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Monday Morning Uni Watch

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Good morning! Hope everyone had a good weekend, as I did (well, except for that 49ers debacle, but they had a fun run this season so I can’t complain).

So this year’s Supe will be the Andy Bowl. The NFC is the home team, so the Eagles will have first uni choice and will almost certainly go with green over white. KC will have to wear white jerseys and will presumably go with the red pants, resulting in the very attractive uni matchup shown above. These same two teams gave us that same uni matchup fairly recently — Oct. 3, 2021. Here are some photos and video highlights from that game, so you can get a sense of how the big game will probably look.

(I suppose it’s possible that KC could opt for white over white, instead of wearing the red pants, but they wore the white/white combo only twice this season, both against old AFL rivals —  Nov. 20 against the Chargers and Jan. 7 against the Raiders — so I think it’s unlikely that they’ll go that route for the Supe.)

I want to talk for a minute about KC’s socks, because this is arguably the worst-hosieried team in Super Bowl history. I counted them having at least 11 different lower-leg styles on the field last night, and I’m pretty sure there were a couple more that I couldn’t find photos of:

Put all of those sock stylings on the field at once and you end up with something like this absurd pregame photo:

I can’t believe I’m saying this, because there’s no bigger fan of striped socks than me, but the few teams that still have striped hose (mainly KC and the Bears) now routinely make such a mess of it that it might be time for the league to ban striped socks. Sigh.

By contrast, the Bengals were the very picture of hosiery consistency:

So I guess you could say that the game outcome was a miscarriage of sartorial (or at least hosiery) justice.

One other note from that game: KC quarterback Patrick Mahomes had a captaincy patch on his sideline cape! Don’t think I’ve seen that before:

Over in the NFC, the good news is that the Eagles all wore white socks, so at least they were consistent. The bad news is that they did that while wearing white pants, creating the dreaded leotard effect:

They’ll presumably stick with that look two Sundays from now. Not my favorite, but whaddaya gonna do.

I’ll have more to say about the Andy Bowl uni matchup as we get closer to the big game.

(Big thanks to Doug Keklak for the Mahomes cape shot.)

Comments (85)

    How did the NFL go from the most stringent uniform policy in pro sports to letting players wear their socks any way they want? Was it negotiated with the player’s union or did the league just stop enforcing what players wear?

    Not only that Jim, but the players that wear the long untucked undershirts just kill me, Why doesn’t the NFL do anything? It’s such a sloppy look.

    What kills me, is all the uniform manufacturers used to brag on how form fitting the uniforms are to keep other players from grabbing them. Then, they wear these long, free flowing t-shirts that stick out from the jersey. And most players tape they jerseys to their pads. I don’t get it?

    Not only are untucked undershirts extremely sloppy and unprofessional, they’re the modern version of the tearaway jersey. How many times have we seen a defender grabbing a shirt and it starts to unravel as the ball carrier escapes?
    Tuck them in or get off the field.

    Been wondering this for a few years now. Everything this league does used to revolve around image. A lot of their charity work is performative so that tracks. But the uniforms used to be uniform, and these aren’t small details. The socks look a mess, and it isn’t like baseball, where players hem their cuffs at different heights. With the exception of the biker shorts set, which is thankfully rare, NFL pants usually come down to the bottom of the knee. And covered lower legs are a must, so why not make them uniform? The base layers are visible, a contrasting color, and guaranteed to gray if touched by an opponent during a game. All so sloppy.

    Colorwise, this is the first Red vs Green SB.

    In other big 4 sports
    WS – Reds and Greens are tied 1-1 (Oakland d. Cincy ’72; Cincy d. Oakland ’90)
    NBA – Greens lead Reds 5-1 (Bos d. St. Louis ’57, ’59, ’60; Bos d. Houston ’81, ’86; St. Louis d. Boston ’58)
    NHL- Reds lead Greens 1-0 (New Jersey d. Dallas ’00)

    What are you using to define a team’s color? Super Bowl I was Packers (green/yellow) versus Chiefs (red/white).

    Well…technically it wasn’t the Super Bowl back then. It was the ‘AFL-NFL Championship.’ So the SB claim is still intact! :)

    You missed the Stanley Cup the year before 2000. The green Dallas Stars beat the red and black Sabres.

    The Milwaukee Bucks (green) defeated the Baltimore Bullets (red) in the 1971 NBA Finals.

    I know this is somewhat of hot take, but I don’t find the NFL’s current sock shenanigans to be nearly as apocalyptic as others might around these parts. I actually kinda like the mode of personal expression; how a guy wears his socks tells me a lot about his personality!

    Keep in mind that todays current explosion of sock styles is a direct reaction to the leagues former draconian sock rules that were rescinded a few years ago. Once players get their past pent up sock frustration out of their systems, I wouldn’t be surprised if sock trends began to cycle back towards more uniform styles in the next few years.

    This may be somewhat of a hot take, but I’m not as interested in personal expression as others may be. In an individual sport – golf, for example – yeah, go ahead and go wild with the plaid pants or whatever. But I like to see a team wear a uniform, and IMO the uniform should include socks. I don’t really care to see Player X’s personal expression on the field, no matter how strong their pent up sock frustration may be. Save that for the press conference after the game.

    I don’t think it’s a hot take at all. I think the tension between team uniformity and personal expression is at the heart of contemporary sports culture. That tension is where phrases like “Play for the name on the front of the jersey, not the back” and “The right way to play the game” come from. It’s also where “No Fun League” comes from.

    Some of that tension is generational; some of it is racial; and a lot of it reflects broader cultural tensions that transcend sports.

    Incredible that you (or anyone) could somehow think athletes’ forms of personal expression, and our reactions to same, are unconnected to race…

    If we’re being technical here, it’s probably more about culture than actual biological race. But, terminology aside, Paul’s point is valid and doesn’t deserve criticism IMO.

    If socks are part of the uniform (and last I checked they were in the NFL) then all players should wear them uniformly. At this point you could make a case they are no longer part of the uniform, but more like the long sleeve undershirts players wear in cold weather where they have options to choose from.
    I’m both pro sock uniformity (it looks much better) and pro personal preference on non-uniform elements and gear worn. Be it sneakers, long sleeve undershirts, gloves, visors. etc. In 2023 I can totally understand the desire to stand out and make a brand for yourself, but would like it done while still wearing the team uniform. I’d be curious what the average, non-uni culture fan thinks of the current sock mess.

    They were already doing this with low whites, mid whites or high whites. Those were fine but this isn’t that. It’s not even wearing the same socks.

    That’s the part that’s the issue here. Not they’re showing some expression of themselves but that the sock types are all different.

    This is not quite true. Based on the prior rules, “mid-whites” were the only legal option; “low-white” and “high-white” variations would actually warrant a fine. Players would wear those styles anyway, and just pay the fine (I believe Paul has written about that phenomenon in the past). This is what I meant about the draconian rules. Perhaps if the league was less strict about that particular rule in the past, then we would not be seeing the current sock explosion that we are witnessing today.

    I think it would be really cool to see the NFL allow both teams to wear home unis (as long as they are total opposites like red/green). In the Super Bowl and in select reg season games.

    A factor that came up in the very first Color Rash game between the red-clad Bills and green-clad Jets back in 2015! And both with white helmets at the time, to boot.

    …which I still think was a beautiful game. Perfect example of two individually bad uniforms that, when combined on the same field, looked quite nice together. But, of course, that’s coming from the perspective of a non-colorblind person.

    Also agreed. Paul mentioned the best possible uni match-ups for the Supe at the end of his post, but color v color could open the door for the worst possible uni match-up, the mono blood clot Chiefs vs the BFBS Eagles. Though I suppose it’s up for debate since even that atrocity offers more contrast than the green/red option as discussed in previous comments.

    Noticed this on Saturday but was probably too late in the comments for most to see, yesterday’s conference championships were the first time since the 2008/2009 season none of the teams has a shade of blue as part of their colors.
    All other times this occurred in the past the Steelers were one of the participants, and since they include a blue star in their helmet logo, this was technically the first no-blue conference championship weekend ever.

    Unfortunately I came to the same conclusion about getting rid of sock stripes about a year ago. You’d have less variables with solid socks. Concerning baseball socks, I’m almost to the point where I’d rather have the horrible pajama pants instead of all the variations of sock designs. Not there yet, but I suspect it will only get worse.

    I think chiefs will wear white pants since they’ve worn them in the playoffs the last decade and a half for road playoff games. This will be the first game Mahomes wears white jerseys in the playoffs too.

    The shoes are almost as bad. You have 4 in that captain group photo wearing white shoes one wearing yellow shoes and 1 wearing red shoes.

    While I would love to see the Chiefs go white-over-white for all road/´road´ games, I really don´t want to see them doing so in the SB since they can´t agree on a uniform sock style (the red/yellow/red ones being my preference)…so red pants it´s gotta be : (

    … I would love to see the Chiefs go white-over-white for all road/´road´ games …

    PREACH my brotha!

    Ditto! Have they been wearing proper red socks with that combo or white? Not that it matters given what Paul discussed above…

    But I think most teams look better contrasting their pants despite the jersey color, except I do think the Browns look great with white striped socks with the white over white…

    Not only should KC *never* wear white road pants…
    If you believe in uniform superstition, they lost the very first Super Bowl going red/white/white.
    My beef is just over how it looks. Some teams (Minnesota, Chicago) look good with white jerseys and pants, some teams (KC, SD…er, LAC, Pit), not so much.

    The Chargers and Steelers (who came to their senses after a year or 2) really should only have/have had yellow pants. Same for Washington in seasons´ past.
    It´s just MHO that there´s teams that look not-as-good-as-they-should with regularly-worn colored road pants options: KC´s red, Ravens black and purple, and yes, sorry…the late ´60s-early ´70s Broncos orange are/were particularly off-putting.
    Checking GUD, helmet color/white/white is 7-8 in Super Bowls…not a great record of success that´s for sure.

    I’m shocked the Eagles get a pass around these parts for that hideous green and the horribly dated uniforms. The font, the “jade,” the BFBS…everything about them reminds me of a 1990s McDonald’s Happy Meal.

    Actually, most people around UW have called for the Eagles to switch from midnight green back to Kelly green. It’s just that their current set isn’t considered among the worst of the worst of the NFL. Though I agree the fonts are dated (though personally I’m fine with the helmet wings and the eagle head logo, they just need to change the stuff around them).

    Agreed. The current uniform design and logo are good, minus the shade of green and number font. If they just switched the color back to kelly green, made the pants silver again, and had a better number font it would be a great uniform.
    As is it isn’t horrible, just that shade of green screams late 90s / early 2000s when so many teams were abandoning their traditional brighter colors for darker versions.

    Kind of a sad set of circumstances that the current Eagles set is a middle-of-the-pack NFL uniform. So many teams have such awful uniforms nowadays, what rightfully is a bad look is elevated so highly.


    I think this is probably what I’m getting at. Yes, I know most on this site (myself included) would love a return to kelly green. Yet these monstrosities are part of a “very attractive” matchup because of all of the other shit around the league. It’s a sad state of affairs.


    Is it at all possible that we could have a color vs. color SB? Even if not this year, but in any year?

    Teams with green as a primary color are 6-3 in the Super Bowl, with the first 3 Super Bowls won by green teams.
    Of those 9 green appearances, 6 wore green jerseys, 3 wore white jerseys.
    Teams wearing green jerseys are 4-2.
    Green teams wearing white jerseys are 2-1.

    Slightly related. Longtime Cleveland Indians/Guardians drummer John Adams has passed away. He and his drum graced the outfield bleachers of Municipal Stadium and Jacobs/Progressive Field for 48 years. RIP.

    According to GUD the Chiefs will be wearing red pants in the Super Bowl. I approve-I like more color in uniforms as long as it doesn’t involve the dreaded monochrome look.

    I don’t like “Supe.” Maybe it’s widespread now but I think this is the first site where I saw that nickname.

    I’m not a fan of that word either. And I’ve never seen it anywhere else other than this blog.
    I actually cringed today before open the site because I knew that word would be used, kind of spoils the mood of the main event.

    The NCAA powers that be actually had a sock rule loaded up for last season, but it got tabled. Ankles to the bottom of the pants.

    The Eagles might stick with midnight green forever if they win this Supe. Heck, just them making it might be enough for them to not switch back to kelly green. Of course, kelly green looks better.

    Interesting to think about the crappy team looks that have stuck around because of success (Broncos come to mind.) Any others?

    The sloppiness and lack of uniformity in today’s NFL uniforms annoys me.

    The Bengals may all be wearing black socks, but I miss the halfway white sock to pair with it. It looks so amateurish without the halfway sock.

    The striped sock debacle on the Chiefs side is terrible as well.

    The white socks for the Eagles is disastrous. Wear the black socks with the halfway for crying out loud.

    Same thing with the 49ers. Red socks with the halfway.

    I prefer the draconian rules. Bring back the uniform.

    This sock nonsense will continue as long as fines are a relatively small percentage of salary. The way to end it is to make it a 15 yard penalty anytime a uniform violator steps on the field.

    ” . . . the few teams that still have striped hose (mainly KC and the Bears) now routinely make such a mess of it that it might be time for the league to ban striped socks. Sigh.”

    Paul, put the Browns in that category. They brought back the traditional striped socks in 2020, but other than offensive linemen, Nick Chubb and a few others displaying the stripes correctly, the rest of the team does not — especially defensive players. Stripes pushed up to the knees, pulled down to the ankles, or no stripes at all.

    The aesthetic beauty of NFL uniforms, especially for teams with long historic traditions, is being completely destroyed. What a mess!!

    My question to Commish Goodell, if I attended his state-of-the-league presser at the Super Bowl:

    Me: “Commissioner, are socks part of a football team’s uniform?”
    Goodell: “Yes.”
    Me: “Then why aren’t they being worn uniformly?”
    Goodell: (Blank stare)


    Do not even know why I react to this, but before, during and after the game I am more concentrated on the action above the knee than below. Do you sock police officers actually watch the games or just watch the battle of the mismatched socks? Are they more distracting to you than mascots or cheerleaders? And before you answer: yes, I know, cheerleaders at least all wear the same uniform.

    No, because I am one of those very appreciative readers as you know, I even ordered a hat of UW which I wear proudly here in the Netherlands. But getting worked up over socks…come on. Discussing hats, jerseys, pants, sweaters, shorts, helmets, jackets, I totally understand that and gladly take part in it. But socks? As far as I am concerned they can all play barefooted if they wanted to. To me the uniform stops below the knee.

    “getting worked up over socks”

    Um. I realize you probably haven’t been following UW for the past decade-plus, but if you had, you’d realize that hosiery (for any sport) is considered almost sacrosanct, and is MOST DEFINITELY a part of the uni. It’s also something we tend to get quite “worked up” over.

    Now, shoes? That’s a whole other story and something that at one time was definitely “part” of the uniform (witness the baseball teams, football teams, etc. that at one time actually had a single color protocol for shoes):



    Note all the Reds players wearing red shoes (even if made by different manufacturers), or the Mets in their royal shoes.

    We’re slowly losing one “uniform” element at a time, and the sock/hosiery free-for-all nowadays is quite disconcerting. And it’s most definitely a part of the uniform.

    But getting worked up over socks…come on.

    Again: When you make a comment like that, you are literally ridiculing Uni Watch readers for caring about uniforms. Socks may not matter to you, but they do matter to a lot of us. Uni Watch’s logo is a stirrup! It’s fine if you don’t care about socks, but it’s unfortunate that you can’t accept that others *do* care without feeling the need to diminish them in some way.

    I’m aware that you’re a longtime thoughtful reader. And therefore, frankly, I’m surprised and disappointed to see you not only ridiculing the comm-uni-ty but then doubling down on it.

    A big part of Uni Watch is that we can all geek out about this stuff without fear of someone rolling their eyes at us, because we all Get It™. Whatever your pet uni peeve or area of interest may be, I hope (and believe) nobody here will make fun of you for it, even if they don’t necessarily share your passion for it. It would be nice if you could return that courtesy.

    Paul, you’re allowed to say “Super Bowl.” This article is not a commercial (which is frankly also a gray area).

    Actually, I did say “Super Bowl” in today’s post (maybe you missed that). But that phrase gets tedious when you say/hear it a jillion times in the run-up to the game, so I sometimes swap in other terms.

    Sorry, I guess I just have SBEF (Super Bowl Euphemism Fatigue). Tired to death of companies tiptoeing around and saying “The Big Game” instead, because they’re afraid the NFL will bully them with another cease and desist letter.

    Carry on!

    The year they won Super Bowl IV (still the best looking SB ever), their road pants were red.
    So they are honoring Len, even if they didn’t wear them against Minnesota.

    I can’t believe I’m writing this, because NFL head coaches have a lot more important stuff to worry about than their players’ socks. It might just take a hard-nosed, drill sergeant type to put a stop to such things. “On this team, we’re a TEAM. That means neat uniforms, no overhanging undershirts and everyone wearing the correct socks and shoes.” You just know such a head coach would be ridiculed by the media, just like Tom Coughlin was during his years with the Giants. They got all over him for things like “Coughlin time” and a number of different internal rules.

    It’s going to take a coach with balls (and I wish it was someone well respected like a Mike Tomlin today, or Bill Parcells years ago) to help change the tide. Too bad he’ll be mocked for limiting “personal expression” when it comes to socks. Give me a freaking break!!

    As was discussed in 2019 UW post, part the inconsistency is due to the number the fact that some players wear leggings, some what I call sock sleeves (#4 photo), many different types of socks, all with combos of tape.


    It certainly contributes to inconsistency.

    Does this lead to less teams using striped socks?

    Paul, Phil, point well taken. I will refrain from commenting on stuff that does not bother me as much as it does to others and, as you say, respect all aspects that are being discussed here. Accept my humble apologies!

    Don’t want to speak for Paul, but no apology needed! Just know that we consider hosiery a *very* important component of the uniform :)

    So what exactly are the rules for Super Bowl Unis? The Uni Top has to be one of your two main used ones (typically seen as home and away) but your pants can be mixed and matched? The Chiefs obviously only have two tops so they are wearing the whites after the Eagles choose green, but they could technically wear the white pants if they wanted?

    So for example the Eagles couldn’t have chosen their Black Tops as its an “alternate”, but could technically wear the black pants (or Green pants) with their green tops? (I know they won’t but hypothetically here)

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