Friday, 24 August 2012

Montréal Canadiens have the best uniform in sports. The Chargers are 51st?

ESPN decided to kill some time during the dog days of summer, and they ran a savant analysis of pro sports uniforms, ranking them from first to last.

No surprise, the Montréal Canadiens have the #1 uniform in sports.  The classic bleu-blanc-rouge works in both its variations, the red jersey with the center blue stripe, and the crisp sparkling white with the red shoulders and thin stripes at the bottom.

I know most other clubs prefer their dark jersey, so the convention now in the NHL is that the home team wears that and the road team wears the light jersey, but it didn't always work that way.  It used to be that home teams wore their light jerseys, so the Canadiens wore their classy white unis at the Forum.  I don't really know the reason for the change, through I remember some chatter that it was so that teams would sell the other colour of jersey to its hometown fans.  It might have to do with the 'studies' by sports psychologists which showed that teams in darker or more aggressive colours were more intimidating to play against, and teams wanted to maximize their home-ice advantage.

This may have been true for teams with no tradition and light blue uniforms like the Penguins, but I don't think the Canadiens needed the extra boost.  Opponents were plenty scared by the home unis, seeing as Larry Robinson, Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe were wearing them, with tall, cool Ken Dryden behind them.  Plus, this kind of thinking and teams buying into it led to disgraces like these.

I guess for no reason other than tradition and sentimentalism, I'd like it if the league went back to the home team wearing light jerseys, or at least the home team had the option and we went back to the whites at home.

As relates to my other favourite team, I wonder why the Chargers were ranked so low.  Man, the electric blue or powder blue, the lightning bolts, that's all that was needed to convince me as a young kid that these were the team to root for. I did prefer the blue helmets though, with the beefy bolt, instead of the current white ones.  I wish they'd go back to those.

Other random thoughts as they occurred to me while I scrolled through the list:

It is bizarre that the Celtics would be anywhere near the top.  I'm going to make a clear pronouncement, all blowhardy, and say that basketball uniforms are awful to begin with.  Swishy shiny shorts and tank tops?  Come on.  Those look like something a grade schooler would wear in the sandbox.  Plus, there's not enough material there to make an impression.

Second, the Celtics has that cartoony leprechaun thing going on and has that unfortunate green colour.  I don't dislike the Celtics as an organization, but seeing Kevin McHale and Larry Bird in those was certainly not an inspiring sartorial statement.

I'm surprised also that the Blackhawks wouldn't be one of the top unis in the NHL, they're generally given the nod as one of the best, yet are ranked #49.  The Bruins' is ugly as sin, diarrhea-yellow and black, to resonate with their fans' dark intentions and black hearts.  What the logo means, that B with the spokes, is as inscrutable as the good in the soul of Brad Marchand.  It is rated much too high.

I don't like the Stars' jerseys but I don't hate them.  They're nowhere near as nice as the old North Stars jerseys, so maybe that's the karmic tradeoff there, and why they got ranked near the very bottom.  It should be at least ranked above every basketball uniform, and two thirds of the baseball jerseys, but franchises that move away from their original city for greater profit elsewhere should go to reputation purgatory.

Generally, hockey uniforms look great, the guys look like warriors from the future and action heroes, but they can be improved by the simple act of allowing the 'Cooperall' pants the Flyers used for a season.  I don't know why these are derided nowadays, they looked swish and modern.  The hockey socks made sense in the olden days, but nowadays with better fabrics and technology, the Cooperall pants make more sense and would give designers more options when it came to the look of the players.  More modern, attractive uniforms might help attract the elusive American Sunbelt casual fan.

I know one problem with the Flyers unis was that their black pants made it hard to pick up the puck for the goalies, but mandating colour schemes would easily take care of this problem.

And again, bleu-blanc-rouge is the best uniform in sport.

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