Look for me on Twitter (@dancfuller) where I'll likely have a few uniform-related updates during today's games.
For catching up’s sake, the Eagles had no uniform-related news this off-season. No throwbacks like last year (boo) or 2007 (count your blessings), so it’s likely we’ll see the Black jerseys at some point, likely around Halloween (maybe against the Cowboys on October 30, though they may wear White to invoke the Blue Jersey Curse) or late November. For non-Eagles news, the Bills have an all-new uniform set, getting rid of their CFL/XFL-inspired disasters (quick review: they’re great, but why no Blue pants?), and the Giants supposedly have throwbacks to the 80s era, but they’ve yet to be announced. There have been rumblings about the Giants adopting throwbacks since they eliminated their Red alternates after the 2007 season but still no (official) confirmation in that direction.
The (potentially) big news which will likely amount to very little is that 2011 is the last season of the Reebok uniform contract, and Nike gets the NFL in 2012. And, gosh, if they did this to Oregon, what will they do to my team?! Relax, it’s the NFL, not a bunch of loosely affiliated colleges trying to appeal to 16 and 17 year old recruits. Maybe some of the teams with that dreaded-for-marketing purposes combination of modern-yet-stale designs and recent futility (Broncos, Seahawks – who've hinted at re-designs for next year) will go the re-design route. Though there's always the risk of a team following the 2009 Jaguars and fixing something that wasn’t broken because it will be easier to re-define the corporate brand in terms of PMS numbers and visual identity than actually creating a “tradition of winning”, don’t expect any crazy Nike NCAA silliness like “Stealth Numbers” (hint: I actually like the effect), team-branded gloves, camouflage, dye sublimation (think: anything with a gradient), or the like on an NFL team near you, especially not the Eagles, who have well-liked modern uniforms as well as a whole bunch of winning seasons within easy memory.
For uniform enthusiasts, the biggest news is perhaps the “opening” of the Gridiron Uniform Database. A simply amazing website you never knew you were missing until now. If you’ve ever gotten into an argument with someone who SWEARS the Packers had a Yellow alternate (they haven't worn yellow jerseys since 1954) because he saw them available online (likely from a counterfeiter) or with "that guy," who says the Saints never wore a Gold jersey in a game (they did, once in 2002), here is your argument ender. “You just got GUD’d!” Hmm, maybe not the next “Let’s Go Eat,” but it’s… something. Prepping for this season, I’m not sure how I did without the GUD last season (answer: with some inaccuracy about obscure combinations for the Falcons and Titans), but expect lots of links to their content . A great, great resource.
Speaking of resources, I’ve put together a publicly accessible image gallery for NFL uniforms, sorted by team. There’s not much metadata other than filenames which include the jersey and pants colors, but if you need to see photographs of the Titans in the rare White over White combo (against the Eagles in 2002, no less), it may be the only place where the pictures are collected as such.
And finally, the UniDictions will be a little different this year. Previously, I churned out the prediction between 11:30AM and game time on game day. Why? Because in the interest of accuracy, I wanted to review what the teams would be actually wearing. Unfortunately, though the Eagles announce their uniform picks the Tuesday before a game, few other teams do this. For teams like the Giants and Cowboys, there's no mystery as to what they will be wearing (heck, I wrote the December 2010 UniDictions for those games in China. Really!), but teams often have not just multiple jerseys but multiple pants options, too. Even staying within the division, the Redskins have three pants (the new-for-2010 yellow pants are still awesome, don't worry). So, when the Eagles are home in the latter part of the season and the Green jersey is guaranteed, the Redskins could legitimately show up in one of three different combinations. In the interest of easing my Sunday mornings, this season's UniDictions will be more general than last year's, taking into account the opponents' jersey and pants combinations as a whole.
This brings us to the Rams. The Eagles are visiting and announced they're in White over Green. It's unlikely the Rams would waste their throwbacks on the non-divisional-rival Eagles game, so they'll be in Navy Blue jerseys, but, like the Redskins, they've got three pants to choose from. Which will they wear?
Remember, this is scored like football. 7,6,3,2, or 1 point. And, as we retroactively learned last year, to make sense with UniDiction score, the real-game score wraps back to zero every 28 points, so 59-28 is the same as 3-28. Yeah. It's scientific.
Eagles - 6 points. Metallic "Midnight" Green is second only to Kelly Green in the hearts of Philadelphia football fans, and the wings are the kind of "functional" detail that really adds a lot of character to a helmet, much more than simply dumping the logo up there.
Rams - 7 points. Unfortunately, when one thinks of "functional" helmet designs, the Rams' horns are thought of, even before the Eagles, so they get the full 7 points, too.
Eagles - 3 points. I've put a lot of thought into it in the off-season, but while the White jersey might have grown on me, it's still not the Eagles best look. The trim and logo/wordmark usage is the throat and sleeves is executed just right. It's appreciated that the only "modern" silliness is a drop-shadow on the numbers instead of useless panels, yokes, and armpit highlighting features, but… White just isn't one of the Eagles' colors. Combined with the Green pants, it's not a good look.
Rams – 3 points. Like the Eagles, the Rams have a "modern-ish" jersey, but they weren't able to avoid one of the more gimmicky "modern" features: the shoulder hoop. Oddly, this feature is echoed on the White jersey, but it's used more as a visual break for the contrast-color "sleeves." Odd and rather bush league (read: CFL) for the White jerseys. Initially, I thought it was meant to evoke their old jerseys where the shoulder/sleeve included the ram horn, but it doesn't appear that way. The White stroke around the Gold numbers is a nice touch, though. I'll also point out that their shade of Blue is just that much too dark, and doesn't pop as much as it should.
Pants and Socks
Eagles - 2 points. In a vacuum where the Eagles pants exist in complete naiveté with respect to the final "look," the Green pants are harmless. Black/White/Grey stripes all “go” with Midnight Green. Seems like a pretty nice pair of trousers. Until you see them on TV when it’s not a bright day, and they're just a muddled, dark mess. Dark base material, two of three stripes are dark. No, thank you. This gives me an idea for a future article where I mock up some Midnight Green pants with a wide, White stripe. Don't worry, I'll include Black or Dark Grey stripes, too. I also think the socks should be Green instead of Black. Sue me.
Rams – 6 points. Here's where it gets tricky. The Rams have 3 different pants they actively wear. Interestingly, they're not just color swaps of each other. The Gold pants are a solid "field of Gold," (holy Gold pants overload in that picture) with no stripes, logos, or any type of accents, while the Blue pants and White pants look like simple color swaps, not unlike Mortal Kombat’s Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Oddly, they actually aren't. The Blue pants' striping actually goes White-Gold-Blue-Gold-White, and the White pants are a simpler Blue-Gold-Blue. Using a contrasting color for that super-wide stripe, as on the White pants, definitely looks better than hiding the center stripe in the base color of the pants. So, big thumbs-up for the White pants, indifferent but appreciating the use of the color for the Gold pants, and "meh" for the Blue pants.
Eagles - 3 points. At least they still look respectable in a rather unfortunate uniform combination, something some teams can't say. I've moved from "not feeling it" to outright "a little pitchy dog" "I don't like this" for the White over Green combination, so until/unless the pre-season White over White combination shows up in the regular season (like last year against the Jaguars), the Eagles aren't going to have a lot of (sartorial) success per my system in their White jersey this season.
Rams – 6 points. If the Rams choose to wear their Blue over Blue clownsuits, I'll regret granting so many points, but the Rams' signature look is the unique Blue over Gold, so expect to see that on Sunday afternoon. If they choose the rarer Blue over White, the Eagles are really looking for some hurt, because that is a really, really sharp look. Yes, I realize I sound like a grandmother using that terminology… but I’ll stand by it.
Thanks to The Gridiron Uniform Database, here’s a list of graphics showing all their combinations, year by year.
And in order of preference, some real pictures: