Why Are Team Uniforms So Important?

Young Boys In Baseball TeamDid you know that even though the first official baseball game was played in 1846, no team wore an actual team uniform until the New York Knickerbockers took the field on April 4, 1849? And, yes, that was their actual name. Another 50 years would pass before all Major League Baseball players wore team uniforms.

Today, nearly all sports players and personnel don team apparel, from football team uniforms to softball team uniforms. On top of that, there’s also high demand for coaches apparel and fan merchandise, too.

So many young athletes take their uniforms for granted, but what is the point of wearing team uniforms? Why were they created and why are they considered to be so essential today? Here we will explore the importance of sports uniforms to teams and fans alike.

Identity

The most fundamental feature of a team uniform, and arguably the primary reason early sports teams adopted them in the first place, is to visually distinguish between competing teams and identify players during the game.

During a soccer game, for instance, the ball might be moving pretty fast. If you’re on the field, you need to know which players to pass to and which to keep the ball away from. Contrasting team uniforms help you stay aware of what is going on around you. For the fans, uniforms help you root for the home team and keep track of the game’s progress. But that’s not the only type of identity uniforms help promote on the field…

Unity

When you are all wearing the same cap and the same team colors, you truly feel like a part of the group. A uniform fosters team unity, which in turn can keep players motivated to succeed. It also creates solidarity between players and fans. Having a strong fan base is essential to a team’s morale, motivating players even further.

Equality

Every member of the team, from the star players to the benchwarmers and coaches, plays an important role in the game. Wearing identical uniforms creates a sense of equality, which is important when you are trying to win as a group. No individual is more important than any other, and that’s what teamwork is all about.

For all these reasons and more, team uniforms, colors, and logos are so important. By wearing and sharing, fans show their support and loyalty to a sports team and players show their dedication to each other.

But what would sports be like if players didn’t wear uniforms? Would team values change? Would the game be as enjoyable for fans? We might be biased towards athletic apparel, but let us know what you think!

Syracuse Orange Unveil Throwback Uniform Set

The Syracuse men’s basketball program on Friday morning unveiled throwback uniforms inspired by the set the Orange wore from 1983-94.

Syracuse will wear the road version of the throwback uniforms — which prominently display a script font across the chest and features traditional side panels — against Georgetown on Dec. 14 (1 p.m. on FOX). The Orange will then debut the home version against North Florida one week later on Dec. 21 (6 p.m. on ACC Network).

The only discernible differences between these uniforms and what Syracuse actually wore at the time is the manufacturer (the Orange were outfitted by Champion at the time) and the gold tab on the back collar, which indicates the program’s status as a school that won a national championship while being outfitted by Nike (2003).

This isn’t the first time in recent years Syracuse has thrown back to this era, as the Orange broke out a fauxback uniform that feature mismatched blue shorts in 2014. The program also wore the script font in 2016 in honor of the late Pearl Washington, who died that year at the age of 52 after battling brain cancer.

According to the school’s official release, Syracuse will make the jerseys available to the general public after the first of the new year through the university bookstore and the Orange’s official online shop.

Check out more photos of the throwback uniforms below:

NFL Honors 150th Anniversary Of First College Football Game With School-Specific Helmet Decals

This week marks the 150th anniversary of college football’s first game, which is why the National Football League allowed players from the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants to wear helmet decals with their alma mater’s logo during Monday Night Football.

The first college football game took place on Nov. 6, 1869, between Rutgers and Princeton. The Scarlet Knights — then known as the Queensmen — won 6-4.

College football programs across the country have worn either a CFB150 patch on their jerseys, a helmet decal or throwback uniforms to mark the momentous occasion. But this is the first time this season the NFL has acknowledged the anniversary of the game that turned many of its athletes into household names.

It’s just too bad this is a one-time thing instead of a permanent fixture on the back of the players’ helmet.

Report: Ohio State to wear familiar alternates in Fiesta Bowl

Ohio State is reportedly set to wear alternate uniforms for the College Football Playoff semifinal against Clemson. But don’t worry Buckeye fans, these are both familiar uniforms and ones supporters cherish.

According to Buckeyes Sports Bulletin beat writer and founder of OhioStateUniforms.com Andrew Lind, Ohio State will wear the home version of its throwback to the 1968 uniforms in the Fiesta Bowl. These will be almost exactly the same, just a different template, to the uniforms worn by the Buckeyes against Oregon in the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

Lind also reports that there’s a chance Nike returns the gray stripes on the sleeves to the Buckeye uniform full-time next year. This gray striping has been gone since 2006.

Despite being an iconic brand, the Scarlet and Gray are not unfamiliar with alternate uniforms. Ohio State has worn a different uniform for at least one game each year since 2009. That season, the Buckeyes debuted a white jersey and helmet to pay homage to the 1954 team. In 2010, Nike put out a 1942 throwback uniform with scarlet tops and gray bottom. The following year, it was another scarlet jersey and gray tops with a wide scarlet stripe on the gray helmet that was similar to the 1961 uniforms.

Starting in 2012, Nike stopped making discernable reference to previous Scarlet and Gray teams. That year’s alternates were not far off from Ohio State’s normal uniforms but with black stripes on the sleeves and big gray numbers. The following season it was similarly designed alternates but the white road version. The 2014 alternate uniforms were not far off from the regular look either but will forever be remembered for their significance in the College Football Playoff as the Buckeyes went on to win the national championship. The 2015 season was the first look at an all-black uniform for the Scarlet and Gray. In 2016, Ohio State went with an alternate uniform that looked similar to the Chic Harley teams that were the first to beat Michigan and win a Big Ten Title.

In 2017, the Buckeyes wore two alternate uniforms, sporting a gray and black outfit against Penn State and a white and black look against the Wolverines to end the regular season. Last season, the Scarlet and Gray wore another black uniform against Nebraska at home and did the same this year when Michigan State came to Ohio Stadium.

While alternate uniforms are often a topic of contention among Ohio State fans, most agree that the ones worn in the 2014 Playoff, which are essentially the same as these to be worn against the Tigers, are close enough to the traditional ones that it doesn’t cause many issues.

Celtics Unveil New ‘City Edition’ Jerseys To Mixed Reviews

The Boston Celtics have finally unveiled their “City Edition” uniforms, showing off their new threads to the world on social media Thursday morning. Fans won’t have to wait long to see the Celtics don them on the court, either.

The Celtics are highlighting Boston’s Irish roots with the green and gold jerseys, which feature “Boston” written across the front in a Gaelic font. The C’s will wear the jerseys a handful of times during the 2019-20 season, and will debut them next Wednesday night, Nov. 27, when they welcome Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets to Boston.

The Celtics also announced that they’d wear the jerseys in their two home games against the Philadelphia 76ers, and when the Los Angeles Lakers come to TD Garden on Jan. 20. The final time they wear the jerseys will be for the regular season finale on April 15 when they host the Chicago Bulls, part of the team’s Fan Appreciation Night festivities.

Here’s a look at the fancy new unis from the Celtics Instagram and Twitter accounts:

The team also put out a video to hype up the uniforms that really didn’t do much to hype anyone up:

As with any new set of threads, this year’s “City Edition” jerseys are being met by mixed reviews online. Fans seem to be OK with the color scheme for the most part, but are taking issue with the font, which looks like something you’d use back in 1995 when you just realized your computer had a bunch of different fonts.

Other’s had a few suggestions for Boston’s design team.

Many of the critics are pontificating that within the next few years, the lettering on Boston’s special jerseys will just be replaced with shamrocks — and potentially other shapes out of the Lucky Charms catalog. And with the NBA putting out new jerseys seemingly every few weeks, that is a real possibility.

The jerseys aren’t great, but they’re not terrible either. There will always be mixed reactions to new uniforms, but at least we can all agree on one point: They are better than those sleeved abominations from a few years back. Then again, anything is better than sleeved jerseys in the NBA.

Texas Rangers Go Powder Blue, Unveil Five New Uniforms

“Lean into the future with a nod to the past”

The Texas Rangers today showed off their uniform changes coinciding with their move into their new ballpark for the 2020 season. All four of the uniforms that were used by the Rangers this past season are getting an update to some degree, some bigger than others – and there’s an entirely new fifth uniform that’s been added.

Yes. It’s powder blue.

Carrying on baseball’s Powder Blue Revolution! The Rangers new powder blue alternate uniform will be worn for every Sunday home game, the Texas Rangers new powder blue uniform features a new “Rangers” scripted wordmark across the front in red, complete with matching pants and cap.

It’s the first time the Rangers have worn powder blue regularly since their road uniform was powder blue from 1976-1982.

Texas Rangers’ new 2020 powder blue home alternate uniform

Note, this uniform is not meant to be worn on the road.

Changes were also made to the home whites which now carry that updated “Rangers” wordmark across the chest, a similar design… kinda… to what was worn by the team at home, from 1984 until 1993. You may think of it as the Nolan Ryan-era script?

Texas Rangers new 2020 home uniform, shown with red cap

The Rangers home white uniform, as before, will be paired with either the red or the blue cap. What’s new in 2020 is the belts will be swapped out to match whichever cap is being worn. Blue cap? Blue belt. Red cap? Red belt.

Rangers new home red alternate uniform with new “TX” cap

The home red alternate jersey stays relatively the same aside from new striping on the sleeves (we’ll dive into that a little more later), but there is a new cap that goes with it. A “TX” on a state of Texas, a nod to the team’s two-year logo from the early 1980s.

On the road, not a lot of changes to the greys and the royal blues (I mean, Nike swoosh aside). Both of these jerseys will incorporate the new style sleeve striping seen above.

Player fonts are also getting an update, going from a double outline to a drop shadow to better match the Rangers “T” cap logo.

Here’s a comparison of the new fonts as well as the new sleeve striping, 2019 vs 2020:

You’ll see the royal blues also added a powder blue stripe on the sleeve. Nice.

All of the uniforms for 2020 will also include a special inaugural season patch to the new Globe Life Field stadium that the Rangers are moving into this year. This patch, of course, will be removed in 2021.

Other more minor changes to the uniforms for 2020 include a smaller Texas state flag sleeve patch, players apparently complained about how large it was last year. There will also be a new sock design which features the new “TX” logo:

A look now at all six (the five regular season uniforms and the new Spring Training set) of the new uniforms that were revealed today in Texas:

Arizona State Sun Devils Reveal Storm Gray Hockey Jerseys

The Arizona State men’s hockey team unveiled a brand new “Storm Gray” alternate uniform on Tuesday afternoon that will make its on-ice debut when the Sun Devils host No. 4 Denver on Dec. 6.

Arizona State’s gray alternate jersey follows the same design template as its home white and maroon road sets, prominently displaying the Sun Devils’ pitchfork logo on the chest and state-shaped captain’s patch is on the left shoulder. There are minor differences with the striping pattern, though, including a sublimated state flag design on the sleeves.

Arizona State will wear its new gray sweater with a gray helmet that features an inverted pitchfork, gray pants and gray socks use the same striping pattern as the sleeves. It brings the Sun Devils’ number of jerseys for the 2019-20 season to five, as the program also regularly wears a black alternate sweater in addition to its “gold heritage” jersey,which was unveiled earlier this fall.

Check out more photos of Arizona State’s new “Storm Gray” alternate uniforms below:

The Ugly Sweater: Presenting the worst uniform design in Lightning history

No. It’s not the one you think it is.

When SBNation asked all of it’s hockey sites for their worst (ugliest) sweater in franchise history, the Raw Charge staff darn near unanimously elected me to write the post. I’m assuming the belief is that anyone who would willingly part with money to purchase this jersey

would be the perfect writer to tackle this post. You know what, they were 100% correct. I had no doubt in my mind what I believed the worst jersey in Tampa Bay Lightning history would be. To my credit, I did put up a token act of “asking” all of the other writers/editors their opinion, but the poll was rigged. I had my pick and was sticking to it.

Over the twenty-seven year history of the Tampa Bay Lightning, there haven’t been too many bad jerseys. While the “worst” stuck out in my head immediately, coming up with two more to make an adequate list was a little tougher than I originally thought. Part of that comes from only really having three basic designs over the two-plus decades. While there has been some small adjustments to numbering and lettering design, the only real differences have come in their third jersey designs.

I’m sure some of you out there saw the headline and immediately had a jersey in your mind. Guess what? You’re wrong. And if you believe the Storm/Rain jersey is the worst design in Tampa Bay history, that’s ok, I understand. I don’t agree, but I understand. It’s like a graphic design department’s word cloud of Florida came to life in wonderful 90’s graphics and fonts.

That’s what makes it wonderful. It has character. While style may be too strong of a word, it at least has character, something that’s missing from the three jerseys that made our final list. The recently leaked designs for the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings jerseys for their Stadium Series game have drawn a lot of ire and mocking on social media. While I personally don’t care for them, at least they are something different. The designers tried something new and bold. Perhaps they went a little too far, but hey, sometimes you have to shoot for the stars if you’re going to land on the moon.

So, no the Storm/Rain jersey is not going to be our pick (and if you pick it in the poll below, we’re going to struggle to be friends). While not a Boomer, I am old enough to be willing to die on this hill. Not only that, but if the Lightning ever do get into an outdoor classic, I will lead a letter-writing campaign to insist they wear the Storm/Rain jersey.

After reaching a consensus, here are the three worst jerseys in Tampa Bay Lightning history. May we present them in order from not worst to worst:

3. The Disrupt the Night Third Jersey (2018-present)

Following a season of no third jerseys due to a designer switch (from Reebok to Adidas), Lightning nation waited with eager anticipation for new of a new third jersey. There was a lot of speculation online and hopes and dreams of a design that would live up to the outstanding season the team was having on the ice.

A picture was leaked and met with tepid response. The organization didn’t comment on the veracity of the design, but they also didn’t flat out deny it. Then, on February 7th, 2019, without any prior announcement, the team walked out onto the ice sporting pretty much an identical version of what was released. The response went from tepid to lukewarm.

This is definitely a sweater that looks much better in person than it does on T.V. or in pictures. The gradient sleeves are actually pretty cool and the gray on black color scheme is in keeping with the simplicity of the two regular versions. It feels like with a couple of tweaks, this could be a really great (if still plain) sweater. As time has worn on, it feels like the fan base is starting to come around on it a bit as well (despite the team’s record while wearing them). I do believe a few changes were already made to make the numbers and names on the back stand out a little more.

2. The “Bolts” Third Jersey version 2.0 (2014-2017)

It’s been a few seasons and we can admit it now. Yes, it’s a complete rip-off of the Los Angeles Kings sweater design from that time. The Lightning organization found a lot of blank Kings’ black jerseys and slapped the prior third jersey design (which was one of my personal favorites) on it and called it a day. They changed a perfectly fine third jersey in order to capitalize on the black sweater craze that was sweeping through the NHL at the time.

Remember when it seemed like half the league had a third jersey with a logo in a circle? The same thing happened with black sweaters around the middle of the decade. It’s a solid ok. Not really the most imaginative redesign of all time, but I’m sure it sparked some sales because there is nothing better than wearing a long sleeve, black hockey sweater to a game in Tampa when it’s 95 degrees outside.

1. The Redesigned Home Jersey (2007-2011)

I’m going to admit to a little bias on this one. A full 30% of my personal dislike of this jersey is based on the ownership group during the bulk of this logo’s existence. Oren Koules, Len Barrie, and whoever else was part of their cadre took a perfectly fine organization and damn near ran it into the ground. While the jersey design predates OK Hockey’s actual ownership of the team by a year, they are a stark reminder of the ineptitude of the organization during those days.

After being discussed since about 2000 and finally revealed in 2007 to coincide with new league partner Reebok the new jersey was designed to be lighter, more sleek, and water repellent. Lightning President said of the new design,

“We don’t consider this to be an extreme makeover of any kind, but we think the people at Reebok did a great job at giving the Lightning a crisp new look, while maintaining the essence of the logo we wore while winning the Stanley Cup Championship and the spirit of the original design implemented by Founder Phil Esposito 15 years ago.”

Which fuels the other 70% of the distaste for this jersey – the incompleteness of it all. It’s a redesign stuck in the middle. It’s as if the marketing wizards that came up with it ran out of time and ended up saying, “Let’s take ‘Lightning’ off the front crest, remove the white borders, and add some blue. Oh, and put the numbers on the shoulder. Boom, we’re done. Give us our money”.

Granted, with at least two different ownership groups involved at the time, the decision making was probably a little muddled as well. As the jerseys were being revealed at IceFest in the summer, the Davidson Group was still deciding which group of potential owners to sell the team to.

I attended Saint Leo College in Pasco County. Following my senior year, I hung around and worked at the college for minimum wage (History Major at work!). During that year, the powers that be brought in a consulting company to rebrand the college to reflect its changing nature and the growth of its on-line contingent. From what I gathered, their fees ranged into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the end, their rebranding was a campaign built around the phrase “Saint Leo – A new ‘U’”. The big change – Saint Leo College became Saint Leo University. That’s it.

The 2007-11 jersey reminded me of that. A half-hearted effort that cost way more money than it was worth. If they had gone from the old design directly into the current, that would have been great. It would have accomplished the desire to have a sleek, simple design and still keep the main element related with the organization – the Lightning bolt. For some reason, it’s just the home jersey that bothers me. The road jersey is fine.

It’s also wildly annoying that two of the greatest players in Lightning history (Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman) will forever have their rookie seasons marred by having to wear these sweaters.

Go ahead and vote. Leave your picks/reasoning in the comments below (keep it clean and respectful). Please remember that I basically hijacked the rankings and that the rest of the staff is mostly innocent.

Carmelo Anthony jerseys have already sold out at the Trail Blazers team store

Portland Trail Blazers fans are pretty pumped about Carmelo Anthony. Anthony hasn’t even played a home game with the team yet, but his jersey has already sold out in the Trail Blazers’ store.

That’s right, fans flooded the team’s store prior to Wednesday’s game to buy Anthony’s jersey. Roughly 45 minutes before the Trail Blazers were set to tip off against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Anthony’s jersey was sold out.

The 35-year-old Anthony signed with the Blazers on Nov. 19. The team has played four games since then, but all of them have been on the road. Wednesday was the first time Anthony would play at home with his new team, and he delivered.

Anthony posted 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting in a 136-119 Blazers win on Wednesday, highlighted by this jam.

Anthony has performed admirably since joining the Blazers. In five games, he’s averaged 16.6 points and 5.0 rebounds. Anthony also showed flashes of brilliance in the team’s last contest, dropping 25 points on the Chicago Bulls to lead Portland to a 117-94 win.

The fans don’t seem to mind that at the moment. They are just excited Anthony is around and putting up numbers. That excitement may fade if the team can’t recover from its 7-12 start, but, at least for now, Portland fans can’t get enough of Anthony.

The Miami Heat’s Vice jerseys are back with a new look. Check them out here.

The Miami Heat’s popular Vice jerseys are back once again with a fourth new look.

The Heat unveiled the newest edition of the alternate uniforms Monday and it adds a fourth color scheme to the wildly popular collection: blue. The “ViceWave” City Edition uniforms are on the way.

“ViceWave is the continuing evolution of the enormously successful Vice campaign,” a team press release said. “ViceWave shifts the action from Miami at night neons to the sun-soaked brightness of South Beach afternoon, with the color ‘Blue Gale’ taking center stage.”

Miami debuted the first version of the Vice jerseys two years ago when the Heat donned the original white look with the original Miami Arena script across the chest, “laser fuchsia” letters and “blue gale” numbers. The Heat followed it up with black “Vice Nights” jerseys last season and later added a pink “Sunset Vice” jersey to the collection, using the fuchsia from the black and white jerseys. Miami’s City Edition jerseys this season take the blue gale color from the past jerseys and make it the base color for the new jersey, accented with white numbers and pink lettering.

The Heat is set to debut the jerseys in action Friday against the Golden State Warriors at AmericanAirlines Arena. Jerseys and other ViceWave merchandise will go on sale to the public Wednesday beginning with a midnight madness event at the arena. All jersey purchases will come with a ViceWave toiletry bag, gym towel and sunglasses, while supplies last. Passengers on AmericanAirlines flight No. 68 on Monday also will be gifted a jersey as part of the team’s partnership with the airline.

“Every year when the new jerseys comes out you’re excited,” guard Goran Dragic said. You get so many texts and phone calls, especially from Europe. You get friends, they want, Hey can you hook me up with those jerseys? It’s tough to get them, but I like them a lot.”

The Heat will wear the jerseys 15 times this season, including at five of eight home dates in December. NBA teams are only allowed to wear each version of the City Edition uniforms for a single season, which means Miami will not bring back the Vice Nights jerseys this year. The black and white jerseys were both City Edition, while the pink uniforms were Miami’s “Earned Edition,” which the Heat got to wear as a reward for reaching the postseason the previous year.

This season, Miami has its basic white jerseys as its Association Edition, its standard black jerseys as its Icon Edition, its red jerseys as its Statement Edition, and now the powder-blue jerseys as the City Edition.

While the jerseys were just officially revealed Monday, photographs of the new alternate uniform have circulated since October when Tyler Herro mistakenly revealed them in an Instagram video filmed at the team’s internal media day.

“I love them. They’re beautiful,” the wing said. “I think they give a different vibe to the culture and everything like that.”

Take a closer look:

INJURY UPDATE

The Heat (11-4) will still be without forwards Justise Winslow, Derrick Jones Jr. and KZ Okpala on Monday when they host the Charlotte Hornets at 7:30 p.m. in Miami. Winslow hasn’t played since he suffered a concussion Nov. 5 against the Denver Nuggets, while Jones hasn’t played since Nov. 7 and Okpala hasn’t played since October. Jones is still dealing with a hip injury and Okpala has a left Achilles strain.

But Heat coach Erik Spoelstra revealed prior to Monday’s game that Winslow is expected to practice with the team Tuesday “and then we’ll gauge the next step from there.” When asked about the possibility of Winslow playing in Wednesday’s road game against the Rockets, Spoelstra said: “We’ll see. We’ll just follow the protocol. If he’s able to practice [Tuesday] and he feels good the next day, we’ll see.”

As for Jones, Spoelstra said: “Derrick thinks he can go right now. But based on what happened last time, he fooled us once. He’s super competitive and he wants to be out there. We just want to make sure that he’s fully ready to go.” Spoelstra added that he doesn’t expect Jones to be cleared for Wednesday’s contest.

Power forward Udonis Haslem is doubtful after missing shootaround Monday because of an illness.

Point guard Darryl Macon, meanwhile, remains with G League Sioux Falls and wing Dion Waiters is still serving his 10-game suspension, which will end after the Heat plays the Warriors on Friday.

The Hornets (6-11) are fully healthy.