Traditionalists, just give it up. Eventually every school in the country will have a half-dozen or more mix-and-match uniforms to don on gamedays. Blame Oregon. Blame Nike. Blame whomever, but the era of traditional, easily recognizable unis is dying away.
You see, kids don’t care about tradition. They’re kids. They have no sense of history when it comes to a team’s look. They simply want to wear something flashy, cool and different every week. And recruiting is the name of the uniform game. It all comes back to the kids.
Paul Lukas of ESPN’s UniWatch Blog caught up with Under Armour’s Adam Clement — the man who designed the bizarro Maryland uniform at left — and he asked the designer if fans were part of the target audience for the glut of gaudy new duds teams have been wearing in recent years. His answer in a word: No.
“We want the players to feel strong, powerful, and invincible when they wear the uniforms. We know there will always be fans who like what or dislike what we do, but we don’t build the uniforms to impress the viewer. We build them to help the school gain visibility, to help them catch the eye of the potential recruits, and to make the current players feel special when they come out of the tunnel.”
Now, if you’re asking yourself if a uniform can really make players “feel special,” just look at the players’ reaction to this Central Michigan uni unveiling back in August:
Or watch these Ohio University players celebrate when the wraps were taken off a new black jersey in 2011:
You and me? We’re not the target audience. If you don’t like seeing every team decked out in black uniforms and matte helmets, tough luck. We’re all just gonna have to get used to it.
Kids love those things. And as long as kids love ‘em, more and more schools are going to start wearing ‘em.