The first step in solving a problem is to identify that it is one.
Sure, the team, which has lost seven of its 11 games this season, has problems that some might argue are more significant, but we’re capable of multitasking, aren’t we? Critiquing the uniforms doesn’t mean we can’t critique the games, players, coaches and/or owners. Besides, there’s not much that can be done about the team itself until after the Super Bowl.
With that in mind, it’s time to stop complaining. It’s time to take action. It’s time to share solutions.
Before we get to one of our proposals, we want to encourage you to keep sharing yours. If you haven’t already, go to tampabay.com/fixthebucsunis and download the uniform template designed by Tampa Bay Times artist Ron Borresen. Share your design on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #FixTheBucsUnis, or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The response so far has been incredible, but this is no time to relent. Keep the momentum going. Soon, we’ll publish a selection of your redesigns at tampabay.com and in the Times.
Now, let’s dive into our first concept, one of many we’ll be rolling out over the next few weeks.
The goal here was to design a classic, timeless uniform that would look good not only on players but also on fans. It’s hard for any adult to pull off wearing a football jersey, but it’s especially difficult when it’s a Bucs jersey (it’s no coincidence that jersey sales are abysmal). It’s more than a fashion statement; it’s a declaration that you lack taste. Can’t we have nice things like the Los Angeles Chargers’ powder blues? Or the Oakland Raiders’ silver and blacks?
The Bucs, in trying to embrace every era in team history, have done exactly the opposite: They’ve embraced no era. Is it 1976? 1997? 2014? No one knows, and the alarm-clock numbers aren’t any help.
We realized that no single design will please everyone, so we didn’t try. Instead, we made difficult decisions that the people who spearheaded the current Bucs design clearly were not willing to make. The toughest call: No more orange. If you’re going to wear orange, you have to own it, like the Baltimore Orioles or the Philadelphia Flyers. If you’re not going to own it, don’t bother.
At the moment, the Bucs have five colors in their palette (not counting white, a color every team wears): red, pewter, bay orange, gray/silver/chrome and black. At least one had to go, and it wasn’t going to be the red or the pewter that they wore during their Super Bowl run. For us, that color was orange, which brings to mind an era of Bucs football that many would just as soon like to forget: the era of the Yucks, the Pastel Pansies. Want the Creamsicles again? Go buy a Mitchell & Ness jersey.
In all, we have four colors, and they are:
• Victory red: This is the exact red the Bucs use now, except with a new name. “Victory” might seem superfluous, but try thinking of it as the team speaking success into existence. Hey, nothing else is working.
• Super Bowl pewter: One of the most distinctive colors in all of professional sports, pewter is synonymous with the Bucs, so they should keep it — but with some tweaks. Modest proposal: Make the pewter look more like pewter. The current pewter, depending on the lighting, often looks brown. Our pewter is darker and grayer, like a slate gray with an azure tinge.
• Aircraft gray: The Bucs uniforms could use a couple of nods to the Tampa Bay community. This concept subtly incorporates a swatch taken directly from the aircraft at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
• Prime time black: Remember when the Bucs, a week before Christmas in 2000, rallied in the final two minutes to upset Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt and the defending Super Bowl champion Rams on Monday Night Football? Shaun King’s run for 6 yards on fourth and 4, King to Reidel Anthony for 22 yards, Warrick Dunn’s game-winning touchdown, John Lynch’s game-sealing interception — Raymond James Stadium was electric. Maybe one day it can be again.
That’s enough background. Let’s unveil the home edition of our Bucs uniform ensemble, a collection that pays homage to Tampa Bay’s past, salutes its present and ushers in its future.
In our concept, the Bucs wear red tops and pewter bottoms at home, as they have for most of the past two decades. We’ve considerably scaled back the pewter on the jerseys, however. It’s a unique color, yes, but too much of it can be a bad thing. So those contrasting shoulder yokes? Good riddance. Pewter is limited to stripes on the sleeves and outlines on the numbers. Not too much. Not too little. Just right.
Speaking of numbers, the alarm-clock font is history. In its place, we’ve adopted the typeface the Bucs use on their scoreboards and marketing materials. It’s more angular/less boxy and doesn’t feature unnecessary interior lines or, as the Bucs call them, “blade carvings.”
We’ve scaled back the helmet design, too, dropping the flag behind the iconic skull and cross-swords. That’s not to suggest the Bucs should lose the flag altogether; it’s just too much for a helmet, where simpler is often better.
Overall, the uniforms resemble the ones the Bucs wore during the Creamsicles era (1976-1996). The updated striping on the sleeves is pewter-white-pewter instead of red-white-red; the updated striping on the pants and helmet is red-white-red instead of red-orange-red.
In another nod to the Creamsicles, the away edition features white tops and white bottoms but with our updated color scheme.
One common complaint about the Bucs’ current monochromatic Color Rush uniforms is that they look like pajamas. The same can be said of the Color Rush uniforms for every NFL team. There’s no designing around that.
We tried designing a dramatically different alternate jersey, one that featured pewter as the primary color, but it felt dull and uninspired. Instead, we tweaked the red home jersey to include aircraft gray numbers with a pewter outline.
Don’t like these? Have suggestions? Let us know in the comments below. Or go to tampabay.com/fixthebucsunis and design your own!
Contact Thomas Bassinger at email@example.com. Follow @tometrics.