Big day in the uni-verse today, as the Arizona Cardinals will be revealing a new uniform set. The move comes 18 years to the day after the team’s last uniform overhaul (which, if I’m not mistaken, really kicked off the now-standard practice of NFL uni moves taking place during the run-up to the draft). The team says the uniforms will go public at “7pm-ish” — that’s Arizona time, meaning 10pm-ish Eastern.
I for one am extremely stoked about this uni launch, because the Cards’ visual program has been a thorn in my aesthetic side ever since that fateful day 18 years ago. So while we wait for tonight’s unveiling, here’s one observer’s rundown of the most problematic elements of the team’s outgoing set — elements that, if all goes well tonight, we’ll no longer have to see on the field.
The photo above shows the right and wrong ways to do football pants striping. I mean, what are the Cardinals even trying to do? It would be bad enough if it just tapered to a point, like the Broncos’ pants striping, but that little black squiggle at the end makes it soooo much worse, like an arena league uniform. I’m gonna go ahead and call these the worst pants in NFL history. Don’t believe me? Just look:
The Jersey Side Panels
Slowly but surely, the NFL has been weeding out its accursed side panels. Bengals? Gone. Pats? Gone. Cardinals? About to be gone, presumably. (You’re next, Broncos!)
I have never understood the thinking behind those oddly shaped white panels on the Cardinals’ sleeves. What are they for? What are they supposed to represent? And there’s another set of them on the back:
(That last photo, incidentally, shows another problem with this uniform: the annoying team logo above the nameplate.)
The Nice Helmet That Makes No Sense
The Cardinals’ helmet is a very nice piece of old-school design. The plain white shell, the simple side logo, the grey facemask — it’s all very traditional. The problem is that it’s paired with a very non-traditional uniform. Even if you like the pants striping, the side panels, and the sleeves — which, again, I don’t — those elements are a stylistic mismatch for this helmet, and vicey-versey. At the very least, they should have swapped out the grey mask for metallic red or something like that (and I say that as someone who likes grey masks). Can’t believe they’ve stuck with this odd helmet/uni pairing for nearly two decades now.
A black alternate jersey and/or helmet makes sense for some teams: ravens are black; panthers are black; jets can plausibly be black. But you don’t need to be an ornithologist to know that cardinals are not black. When you’re already starting off with all the other design woes I’ve already listed, going BFBS just feels extra-sad and extra-predictable. All the black trim on the primary jerseys has never felt right, either.
Those are the major issues, at least for me. I don’t necessarily expect the new set to address all of these problems (I assume there will still be a BFBS design, for example), but I’m hopeful that they will right the aesthetic ship at least somewhat. We’ll find out soon enough.
I’ll have a separate post tonight, when the uniform goes public. See you then!