Best and Worst NFL Uniforms

Last week, we took a quick look at the three new uniforms being donned by NFL teams this year (we were fans of only the one).  Well, we’re another week closer to the official start of football season, so let’s take a look at the other 29 uniforms, too, and pick the three best and the three worst of them.

BAD

Cincinnati Bengals

257452-cincinnatti-bengals-2012-nike-elite-51-uniformThis one is always controversial.  Some people love it, some people hate it, and no one is in-between.  We actually like the colors and the basic lines…  But the stripes.  Oh, the stripes.  This uniform makes the team look like they came onto the field via a time warp hidden inside your trapper keeper in 1987.  Considering the Bengals’ history since the ’80s ended, maybe that’s not surprising.  The helmet stripes aren’t that offensive, but using the pattern in place of stripes, like some kind of unholy union between football and the female cast of “The Jersey Shore”?  No, no, no.

GOOD

Oakland Raiders

257459-oakland-raiders-2012-nike-uniformYeah, we’re pretty much required by football law to have this one on the “best” list.  It’s just a classic in every way.  Virtually unchanged in 40 years, and with good reason.  The colors are fantastic, the use of them is great, and balanced, the lines and fonts are old-fashioned, but in a wonderfully classic way, not a way that feels “old”…  Even the borderline absurd pirate logo is perfect (can you imagine what horrors would have come out of some ’90s or early 2000s redesign?).

TERRIBLE

Carolina Panthers

257457-carolina-panthers-2012-nike-uniformSo, so dated.  The Panthers uniform is another that has barely changed over the years…  And that is not a good thing.  The Panthers debuted in 1995, and boy, does it show.  The stripes are too wide and awkwardly placed, and that fluorescent blue is eye damaging.

GREAT

Green Bay Packers

257456-green-bay-packers-2012-nike-uniformThe Packers uniform almost always tops these sorts of lists.  They are, like the Raiders uniform, a perfect example of only making minor tweaks to an otherwise unchanging design over the decades to amazing effect.  The color combo of deep green and yellow is surprisingly pleasing to the eye (we dare you to try wearing street clothes that color and making it work), and the logo is as perfect as sports logos get.  The image of the uniform by itself automatically brings to mind images of Brett Favre, Bart Starr, Aaron Rogers, and the entire state of Wisconsin.

HORRIFYING

Jacksonville Jaguars

BIjcNWpCQAANBKG.jpg largeOh, yes, here it is again.  Just like last week, this one is just the worst.  The worst of all 32, in fact.  As we said then, the almost embarrassing attempt to be “XTREEEEEM” is terribly done, with the absurd shoulder stripes, chest badge, and insane two-toned helmet.  It looks like something a supervillain in a comic book circa 1994 would wear.

FANTASTIC

Chicago Bears

257453-chicago-bears-2012-nike-elite-51-uniformPerfect, in every way.  The wonderful, old-fashioned stripes, the great combo of navy blue and burnt orange with white, the “GSH” label honoring George Hallas…  Classy from top to bottom.  The logo isn’t quite as good as the Packers logo, but it’s close.  And, a special bonus, it looks just as good in its road colors as in its home colors, something you don’t see often in the NFL.

New NFL Uniforms

Our beloved football season is almost here again, and what better way to celebrate than with a quick look at the minor “fashion” changes in the league this year.  Namely, the new uniforms three teams have adopted.  Let’s dive right in!

Minnesota Vikings

130425090849-adrian-peterson-minnesota-vikings-uniform-single-image-cutVery nice.  Very, very nice.  The Vikings have fully embraced their true purple color scheme now, eliminating the white and yellow highlights nearly across the board, and brightening the purple to a much more vibrant shade.  The leg stripes are gone altogether, while the sleeve stripes have been greatly minimized. There’s also some minor, nifty altered touches to the fonts on the uniforms, too.

logoThe logo was only slightly changed, with the viking’s hair braids a bit looser, his horns a bit more curved.  Don’t mess with a classic!  This is  a pitch perfect modernization of an otherwise set-in-stone, and classic look.  Perfect.

Miami Dolphins

temp_OZA4342--nfl_mezz_1280_1024_originalLess perfect, but still pretty good.  The colors appear to have been made more vibrant, just like the Vikings upgrade, and the fonts have been made more futuristic.  The orange in the uniforms has all but disappeared, relegated to only minor touches here and there.

tempEMMS9576--nfl_mezz_1280_1024_crop_exactThe logo, on the other hand, has undergone a complete makeover, with the old dolphin, which had barely changed since the team’s inception, replaced with an entirely new one.  It’s in a different position than the old, and instead of leaning down, as if jumping through something, is now pointed upwards, soaring into a jump.  We’re not sure about it, it’s a bit bland, and the old logo, though it was kind of silly, was honestly lovable.

Jacksonville Jaguars

BIjcNWpCQAANBKG.jpg large…Oh.  Oh, dear.  Well, points for trying something new, at least.  This one is a nearly complete overhaul, and virtually eliminates the teal in the uniform in favor of black and more black.  Do we really need another all-black uniform in the league?  But the minor details are a bit bonkers.  It looks like they’re trying to attract the middle school set…  Circa 1993.  Everything is XTREEEEM (if you were a kid in the late ’80s/early ’90s, you will instantly know what we mean)!  The spikes on the fonts, and the stripes on the shoulders look more at home on a supervillan than a football team.  And what’s with the sleeves being different colors?  We are not fans.

jaghelmetAgh!  What?  The logo has been updated a bit, with slightly altered, more rounded and realistic features on the Jaguar head: this we like.  But a two-tone helmet?  It’s unique, we’ll give them that, but it looks a little too much like a college team, to be honest.  They could look truly awful in bright Florida sunshine.

A Brief History of the Super Bowl

As huge football fans, we here at Joseph’s Custom Clothiers excitedly watched yesterday’s Super Bowl XLVII.  It turned out to be another great game, even with the half hour-long power outage!  Congratulations are, of course, due to the Baltimore Ravens on their stunning win!

And their epic confetti angels.

And their epic confetti angels.

This 47th iteration of the Super Bowl marks a special point for the NFL.  There has officially been a Super Bowl at the end of the majority of NFL seasons now.  For 46 years, there was an NFL with no Super Bowl, something that’s almost impossible to think of now!  After 47 years of the “Big Game,” it’s easy to take the over-the-top spectacle of the event for granted.  It feels like there’s always been a Super Bowl, and that they’ve always been these huge meta events.  Of course, that’s far from the truth.  Last year, we posted a blog entry about the history of Super Bowl halftime shows, and how they went from Up With People and college marching bands to Madonna and Black Eyed Peas and massive pyrotechnic displays.  But that’s just scratching the surface of the changes…

Going all the way back, the Super Bowl was created for a very specific reason: competition.  From the NFL’s founding in 1920 up until the 1960s, there simply wasn’t another football league that could compete with the NFL’s total dominance of the sport in North America.  Any league that tried was either shuttered, or absorbed into the NFL.  But then along came the American Football League, or AFL, in 1960, who, instead of just trying to be another football league, tried new and unique rule changes and quirks to make themselves a legitimate companion league to the NFL.  The NFL and the AFL clashed mightily for six years, before finally deciding that the endless battling for players and fans was just hurting both of their bottom lines, and that they would both be better served by merging.  Combining the 16-team NFL with the 10-team AFL would take some time, though, and so a special championship game was created, to be played between the champions of both leagues, in order to get the public familiar with the idea of the two sets of teams competing directly until the actual merger in 1970.

The first Super Bowl was played at the end of the 1966 Season, between the NFL champion Green Bay Packers, and the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs.  It wasn’t known as the Super Bowl at first.  It was officially the “First AFL-NFL World Championship Game.”  That…  Doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

500px-Super_Bowl_I_Logo

Or lend itself to stunningly attractive logo design…

But in a letter to NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, the Chiefs’ owner Lamar Hunt wrote, “I have kiddingly called it the ‘Super Bowl,’ which obviously can be improved upon.”  The media, for obvious reasons, liked this name a lot better, and by the third game at the end of the 1968 Season, it had become official.  Hilariously, Rozelle’s first choice for an official name was “The Big One.”

Over the years, the growth of the Super Bowl from a relatively minor, even ignored sports event to the multimedia juggernaut of today is truly staggering.

Super Bowls have gone from this…

blogSpanTo this!

020313_sbusa1Super Bowl halftime shows have gone from this…

Pictured: $4,000 worth of entertainment.

To this!

130203215350-beyonce6603-single-image-cut

Super Bowl cheerleaders have gone from this…

1971-cheerleaderTo this!

super-bowl-xxvi-cowboys-cheerleaderSuper Bowl rings have gone from this…

Super-Bowl-ITo this!

Super-Bowl-XLVSuper Bowl fans have gone from this…

jets-fans2To this!

130203194447-fans-op6p-26163-mid-single-image-cutAnd Super Bowl winners have gone from this…

09000d5d8184d551_gallery_600To this!

gty_ravens_won_kb_130203_wblogBigger!  Bolder!  Louder!  Everything about the game, from top to bottom, has grown in leaps and bounds over the years.  The first Super Bowl couldn’t even sell out the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, with $12 tickets.  Current tickets are usually well into the four-digit range for the nosebleeds, and are sold out far in advance.

In many ways, the Super Bowl’s gradual explosion in popularity can be attributed to two people.  One was Bill Walsh, who popularized the West Coast Offense with the 49ers in the ’80s, and turned what was before a slower, more defensive-minded game into a much more fast-paced and exciting sport, which appealed far more to the masses.  The other person was Joe Namath.

130124135002-03-super-bowl-namath-single-image-cut

This guy.

His famous “guarantee” that the Jets would defeat the overwhelmingly favored Colts in Super Bowl III brought enormous attention to the game on its own.  The fact that he and the Jets actually pulled it off was so shocking, it completely changed the way people thought about the AFL teams, which became the core of the new AFC, and the way people thought of the Super Bowl.  People started watching because of “Broadway” Joe.

Some quirks about the game that have coalesced over the years…

  • Super Bowl Sunday, practically a national holiday in its own right, is the second biggest grilling day of the year after Independence Day.
  • 1.23 billion chicken wings are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • 49.2 million cases of beer are drunk on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • Last year’s Super Bowl XLVI was not only the most watched Super Bowl of the 47, it was the most watched broadcast in US history, with approximately 111.3 million viewers.  What’s more, of the top 10 rated broadcasts in US history, nine of them are Super Bowls (the tenth was the last episode of “M*A*S*H”).
  • 30-second Super Bowl ads cost $3.8 million a piece this year.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers have the most Super Bowl wins, with 6, and are tied with the Dallas Cowboys for most appearances in a Super Bowl, with 8 each.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Dallas Cowboys is the most common Super Bowl matchup, having been the focus of three Super Bowls (X, XIII, XXX)
  • The Buffalo Bills have the ignominious honor of having both the most consecutive appearances in a Super Bowl, with 4 (XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII), as well as being tied for the most Super Bowl losses, namely those 4 games.  The Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots have also lost 4 Super Bowls, but not in a row!  The Bills also hold the record for committing the most turnovers in a Super Bowl, with 9 in Super Bowl XXVII.
  • Joe Montana was named Super Bowl MVP more than anyone else, 3 out of his 4 Super Bowl appearances (XVI, XIX, XXIV).
  • The Mercedes-Benz Superdome has hosted the Super Bowl more times than any other stadium, 7 times.
  • The oldest person to play in a Super Bowl was Colts kicker Matt Stover in Super Bowl XLIV, who was 42 years, 11 days old at the time.
  • The biggest blowout in super Bowl history was the 49ers’ 55-10 victory over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV.
  • The closest game in Super Bowl history was the Giants’ 20-19 victory over the Bills in Super Bowl XXV.
  • While teams have won back-to-back Super Bowls 8 times, no one has ever won 3-in-a-row.
  • Only 4 of the NFL’s 32 teams have never been in a Super Bowl, the Cleveland Browns, the Detroit Lions, the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • No team has ever come back from being down by more than 10 points in a Super Bowl and won the game.
  • The most points scored by in one Super Bowl was in Super Bowl XXIX, when the 49ers and Chargers scored 75 points combined.
  • The most attended Super Bowl was the 103,985 attendance of Super Bowl XIV, thanks to the massive capacity of the Rose Bowl.
  • There has never been a shutout in the Super Bowl.
  • There has never been a Super Bowl that went into overtime.
  • 14 of the league’s 32 teams have yet to win a Super Bowl.
  • The home team alternates year-to-year between the two Conferences, with the AFC team being the home team in odd-numbered Super Bowls, and vice versa for the NFC team.
  • No team has ever played the Super Bowl in its home stadium.
  • The NFC team won every single Super Bowl from Super Bowl XIX to Super Bowl XXXI.

Expansion, Contraction and Relocation (Not of Waistlines)

Let’s go off topic, and talk sports!  In case it wasn’t extremely obvious, we’re big football fans around these parts.  Being based in the New York area, location of NFL Headquarters, and within 200 miles of 6 different NFL teams’ stadiums, we’re right in the middle of the action every season. The only way we could be in a more football-centric location would be if we opened a showroom inside the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio!  And, of course, as we have made no secret, we’ve made suits for many current and previous NFL players and personalities, and we have pals at every level of American Football.

We’re kind of a big deal. People know us.

So, yes, we watch a lot of football, and we get invested in the insanely complicated rules, the crazy draft and trade processes, injury reports, logo designs, Super Bowl host city debates, all of it.  But the one subject that has always fascinated us, and has inspired some moments of truly intense passion/hate, is the relocation of teams, and the expansion of the NFL through new teams.

The NFL is, without a doubt, one of the stablest sports leagues in history.  That might have something to do with all of those “record profits” we keep hearing about.  The NFL hasn’t contracted, that is to say, shuttered a team, since 1952.  The other three major sports leagues in North America have all come close in the interim, and none of them expanded at anywhere near the speed, or with the success, that the NFL did.  This stability extends to relocation, too.  When a team moves to a new city, it’s almost always an extremely acrimonious affair that utterly breaks the hearts of the city being abandoned.  Multiple NBA, NHL and MLB teams have all relocated in the past few years, while the last NFL relocation was in 1997, with only another four going back to the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 (six if you count the Raiders leaving Oakland and then coming back).  Relocation is serious business for the League, and expanding into a new market is always a risky affair, threatening to dilute the talent of the player base nationally.

Behold the 50-team NFL!

However, there are some glaring gaps in the current NFL map, and the NFL’s incredible stability means it very well could handle another expansion or two in the near future.  To that end, let’s prognosticate, and look at where teams might be added, what teams are in danger of leaving and to where, and what teams actually started somewhere else (some of these are VERY surprising).

WHO’S FROM WHERE?

You hear the words “Chicago Bears” and it sounds downright eternal.  Meanwhile, say the word “Oilers” to someone under 25, and they’ll likely stare at you blankly.  Most of the older, legacy teams in the NFL started out somewhere else than where they are now.  In some cases, even their team name changed!  And yes, some of you reading this are nodding your heads sagely, saying, “OF COURSE I know the Rams were originally from Los Angeles.”  Yes, they were.  By way of Cleveland.  Like we said, there’s been a lot of moving over the years.  Ignoring all of the old, small market teams that defined the early NFL and mostly closed up shop (the Packers are the only one of these left with the same name and city as back then), let’s go over who’s actually who here.

  • The Chicago Bears were the Chicago Staleys were the Decatur Staleys (what the heck is a “Staley”?)
  • The Arizona Cardinals were the Phoenix Cardinals were the St. Louis Cardinals were the Chicago Cardinals
  • The San Diego Chargers were the Los Angeles Chargers (yes, L.A. lost even more teams over the years)
  • The Kansas City Chiefs were the Dallas Texans
  • The Indianapolis Colts were the Baltimore Colts (do not mention the name “Irsay” within 50 miles of Baltimore if you value your life)
  • The Detroit Lions were the Portsmouth Spartans
  • The New England Patriots were the Boston Patriots
  • The Oakland Raiders were the Los Angeles Raiders were the Oakland Raiders (we swear Al Davis was just messing with the League here)
  • The St. Louis Rams were the Los Angeles Rams were the Cleveland Rams
  • The Baltimore Ravens were the Cleveland Browns…  Sort of (do not mention the name “Modell” within 50 miles of Cleveland if you value your life)
  • The Washington Redskins were the Boston Redskins were the Boston Braves
  • The Tennessee Titans were the Tennessee Oilers were the Houston Oilers

And, just to make your head spin more, the New York Jets began life as the New York Titans, and the Pittsburgh Steelers started out as the Pittsburgh Pirates.  And we haven’t even mentioned the plethora of now defunct teams from back in the day!

Obamacare is easier to understand.

WHO’S GOING WHERE?

Now, on to the meat and potatoes.  What teams are in danger of leaving, and where might they go?

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo has lost huge portions of its population over the years, just like the rest of the Rust Belt.  But combine that with Buffalo’s poor economy and intense, agonizingly painful football history (even the Cigarette Smoking Man plots against them), and you have problems.  The Buffalo fan base is dedicated, though, even with four years of Super Bowl hell.  But the team is not profitable.  Seats at Ralph Wilson Stadium are the cheapest tickets in the league, and the merchandise is among the poorest-selling.  But the biggest issue here is that the owner, Ralph Wilson, is 93.  And though he has no intention of moving the team, when he’s gone, the next owner likely won’t feel the same way.

Where might they go?

Toronto: “It’s Like Albany, But Cleaner”

Believe it or not, The Great White North.  As the only major North American league in just one country, the NFL desperately wants to expand into Canada, CFL or no, and they’ve been testing the waters by having the Bills play a Regular Season game in Toronto yearly, soon to be two games.  And Toronto is a good sports town, as well as the fifth largest city in North America.  The writing is on the wall here.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The NFL may have made a mistake when they awarded one of the two new 1995 expansion teams to Jacksonville.  Jacksonville is a big city only on paper, with most of the metro population spread across a huge, mostly rural area.  Meanwhile, Florida already has two other NFL teams with built-in fan bases, and North Florida is far more interested in college football, like the rest of the Deep South, than the mostly Northern-transplant-populated South Florida.  Add in seventeen years of near-futility, and you end up with a partly empty stadium for every game, resulting in local blackouts, where people in Jacksonville can’t even watch their own team!

Where might they go?

San Antonio! You could do worse!

The second biggest American city without an NFL franchise, San Antonio has been on the NFL’s radar for some time.  After Katrina made the Saints temporarily vulnerable, a definite effort was made by the city to lure the team from New Orleans.  Texas is football-crazy as a rule, and has more than enough people to support three teams.

Oakland Raiders

Al Davis’ death has made an already tenuous situation more unstable.  The Raiders now play in the second oldest stadium in the league (after the storied Lambeau Field), share a media market with a more popular team (the 49ers), and have years of bad blood with the city government in Oakland.  Davis, infamous curmudgeon that he was, made no secret of mulling over departing Oakland for greener pastures, just as he did for the exact same reasons in 1980 and 1981, before he took off for Los Angeles in 1982.

…After suing the entire NFL when they wouldn’t let him go. Say what you will, the man had chutzpah.

Where might they go?

Los Angeles. No, seriously.

Wait, what?  Really?  BACK to Los Angeles?  After going BACK to Oakland FROM Los Angeles?  Good God, Al Davis is flipping off the League from beyond the grave!

All kidding aside, L.A. has been without a team since 1995, when BOTH of its teams split at the same time.  Los Angeles is the second biggest city and media market in the United States, third biggest on the continent.  You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but the League has been dragging its heels for years.  The more cynical amongst us have suggested this is deliberate, in order to use L.A. as a club with which to frighten cities into ponying up for new stadiums and facilities, lest their team bolt for L.A.  The less cynical opinion is that A, there’s no stadium of sufficient size and modernity in the area, and B, the NFL wasn’t exactly a slam dunk last time.  L.A. is not a sports town, it’s an entertainment town, and the teams that succeed there, like the Dodgers and Lakers, understand that, and use it.  The NFL didn’t.  But this is a much richer, flashier NFL than back then, and they’d be fools to pass up such a gigantic market.  And there is a solid stadium proposal with backing from the City of Los Angeles on the table.  Stay tuned.

St. Louis Rams

The Rams have been having a terrible few years.  Bad season after bad season.  Losing their longtime owner and hometown girl, Georgia Frontiere.  Winding up in a new, but poorly designed and perpetually dark stadium.  Being based in another one of those drying up Rust Belt cities, this one best known for its rampant crime problems.  Rumbles that they’d leave St. Louis have been circulating for a while now, especially as fan support erodes.  Quite a sad state for what was briefly “The Greatest Show on Turf.”

Where might they go?

Yep.

Oh, come on, really?  Them too?  What, did the Rams and Raiders just want to make L.A. jealous?

Honorable (dishonorable?) mentions go to the Minnesota Vikings and the San Diego Chargers.  The Vikings have been struggling with a stadium on the verge of falling apart, and if the state refuses to build a new one, there could be a relocation in their future, but we really don’t see the NFL allowing one of its popular “old guard” franchises to end up somewhere else.  But then, we thought the same thing about the “old” Browns.  As for the Chargers, they too suffer from placement in one of the oldest and most decrepit stadiums in the League.  And, just like in Minnesota, it all depends on the government building a new one.  But also like the Vikings, we’d be shocked if they actually moved.

WHO’S GETTING A NEW TEAM?

First of all, as we said, expansion is unlikely in the near future, but possible.  There are quite a few markets the NFL wants to be in, and we highly doubt that all four of the teams above will move.  Los Angeles, San Antonio and Toronto all want teams.  The League wants them to have teams.  But who else could support a brand new franchise?  And there’s a definite limit here on the number of new teams that could be created: too many would dilute football talent, and the League is loathe to ruin its perfect 4x4x4x4 Conference structure.  But if they did go ahead with it, these are the most obvious choices, discounting the ones above.

Columbus: Could Ohio support three teams?  Probably not, but Columbus is exploding, and has a fantastic sports tradition, albeit at the collegiate level.

Las Vegas: The largest city in America without a single “major league” sports team, Las Vegas is ripe for expansion, but its recent housing market collapse and population of mostly transplants does not a solid fan base make.

London: No, we aren’t crazy, the NFL itself has suggested this madhouse of an idea.  The International Series played yearly at Wembley Stadium seems to be just for the purpose of testing the concept, and the Londoners have been very receptive.  The biggest city in Europe, full of loyal, sports-crazed fans?  Perfect!  …Except for the logistical nightmares involved.  How on Earth would, for instance, the 49ers deal with a road game eight hours ahead, with a ten-hour flight in each direction?  And while the British love one game a year, would they REALLY support sixteen?

Oklahoma City: Another exploding Sun Belt city, OKC has been bit by the sports bug of late, with the NBA’s Thunder moving into town from Seattle a few years ago.  The support seems to be there, but the city is close (in Plains State terms) to Dallas, and Oklahoma is a state dominated by high school and college football.  Time will tell here.

So, there you have it, the past, present and future of the NFL in one neat package.  Now…  Where’s our snazzy futuresports?  Come on, people, it’s 2012!  Where’s our Rollerball?  Our Velocity?  The gigantic Laser Tag arenas those commercials in the ’80s promised us?

We’re STILL waiting for the National Thunderdome League.

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.

The Fashion Police Patrols the 2012 NFL Draft

“Hall of famer Bert Bell spearheaded the idea of a player draft in the 1930’s.

The idea came to fruition with the holding of the NFL’s first ever player draft in 1936. Since that time what has happened in the draft room has set the stage for what happens on the field shaping the destiny of teams for years to come.

More than ten thousand of the best players from the college ranks have been drafted to play pro ball. Some never played a single down, others have managed to have long careers, and a select few went on to greatness.”

-From the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s website

Competitive parity, check!  It gives football fans like us warm feelings to read those words…  And that’s nice and all, but you know we are more concerned about clothes(breaking news!), so here is a look at some of the top ten picks of this year’s draft from a more sartorial perspective…

Colts QB Andrew Luck! Well, good Luck to you and get a good clothier. Can't expect grandness looking so, well, safe and plain... C'mon man, at least wear a pocket square. Verdict? Too safe. And you don't advance much in life by being safe.

2nd pick, QB Robert Griffin III for the Redskins. We see sartorial potential in the raw! We love the idea of a lighter color suit and plaid shirt. Hopefully, his contract will bring him, among other things, a full sartorial wardrobe.

3rd pick, RB Trent Richardson. Oh, Trent, all done with college football. On the other hand, your wardrobe is still missing a couple of more classes. One of the lessons you missed is "less is more." In other words, too much trimming. We think just the lapels would have done the trick!

4th pick, OT Matt Kalil. We like what Kalil did. When in doubt, stick to what you know. Well done. A three-piece pinstripe suit is always classic, and a dash of color on the tie? Bravo!

6th pick, CB Morris Claiborne. Hmmm. We are not 100% sure the "bank magnate" is the perfect look for a 22-year-old. Really pushing the envelope far too much. He would have been great in a light fitted suit with a playful shirt and tie combination. Oh well, hang on Morris, there will be plenty more events.

7th pick, S Mark Barron. What happened?! You almost got it, kid. Major points taken off with the oversized gold watch and last minute pocket square. And just two questions: why is the lining of your jacket blue? And, are you wearing white socks?! Because white socks match the white pocket square? Oh nooo...

8th pick, QB Ryan Tannehill. An OK look, overall. We love monograms, so good job, Ryan. Now, who is picking these nonsensical pocket squares?! And we are under the impression the Ryan had on a brown belt with black shoes, can someone pass a note: "huge no-no"?

10th pick, Stephon Gilmore. Here we go, finally! This is what we are talking about: effortless, classic, age appropriate, clean-cut look! Good job, Stephon, hope to see you soon!