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Berginski: NFL Color Rush Uniforms Are a Bad Idea

By Staff | Nov 27, 2015

The National Football League’s supposed catering to the color blind could be admirable. But the way they’ve experimented with it, from conception to implementation, has been nothing short of terrible.

This year the NFL unveiled their monochromatic “color rush” uniforms, and they’ve appeared in a few games. The league wants all 32 teams to wear them for all Thursday night games next year.

The NFL has screwed up its handling of domestic violence and drug abuse incidents; concussions and player safety; and godawful officiating. You’d think a uniform would be the last thing they’d screw up.

And yet, somehow, they managed to do just that. When the Buffalo Bills played the N.Y. Jets, the Bills played in monochromatic red and the Jets in green. Do you see where this is going? No? Allow me to show you, or tell you. (I never know what to put in these things.) Eight percent of men and 0.5 percent of women with Northern European ancestry are red-green color blind. Because there are red and green uniforms, those with that type of color blindness wouldn’t be able to tell which team is which. Not to mention, any viewers in Tampa Bay, Fla., who are color blind won’t be seeing the Buccaneers’ new red uniforms when they play the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 17.

The Jacksonville Jaguars played the Tennessee Titans, and both played in color rush uniforms too. The Jaguars had this putrid color that’s supposed to be gold, and the Titans had blue. On Thanksgiving Day the Cowboys will play in white and the Carolina Panthers will play in all blue.

This may not seem like a problem considering only one in 10,000 are blue-yellow color blind. (Which is a bit of a misnomer, technically it would be blue-green colorblindness.) But there are quite a few teams who use blue as one of their colors: the Indianapolis Colts, the Carolina Panthers, the Dallas Cowboys (although they’ll be white), the N.Y. Giants. There are quite a few teams that use yellow/gold as one of their colors too: the Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, the Green Bay Packers (who also have green too, by the way). How many shades of blue, red, green or yellow are there? How many teams will have to wear all white or all black?

And it will all be for naught for those ultra rare breeds who can’t distinguish any colors at all.

There’s a perception that Thursday night games aren’t as good as Sunday and Monday night games – some of that may be due to quality of play for teams with short weeks. But with color rush uniforms, Thursday nights would be in a category all their own and would have their own uniform protocol. This would create a feeling that Thursday night games are not official.

Aside from how they look, my personal pet peeve is that we’re boiling teams down to primary and secondary colors rather than what are more truer descriptives. You know, like which teams have strong running games and which don’t. Which teams’ defenses give up the most points and which don’t. Which teams have won multiple Super Bowls, and which teams haven’t. Boiling it down to color vs. color takes all the nuance out of a game where even nuances can determine victory or defeat.

Another issue I have is this: If the NFL was doing this for color blind fans, why wasn’t this done years ago? Why do teams have to have so many uniforms? Teams have their home and away uniforms, some of them have “throwback” uniforms (uniforms that are supposed to pay homage to football from the days of old). Now they have another uniform to wear, which means that eventually it will get onto the consumer market. That’s right, the uniforms are another way to make money. While I have no problem with that (making money), it kind of negates any brownie points that were and could’ve been scored by such a maneuver.

(And plus people complaining about the uniforms make the game as much or more than I am makes the game less enjoyable to watch.)

While well-intentioned, the NFL’s experiment in monochrome-colored uniforms is poorly conceived in more ways than one.

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