By Rob Carey
So many fans normally think of jerseys as merely utilitarian. It helps fans, and players, quickly differentiate between the home and away teams, the allies and the enemies. This is especially the case with American football where the players are covered from head to foot in colors and markings on the uniforms.
But jerseys are also an art form in themselves. They add to the entertainment. They can make teams more intimidating or happier. And they are especially important nowadays. As our socially-distanced lives become a new normal, we need new ways of adding colour to our lives. Let’s go through some creative ways to stay entertained within coronavirus restrictions before diving into the best and the worst from college American football jersey history.
Creative ways to get more joy out of NCAA football
We are all looking for new ways to get the most entertainment out of the American football season. Betting on NCAA football is an easy way to spice things up. Getting outside and tossing the pigskin back and forth is another safe way to stay connected to the sport.
Given the current state of public health, officials are asking us to reduce the number of unnecessary contacts. While getting together at a bar to cheer on our favourite team can feel like a need, health officials do not generally qualify it as one. That does not mean we have to enjoy the games any less.
This is where jerseys can help us. The more you know about them and their history, the more layers you can add to the game. Whether it be just enjoying them aesthetically while you watch the game, or understanding where each team’s jerseys come from, they are a great focal point for budding and veteran sports fans alike.
The nicest jerseys
Sometimes the nicest jerseys are the simplest. It is not always about having elaborate designs of postmodern art. Take, for example, Alabama. They simply combine two stark colours: crimson red and solid white.
However, they are an iconic combination that has been with the team for decades. Fans in the Southern US recognise them and hold them dear. Alabama, don’t even think about changing this classic design.
Boston College is another example of a classic colour combination. Their golden and brick red uniforms are the right mix of luxurious and steadfast. The actual design has changed, but the colours have been around long enough for them to become iconic.
The ugliest jerseys
Some colleges and universities are not so fortunate. Of course, if there are the best, we also must acknowledge the worst. Sorry if your team is in this category, but don’t worry, it won’t have any bearing on the outcomes of the matches.
UCONN provides a classic example of trying too hard. Rather than keeping it simple, they decided to get creative, and with the helmets of all things. They painted a husky peering over the players’ visors. It creates a strange effect. It does not quite look like a husky while looking at it straight on, but rather like something ambiguous, almost amorphous.
Kentucky gets an honourable mention in this category. While black and blue can be an intimidating combination in American football. When they appear in the form of checkerboard shoulder pads, well, then not so much.
Throwbacks Make a Comeback
Keep an eye on teams that want to honour their past. It is not all about innovating. Sometimes teams choose to return older jerseys to commemorate a big bowl or a historic season. They sometimes do it for a full season, or just for an exhibition match.
Over the last years, a number of teams have taken this route, including the Wisconsin Badgers, Notre Dame, and the Cincinnati Bearcats.