Color Commentary on the Color Commentators

In case it isn’t obvious from our blog and our Facebook page, we’re kind of big on football here at Joseph’s.  And this is the time of year when we’re most excited about it: just as the preseason starts!  Preseason means football on television again for the first time in months!  It also means that in just a few weeks, those wonderful, cozy Sundays spent in front of the TV with friends and family watching America’s favorite game will be here again.  What does any of this have to do with us, custom suit designers?  Well, for one thing, a lot of our customers are NFL players and people associated with the League.  Which is a big reason football season is so exciting for us, especially based, as we are, in the hometown of the defending Super Bowl Champions!  But another fantastic pastime is returning along with the football season: the pre-game shows and their commentators, who are always, ALWAYS decked out in top-of-the-line suits and accessories.

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: just because a suit cost a lot or was made by a great company doesn’t automatically mean it looks good or that you’re wearing it right!  With that in mind, let’s take a look at the “big three” NFL pre-game broadcasts and their lineup of sartorially-minded sportscasters.
CBS – The NFL Today

CBS’ broadcast has the feel of being the most old-fashioned of the three.  While FOX, being FOX, is somewhat flashier, and NBC is full-on epic, complete with a John Williams-penned opening theme, CBS still feels like the broadcasts from the halcyon days of the Steelers and 49ers in the ’70s and ’80s (somewhere out there, a Baby Boomer Packers fan is rolling their eyes).  And their lineup of hosts is no exception.  Featuring the always stalwart Boomer Esiason, Dan Marino and James Brown, the group is perked up by “The Chin” himself, Bill Cowher, and the always energetic and hilarious Shannon Sharpe.  This is reflected in the way they dress:

Left to right: Sharpe, Marino, Brown, Cowher, Esiason.

Nice, all of them, but a little “run-of-the-mill broadcaster” in some cases.  Esiason and Brown could pass for Senators.  Marino spices it up a little with unusual ties.  This works sometimes, like in this picture, where the seemingly mismatched colors work with the pale blue undershirt.  Other times, not so much.

But check out Coach Cowher, who seems to have embraced the power of the pinstripe wholeheartedly. For a guy best known for this…

AAAAHHHH!!

He certainly cleans up well:

It’s very easy to overuse pinstripes and end up looking like a ’20s gangster. Cowher never does this, and always wears pale, subtle pinstripes, that accentuate his fit form, and make him look quite dashing.

But the winner on CBS?

He wears pink ties and pocket squares without a care in the world.

Shannon Sharpe take elements that would look garish and over-the-top on many people, and makes them WORK.  Mostly because he carries himself with a comfortable, happy, easy confidence.  If he felt awkward, he’d look awkward.  As is, he just looks classically flashy and suave.  And pocket squares can make an outfit all on their own, but only if they’re used right.  Sharpe uses them right, picking the right suits to add them to, and the right colors of squares to add.  Just look at this guy!

He KNOWS he looks good.

We cannot stress this enough, all the money and tailoring in the world doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the confidence and swagger to make it a part of you, like a second skin.  Sharpe does this in spades.

FOX – The NFL on Fox

FOX, flashy as it is with its orchestral hard rock theme and big, yellow graphics, would seem to be the perfect place for a bevy of Shannon Sharpes.  Instead, they have a group of more old-school names…

Left to right: Menefee, Bradshaw, Long, Strahan, Glazer, Johnson.

But they dress a lot flashier than their opposite numbers at CBS.  Colorful ties abound, as does a spectrum of suit colors, through blacks, blues, greys and even a touch of violet.  Some with pinstripes, some without, some with pocket squares, some without…  The experimentation looks great on the very, very tall Howie Long, who towers over everyone but Michael Strahan.  A three-piece black suit with a pale violet pocket square and tie?  Up-scale flashiness.  Nice.  But the crew cut isn’t doing him any favors.  Strahan has the same kind of comfortableness with color and style experimenting.  They both work, really, so it’s a tie here.

All bow before The Gap.

Gotta love the hatched lines in the fabric.

NBC – Football Night in America

Ah, NBC.  Poor NBC.  It’s getting torn a new one for its Olympic coverage right now, and the golden days of Must See TV are long gone.  But say what you will about the occasionally awkward Faith Hill intro sequence, NBC Sunday Night Football is probably the slickest sports production on TV right now, and the pre-game show is no exception.  Headlined by Bob Costas, the analyst team is an unusual mix of sportscasters, former players and coaches of extremely varied ages and styles.

C’mon, he’s been the voice of the Olympics for 20 years, Costas deserves his own picture!

Left to Right: Patrick, Dungy, Harrison.

Really, all of them do it well.  Costas, despite his small frame, always wears great color combos and well-tailored suits for his build.  Rodney Harrison has a lot of fun with his suits, bounding between traditional and blindingly unusual from week-to-week, and Tony Dungy and Dan Patrick are always sartorially solid, dressed perfectly every week.  So who wins this round?  The guy who isn’t there yet.

This guy.

Hines Ward will be joining Football Night in America this season, and a quick look at some of the more fantastic suits he’s worn over the years tells us he’ll be bringing a Sharpe-like fun and confident tone to the show.

Just leave the dance moves at home, Hines.

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