Friday, September 05, 2008

Any Given Sunday, jersey design, and the XFL factor

I watched "Any Given Sunday" the other day. Now, unlike a lot of people, I LOVE that movie - its my favorite Oliver Stone by a long shot. It gives just the right amount of history, brutality, showmanship, modernity, drama, and humor that make it the perfect (for me anyway) football film. Unlike baseball, which I love to watch glorified, stylized, and mythologized (favorite baseball movie: The Natural), football to me is much more visceral. I don't want my football heroes perfect. And I want there to to be some acknowledgement that there is a defense as well as an offense (and maybe even special teams...)

There's just one thing about the movie that has bothered me since the first time I saw it (ok, two things, but we'll pretend the "eye-popping" didn't happen, ok?) The uniforms for the Dallas Knights looked like they had been designed by... a costume designer. They were seriously, unbelievably, totally, completly, god-awful. I STILL can't see the movie without cringing every single time I see the giant ankh on the front and the "eye of providence" on the helmet. I know that Oliver Stone is in love with the Illumaniti, but crap, thats got NOTHING to do with football!

Well... wait a year... and apparently Vince McMahon's costume designers thought that the uniforms in Any Given Sunday were great, and although none sunk quite to the level of the Dallas Knights, they were still a step in the "Poochie" direction ("We at the network want a dog with attitude. He's edgy, he's "in your face." You've heard the expression "let's get busy"? Well, this is a dog who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.") Crazy fonts, big blocks of contrasting color, and above all, edginess. A couple of my least favorite and apparently the ones some teams in the NFL liked the most: NY/NJ Hitmen, Memphis Maniax, Orlando Rage (SHUDDER), and San Francisco Demons.

When XFL folded after one year, the NFL took some of its innovations to heart. The Skycam was a good one. XFL uniform design... not so much. But today many teams have done the XFL one better and we have such designs as the Chargers, Vikings, Falcons, Broncos (the Orange Crush needs to return - I may hate them as a team but I respected those uniforms), Cardinals, Ravens (actually, these would be ok without that font)... and then the real offenders like the Titans with their hideously ugly san-serif font and hockey jersey look, and the Bengals who have the absolute worst uniform in football. Its hard to know where to start.. with the ridiculous tiger-striped sleves and contrasting side color to the tiger striped pants. AGGGG. Sorry Bengals fans, but them things are UGLY.

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned and I want to see football players in uniforms that look like they're going to be playing football and not modeling for a Nike ad... or dressing in something a costume designer could have put together.

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