Even though they don't play until Sunday, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were a busy team today.
The Blue Bombers were on hand at their new "Blue Bomber Shop" to showcase their new '50s throwback jerseys that they and the Toronto Argonauts will be wearing two times this year.
History is what the Canadian Football League is about. It is nice to see the league and teams finally start using that as a marketing technique.
While the National Football League is the big money, fans that love rivalries and history are usually either a Canadian Football League or NCAA football fan. Only these two leagues can really lay any claim to the true development of football and have each played for almost 100 years.
At the unveiling, players from the actual historic teams of the past such as Hall of Fame quarterback Kenny Ploen, kicker Trevor Kennerd, future Hall of Famer Milt Stegall, and current players such as defensive end Tom Canada, receiver Arjei Franklin, and starting quarterback Kevin Glenn all helped showcase the new jerseys and signed autographs.
Are the jerseys any good? Each to their own I would think. I, personally, am a fan of their gold "alternate" jerseys, yet even in the shop I could hear a fan talking about how much they dislike them.
Do you like West Virginia's NCAA jersey? I feel they look pretty similar.
Regardless of whether they are what you personally like or not, what is great is their partnership with Reebok. It was announced that this partnership has been extended for another five years.
This is great news for the CFL because let's get serious about Canadian marketing: It sucks. The CFL (and most Canadians) just don't know how to do it. There is a reason there is so much inferior product out there, and our league has had struggles in the past—the CFL just doesn't know how to market.
Oh, but they try. Remember "Radically Canadian" or "Our Balls Are Bigger", or perhaps the new slogan that seems to be getting punched around now, "This is Our Game"?
Cheesiness aside, Reebok—heck, any athletic shoe company—knows how to do things right. They live off of marketing and it shows. Look at how many people are wearing CFL product now. I have never seen this amount since, well, "Brock Busters" in 1983!
Another bonus to this partnership with Reebok is the product quality control. Remember those dark blue jerseys of the nineties with white sleeves? One sleeve had a "W" facing forward and the other sleeve had the same logo but backwards to try and fit?
Ridiculous, yet it happened. Reebok wouldn't have let it though. With this partnership with Reebok, there will be all kinds of comments, positive and negative. I think most are quite happy to get another type of Blue Bomber jersey. Some will ask, "Just how many cash grabs does the CFL need?" and ask to please stop with the jerseys.
Heck, if it gets the kids and fans wearing them, offering promotion for the league and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who cares?
As a history buff, I couldn't be happier. There have been some other throwback jerseys available around Winnipeg released by other companies. I found a blue and white '60s jersey a few years back at a store in Polo Park Shopping Centre. They of course didn't have my size, so I had to buy it for my brother.
The old Bomber jersey makers Harv-Al (a local Winnipeg company) also recently (in the last two years) re-released the old classic '80s jerseys. Dang, I wanted a Matt Dunigan one. Yet again, not my size, and to be quite honest, after getting used to the Reebok quality jersey, I lost interest in getting it after I checked it out at the Bomber store.
It is surprising that the league chose Winnipeg to be one of the first to receive these throwback jerseys (apparently there are going to be two released each year going forward) when there are such large markets like BC and Montreal out there.
It's nice to see the CFL supporting the prairies, where the CFL fans are really fanatical. Too often they have been pandering to the large markets such as Toronto.
Yes, the other throwback jersey this year is Toronto's. I would have liked them to have paired up the release dates each year to coincide with the Labour Day Classic. The Saskatchewan Roughriders and Bombers would have been good. Then again, right on the jerseys there is a patch that lists (for the Bombers anyway) how many Grey Cups (10) they have won.
I don't know what they will do for the Roughriders—two just seems so erm, would you even want to put that on your jersey?