It had to happen. This run of feel-good perfection couldn’t last forever.
After Scott Frost was announced as Nebraska’s new head football coach in December of last year, everything has been sunshine and rainbows in HuskerLand. The prodigal son has come home, and with his return it’s only a matter of time before Nebraska football returns to glory.
With this focus on the past, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that adidas has tweaked Nebraska’s uniforms for the upcoming season
Notice anything different? There are a few changes (like no “N” on the hip of the home pants and the “Winning Tradition” patch higher up on the jersey) but it looks like there is one big modification.
The stripes are gone from the pants.
I’ll admit, it’s not entirely clear from adidas’ marketing whether the stripes are gone. But it sure looks like it, and it makes sense if their going for a nineties-era vibe for Nebraska under Frost.
After all, when Nebraska was the most dominant program in college football, NU was rocking the stripeless pants. When Tommie Frazier was galloping through an exhausted Florida defense, he was doing so sans stripe. When Frost himself was advocating to give “Tom Osborne, that great man, a national championship … at least a share” after vanquishing Peyton Manning’s Volunteers, he did so without a stitch of a strip on his legs.
So why, you may ask, shouldn’t Nebraska throw its pants back to the nineties and lay claim to that heritage.
I’ll tell you why, dear reader. Because it looks terrible.
Nebraska went stripeless-pants for an alternate uniform last year, against Wisconsin, so we’ve got some recent evidence to compare. Here’s what the scarlet and cream look like both with stripes and without.
I get the nostalgia. I get the yearning for better days. But clear your head for just a moment and look at these pictures. The stripes on the pants just objectively look better. They provide length and color agreement. Football pants without stripes are just blobs of shiny color.
The NFL knows this to be true. Check out the Gridiron Uniform Database, and you’ll find there’s only two uniform sets in the whole league that go without stripes – the Baltimore Ravens home uniform and the New Orleans Saints alternate blacks.
Or, as the definitive UniWatch blog refers to them, yoga pants.
Take the Saints, for example.
You can see how gorgeous the Saints’ uniforms look with well-designed pants – meaning pants with stripes on them – compared to the yoga pants.
Yes, I know that Nebraska went stripeless in the nineties, and we all want that era of Nebraska football back. But in the nineties, we also thought that platform shoes and brightly-colored windbreakers looked good, that Limp Bizkit’s cover of “Faith” rocked, and that “Batman and Robin” was as good as a superhero movie could get.
We know better now. For the love of heaven, Husker Fan, don’t let your desperation for a return to college football glory blind you to the sartorial catastrophe about to befall Nebraska Football.
You want a uniform modification that really moves things forward? Here’s my humble proposal.
Right now, Nebraska uses pretty standard block numerals, which makes sense given the “Iron N” logo they’ve adopted.
But it doesn’t really match with the skinny N on the helmet. On the helmet, you have a thin sans-serifed N, and then a heavy, block numeral. It doesn’t really match.
So how do you fix it? You sure as heck aren’t going to mess with the N on the helmet. So what do you do?
The answer is there already. Look closer at the gorgeous numerals Nebraska has worn on the back of its helmets for ages.
Why not import those numerals onto the uniform itself? Then everything from pants to jersey to helmet would all match. Plus, Nebraska would be cleaning up its look, but would be giving a nod to its history by mimicking the numbers on the historic Stadium Clock inside Memorial Stadium (just ignore the goofball with the two awesome kids standing in front of it).
Here’s a terrible, terrible Photoshop of what the uniform alteration might look like.
This is the past Nebraska should be embracing – with stripes on its pants as it comes out of the tunnel.