Earlier today, the NFL and Nike unveiled the new uniform designs for all 32 teams in the league, and for the most part the changes involved were relatively minor tweaks. Minor, that is, unless you're the Seattle Seahawks. As you can see in the two slideshows on Seahawks.com -- one for the uniform and one for the helmet -- there's a whole lot of new stuff to take in here.
After taking a few hours to digest the pictures, I've decided that I don't hate the new design, but I'm not particularly fond of it, either. Here, let's take a look at some of the major changes and I'll show you what I mean.
Aside from trading out the lighter blue stripe for a gray one, the logo is pretty much the same one the team introduced when it last overhauled its look back in 2002. It also takes up more space on the helmet, which isn't a bad thing, and the stripes from the two sides meet in the back in a way that mimics the art of Native American tribes from the Pacific Northwest. The Seahawks' logo was heavily influenced by tribal art in the first place, so that design choice isn't much of a stretch.
The new reflective decal on top of the helmet is, well, just sort of there (we'll get to that little decorative symbol in a minute). It's understated enough that it doesn't break up the solid blue to the point that it ruins the overall look, but I wouldn't object if it was removed entirely.
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Don't bother checking your calendars, 'cause April Fool's Day was two days ago. I am not a fan of large patches of neon green; if we learned anything from those eye-searing alternate jerseys the team used back in '09, it's that neon colors have a knack for making things look horrendous. Take the Nike logo on the shoulder, for example. I don't really care for having the uniform manufacturer's logo displayed so prominently (I don't remember seeing REEBOK emblazoned on the shoulders of any of the jerseys they made), but it wouldn't be nearly so obnoxious if it wasn't in the middle of a neon green spotlight.
I do like the stripes along the top of the jersey, though. They break up the monotony of the solid blue nicely, and the downard curve at the shoulders matches the downard curve of the team logo's stripes at the back of the helmet. I think they'd look a whole lot better without that neon green triangle on the shoulder, though.
The new font for the jersey numbers looks a bit goofy to me, but so did the font the Baltimore Ravens used on their jerseys when they first came out. Now I don't even notice the jersey numbers when I watch a Ravens game, and I suspect the same will be true after a couple of Seahawks games. Still, it'd be a whole lot easier to get used to it without that neon green border. Oh, and the fabric Nike used for the numbers is reflective. Make of that what you will.
However, I think the thing people seem to dislike the most about the new look is that toxic racing stripe down the leg. The symbol you see in that stripe (and earlier as part of that new helmet decal) is a feather drawn in the style of Pacifc Northwest tribal art. For comparison, you can see examples of feathers drawn in this same style here, here, and here. There are also twelve feathers on each leg and twelve more on either side of the jersey's collar as a tribute to the 12th Man, which is cool. Honestly, the feather itself looks fine to me -- it's the neon green that makes it look hideous. Just look at how much better it looks on the pants leg of the white away and gray alternate uniforms:
You'll also notice that the Nike logo on the shoulder is also much less noticeable when it isn't surrounded by neon green. In fact, the neon green border around the numbers is really the only thing I dislike about the other two uniform designs. And hey, at least the numbers aren't slanted just sideways enough that it looks like the guy working the silk screening machine got hammered before he came to work that day, right?
I don't really have a pat conclusion for you here, unless "neon colors ruin everything" counts. You're perfectly welcome to disagree with me on that (overly bright colors of any sort tend to make my headaches worse, so I'm more than a little biased on the subject), but I do believe we can all agree that these gloves
would be completely goddamn ridiculous no matter what color they were.