Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Much adieu of Bears orange & blue

Perhaps it is just the ultimate evidence of how mediocre-to-dreadful professional baseball is expected to be this season.
They have evolved

We’re a day away from Opening Day (although Chicago White Sox fans will correctly note that the season, for them, doesn’t begin until Friday), yet the Chicago sports scene seems more concerned about the Chicago Bears – who don’t show their faces around Bourbonnais until July!

OF COURSE, THE big deal this time around is that the National Football League has signed a deal with Nike to provide uniforms for all professional football teams for the next five seasons.

That is a switch away from Reebok, which had been providing the uniforms.

Some teams have essentially the same look, while some tried to use the new manufacturer as an excuse to shake things up. Although all teams are getting a new style meant to be tighter jerseys and lighter-weight pants.

The whole point is supposed to be to make the football players feel lighter-weight while they are stomping around on the gridirons that comprise the NFL.

FOR THE CHICAGO Bears, it is going to take a double-take to realize the differences. They’re really not obvious at first glance.

The “GHS” that the Bears have worn on their jerseys as a tribute to team (and NFL) founder George Halas is now bigger and placed on the sleeves.

While the uniform numbers that used to be on the sleeves are now on the shoulders. Although I suspect most people just look for the big number on the back to figure out which player is which when they’re all piled up like dirty laundry following a tackle.

But the bottom line is that we still have a team named “the Bears” dressed in blue and orange (as though anyone has ever seen a multicolored bear in their lives).

THEY’RE STILL THE team that took its colors from the orange and blue of the Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois (Halas’ alma mater).

It is a common mistake for people to make. Just last week, I saw someone all dressed up in Bears garb who got sort of ticked when passersby assumed he was wearing his “Illini colors.”

Considering that this happened at the height of the NCAA Division I basketball tourney and the Illini didn’t even come close to qualifying, I can understand why a Bears fan would think it illogical anyone would mistake the two.

But the reality is that at first glance, there isn’t much to differentiate them – even though I’m sure the Illini alums who stumble across this commentary will claim they are predominantly orange, while the Bears are overwhelmingly blue.

THE BOTTOM LINE is that the only real difference is that all the NFL jerseys are now going to have the Nike “swoosh” on them – indicating that they are official NFL garb and not some sort of knockoff counterfeit merchandise.

Which makes me think the only real purpose behind the NFL making such a big deal Tuesday out of jerseys was to encourage everybody to go out and spend more money to get themselves an official modern jersey – or else run the risk of looking like a cheapskate living in the past by wearing something bearing the Reebok brand logo.

I detest this kind of attitude. If I were a football fan of any type, I’d go out of my way NOT to get a new jersey.

And I must admit to kind of enjoying the misery that Nike felt when quarterback Tim Tebow was traded to the New York Jets and sports fans there felt the need to rush out and buy Jets jerseys with Tebow’s name – and the Reebok logo.

TEBOW HIMSELF WILL never wear such a jersey, but I am pleased to see Nike lose out on a few merchandise dollars. Who knows. Maybe the Reebok-logo Tebow jerseys have potential to become collectible some day?
Would you buy this?

Although none of these new jerseys are the most hideous sports sight of the week.

For that, we have to go to south Florida where the Miami Marlins opened their new stadium with baseball exhibition games against the New York Yankees, and we got subjected to the sight of manager Ozzie Guillen in a jersey of bright orange!

That might be the ugliest thing in all of sports -- even moreso than the all-red jerseys and pants the Cleveland Indians wore in the mid-1970s. You have to go back to the 1930s to find the Bears wearing anything comparable.


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