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Football Uniforms - Stop the Throwbacks Already!

Maybe I'm not as nostalgic as most. Guilty. But I really thought the NFL's decision to introduce the throwback uniforms was a one year aberration. It was kitschy. Put some extra moolah in the, er, cash-strapped NFL's coffers.

But enough already. Just stop trotting out self-respecting, modern football teams in these sideshow travesties of uniforms. Now. Before I hurl.

Watching Brett Favre play in the old New York Titans uniforms on Sunday was torture. It's confusing. It distracts from the game. It is arguably belittling to the players & fans alike. As a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan, I should not have to live in mortal fear of seeing my beloved team in their positively Horrific throwback jersey any time again in my lifetime. That goes for MLB, NBA & NHL, too!

Sports Uniform Guy


The Benefits of Brand Name Uniforms

This is kind of a complementary post. It works best in conjunction with my last one, though you can read either one 1st.

What unequivocal benefits are there in buying well-known brand name unis & stuff versus some lesser known brands. (Again, I always adhere to the credo, "There is no definitive answer to the question 'What's the best uniform?'" The only answer is :'Depends on a LOT of factors') But, that said...

Brand name sportswear is a competitive multi-billion dollar industry. It's a fierce marketplace. It's serious. And brand name manufacturers play to win.

But what's all that mean to the average purchaser of team uniforms on the Internet?

The most obvious benefit is quality assurance. Believe me when I tell you I've samples or surveyed or worn something from every manufacturer you've ever heard of out there and, to be perfectly frank, if it's a well-know brand, it's gonna be pretty damn good.

True, a MFTR is gonna have different products for different price points (and their buyers) within their target audience, but the brands you know in this biz generally deliver on the quality promise (whether they deliver on time is a whole other problem for a different posting). If you KNOW of them --not "think I heard of them"-- but KNOW you KNOW them, you're in good shape.

And, an Internet merchant's Adidas, Under Armour, Wilson is the SAME EXACT THING as that available in the "brick & mortar" world. PHHHHHewwww! Took a long time to get to that simple point, huh!

While there is --absolutely-- some great stuff at great prices from MFTRs you have never heard of or are vaguely familiar with, there's also a noticeable dollop of crap. Poor design, lackluster sewing, dyes that fade before your eyes and so forth. But there isn't really the reciprocate.

By that I mean, if you stick with well known brands, there isn't any awfulness waiting to rear it's ugly head after the first washing or post-season.

Sure, you're gonna have PREFERENCES. Different people like different things about their unis. Whether fit, fabric or function related. But that's not a QUALITY issue. Again, it's a preference.

Probably the biggest tangible value you get buying brand name stuff from a reputable Internet merchant is...peace of mind. When you have players, parents, board members and so forth, just waiting to chime in with their ...uh, "unique perspective" on the unis you bought, it's kinda nice to not have to repeat the MFTR's name 2-3 times because no one's ever heard of them before.

"Look, they're made by Russell Athletic (Or Under Armour or Wilson or Reebok, et al)" It can get you out of any "spirited discussion" about the unis this year!

AAAAAAAAAhhhhh.....Peace of Mind...........Priceless!

Sports Uniform Guy


When Brands Go Bad

There's no denying the simple fact that well-known brand name uniforms and apparel have some distinct advantages over second tier, "non-brand" name goods. For one, the brands have a brand name to protect in the RETAIL channel (vs. Team) and they do so through quality. Ergo, your average Under Armour uniform, irrespective of the sport, is going to be of a better quality than a 2nd tier brand's. Duh.

Let's take price off the table and say --not matter what the price-- which is the better uniform for my team or school? Well, that's where it starts to get a little tricky...

If you're buying "Blanks" (un-decorated --i.e., no team name, numbers, etc.) then yeah, the brand name goods are gonna be --on average better. And, again on average, be a little pricier. After all, you are paying for the brand. Again, Duh.

If you want to get the best quality and the selection and convenience of buying via the Net, blank brand name purchases are a very comforting way to go. You'll lose no sleep, because a web merchant's UA, Russell, Reebok, etc. is gonna be the exact same as the local dealer or retailer. Even if you buy direct from the manufacturer (evil!) A brand is a brand is a brand.

But most folks prefer a turnkey solution. They want decorated unis. And, that said, the value of brands becomes a little more nebulous.

Suppose your brother in law has a t-shirt shop and you're upgrading your unis from tees to --well, almost anything is an upgrade-- but let's say your new travel squad wants a well-known brand name. (And bro-in-law still wants his piece of the business too!)


Today's performance fabrics are very different than t-shirts. Know how to precisely deal with them is a scientific skill and knowledge set. Nothing againist your in-law, but he is officially "out of his league" at this point. (Those really cool tees he did for the Big Jamboree last month notwithstanding)

So, in this example, the benefit of the brand becomes non-existent. Let me explain.
Most errors in the team uniform biz are a by-product of the decoration (screening, embroidery, sublimation, etc.) The core product --the blank jersey-- can be fantastic. And yet, it can be likely rendered virtually unusable through shoddy decoration (numbers that fall off, team names that "melt" and so forth.)

A brand name uni in this case is just penny wise and pound foolish. Or the opposite, I've confused myself. But I think you get the point.

If you have a "local guy" who knows how to work with sports team uniforms and new-ish performance fabrics (ASK to see samples of his/her work!), then sure, go with the brand name blanks. But when in doubt, go turnkey.

Sports Uniform Guy


If "6" turned out to be "9"?

Kind of a stupid Jimi Hendrix reference...but "HEY! I'm trying to generate traffic!

My point is actually this: NUMBERING sports team uniforms can be ridiculously complicated. For example, were you aware that it is perfectly legal for two players on the same college football team to have the same exact number? Truth is... YES!

It is perfectly legal. The players (normally an offensive and defensive player) just can't be on the field at the same time. How's this so? Well, it's in the numbers!

College football teams can carry in upwards of 120 players on their "roster". They ain't gonna play them all mind you; but they can keep them all throughout the year. Pro teams have a 53 man roster with 6-8 players on the development squad.

This is just one of ---pun intended--INNUMERABLE examples of NUMBERING problems in team sports uniforms...

Let me hear your numbering horror stories....

Sports Uniform Guy


Basketball Uniforms and Fashion

No team sport's uniforms seem to be more driven by or conversely affect general sportswear attire more so than basketball's. While one could argue the golf's tepid trends rule large over the “corporate casual” domain, for the youth (and young at heart)nothing compares to b-ball's domination of what drives fashion
(for young men in particular).

Think about it. Haven't the length of men's & boy's short --in general-- reflected the fashion of at or below the knee length shorts that first cropped up on the court?

True, for a while an little ways back, the football jersey in it's “throwback” form was fashionable. But so were basketball jerseys at the same time. Fortunately, both these trends, much to the chagrin of the fine folks @ Mitchell & Ness (a leading manufacturer of throwbacks). FYI: They're also based in Philly!

Baseball jerseys are cool to wear at the ballpark, but are suspect anywhere else. And the push to the ankles and beyond of recent baseball pant styles are even regretable in MLB. I may be getting old or just be old school, but when a new kid comes up from the minors and he's sporting traditional just below the knee pants, I find myself rooting a little extra for him.

Soccer suffers from several maladies in crossing over into mainstream sports wear "fashionability". The dominance of Adidas and it's ultra strict "3-stripe hegemony" renders --at least to American consumers-- virtually unwearable. I will say that in Europe, N. Africa and other locales, Adidas is enormously popular as "street" attire. It does not make it or those choosing to wear these jerseys any more fashion forward.

No. Basketball uniforms, both jerseys and shorts, play a significant yet little noted or appreciated role in the trend-setting of general sportswear. Let's all breathe a sigh of relief that competitive swimming's latest fashion trends will forever be relegated to the pool. "Love how you look in that Laser!" isn't going to be a catch phrase any time soon.

Sports Uniform Guy