Welcome back to the “2+3+2 (+2)” project.
Click to see: AFC East
Today we’ll tackle the AFC South.
If you want to see the genesis of how this project came about, please refer to the AFC East post.
To sum up, the project parameters are the following:
• All teams will have 2 helmets, 3 jerseys, 2 pants and 3 socks
• All uniform elements will be “interchangeable” (any combinations can be worn)
• Some teams will be given two options: current uniform and throwback (or fauxback/alternate)
• Opposing teams will wear different color elements (helmet/jersey/pant/socks)
• Home team will select its color combo, and away team will then select its combos. No elements can match opposing team
• To the extent possible, uniforms will be based on a team’s current available options. Where no such options exist, they will be created such that every team has 2/3/2/3 options.
• Where present home and road (and/or alternate) uniform template designs differ, they will be “streamlined” to have one single format/style in the 2/3/2/3 parameters
• Color vs. color will be permitted. The only exception is only one team can wear its “dark” jersey (the opponent can pair their color “medium” jersey vs. opponent’s “dark” jersey)
The Colts have a long history, and for the most part their uniforms have remained unchanged for decades. They are also one of the few teams in the NFL to just have two colors: white and blue. Until this past season, when the team introduced a new helmet and uniform, with the cringe-inducing nickname of “Indiana Nights,” the Colts were a jersey and a helmet away from the 2/3/2/3 project parameters. We’re just going to forget the new helmet and uniform were introduced (does anyone really think the Colts should have a black helmet as their alternate?).
For my 2/3/2/3, I therefore needed to give the Colts a new helmet, and the obvious choice here is blue. It’s simply the inverse of their current helmet. Like the Jets (for whom I only had two colors, green and white) I needed to “create” a third color for a jersey and socks. Rather than go with basic gray (the team does have a brief history with gray pants and gray stripes), I decided to create blue-gray jersey and socks for their alternate color. I’d LOVE for them to add a blue helmet, but not the blue-gray so much.
The Jags have introduced more uniforms in the past two decades than any other team. In 2009, they replaced their (somewhat) classic uniforms with a new set that featured new fonts, odd jersey and pants striping, and — perhaps the best thing they ever did: introduced a new color-shifting helmet). Five years later, under Nike’s “artistic direction”, they introduced a very much reviled modern set that was pretty much universally disliked. Five years after that, they introduced their current set, a rather plain mix/match of black, “teal” and white, with a black helmet. So, if we keep them in their current uniform, all we need is a second color shell.
I added a teal helmet to mix/match with all their current combinations. That set was created for the 2018 season, meaning it has already outlasted the two prior iterations by a full season. So, it’s time for a change right? (I also got rid of the teal tongue on the Jags logo on the teal helmet, since real jaguars don’t have teal tongues.)
The team doesn’t currently have a throwback option, so I created one that’s based on their uniform circa 2000. They’d keep that template for a few years after 2000, eventually adding a black jersey and pants, and becoming a very black-heavy team. But I decided on an alternate path for them, emphasizing their more gold/tan alternate color found in the helmet… and well, the animal. (Incidentally, the team actually did make use of that alternate color with their universally reviled CR alternate). So for their secondary helmet I chose this slightly lighter gold color and created a new pair of gold pants. I stuck with teal, white and black for their jersey options, and went with white, gold and teal for the socks. The helmet would also have a gold mask option.
Despite being the youngest franchise in the NFL, the Texans have been surprisingly consistent and conservative over their life in terms of uniforms. In fact, they are basically wearing the uniforms they were born in today, but adding a red alternate uniform, CR uniform and an alternate shell (red helmet added last season). So they meet the parameters needed for the 2/3/2/3 right now.
While I’ve never thought the Texans uniforms were great by any measure, they’re more than adequate, and when the team doesn’t go full mono- they actually look pretty good. And this past year they’ve really expanded their uni combos by wearing the red helmet with both the CR uniform as well as their all red alternates. If only the city of Houston could have left the Oilers colors behind, even as they moved the franchise north. Which leads us to…
But what if the Oilers (Titans) had left their baby blues and red colors behind? Just for shits and giggles, I imagined what the team would look like in their current uni template but with those colors. It’s basically a swap of their current navy for powder blue. I kept the white and red jerseys the same (save for the powder blue->navy blue color swap), and replaced the navy jersey and helmets with light blue. There’s talk of the team redesigning for 2024 — and as we’ve seen recently, Houston still loves its baby blue. Perhaps something like this could be in order.
The Titans were another team to introduce a new uniform set in 2018, keeping their navy, light blue and white colors, but changing from a white helmet to their current blue lid. So, they’re due for a new uni set soon (I hope). And this past season, after years of fans begging for it, they brought back their Houston Oilers throwbacks to everyone’s delight. So — they technically have all the ingredients needed for a 2/3/2/3 project.
For this entire project, I’ve tried to keep a teams current uniform (at least one of them) as it is. But this is one instance where I have to change their current uniforms.
I have kept their current uniforms mostly in tact, but I have removed their ridiculous “sword yoke” on the shoulders, and (although it’s not easily seen in the mockups), their contrasting jersey panels, (and also — not shown — removed their two-color block “stripes” on the pants). I don’t love the uniforms with these slight modifications, but they look a lot better without them. But what about those throwbacks?
You know they need to do this. The throwback is currently just a home uniform, so I’ll give them white jerseys and blue pants, plus a blue helmet (which itself would be a throwback). All that’s needed is a new helmet and sock option. I could have gone red (as I did with the Texans, above), but instead I went for a combo of the blue and white jerseys, creating a jersey in a slightly lighter hue. I kept the current helmet logo, since they’d still be the Titans in this — just wearing the colors they wore when they moved to Tennessee. And if the Titans don’t want to embrace the baby blue, then the Texans should.
Thanks for indulging me, and I hope you at least enjoy the concept of 2/3/2/3. I’ll tackle the remaining five divisions in separate posts. Please leave any comments/suggestions/critiques in the comments below!