As they gritted out an ugly 12-9 loss at Miami Monday night, the Jaguars had their first chance to evaluate several offseason additions in a game situation.
Torry Holt caught his first pass from David Garrard, a 10-yard first down in the first quarter. Tra Thomas helped keep Dolphins linebackers Jason Taylor and Joey Porter sackless.
And their new uniforms looked great.
Back in April, the Jaguars' redesigned look was criticized harshly by ESPN.com contributor Paul Lukas, whose "Uni Watch" blog claims to "[deconstruct] the finer points of sports uniforms in obsessive and excruciating detail."
Dubbing Jacksonville's updated kit "the emperor's new clothes," Lukas mocked the uniforms piece by piece.
"The old [jersey felt] rich and organic," he wrote, "while the new one feels mechanistic and plain."
Against the Dolphins, though, the new shirts looked far from strange on the football field. They took well to dirt, bearing the players' sweat and the mud of Land Shark Stadium dutifully, and gave the Jaguars a sharp team look.
Lukas also poked fun, in April, at what he called "the upright tildes" on Jacksonville's new pants.
"I get that it's supposed to look all sleek and streamlined," he wrote, "but the effect is lost on the big linemen."
Rookie tackle Eugene Monroe, sporting the new uniform in his first professional game, and the Jaguars' other linemen contested that remark on Monday.
Up close, the stripe made a vibrant slash of white and teal against the black pants. From the TV angle, it drew visually on the white jerseys—unlike last year's separated, matte black bottoms—for a more integrated look.
In his critique, Lukas also warned that the Jaguars' sock design would create "major leotard-age [sic] on the road." The black from the pants, he argued, would blend undesirably with the black tops of the socks.
Call it "leotard-age." Argue, as Lukas did, that it doesn't perform "the primary visual function of football hosiery."
(Alternately, mistrust the football credentials of anyone who critiques "hosiery.")
But Jacksonville's black-and-black blend across the kneecap looked like something that's worn for football—which, ultimately, is what a uniform is.
Criticism of the Jaguars' fresh look back in April missed the mark, focusing on how the jersey looked on merchandise racks and football players modeling their new duds while wearing sneakers.
Simply put, a football uniform needs a football context. Jacksonville's redesign was panned by some as a concept, but credit goes to the professionals at Reebok for understanding that it would work just fine in the arena.
Tonight, the Jaguars will show off their home teals as they play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their play from this past Monday could be improved, but their new uniforms have done an admirable job thus far.