Anyone else have uniform change fatigue yet?
The Buffalo Bills will introduce new duds in 2011, underscoring our pro sports teams' obsession with unveiling "groundbreaking" (yet spectacularly uninspiring) new looks.
I'll just dispense with this first: I'm happy with the Sabres' most recent change. It's simple, solid and honors franchise roots and traditions—always a good cushion to fall back on. Neither the Goathead or the Banana Slug could ever begin to take the place of the 1970 crest, so I suppose I'm a sucker for originals.
However, I wait in a state of controlled horror at what the Bills will unleash upon us this year. They assure me in their official statement that "the new uniforms will incorporate the team’s storied history while keeping the team’s signature charging buffalo logo."
While there's plenty of that "storied history," let's all agree that the last nine years of it have been utterly forgettable. So this change, by nature, must be good ... right? It likely wouldn't be such a welcome change had the team made so much as a playoff appearance in the dark blue-on-dark blue threads. Face it: we'll always associate this uniform with failure, ineptitude, dysfunction, and, more to the point, losing.
But if the new offering is anything like the image above, I think I'll need something to be sick in. The Bills need to find a happy medium between the royal blue of the 1990s and the midnight blue of the 2000s. Whatever they do, they need to pick one shade and stick with it. And enough with the nickel gray accents. It was too over the top to pursue a scheme that tried to honor colors from every single era of the franchise.
They might try to borrow a page from their NHL brethren and return to the days of 1973-1983, before the modern-day red headgear debuted. The look was simple, classy and understated. It would be both old and new, to those of us who remember that era and others who have only known the 1984-present cap.
Perhaps that reveals my own soft spot for those classics, since that's what Buffalo suited up in when I was a kid who fell in love with the NFL and the Bills: Chuck Knox, Joe Ferguson, Joe Cribbs and the gang. Being nostalgic as I am, I'd relish a return to those days. I might even consider welcoming Knox back.
And, save for only special occasions, the Bills ought to retire the red, stationary bison logo. It had a good run, um rather, stand, but it's time to put this poor old guy out to pasture. Hey, I fantasize about jumping in a time machine and attending a 1968 game at the Rockpile, too. But I wouldn't be happy with season tickets there. I'd return to the present day and leave the non- charging buffalo to graze and do what it does best: stand there.
That said, I also don't want a gaudy, busy departure from the basic formula (see: "Head, Goat" and "Slug, Banana"). Pick a scheme that's basic and impossible to screw up. Don't risk being edgy and risky and in the process produce something that's punchline material.
Whatever laundry they're wearing, it will be a smooth adjustment if the team wins in it. And if they do, we fans promise we'll buy more of it.