Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Reason No. 841 That The NFL Is Superior to College Football

Don't get me wrong. I love college football. Seriously -- I can't get enough of it. As a child growing up I was somewhat ambivalent towards what I considered an inferior brand of gridiron, though I did fancy myself a Florida State fan after watching the 'Noles take a National Championship by topping Nebraska in the 1994 Orange Bowl. But it wasn't until I went to Northwestern and was fully immersed in the weekly craziness of the Big Ten that I truly fell for college football as an institution.

However, the NFL, beyond it's generally superior level of play and far more rational means of determining a champion, would never allow what you see to the right to happen.

I'm no big fashion enthusiast, but a good friend of mine once explained that sometimes you have to push the limits of acceptable fashion so that more subtly progressive advances in style seem less dramatic and thus more acceptable to mainstream society. But they never dreamed up the horrific duds Nike forced the Broncos and Hokies to trot out last night in what was otherwise a phenomenal game with wide-ranging National Championship implications. The only thing more disturbing than these uniforms simply existing is that it's almost impossible to pinpoint what, exactly, is the worst aspect of them.

Do we start with the random dark gray patches on Boise State's jerseys that were inexplicably placed in the worst possible location for an overweight offensive lineman? Why not bring up the peculiar circuit-board designs that made Virginia Tech's jersey numbers look like costumes from the movie Tron? Should I opine on the bizarre grayscaled Boise State logo that appears on only one sleeve and one hip? Or the fact that only one of the sleeves on the Boise State jersey is blue? Or the awkward "B" on the left knee of the Boise State pants?

Compared to all of that, Virginia Tech's shoulder-striping pattern looks downright normal, and I thought I had seen the worst of it with TCU's ridiculously busy outfits this weekend.

The most progressive change in NFL uniforms at any point in the last 20 years or so has been the dramatic changes wrought by the Denver Broncos in 1998. From the typical orange jerseys and blue helmets that they had worn for decades, the Broncos stoked a huge amount of aesthetic debate when they debuted their current dark blue unis and helmets. The dramatic change here came in the orange stripe emanating from the collar, which completely broke the mold of traditional NFL fashion sense.

Of course, it did pay off immediate dividends. Arguably.

Those changes are now considered relatively acceptable, and they're completely tame compared to what Nike is now trotting out for specialty nationally televised games these days -- though it should be noted that Denver's newest version of the logo is, uh, questionable at best. One can only hope that Boise State and Virginia Tech, after putting on a tremendous show last night, opt to keep those jerseys in the closet -- even if Boise State's helmets were kind of cool. At least Northwestern's new uniforms are subtle and tasteful so I don't have to be ashamed as an alum.

Northwestern which is 1-0 on the season, I might add.

In any event, I bring all this up because this is where my mind rambles to when it's that first glorious week of college football, you spend Saturday consuming every moment you can and then prepare for the traditional follow up of the pro game on Sunday -- and there isn't one.

Curse this first, teasing week of college football.

Fortunately, I only have to wait five more days to watch my New York Giants -- in person -- as they open up their new home against the Carolina Panthers to start the NFL season, thus bringing the best time of the year -- fall weekends -- into full swing.

And I can assure you they'll be wearing uniforms far more palatable than what we saw last night.

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