The Buccaneers yesterday unveiled new uniforms with a "new color scheme," highlighted by a "richer shade of pewter and a more vibrant shade of red," according to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com. As a "tribute to the franchise's early years, 'Bay Orange' has been added as a trim color for the jerseys and pants." The white jerseys will "carry pewter sleeves and red numbers," while the red jerseys will "feature pewter sleeves and shoulders with white numbers on the body and red numbers on the shoulders." The Buccaneers are the "first team to incorporate a reflective chrome border around the numbers on the front, back and shoulders." The shift "marks the first time the team has made major changes to its uniforms" since '97 (ESPN.com, 3/3). In Tampa, Gary Shelton writes the Buccaneers now "lead the NFL in accessorizing." There is "the chrome facemask, and there are the pewter shoulders, and there is the orange piping, and there are the segmented numbers, and there is the oversized flag decal that tends to make a player's head look small, and there are the red splotches, and the flags on the hips and the ship on the shoulder." The new uniforms are "not the classic look they wear" in Dallas, Pittsburgh or Green Bay, and as "uniforms go, you expect someone wearing one of these to try to land a triple Lutz" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 3/4).
THIS IS THE XFL? In DC, Cindy Boren wrote initial reaction to the new uniforms was "less than positive, with plenty of jokes about the XFL throwback look and this being a fashion wake-up call" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 3/3). ESPN.com's Paul Lukas wrote the Buccaneers "had a really distinctive color that was completely theirs" in the old shade of pewter, "and now, they appear to have watered it down." The "contrasting yokes on colored jerseys don't look cool -- they just look like the XFL." The uniform numbers are "a complete disaster and the undoing of the entire design concept" (ESPN.com, 3/3). FS1’s Brian Urlacher: “It reminds me of the XFL. That’s what came to my mind when I saw it.” FS1's Ryan Nece, who played for the Bucs, said, "We all remember the old creamsicle uniforms. It’s an upgrade from there, but this uniform, I am just not a fan. I hate it.” Nece added, “They are trying too hard” ("Fox Football Daily," FS1, 3/3). FS1's Ephraim Salaam: "That looks like an Arena League football team" ("Fox Sports Live," FS1, 3/4). ESPN's Bomani Jones: "Apparently they're moving out of Raymond James Stadium and into an arena, because that's the league that wears those." He added, "Different is not an excuse for ugly, and those are just kind of ugly" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 3/3). ESPN's Keith Olbermann said the jerseys are "enshrined forever among the gridiron gladiators paying tribute to the great tradition of the digital alarm clock" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 3/3). CBS' Doug Gottlieb said, “They’re awful. There was nothing wrong with the old Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniforms." He added, "I could make a better uniform than that. ... I’m very surprised that Nike made such a poor uniform” ("Lead Off," CBS Sports Network, 3/3). ESPN's Michael Wilbon gave the uniforms an "F" grade and called them "hideous." Wilbon: "This is not even creatively hideous, like the University of Maryland uniforms from Under Armour. ... This is just pathetically, weakly awful" ("PTI," ESPN, 3/3).
LOOK WORTHY OF THE TEAM: In Tampa, Chris Wilkerson writes the new uniforms make the Buccaneers "one of those franchises willing to look modern instead of, frankly, stuck." While they are not "as out there" as the jerseys worn by either the Univ. of Oregon or Univ. of Maryland, they set the Buccaneers "apart in the NFL." That is a "good thing for a team that has been mediocre for the past few years." Wilkerson: "The Bucs are not the Chicago Bears or the Pittsburgh Steelers. We just don't have that kind of tradition here. Those teams stick with the same look year after year and it works for them. That's not us. We are different." Team officials had been "going through the redesign process for about two years with the NFL and Nike" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/4).
APPEALING TO A YOUNGER GENERATION: ESPN's Mike Golic asked, "Who are they trying to appeal to? They’re trying to get them to sell off the shelves. And if the younger generation likes them, mom and dad are going to buy them.” ESPN's Mike Greenberg noted he heard yesterday a "million different people criticizing them, and I heard almost no positive reaction on the air, anywhere.” However, he said, "This isn’t a uniform; this is like a video game. That’s what these kids do, they play video games. They love it. … Younger people, I think, love these uniforms.” Greenberg added, “The reason teams get new jerseys is to sell new jerseys” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 3/4).
WHO'S NEXT? Nike said that it "wants to keep innovating with NFL uniforms, and other teams are interested." Nike Football VP & Creative Dir Todd Van Horne said, "What we’re interested in is finding what is completely unique about each and every team that we work with." He added that other teams also have "shown interest in working with Nike to redesign their uniforms, although he did not say which teams or when the next new uniforms may be unveiled." PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Michael David Smith noted jersey sales "often increase after uniforms are redesigned, and for that reason alone it’s likely that several other teams will work with Nike on developing new uniforms" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 3/3).