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Seeing Red: Super Bowl Champs Wear Their Worst Combo

The mono thing in the NFL is really getting out of hand. Last week we had three teams going mono-black (Cardinals, Commies, Falcons), another wearing orange over orange (Broncos), and another going mono-lulu blue (Lions). And now Kansas City has kicked off Week 6 by wearing their awful mono-red combo for last night’s game against Denver (additional photos here, if you’re in a masochistic mood).

Look, I expect the mono nonsense from aesthetically clueless teams like the Falcons and Cardinals, and I’ve grudgingly accepted the sad reality that the Saints and Bills seem determined to wear lots of solid-black and solid-blue, respectively. But I depend on teams like KC — now more than ever — to maintain some sense of sanity amidst all the mono madness.

According to the Gridiron Uniform Database, KC first went mono-red in 2013 and continued to do so at least once per year through 2021. But they skipped the mono look last season, leading me to hope that they’d finally seen the error of their ways.

Those hopes were bolstered a few months ago, when team owner Clark Hunt said he has no plans to add an alternate uniform and then issued a proud classicist’s manifesto:

“It was something that my dad [team founder Lamar Hunt] felt very strongly about, going all the way back to the early ’60s. He wanted a lot of continuity in the uniform and we’ve tried to maintain that over the years. I think we have a very distinct brand with the red and white, and I don’t anticipate steering away from that any time soon.”

Does that sound like a guy who’d let his team take the field looking like they’re wearing red bodysuits? No, it does not. And yet. Et tu, Clark?

I suppose I shouldn’t complain. The two teams I root for — the 49ers and Giants — don’t engage in this silliness (although the Niners once dabbled in it, a bit of unpleasantness that I’ve mostly expunged from my memory circuits). Still, it’s a drag to see the league looking like this. It’s one thing if you just have crummy uni elements to work with, like the Jets; it’s another when you have perfectly good components in your wardrobe but you choose to mis-pair them. Such a waste.

Oh well. On the plus side, Bucco Bruce makes his long-awaited return this Sunday. I’m fairly certain he won’t be going mono-orange.



Substack Reminder

In case you missed it yesterday, this week’s Uni Watch Premium article on Substack is an exclusive interview with a woman who hand-crochets these uni-amazing sports dolls and sells them on her Etsy shop — plus there’s a heart-tugging subtext to the project.

You can read the first part of the article here. To read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paid subscriber to my Substack (which will also give you full access to my Substack archives and get you the NBA Season Preview next week!). My thanks, as always, for your support and consideration.



My Civic (and Spooooky) Duty

Yesterday I received a summons for jury duty — for Halloween.

Will people dress up? Should dress up? If so, should I dress as a judge? A bailiff? A juror from 12 Angry Men? Jason Voorhees? If I’m questioned by an attorney who’s evaluating me for jury selection, should I laugh diabolically and then pull out a water bottle marked “Blood”?

Most importantly: Will they give us candy?



Can of the Day

A nice, simple, “less is more” design. But what really intrigues me is how the script “Quality” is positioned in front of the first word but behind the last word — a nice bit of hierarchical design that totally works.

• • • • •

Today is Friday the 13th. Be careful out there! — Paul

Comments (63)

    Wow you get your Jury Duty notice way later than we get ours.

    The last time I had it, I think I got the notification 3 months before the date.

    This is just the first notice. If the date isn’t good for me, I can pick another date anytime two to six months from now.

    So yeah, it’s short notice, but with a good fallback option.

    Looked at the old picture of the Niners in mono-black and I didn’t hate it. With red stripes on the pants and red and white socks it kinda looked sharp.

    Ha! I generally disagree with the type of sentiment expressed in this article (although I do recognize that red over white for KC is infinitely better), but my first reaction to the 49ers black look was “Oh god, that’s awful.”

    Dude……. That solid black combo looked nothing like the 49’ers. I’m a Bears fan first and foremost. But, have a soft spot for the 49’ers. Roger Craig’s mother worked with my Dad back in the early 80’s. Although she didn’t have to worry about money, she continued to work. And, on occasion, would wear one of his jerseys to work. I wasn’t a fan of the uni-change in the with all the black accents and was very happy when they went back to the 80’s looking set. Then, they came out with the solid black unis……… Bad, very bad.

    Oddly enough, I thought it made the gold helmets look good. Your mileage, yada, yada…

    By dint of the black details on the helmet, the Niners took black to be one of their uniform colors. It is not; any more than black is a KC color, or dark blue is a Miami color, or blue and red are Pittsburgh colors.

    I’m not a big fan of mono looks, however, I did like the jersey from that 49ers BFBS set. But not for the 49ers. I think it would have looked great on the Falcons, you know, a team whose colors actually ARE red & black!!!! But between the all-black jersey and pants, paired with a gold helmet (and no gold anywhere else in the uniform), that uniform as a whole did not work.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I think that Color Rash gave us some nice looking jerseys that would look good as alternates, paired with contrasting pants. For example, the Bills have dressed their QBs in the red jerseys, but with white pants, for their annual intra-squad scrimmage, and I think it looks sharp. But to my knowledge, I can’t think of any teams that have broken Color Rash protocol and paired their Rash jerseys with anything other than the Color Rash pants.

    Showing up dressed as a vampire with a water bottle that says “blood” seems like a good way to get out of jury duty.

    That being said, we need smart, thoughtful people on juries, so I must reluctantly discourage it.

    Thanks, William — I appreciate the implicit compliment. But I regret to inform you that I never get picked to serve on a case, because the attorneys always reject me as soon as they learn what I do for a living. Attorneys don’t want journalists serving as jurors — we’re too skeptical, too well-trained to find holes in established narratives, too inclined toward critical thinking. Can’t have any of that in the jury box!

    It’s the same with Engineers. We’re too analytical. I was being vetted for a jury for what appeared to be an auto accident case, and one of the attorneys was asking me about any training I had in Physics!

    Meanwhile, Denver wore their best combo.
    KC should really just scrap those red pants altogether.
    JV, err…YMMV
    ; )

    Jury duty costume: it would be unwise to ‘show up’ as The Invisible Man.

    KC finally got it right last week, wearing their white britches with the white jerseys (aka Super Bowl I look).

    This was the regression to the mean. They should burn the red pants permanently.


    If KC could only have one set of pants, I would gladly watch eight or nine mono-red games a season so I could see red/white/red (their best look) on the road.
    Denver hasn’t had a good road look since 1979, except for one throwback game in 1994.

    “If KC could only have one set of pants, I would gladly watch eight or nine mono-red games a season so I could see red/white/red (their best look) on the road.”

    Well, that’s basically what the Patriots do now. They have one pair of pants and it’s blue. So 8-9 games a season you get one of the worst looks (silver/blue/blue/blue) in the NFL. No one wants to see that, so we can get 8-9 games of silver/white/blue/blue.

    KC introduced fantastic unis when they moved from Dallas in the 1960s, virtually unchanged for 60+ years. They played in the inaugural Supe wearing red/white/white. That’s the look that has (and should) stood the test of time. If they must have red pants, they must limit their use ONLY to white shirts, and even then, only rarely.

    I will give you this: last week when they finally wore their best road look, they wore the wrong socks (white socks with red/gold stripes). They should always wear red-based socks with the white pants.

    But the kids love the mono-look these days, so we’ll have to live with it until it finally plays itself out.

    I’m usually not That Guy who equates a uniform with losing, but they got beaten by Green Bay in that Super Bowl. Quite handily.
    Even if they would have won, I would not be clamoring for that combo, which is their real worst look.
    And with New England’s current uniforms, I don’t mind the silver/blue/blue at all. If they still wore the Brady-era unis, it would be a disastrous combo.

    Denver would have been improved had the side panels of their white uniforms been orange, not dark blue, but that’s water under the bridge.

    “KC introduced fantastic unis when they moved from Dallas in the 1960s”

    I don’t think they changed anything when they moved from Dallas other than the helmet logo. The sleeve stripes and red pants didn’t appear until several years later.

    “But the kids love the mono-look these days”

    That’s the thing; do they, really? I mean, what gets me more than anything else about the mono-color trend is that I can’t fathom how or why anyone thinks this looks good, let alone better than contrasting jersey/pants/socks combos with stripes, Granted, teams have worn mono-white for decades, and high-school and college teams have worn mono-color uniforms far longer than the NFL (which is why it’s always looked so amateurish to older fans). But aesthetically it’s just not pleasing to the eye; my high school wore mono-maroon in the ’80s and even then I didn’t like it. I can only conclude that the players really like the mono look.

    “KC introduced fantastic unis when they moved from Dallas in the 1960s”

    I don’t think they changed anything when they moved from Dallas other than the helmet logo. The sleeve stripes and red pants didn’t appear until several years later.

    Yeah, sorry Jay — I was in the process of rewording that and just forgot. I originally said “KC introduced fantastic uniforms in the 1960s,” but realized they were actually born in Dallas with the same unis, so I added the bit about “moved from Dallas” but never corrected myself. The sentence should have read “KC introduced fantastic unis (which originated in Dallas) in the 1960s.”

    Good catch and yes, the only change with the move was the helmet logo.

    I was on a jury over Halloween a few years back. All the jurors definitely brought in leftover candy to share with each other the next morning.

    Chiefs in full blood clot/lipstick look/bag of Twizzlers… so awful. Red/red/white or Red/white/red only please. I’m not really a fan of their red/white/white look either, although it beats the mono. Ok, so just about anything beats the mono color look. If I can find only a sliver here, at least it was all the same color top to bottom. I doubly hate it when the the jersey and pants are the same color, but the helmet is different (talking to you Lions). Ugh.

    Its not often I disagree but on this one I do. I actually like KC in the all red. Its for these reasons that I do. They generally wear them at night so the thicker pant stripes seem to pop more than other teams, as do the Bears when they go mono. Plus the flow of the overall uniform just works for me as does the Bears and unlike the teams that have plain mono pants ( Saints, Jags, etc ). Something about the red and yellow at night just works for me as a mono set.


    I hope they keep it to once a season, but I don’t mind this particular look at all.

    KC in solid red works for me because it is a well-designed uniform from the helmet to the shoes. It is a team that *never* looks bad.

    I came here to write an outspoken comment in support of the all red, but these 2 comments have beaten me to it!
    The Chiefs are a red team and their usual home Red/Red/White and either of their away combos are classic.
    But they don’t have an alternate or particularly different throwback, so another look in in their wardrobe is needed – and as a team with only 1 main colour aside from white, they are a team that can pull off a mono look – and the stripes break it up enough to work.
    Would hate to see it on a regular basis, but I’m all in for a Thursday game under the lights!

    (Responding to the question below on why another look is needed)

    The NFL more than any other league has teams who just don’t change their unis. On the one hand, its great when you can show a picture of Superbowl II ahead of a Monday night game over 50 years later and the unis will be virtually identical. These are great looks for teams and they rightly stick with them.

    But if teams don’t change looks or have alternatives, the games (particularly division matchups) look the same year after year with little visual difference and it does get boring to look at. The GTGFTU works because of games looking different. As awful as that Jags mono gold look is, it is a team trying to do something new, a look that grabs the attention, something to talk about and a look that can mark a specific game at a glance.

    I admire the sentiment that a team doesn’t need another look apart from the home and away worn for the last 50 years, but if that were the case, this site probably wouldn’t exist!

    Hey Paul…

    As a horror-film fan…. I had to ask: did you mean Michael Myers as your costume for jury duty on Hallowe’en??

    Jason Vorhees’ day would be today!

    The re-purposed William Shatner/Captain Kirk mask into Michael Myers could still be a winner!

    This Chiefs’ look doesn’t bother me. I think it’s because of the gold and also that the pants aren’t a solid red, but have some side striping. I mean, if I had to rank their four possible combos, it would be in last, but still, it’s not that I hate it, it’s just that something would have to be in fourth place!

    I’d really like them to do a gold alt jersey with red pants, but I doubt that would happen.

    Don’t forget about the Patriots wearing their awful mono blueberries for the 5th week in a row (thanks Jets and Cowboys).


    They probably won’t because they lost the ONE game they wore them in last year and I guess that means they can’t anymore; even though they’ve sucked since they’ve gone full navy.

    The superstitions around uniforms is so dumb.

    What’s driving all this NFL mono crap? Is it the players pushing to wear it? Are the owners somehow profiting from it? No idea how they could, but money drives everything in the NFL. Curious.

    money drives everything in the NFL

    I realize it’s always tempting, or even fun, to reduce a situation to a simple slogan/phrase/statement, but it’s worth remembering that the NFL is the one Big Four league that hasn’t gone in for uniform advertisements.

    “What’s driving all this NFL mono crap? Is it the players pushing to wear it?”


    This is the uniform of this generation of football players. Untucked shirts, mono (or if not mono, then socks matching pants for that yoga pants look), lots of self-expression.

    Like other styles before this, it too shall pass in time.

    This generation also seems to enjoy wearing dark shirts/pants/socks over light helmets, which to me — but hey, I’m an old classicist — is the most unattractive look there is. But others disagree.


    Yes, a light helmet on top of an all dark football uniform looks very unattractive to me and betrays my age. I want balance. Light helmet? Light pants. Dark helmet? Dark pants. Simple and boring but pleasing to (old and probably tired) eyes.

    I’m old-ish, but the Bills in white/blue/blue, the Pats in silver/blue/blue, and Wisconsin in white/red/red are fine with me.
    Detroit in silver/blue/blue is tolerable.

    Denver’s white/orange/orange? No. Hard pass. Orange pants are for road games.

    Now you’re piling on ; )

    I’m not so sure this mono-color thing will simply play itself out in due course – and there’s a few teams that can pull it off quite well…albeit very few.
    The Ravens & Jaguars in all-black, plus the Seahawks and Titans in head/toe navy are fine to see go all mono (on occasion!); the royal-blue Chargers and the all-black Bengals are the only ‘light helmet/dark everything else’ that aren’t complete eyesores.

    Since the Chargers mono-royal is designated as their “alternate” and not their “CR” (that’s the mono-navy garbage)…they *could* simply wear their gold pants with the royal shirt and that’s a T10 uni. It’s awful otherwise.

    The NFL has gone through a mono-color phase before, when in 2002 the Cardinals, Bills, Bears, Jaguars, Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, Eagles, and Seahawks all wore same-colored jerseys and pants at some point during the season, one year after only the Saints did. 2000 was the last year when no teams went mono-color.
    2000: link
    2001: link
    2002: link

    Mono-color has been worn at some point in every NFL season since, but I feel like the phenomenon slowed down a bit after that initial rush. In 2005, only three of those initial 9 teams still wore mono (the Bills, Jets, and Seahawks), although a few other teams had joined the trend by then.

    Obviously, Color Rush ramped the mono-color uniforms back up when it debuted in 2015.

    In the first five weeks of this season so far, 13 of the 32 teams have worn mono-colored uniforms at some point. We’ll see how many other teams join them by the season’s end.

    Please note that I’m not including mono-white uniforms in this analysis. That has a much longer and more established history in the NFL.

    I don’t have a problem with the mono uni, per se. What I detest, and detest as well even if a uni is *not* mono, is same color socks as pants. That is a much more recent phenomenon (directly attributable to CR, as previously the rules required low white socks). If you look at that 2002 link, ALL (but the mono-black Jags) had contrasting color undersocks, which mitigates the mono.

    And truth be told, black is the one color (if wearing black helmet/jersey/pants) I feel should be head-to-toe, as wearing any color socks BUT black with an all black uni in and of itself looks terrible.

    There is definitely more mono (jersey/pants) now, but that’s ok. What’s NOT OK is mono from shoulders to toes or head-to-toe. The leotard/yoga pants look is a relatively new phenomenon. It too shall pass.

    There is no retail money to be gained from pants! If the players want to do it once it a while, I don’t see the big problem.

    I get the sentiment that the Chiefs’ look is a classic one, similar to the Steelers, Cowboys, Packers, Raiders, etc. and they “shouldn’t have to do this”, but like I said in another post, the pants are traditional as they have striping. If they do this once or twice a season, I really don’t see the big deal.

    That’s the key for me; once or twice, fine. But changing to make it their primary look, WRONG ANSWER.

    I dont’ even think the Seahawks’ mono look is their best, the gray pants look much better. Not one mono look is their best look.

    Chiefs should know better than wearing this combination. As Paul has said: one of the best unchanged uniforms, both home and away, in set combinations. Even waring a yellow jersey would look better with the red helmet and red pants than this leotard look. The can is once again the winner of the day. Good fonts, nicely balanced, intriguing product.

    Good for you for going to jury duty.

    I covered jury selection for a couple of trials in my reporting days, and sat through several as a potential juror. I quickly realized these aren’t a jury of our peers, they are juries of people who couldn’t get out of it. If I am ever in that defendant’s seat — hopefully never — I’d rather have an actual jury of peers and not people who practically begged to get out of it to be deciding my fate.

    Glad you are doing it. Eat their candy.

    I don’t understand the comments about money driving the NFL color decisions. I’ve never seen pants for sale and people have always bought jerseys. Is the thinking that more people will buy tickets or watch the games on television if they wear the Color Rush uniforms?.

    Was going to say this. I’m extremely happy to see how butt hurt Chefs fans are that the only relevant thing about their franchise right now is Taylor Swift is dating a player on the team and not how good they’ve been the past five years.

    The mono look is pretty disgusting, but it is Creamsicle Week, so nothing can bring me down. Playing an old division foe, yes the Bucs used to be in the NFC Central kids, with pretty big implications in the NFC picture on the line between two historically bad teams will be fun. Dare I say if the Bucs beat the Lions it will give them a little more credibility, as the media has all but ignored their surprise 3-1 start.

    As a Raider fan I always think about Al Davis when I read other fans’ comments, it’s crazy how many people think the Raiders should get black helmets and pants. Obviously Al would’ve had none of that, but I do worry that it may happen with Mark or a future owner. Here’s hoping nobody messes with perfection, like the Chiefs did.

    Nike’s destruction of decades of football convention continues unabated. But hey, at least KC’s pants still have stripes.

    All Red KC versus All White Denver would have been better than what was there.

    But the Uniforms were actually the best part of last night’s crap show of a football exhibition.

    I say show up to jury duty with a briefcase full of crackers then someone will ask “ what’s in the briefcase?”
    You can reply “crackers”.

    I’m a journalist who just this week served on a jury for the seventh time; I’ve found that “they never pick journalists” thinking died some time ago. When I was younger, I was always dismissed; now I. never am.

    I can only assume KC chose all red since the Thursday game was Color Rush day for a while and this was their version of that. Either that or they chose a bad look because Thursdays are usually a bad game.

    I personally hate the mono look in the NFL. It works in MLB (for home whites and road grays, not the dark unis) and in the NHL teams that have a mono look have enough trim and striping to break it up successfully, but in the NFL it just doesn’t fly. Its almost tolerable as long as the socks contrast and the pants have stripes, but if they have neither…ugh.

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