Thursday, April 13, 2006

Painting a Moustache on the Mona Lisa

Ohio State introduced a new home jersey last week. Fan reaction has been virtually unanimous: everyone hates it. The new jersey (pictured left) isn't ugly, but Ohio State is one of only a handful of teams whose uniforms are so iconic that any change in them is bound to provoke an emotional reaction from fans. As far as Buckeye fans are concerned, why tinker with perfection?

Very few teams have uniforms that are so cool that they just can't be improved and should never be messed with. From my perspective, that short list of teams includes the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Penn State Nittany Lions and, of course, the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Even teams on this list sometimes can't resist the lure of more merchandising dollars, and decide to mess around with their uniforms. Notre Dame, for example, added gold side panels to its white jerseys a few years ago. One of the countless good things that Charlie Weiss did for the Irish last season was to return the team to its traditional jersey design.

Stories like this need a villain. Fortunately, Ohio State has Nike. Yup, the Buckeyes have an $11.4 million deal with Nike, and although everyone is denying it, this move sure looks to have the fingerprints of the folks from Beaverton written all over it.

Now, I'm a big Nike fan. I mean, how can you not love a company that pisses off the Volvo and Birkenstock crowd more than global warming? Nike makes lots of way cool stuff, but to say they've got a blind spot when it comes to gridiron fashion is the understatement of the century.

If you think the Buckeyes' new jersey is bad, just remember what Nike has done to Oregon. Viriginia Tech and Miami are other examples of schools that have fallen victim to Nike's clown college/drag queen approach to football fashion. Nike's also messing around with That Team Up North, slapping their trademark bib design on the bad guys' away jerseys.

So, Buckeye fans, it could be much worse. Still, let's hope that Ohio State sees the light. When you've got the Mona Lisa, don't paint a moustache on it, much less a multi-colored swoosh.


Jimbo said...

Couldn't agree more. Hey, while were at it, why don't we just sell the naming rights to Ohio Stadium, have the band start doing 'script nike', and put a logo on the Browns helmet.

Ben said...

As an OSU student, we're already owned by Coke. Coke is all around the campus and stadium.

Personally, I think the new jerseys look like the Hoosiers.