Dress for Success: The Mysterious Quick Fix to the Buffalo Bills' ProblemsJanuary 26, 2010
The Buffalo Bills' 50th Anniversary flopped. Their white throwback uniforms that corresponded with the standing Buffalo helmet surely did not. Even the familiar blue '60s retros flew off the shelves.
Whether you were one of the many who bought an alternate jersey or not, admit it, they're pretty spiffy.
Buffalo went 1-2 in the uniforms that paid tribute to the superb Bills squads of the 1960s, and while Bills faithful awaits another long offseason when they'll spend countless hours contemplating what their team needs to rekindle the winning ways of the early 1990s, the answer is quite simple.
Open a history book. More like an NFL encyclopedia (all diehards should have one, by the way).
I didn't discover a certain defensive alignment that's continually given quarterbacks migraines, and couldn't undercover the routes that split the safeties. I found uniforms. You heard me. Uniforms. And helmets.
Let's examine the supernatural power a uni or helmet logo change has brought to countless teams over the years. After reading, you'll be with me. You play better when you look better, isn't that the saying? Something like that...
The Dirty Birds were about as mundane as you can get in terms of NFL fashion. They entered the league in 1966, and didn't tweak anything until 2003.
That year, Atlanta finished 5-11—it seemed like their flashy new threads, and logo that incorporated a more futuristic Falcon, had no effect.
In 2004, the new attire brought the Falcons to a flipped 11-5 record, and a trip to the NFC Championship game. They did lose to the Philadelphia Eagles, but not bad, fresh uniforms.
Never knew this, but the Cardinals are the oldest NFL team in existence, circa 1898 when they called Illinois their home.
Anyway, the Cardinals followed their bird brethren Falcons and didn't make any drastic changes to their uniforms or logo until 2005 .
It took them four seasons to do it, but we all know what their sleek look did for them last season.
After the plain "B" crest-with-wings was eliminated in 1999, the Ravens switched to their current helmet decal of a Ravens head with a "B" inside.
In 1999 the Ravens went a disappointing 8-8. The next year, they won the Super Bowl. 'Nuff said.
The team formerly known as the "Bungles" during the years when they wore some aesthetically displeasing uniforms, Cincinnati decided a jersey alteration may bring some swagger to the franchise.
In 2004, more Bengal stripes were added to the tops as well as the pants. Again, .500 was all Cincinnati could muster in 2004, but in 2005 they won the NFC North.
To me, blue and orange just look great together. Plain and simple. The "D" Bronco stood on Denver's helmets for nearly 30 years.
In 1996, we witnessed some new-age changes . An orange stripe was added to outline each player's torso, and on the headgear the charging bronco head replaced the longstanding "D".
What happened next? A 13-3 record and three straight division titles. Oh yeah, John Elway finally got those Super Bowl rings that eluded him during his orange-crush jersey wearing days.
The Patriots are my least favorite team, but their old hiking Patriot logo was a classic. By 1996, Pat the Patriot apparently had worn out his welcome, and a huge shift was made in New England's Sunday attire.
The smooth Patriot head was added to their shiny silver helmets, and the bright blue color scheme helped to pop the numbers. The 1996 season? Berth in the Super Bowl.
The G-Men have donned multiple logos on their helmets throughout the years. There was the Giant Quarterback to start, the word "GIANTS," and simply the letters "NY" that debuted in 1961.
That very same "NY" emblem reemerged in 2000. The result? A Giants trip to the Super Bowl. This isn't hard to figure out, folks.
The other NYC team actually beat the Giants to the fashion rewind. Following a clad green jersey that was worn with the "JETS" logo on the helmet, (with the top of the J flying across the rest of the letters), New York management reverted to their glory years in 1998, by nearly carbon copying the apparel worn by Joe Namath during his Super Bowl III run.
The old decal swap lifted the Jets spirits and not surprisingly, they finished 12-4, won the AFC East, and played in the AFC Title game. No need to reinvent the wheel. Go with what you know looks good.
Love the idea for the wings on either side of the helmet, always have. The shade of green on their tops on the other hand, always made me squint.
In 1996, forest green was incorporated into the uniforms, as well as the helmets. The Eagles won the NFC East that year with 6'0" Ty Detmer as their quarterback. They fell short of the playoffs the next three seasons, but drafted Donovan McNabb in 2000.
I've read that the Lance Alworth, powder-blue retro Mitchell and Ness jersey is the highest seller of all time. Deservedly so.
From '92 to '06, the Chargers' primary color was a deep navy, but in 2007 they returned to their famed "baby blue" base.
They accomplished much before the scheme change, but in 2006 they went 14-2 only to lose their first-round game at home against the Patriots.
The following year, new uniforms and all, San Diego made their deepest advance to the playoffs since '94 with impressive wins over the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts.
More beloved NFL garb. After years with their iron-looking uniforms and logos, Seattle adjusted their style in 2002.
Neon green was introduced as a secondary color and a dark grayish-blue was added to the tops and bottoms. Their 2002 season concluded with a subpar 7-9 record.
However, 2003 began their reign atop the NFC West conference, which was composed of five consecutive division titles, and a NFC championship in 2005.
St. Louis Rams
The boys from the Gateway City aren't helping my theory. They won the Super Bowl with their yellow and royal blue scheme.
The Rams switched the yellow to gold the following season, and lost to the Patriots in the big game. The old uniforms were so pretty, they shouldn't have been touched...obviously.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Oh boy, how great were those creamsicle tops, with Bucco Bruce on the helmet ?Classic. Or maybe classically hideous. Regardless, the Bucs were infamously bad wearing those light orange uniforms in the '70s and '80s.
In 1998, they reshuffled everything and dropped Bucco Bruce. As usual, jersey-magic took one season.
The 1999 campaign was the dawn of the Bucs dominance of the AFC South. They won four straight division crowns and won the Super Bowl in 2002. Convinced yet?
Let's make this brief. The Titans moved from Houston to Tennessee in 1999, so they obviously had brand spankin' new uniforms. They beat the Bills on Wild Card weekend on a play that still brings me pain, and a Super Bowl victory evaded them by one yard.
The Bills changed things up in 2002, and nearly reached the playoffs in 2004 with Drew Bledsoe behind center. Although I'm a fan of the away jerseys and have no issue with the logo, the home uniforms are brutal.
As you can see, it's as clear as a bright sunny day in Buffalo. The Bills need to either go back to their beauts from back in the day or invent something new. I'm not fortune-telling here, it's that easy.
Change your uniforms/logo for the better, you're "guaranteed" playoffs and beyond. History doesn't lie. Sometimes we over-analyze.
No more worrying about offense, injury problems, or a franchise QB.
Fashion is the answer.