/brown/white for the rest. They could look at the Oklahoma St jerseys as well. Love the flat color texture on helmets. Some NFL teams have used that style on helmets, like Minn using a flat purple base.

  • mgbode

    yeah, the Giants @ Dodgers is aesthetically pleasing.

  • mgbode

    I like the idea of the Seattle jersey template, but do not like the OkieState grays.

  • The new craze of chromed out helmets (Baylor last week, Oregon more than once), giving the a mirror quality, is one I’d like to see go away. Quickly. The matte look, however, is one I’m on board with. As I’ve said more than once, I’d love to see the Browns give matte orange helmets a try.

    Sleeved NBA jerseys are something I’m in favor of. Not many average Joes can pull off the tank top look in any positive way. Golden State is doing a nice job with them, and I like what the Suns previewed for theirs. I’d might actually buy a Cavs jersey if we went that direction.

    Adding a sponsor patch could mean reduced commercials, which is a noble idea. That said, the NBA is the only one of the major US sports I would be ok with seeing them in. And one sponsor, soccer style, not like a nascar jumpsuit.

    I had both home and away Cribbs jerseys, which are due for replacement. I’m ok with classic/legends if you’re not going to wear current players, but not just guys who left. Still rocking a Winslow or a Braylon or a Frye? Stop it. But Bernie, Jim Brown, MDP? Proceed. My next Browns jerseys will be the number 86 of Brian Brennan.

    The Bengals, hands down, are most in need of a redesign among NFL teams. Maybe the worst look of any pro team in the US. Jags need help, and the Bucs need to return to Bruce the buccaneer and the creamsicle colors immediately.

    The best of non-Cleveland? Packers green top with yellow pants. Bulls away reds. A’s away grays. No one mentioned hockey, but the Red Wings home look is tops in the NHL. Worst? Bengals. Milwaukee’s road greens. Diamondbacks home whites (“go D-Bags!”). Avalanche road unis.

    The Cavs are in desperate need of a redesign, or just returning to the previous wine and gold. Or better, return to the blue and orange.

  • Garry_Owen

    I’d like to see the Browns do something like another OSU has done this year: Oregon State. Obviously keeping the orange helmet, I would love to see some of these ideas incorporated in a new uniform – especially the wide helmet stripes that continue onto the facemask. Love it.

  • enjoymoreradio

    NFL: Raiders home
    MLB: Royals powder blues
    NBA: Warriors yellows
    NHL: Rangers blues

    NFL: Jaguars everything
    MLB: Diamondbacks home whites
    NBA: Sacramento
    NHL: Pittsburgh (I hate the old gold look)

  • I consider myself a big fan of the color orange. But that middle set? The horror…the Cheetos-stained fingers horror. Yikes.

  • Garry_Owen

    Yeah, definitely not a fan of this entire look for the Browns (but I admittedly thought it was cool when OSU wore it).
    The parts are important, not the whole.

  • MrCleaveland

    Garry, my disgust is obviously not with the message (support for wounded vets) but with the way the message was conveyed (a slapstick look that Lady Gaga would be ashamed to wear). You don’t honor people by running around in clown suits.

  • MrCleaveland

    In the spirit of Northwestern University and Marketing Geniuses everywhere, I’d like to suggest that next Memorial Day, instead of wearing traditional military uniforms, the Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers wear big red rubber noses, star-spangled blue baggypants, and fire seltzer bottles instead of rifles.

    Because marketing trumps everything, and the more tasteless the better.

  • mgbode

    My Pederson jersey is timeless, right?

  • Well I did say legends were ok

  • WFNYKirk

    I like what you’re laying out here, Kildawg!

  • WFNYKirk

    Garry, I certainly appreciate your opinion on this. And my heart goes out to you and others that have lost loved ones and friends in this way.

    I’m not saying their blood doesn’t matter and that we shouldn’t be reminded of it. However, I kind of stick with what you say in that a football uniform isn’t the best place for this.

    I just think about how it could be insensitive to some of the soldiers’ families or too powerful of imagery. And, when I first saw the uniforms, I thought the appearance of blood *was* intentional, so some of my feelings were drawn from that initial conclusion.

  • WFNYKirk

    I wouldn’t mind seeing an orange alternate similar to that once a year.

  • Garry_Owen

    Totally fair. I’m not at all saying that my way of seeing it is THE way to see it. It’s just how I see it.
    And thanks!

  • Garry_Owen

    I guess honor is in the eye/mind of the honored.