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NFL Increases Use of Alternate Uniforms in 2018

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14 hours ago, oldschoolvikings said:

Then (slippery slope) teams started to wear them on the road, occasionally (Carolina specifically). 

And since 2016, Tennessee--wearing the Columbia/Titan blue jerseys twice in Miami and once in Jacksonville. As the Titans first two road games are in Miami and Jacksonville this season, I expect this trend to continue (over white pants, saving the mono-Columbia/Titan Blue for a home game).

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16 hours ago, oldschoolvikings said:

So... "is it really a slippery slope?"  Yes... it's the exact definition of slippery slope.

 

Oregon, the NBA, & MLB are irrelevant relative to the specific NFL climate. The NFL has done a great job of maintaining core team identities, even with Nike subjectively overstepping with a few franchises. That the NBA made some crazy alternates has no baring on this mythical "slippery slope" in the NFL. If anything, the NFL catches flack for (rightfully) being so overbearing when it comes to uniform regulations.

 

This is a textbook example of creating a monster and then living in fear of the monster you create.

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5 hours ago, C-Squared said:

 

Oregon, the NBA, & MLB are irrelevant relative to the specific NFL climate. The NFL has done a great job of maintaining core team identities, even with Nike subjectively overstepping with a few franchises. That the NBA made some crazy alternates has no baring on this mythical "slippery slope" in the NFL. If anything, the NFL catches flack for (rightfully) being so overbearing when it comes to uniform regulations.

 

This is a textbook example of creating a monster and then living in fear of the monster you create.

Just because it’s not as bad as other leagues does not mean that one doesn’t exist. When you look at even where we were before Nike took over and now the rules for alternates has drastically changed from where it was before.

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1 hour ago, dont care said:

Just because it’s not as bad as other leagues does not mean that one doesn’t exist. When you look at even where we were before Nike took over and now the rules for alternates has drastically changed from where it was before.

 

That the rules have simply changed does not mean a slippery slope towards disaster exists. On that thread, you could literally spin any change into a doomsday scenario. Again, the NFL/individual franchises do(es) a great job maintaining core identities and standardizing big picture uniform regulations.

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16 games in a season and only three can be in alternates. It seems like a good balance to me. Also it raises the possibility that the Rams could possibly wear the throwbacks through the entire Playoffs.

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I'd love to see the Rams wearing their blue and yellow jerseys during the playoffs.  The Rams sitting on their couches, jersey on, with hot wings and beer. 

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5 hours ago, Old School Fool said:

16 games in a season and only three can be in alternates. It seems like a good balance to me. Also it raises the possibility that the Rams could possibly wear the throwbacks through the entire Playoffs.

How so? Teams write their uniform schedules long before the season comes, so it’s not like they’d be able to “save” their throwback uses for the playoffs.

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13 minutes ago, Gupti said:

How so? Teams write their uniform schedules long before the season comes, so it’s not like they’d be able to “save” their throwback uses for the playoffs.

 

I don't know the exact specifics of the new alternate rule but the idea is that theres 3 games for each section of the season, Pre, Reg and Playoffs. Now, I think that would be too much but it's worth wondering about. It may just be 3 uses all across the board. I think the most likely outcome is that the Rams get a waiver from the NFL to wear it in atleast one playoff game.

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As far as I know you could only wear alternates in the playoffs with a waiver, and that’s happened only 1 time since 2000 with the chargers in 2008. But they are also the only ones I know who applied for a waiver as well.

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8 hours ago, C-Squared said:

 

That the rules have simply changed does not mean a slippery slope towards disaster exists. On that thread, you could literally spin any change into a doomsday scenario. Again, the NFL/individual franchises do(es) a great job maintaining core identities and standardizing big picture uniform regulations.

 

That is specifically because of the NFL’s very stringent rules, all of which are geared towards maintaining core identities. 

 

Niw that the NFL is relaxing those rules, it is not illogical to be concerned for those identities. 

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12 minutes ago, dont care said:

As far as I know you could only wear alternates in the playoffs with a waiver, and that’s happened only 1 time since 2000 with the chargers in 2008. But they are also the only ones I know who applied for a waiver as well.

 

And 49ers in 1994.  Unless that was before the supposed rule was in place. 

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41 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

 

And 49ers in 1994.  Unless that was before the supposed rule was in place. 

That’s specifically why I said since 2000, because I wasn’t sure of the exact rule change but I know it came after Reebok took over. Anyways the 9ers are another exception because they put in to have the throwbacks be their primary’s that year.

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1 hour ago, Gothamite said:

 

That is specifically because of the NFL’s very stringent rules, all of which are geared towards maintaining core identities. 

 

Niw that the NFL is relaxing those rules, it is not illogical to be concerned for those identities.

 

 

Not exclusively from NFL rules, though. I would argue over half the league has resisted change well beyond league mandates, from leaving their unis unchanged for decades to still using Ripon for game jerseys. Of teams that have changed, most have done so tastefully & of their own volition. TEN/JAX/TB/CLE could have ruined their unis just as efficiently under older rules. Color Rush was a flop, but I would argue that by loosening the rules, the league is gracefully phasing out something unsuccessful, not opening the doors to something worse.

 

I know this site is very focused on logos and uniforms first, but people here also seem to care about branding in general. In my opinion, uniforms are simply one facet of a team's identity, and a vastly overemphasized one, to boot. On-field success (#1 by far), community presence, ticket pricing, fan game-day experiences, & even style of play factor into a team's identity and shape their brand over time. To me, uniforms are more of a reflection of a team identity as opposed to a formative component. Unfortunately, uniforms simply aren't as important as we make them out to be in that context.

 

48 minutes ago, dont care said:

That’s specifically why I said since 2000, because I wasn’t sure of the exact rule change but I know it came after Reebok took over. Anyways the 9ers are another exception because they put in to have the throwbacks be their primary’s that year.

 

I believe Dallas did the same with their double-star jerseys that year. Made for a super-unique NFC Title Game:

 

deion.jpg

 

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27 minutes ago, C-Squared said:

 

Not exclusively from NFL rules, though. I would argue over half the league has resisted change well beyond league mandates, from leaving their unis unchanged for decades to still using Ripon for game jerseys. Of teams that have changed, most have done so tastefully & of their own volition. TEN/JAX/TB/CLE could have ruined their unis just as efficiently under older rules. Color Rush was a flop, but I would argue that by loosening the rules, the league is gracefully phasing out something unsuccessful, not opening the doors to something worse.

 

I know this site is very focused on logos and uniforms first, but people here also seem to care about branding in general. In my opinion, uniforms are simply one facet of a team's identity, and a vastly overemphasized one, to boot. On-field success (#1 by far), community presence, ticket pricing, fan game-day experiences, & even style of play factor into a team's identity and shape their brand over time. To me, uniforms are more of a reflection of a team identity as opposed to a formative component. Unfortunately, uniforms simply aren't as important as we make them out to be in that context.

 

The uniforms are literally the first thing you see when you turn on a game, and first impressions matter.  That other stuff is all important, but at more of a micro (local) level. 

 

On-field success is huge - it's part of why the Yankees are the Yankees, not only in NY but around the world - but that level of sustained success is not realistic for most, and a solid brand can withstand the extended down times that 90% of franchises are certain to go through.

 

You start mixing and matching, then the on-field success matters less and less, because your merchandise and visual representation doesn't necessarily correlate with the on-field product.  It's a stronger brand if all the fans in the stadium are wearing the same jersey, buying shirts with the same logo, and the kid in Seoul knows when he sees that jersey, that it represents the dominant franchise in the sport.  With NBA, when that kid walks by the merch stand (which I've witnessed), he may or may not have any idea what half of a team's gear is, and which cap is the cap.

 

If you have multiple identities, then you don't have one.

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1 hour ago, BringBackTheVet said:

 

The uniforms are literally the first thing you see when you turn on a game, and first impressions matter.  That other stuff is all important, but at more of a micro (local) level. 

 

On-field success is huge - it's part of why the Yankees are the Yankees, not only in NY but around the world - but that level of sustained success is not realistic for most, and a solid brand can withstand the extended down times that 90% of franchises are certain to go through.

 

You start mixing and matching, then the on-field success matters less and less, because your merchandise and visual representation doesn't necessarily correlate with the on-field product.  It's a stronger brand if all the fans in the stadium are wearing the same jersey, buying shirts with the same logo, and the kid in Seoul knows when he sees that jersey, that it represents the dominant franchise in the sport.  With NBA, when that kid walks by the merch stand (which I've witnessed), he may or may not have any idea what half of a team's gear is, and which cap is the cap. 

 

If you have multiple identities, then you don't have one.

 

I see where you're coming from to an extent, but I disagree, especially with the text in bold. Tom Brady has worn a half dozen different jerseys for a team that went from a middling brand in their own league to a top-10 global sports brand. Virtually every team in pro sports does the exact opposite of what you suggest: they sell 4-5 current jerseys, apparel with alternate logos/colorways, and throwback apparel. I think the goals are creating sources of revenue, expanding the brand, and catering to to different ages/audiences, all while maintaining their core identity - not simple, static standardization. Even teams that market themselves as traditional roll out gaudy alternates because they understand how to bend their brands without breaking them.

 

I think most regular CCSLC members are uniform aesthetic experts, but to stretch that into an understanding of their impact on business is a bit much. For all this talk that alternate uniforms are hurting brands, I see no damages beyond this conjecture that the sky is falling.

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3 hours ago, C-Squared said:

Tom Brady has worn a half dozen different jerseys for a team that went from a middling brand in their own league to a top-10 global sports brand.

Picture Tom Brady playing football in your head. What’s he wearing? He’s wearing either the Patriots’ home or road look that they’ve had since 2000. 

 

Yeah, Brady’s worn the silver alternate, the Colour Rush look, and the throwback set, but when you think of Tom Brady suiting up for the New England Patriots? You think of him in one of the Pats’ two primary uniforms.  

 

I would argue that’s because, as BBTV, Goth, and oldschoolvikings have said, the NFL’s strict uniform rules have ensured brand cohesion.

Sure, teams have alternates, but the Patriots wear their primary look for the vast majority of every season. So while Tom Brady has worn half a dozen uniforms? There’s only two you picture him in, because the NFL has done such a good job keeping each team’s brand on-point. 

 

Now the NFL is going the way of the NBA. Which will be extra-diluting because the NFL is only a sixteen game season. You don’t have the space you need to both wear alternates a lot and also maintain your primary brand. 

 

You know, it’s funny. It used to be that alternates in baseball were justified because it’s a 162 game season. White vs grey every game would be dull. So if a team wants to wear a coloured top and alternate cap for weekend home games or whatever? Sure. 

Of course now we have cases where teams wear their alternates more than any other uniform. 

 

The same argument was trotted out to justify alternates in the NBA and NHL. 82 games isn’t 162 games, but it’s still a lot. The justification in the NBA and NHL was likewise “there are so many games, let’s change it up a bit here and there.”

Well mixed results with that. The NHL still tends to keep alternates under control, but the NBA let Nike blow up their brand cohesion with their four uniform system that often included sets that were devoid of team colours, or even names. 

 

And given that the NFL has the same “supplier” as the NBA? I don’t think people are wrong to worry about a slippery slope. Only it’ll be worse, because the NFL only has a fraction of the games per season. 

 

3 hours ago, C-Squared said:

Even teams that market themselves as traditional roll out gaudy alternates because they understand how to bend their brands without breaking them.

I have yet to see a “gaudy” Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, New York Yankees, Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, New York Giants, New York Jets, or Boston Red Sox alternate. 

 

Sure, these teams have played with throwbacks or swap-coloured alternates before, but I can’t think of any “gaudy” or out-there alternate designs.

 

Your assertion that even the traditional teams bend their brand is lacking when, aside from a few alternate caps for league-mandated promotions, the Yankees take the field in one of two uniforms for 162 games a season. 

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7 hours ago, Gothamite said:

That is specifically because of the NFL’s very stringent rules, all of which are geared towards maintaining core identities. 

 

Niw that the NFL is relaxing those rules, it is not illogical to be concerned for those identities. 

 

6 hours ago, C-Squared said:

Not exclusively from NFL rules, though. I would argue over half the league has resisted change well beyond league mandates, from leaving their unis unchanged for decades to still using Ripon for game jerseys. Of teams that have changed, most have done so tastefully & of their own volition. TEN/JAX/TB/CLE could have ruined their unis just as efficiently under older rules. Color Rush was a flop, but I would argue that by loosening the rules, the league is gracefully phasing out something unsuccessful, not opening the doors to something worse

 

Yes, pretty much exclusively from NFL rules. 

 

Sure, there are some teams like the Packers that would still be doing what they're doing if free of those constraints.  But from just what we've seen so far, there are more who are only held in check by the league.  Even within those constraints, we see many teams make terrible choices like the 49ers with their black jerseys or the Browns with... well, just about everything.  Remove those constraints of those NFL rules, and the bad choices get even worse.

 

You don't need many teams going full-Nike to ruin a league's track record.  And I think there are enough eager to do so that we're right to be a little concerned.

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45 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

You don't need many teams going full-Nike to ruin a league's track record.

 

You are either underestimating the resiliency of these brands or overestimating the influence of uniforms, many of which will see the field <10 times ever.

 

1 hour ago, Ice_Cap said:

You don’t have the space you need to both wear alternates a lot and also maintain your primary brand.

 

A sports team's “primary brand” involves much more than their primary uniform set. See the latter above.

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47 minutes ago, C-Squared said:

A sports team's “primary brand” involves much more than their primary uniform set. See the latter above.

I’m not sure I agree. Uniforms and logos are a fan’s “entry point” to the team’s brand, as BBTV said. So I don’t think you can lessen or discount the role uniforms play in branding. 

Again, I think the fact that everyone imagines Tom Brady playing football in one of the two Pats primary uniforms (as opposed to the other alternates and throwbacks he’s worn) is down to the NFL emphasising teams’ primary uniform identities above all else. 

 

Just look at teams with weak brands. The Vancouver Canucks. San Diego Padres. These teams have cycled through multiple logo sets and colour schemes. It’s no surprise that the brands are weak, given that the uniforms have never been consistent. 

 

The Chicago White Sox were in the same boat, with no consistent brand as a result of constant uniform changes. Their brand only stabilized once they adopted a coherent look and stuck with it for an extended run. 

It’s also no surprise that the Vancouver Canucks are finally starting to see a bit of brand stability now that they’ve seemingly committed to the same identity for a decade. 

 

So no, I don’t think you can separate uniforms and logos from the brand. When uniforms and logos aren’t stable the brand suffers.

 

47 minutes ago, C-Squared said:

You are either underestimating the resiliency of these brands or overestimating the influence of uniforms, many of which will see the field <10 times ever.

This is the slippery slope argument in action. 

 

Again, it used to be argued that alternates were fine because a 162/82 game MLB/NHL/NBA season was too long for home v road to be visually interesting all the way through. 

 

Then people justified alternates in the NFL because it was only twice a year, and twice over the course of a 16 game season was seen as justifiable. 

 

Now we’re at the point where many people are justifying greater alternate usage in the NFL, following the slow but steady alternate takeover in MLB and the NBA. 

 

We’ve seen alternates promoted as once and while shakeups to increased usage as the boundaries were pushed steadily forward. This is now happening in three of North America’s “Big Four.”

 

You’re even justifying the increased alt usage in the NFL by saying they’ll probably be used in “less than 10 times” per season. After the original justification was “it’s only two games a season.” 

It’s a textbook case of the “slippery slope” in action. 

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47 minutes ago, C-Squared said:

A sports team's “primary brand” involves much more than their primary uniform set.

 

6 minutes ago, Ice_Cap said:

So no, I don’t think you can separate uniforms and logos from the brand.

 

Who is separating them?

 

Again, uniforms are simply one facet of a sports team's brand.

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