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Times Sports editorial: Save us from the Buccaneers’ hideous uniforms

The team’s reputation, as well as the Tampa Bay region’s, is at stake.
Even in time, the Bucs' uniforms haven't gotten easier to look at. [Nike]
Published Nov. 21, 2018
Updated Nov. 22, 2018

The Buccaneers might be content with the way they look on the football field, but we are not. It’s time for a historic change. Though the team doesn’t have plans to redesign its uniforms, it should reconsider immediately. They are not only an unflattering look on the players but also a stain on the Tampa Bay community.

When the team introduced new uniforms in 2014, it claimed they had been “energized” with richer and more vibrant colors. It called the look — which featured an angrier skull logo, a darker shade of pewter and reflective chrome embellishments — “revolutionary” and “technologically advanced.” The XFL knockoffs, however, have not invigorated the team and have come to symbolize the depths to which this moribund franchise has sunk. This toxic blend of bad football and an ugly visual identity has contributed to dismal merchandise sales nationwide. Fortunately for the Bucs, the NFL allows teams to make changes to their uniforms every five years. That means the Bucs soon can leave their costumes where they belong: in the smoldering ash of the 2018 season.

The first thing that needs to change is the names on the back of the jerseys. Get better ones.

The second thing: the numbers. No one looks at that typeface and thinks, “They remind me of historical Buccaneer blade carvings.” Instead, people make snooze button and “80085” calculator jokes.

As for the colors — red, orange, black, gray, pewter, white — there’s no need for that many. The color palette looks as if someone felt inspired after vacuuming Nana’s Persian rug. We recognize that the Bucs are trying to balance the tastes of their older fans who were raised on orange and their newer fans who were raised on pewter. We recommend, however, that the team scales back its palette. Choose no more than four colors. Pay homage with red, orange and white, or push forward with red, pewter and white. Embrace one combination; don’t try to do both.

The beauty of the Packers', Bears' and Giants' uniforms is that they’re simple. They don’t need reflective chrome or blinking lights. They say Green Bay, Chicago and New York. The Bucs’ uniforms say identity crisis. That’s what happens when you “collaborate” and take a design-by-committee approach.

We don’t come to this conclusion lightly and understand that others have learned to tolerate the terrible terribleness. We appreciate the Bucs’ effort to experiment and refresh a late-1990s design, but for the good of Tampa Bay, it is time to acknowledge defeat. To be sure, the team spent a lot of time, effort and money on its current look, but that’s no excuse for waiting to right a wrong. Consider the sensible changes teams in Florida have made recently. The Jaguars ditched their two-toned helmets. The Marlins ditched their apartment complex logo. Drive over the Howard Frankland bridge into St. Petersburg and watch the Rays. They’re proof that you don’t need to wear all the colors in the rainbow. (Just don’t trust their taste in typefaces. They stole theirs from a bag of Rold Gold pretzels.)

Fans have suffered enough. They deserve a better-looking product that is worthy of their hard-earned dollars. The Bucs should start by fixing their uniforms. In a lost season, that would be their biggest win.

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