August 1, 2009
The Buffalo Bills unveiled their white alternate throwback uniform on Thursday to commemorate the team's 50th anniversary and salute their AFL heritage. Needless to say, this uniform is a welcome change to the current road white uniform currently worn by the Bills.
The new throwback is simple and understated, yet sharp and classy. The rest of the league should take note of this style and approach to uniform design. The jersey consists of blue numbers with red outline as well as two blue stripes on the sleeves surrounded by two red stripes. The uniform also has a 50th anniversary patch on the left chest and will be worn with their white throwback helmets with the red "standing buffalo".
While the Bills do not plan on dropping their current uniform set altogether, there is mounting pressure from fans to switch back to the throwback style the team has worn in the past few years in their blue AFL jersey.
Count me among those who would think this is a good idea. The current uniforms are among the league's worst, while the white road set could lay claim to the NFL's ugliest. This is all the more surprising because it is very, very hard to make a team look bad in red, white, and blue. The Bills however, have managed to do just that.
Buffalo's current navy blue uniform is not great, but it is not altogether horrendous. However, three features of the uniform set are particularly displeasing to the eye, and they are all common among today's NFL clubs.
First, the red piping on the side of the jersey extended from the arm pit to the pant line needs to go. A lot of NFL teams employ this ghastly design in some form or other. What makes the Bills version so ugly is that the red doesn't look right on the blue uniform and more importantly, it does not match the striping on the pants.
Secondly, the Bills are among the many NFL teams now wearing dark pants at home to match their dark jersey creating the so called "leotard" effect. If it were up to me, this style of dress would be banned. Wearing black uniforms with black pants looks cool for a game or two, but it is especially ugly with all colors except white.
Thirdly, the sock combination of red on top and white on the bottom with a little blue in the middle clashes badly with both uniform and pant sets. Once again the league is very strict regarding uniform uniformity, especially with socks (just ask Clinton Portis), but the NFL seems happy to allow horrendous color schemes.
There should be a rule stating that a team has to wear either one solid colored sock or the same one tone sock with stripes. Fortunately, the Bills are expected to wear striped socks with their new AFL white uniforms just like they have with the dark blue set.
The road white uniform has little going for it as it seems to have been designed to see how much of the team's colors could be used to make sure nothing matches. The navy blue shoulders stand out in a bad way in contrast to the Bills red helmets.
Again red piping is used on the sides leading to the pant line where it does not match the pant stripe. And to top it all of, the numbers are nickel blue and stand out in a really bad way. Other teams may wear uglier uniform sets, but you'd be hard pressed to find a more tacky and dreadful jersey than the Bills road whites.
Hopefully turning back the clock with two AFL uniforms will complete the circle for the Bills and persuade management to adopt them as their official sets. Perhaps a uniform change in commemoration of the dominant teams of the 1960's will bring some much needed victories to Buffalo.
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