For me, the time to discuss uniforms and logos is year round, but for the vast majority of you, that time falls squarely in to late May, with little else to discuss. The NFL and the Redskins have each made significant changes and additions to branding and uniforms this offseason. The most notable is the transition to Nike from Reebok for the entire NFL. In addition, the Redskins gained a new throwback jersey to celebrate the 80th Anniversary, but other changes to the Redskins may be in place. Below is a list of what has changed, and what we can expect from the Skins this coming year.
1. The League Switching to NikeThe NFL adopted Nike as it's official outfitter on April 1st. For many who don't have the uniform bug enough to follow websites like UniWatch (which is actually running a "rename the Redskins" competition right now), the thought of Oregon carbon helmets came to mind when it was heard Nike was taking over. Wild rumors and "concepts", some of which I even created, were flying across the internet.
When the day actually came, however, little changed. Sure, we knew that Seattle would get a redesign, but other then that, changes to most teams were minimal, if there were any at all. The Bears moved numbers to shoulders from the sleeves, the Panthers got a tweaked logo, and so on. But technology did change. The addition of the "Flywire" collar and other league wide changes definitely change the way some teams look. In almost every case, Flywire looks AWFUL. Whether the team decided to leave the front part blank, or... not. Some teams such as the Packers and Patriots, decided to skip the new "advancements". The cheapest fan jerseys do not feature flywire, but the results are not any better. The Redskins, however took full use of Nike.
2. The Redskins New Nike Uniforms
Is Brian Orakpo really that fast? Doesn't matter. The Redskins uniforms stayed exactly the same from a design point of view. Sleeve stripes are still super short, the pants stripe is the same, if a little cut off by the Nike "advancements". The biggest takeaway that I had from the April 1st unveil was the lack of gold pants, but I'll get to that later. While the away jersey was not modeled at the unveil, they are for sale, and the dreaded Flywire makes an impact. That really does it for Nike's basic changes for the Redskins.
3. The Demise of the Gold Pants
For whatever reason, it appears that the two year run of the gold pants has come to a close. This is apparent from the Nike unveil, along with various tips and hints. The NFL Style Guide, not a public document, listed the gold pants as part of the 2007 throwback "set". So, whenever the Redskins wore them in 2010 or 2011, it was technically a mix of their current uniforms and the throwbacks. This year, according to insiders, as a result of the new throwbacks, the previous ones, and therefore the gold pants, are gone. I always HATED that method. The gold was far too shiny to match the rest of the uniform, the pants stripe matched NOTHING with the other pants or jersey (we use a basic asymmetrical stripe on both jerseys and pants for all other colors), and the burgundy was a much lighter shade than the jerseys!
The gold pants always had a special place in my heart. They actually were rumored and hyped before the start of the 2010 season, with this comic depicting McNabb in gold pants, that ran on the Redskins blog. When they trotted out against the Cowgirls on Sunday Night Football in those new uniforms, I was thrilled. They looked fantastic. Sure, they were flawed, and I always wished they looked like this photoshop (note the stripes). Maybe one day they will return (I'll come back to that).
4. 80th Anniversary Throwback Uniforms
Oh, these are some beauties. I really love the use of old gold and tan pants, but the best part about these babies are the helmets. That's right, faux-leather pattern, which certainly beats the Packers from last year. The Skins are the first team to have this matte look, often seen in college, let alone with a pattern like this. There's not a ton to say about them. They should be on sale pretty soon. The cool thing is guessing when they will be worn. My guess/hope? The NFL allows the Redskins to go color vs. color (done occasionally in years past) twice. Against the Steelers in their new throwbacks, also for their 80th, and the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Those would be the best options. I hate seeing throwbacks worn against a modern team like the Cardinals or Vikings. Doesn't look right.
5. Uniform Combinations We Should Expect
Without the gold pants, the options become more limited as to which combinations the Redskins will use. If I was a betting man, I'd guess that the Skins go with burgundy over white as the primary home jersey. Not thrilling, but that's what I see. I don't see them going back to wearing white at home, like they did under Gibbs and Zorn. However they could surprise us. The throwbacks will be worn twice at some point. The white over burgundy look should be the primary away look. But here's where the surprise comes! All White. The combination has not been worn since 2009. The same can be said for the all burgundy look, but the dreadful memories of the the Election Night Debacle, and late season Zorn blowouts has me thinking those ugly things are gone for good. The all white could return because of a recent RGIII rookie card that was released. The image is a photoshop, evident from the lack of Flywire, a Nike logo, and use of the now defunt "NFL EQUIPMENT" patch on the collar and pants. But it could be a clue.
So to recap: Red/White at home. White/Red on road. Throwback twice, and All White maybe two or three times (and perhaps preseason, teams like the Eagles do this).
6. The Future
I think the Redskins are in a transitional phase uniform wise. The gold pants, the question of color or white at home, and Nike make them a difficult team to predict. It's strange, their look is just as classic as the Packers or Steelers, but we still somehow aren't sure what they will wear each week. I think Nike should sort them out in 2013. Whether that means a revamp, complete with a new design, or an updated one, which may or may not include black (I would suspect as trim, perhaps a third jersey) or a new and improved gold pants look, while keeping with the current template.
7. If I Was in Charge
These are my most recent Redskins designs, from October. The cut of the jersey doesn't include Flywire (it's a Reebok jersey with a Nike logo in the chest), but you get the idea.
Please comment and ask questions!