Enough with all this talk about Maize Jerseys and WV Lookalikes!!!

Submitted by Six Zero on February 6th, 2009 at 6:57 PM

First and foremost, I know it's been discussed here to some degree, and I'm certainly not going to list examples or try to flaunt it-- but I'm professionally involved in design and have done some sports branding and uniform design. I'm not saying that I know everything there is to know, and I certainly don't want to imply that no one else is entitled to their opinion.

BUT I have to say that uniforms, like anything really in the design world, can be a true art form involving sound decision-making with regards to aesthetic value, color balance, and innovation. It can ALSO be, and often is, an absolute train wreck when people with power make rash decisions without thinking things through-- remember the Islanders fisherman fiasco? Disasters can also happen when creative people are given the green light to run wild without proper respect to the brand-- i.e. Oregon State's sports bra look.

With that being said, let's be honest: THE HOME UNIFORM MUST NEVER CHANGE. No blue pants, no, maize jersey, nothing. It MUST ALWAYS be the same helmet, the blue jersey, and the maize pants. Period. We're one of the single most identifiable uniforms of the sport in any era, and must be respected as such. It'd be like the Yankees showing up in red dazzle.

Tradition in branding is something that cannot be invented nor neglected-- remember what happened when Coca-Cola traded in their tradition for something new? No matter how 'cool' you think it'd be to show up in black, or with maize shirts and blue pants-- we ARE tradition, and must be proud of that. The materials will change, the template of the shirt will be cut differently as pad design evolves, etc... but we must always wear a blue shirt at home with maize letters. To mess with this is to disgrace over 128 years of the winningest program the sport of football has ever seen. No one can boast that-- not even the Steelers.

Now, as for the AWAY jerseys, yes... I've been thinking about this recently myself. It's been established that the away will continue to change, simply because the icon is associated with the home design. We've seen many changes here, and we'll see more. I've been curious as to whether or not Rich will want to do something as early as next year, if only because he didn't actually have anything to do with the current design. It's also not uncommon to ditch a design after a particularly horrid year-- we see this alot in baseball. If Rodriguez did (or is) choose to ask for a new design, I suspect that in terms of simple sales strategy, Adidas will probably push to keep the same model on the shelves for at least one more year-- eating all of the replicas they've already produced would be a big loss. If they start designing now with regards to the 2010 season, they can assess their production budgets accordingly to phase the old design out.

Personally, my biggest beef with the current AWAY shirts is that they're a common Adidas template. Other than the maize piping below the back of the helmet, Arkansas wears the same shirt, albeit in a different color scheme. Other teams do as well-- Louisville? One of the biggest things that originally got me excited about the Adidas deal is that they promised exclusive Michigan designs-- things that would only be offered to us, like hoodies with winged helmet graphics, things like that. Then what do we do? Roll out in a stock Adidas jersey template that's just been re-colored to our specifications. Let's see something truly original, yet classy enough to hold a candle to our home shirts.

Either that or let's go back to throwback simplicity. Personally I've always loved the whites worn during the 80's, with the single color blue digits and the contrasting Northwestern stripes on the sleeves. Think classic Harbaugh on the road. We could possibly see an update on that basic idea. Who knows? I could even whip up some ideas just to illustrate my point. Either way, we have a reputation to uphold, and just throwing maize all over creation is not going to do it justice.

'N that's all I have to say about that.


blue edmore

February 6th, 2009 at 7:26 PM ^

I thought the all whites were worn in the early to mid-70's, not the 80's. If I'm wrong, then it's my bad.

But the all whites were pretty cool, and could be again.


February 6th, 2009 at 10:30 PM ^

.. the Home jerseys should NVER change. But it would be nice to have a new tradition start & wear maize jerseys during one game a year. I think that game should be MSU & OSU away since thats every other year and makes it one game a year. People used to say the same thing about the maize on the basketball jerseys until the Fab 5 came and then everybody thought it was the FKN Shiz, First off if you made an official Maize jersey by Adidas and we started winning some really big games again it would sell like hotcakes. That only helps with recruiting & recognition.


The FannMan

February 8th, 2009 at 4:32 PM ^

I have to disagee with the maize football jersey idea. I love the b-ball and hockey maize jerseys - they look great. (I am actually wearing a maize hockey jersey as I type this.) BUT, I have seen some fans with maize football jerseys and, in my opinion, they look like total crap. (Sorry if you happen to be one of those fans - just my opinion ya' know.) I don't know why they look good for basetball and hockey, but shitty for football. They just do. I think that this is true for WVU, Orgeon, GaTech, etc. The light colored jerseys just don't work for football. Blue Jerseys, yellow pants. Period.


February 6th, 2009 at 10:31 PM ^

I would even take it a step further. Neither our home NOR away jerseys should be changed AT ALL color-wise. Keep the jerseys simple. Let the helmets speak for themselves.

P.S. NEVER, EVER want to see blue pants or maize jerseys.



February 6th, 2009 at 10:36 PM ^

Remember Ricky Leach and the maze and blue stripes down the legs of the white pants from the mid 70's?

I think going retro/throwback would be cooler than anything the adidas designers could come up with.


February 7th, 2009 at 1:03 AM ^

Nicely done. I'd first like to say if I ever walk into the Big House and see anything different than the classic jersey, I will immediately vommit, then leave and never return. I also prefer the Nike jerseys to the Adidas, maybe I'm just not used to those three stripes yet, but we'll see. Preferably, I would want to return to the plain white/plain blue numbers (maybe a thin maize outline) and the maize arm stripes. I hate those streaks on the side of the away jerseys, they look ridiculous.


February 7th, 2009 at 11:40 AM ^

Don't forget Florida played The Citadel at home this year, late in the season too. They get plenty of respect, and the wide point margin tricked the computers into giving them more points and a spot in the big game over Texas. In the future, these games would do the same for us. Yeah, it was great having Carr never run up scores and not scheduling I-AA schools, but we never had point margins or enough style points to ever win out a close BCS vote. Also, winning big is fun, I don't care who you're playing.

st barth

February 7th, 2009 at 9:10 AM ^

I agree that the home uniforms should remain untouched. My larger issue is with the choice of Adidas? Couldn't we have gotten somebody a little more fashionable? Maybe Lacoste...or the sport division from Prada. Even Puma would be better than the stodgy Adidas brand.

Super J

February 7th, 2009 at 11:53 AM ^

As long as we have ultimate veto power it doesn't matter who designs our uniforms. Look at Oregon, They are so whipped by booster Phil Knight that they can't tell him no. Nike has come up with something like 7 million different ways to combine their colors and all are garbage. They even added new school colors, still garbage. They would get laughed at less if they would have kept Donald Duck's illegitimate step child on their helmets.


February 8th, 2009 at 1:44 AM ^

Home unis must never change. The alumni and other Michigan faithful will not let that happen. You see what happened with the dumbass halo a few years back. Here one day...people raised hell...gone the next.


st barth

February 8th, 2009 at 1:37 PM ^

The maize halo on the exterior of the Michigan Stadium was not "dumbass"...it was pretty awesome.

I've always been puzzled as to why so many people found it so objectionable. Oh well.

The uniforms, however, are very important. The design should remain fundamentally the same...with only evolutionary changes over the years as technology progresses.


February 9th, 2009 at 10:54 AM ^

Did you actually see the halo? It was beyond terrible. There are a lot of things that divide the fanbase, the halo was one of the few things that the vast majority of the fanbase agreed on, and for very good reason.


February 8th, 2009 at 2:29 AM ^

"Think classic Harbaugh on the road. We could possibly see an update on that basic idea. Who knows? I could even whip up some ideas just to illustrate my point."

I support this!


February 9th, 2009 at 1:46 PM ^

The halo was tacky. It made me feel like I was walking the Midway at the county fair. The only thing missing were garish neon lighting and diminutive carnies.


February 9th, 2009 at 4:50 PM ^

Any combination other than blue jerseys with maize pants or white jerseys with maize pants is atrocious. Honestly, how could you change a classic, like the best jerseys of all time? YELLOW JERSEYS ARE RETARDED-THERE ARE NO GOOD-LOOKING YELLOW JERSEYS IN FOOTBALL! West Virginia looks ridiculous, as does Oregon, and Central (if you saw it, it's awful) among others. I agree though, that the pointless, adidas, yellow lines on the away uniforms should be gone. Go back to the retro jerseys, if adidas can understand that. (I know-it's really hard.)

Helmets should be blue with the maize wings.
The pride stickers and the numbers just detracted from it.

These uniforms are the classiest in all of sports.

By the way, no white-on-white jerseys have ever been worn at Michigan. Nor should they be.


February 9th, 2009 at 4:58 PM ^

Make the wings stick out of the helmet like viking horns and body paint the numbers on their bare chests. Maize loincloth and blue scimitars. It would totally intimidate.