TEMPLE TERRACE — The XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers, who begin their inaugural season in February, unveiled their uniforms Tuesday night. Here are some takeaways:
• Whoa! That’s a lot of green. Are the Vipers or the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers coming to Tampa? The home jersey features a dark green body with lime green (or what the team calls “action green”) sleeves and side panels and yellow accents. The numbers are yellow with a lime green outline, and the pants are dark green with a curvy lime green stripe that starts thin at the top of the leg and gets progressively wider.
At first glance, the green-on-green look is overwhelming, but it’s possible the team will mix-and-match jersey and pants combinations, so what you’re seeing now isn’t necessarily what you’ll see when the Vipers play their first home game Feb. 22 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
• Of the combinations revealed Tuesday, the white-on-white away uniform is the one that says “it’s game time” more than “it’s morphin’ time.” The jersey features dark green sleeves and side panels and yellow accents, the numbers are dark green with a lime green trim and the pants feature a dark green stripe and yellow piping.
• A behind-the-scenes look at quarterback Aaron Murray’s and cornerback Arrion Springs’ reactions upon seeing the uniforms for the first time:
• Murray’s favorite part: the helmet. “The candy paint, the lighter green, I think it really pops. The yellow facemask and chinstrap is a great touch. From head to toe, I feel like I’m ready to play a football game. Go, go, Power Rangers!" Okay, he said everything but the last part.
• Springs’ preference: the all-white uniform. “I went to Oregon, and we do the uniform thing, so I was actually pretty impressed (when he saw the Vipers uniforms for the first time). I like the all-white. The all-white is kinda my thing right now.”
• One cool detail: Every other XFL team’s jersey includes the team’s wordmark underneath the collar. The Vipers’ jersey features an embroidered snake’s head.
• Overall, there’s nothing revolutionary here, but restraint isn’t such a bad thing. At least the Vipers resisted incorporating some kind of grotesque snakeskin pattern on the shoulders or side panels of the jersey.
• As expected — but still a bit of a disappointment — the jerseys feature the players’ actual names, unlike the jerseys from the XFL’s 2001 run, which featured nicknames. It’s easy to understand why the league chose not to do that this time around. The XFL 2.0 is walking a fine line. It’s trying to leverage its brand recognition while marketing itself as a credible, professional sports league. If it allowed nicknames on jerseys again, would we take it seriously?
• Also missing: a manufacturer’s logo. This season’s jerseys will be made by Custom Outfitters and will be available at shop.xfl.com. Replica jerseys will cost $80 while the real deals will cost $225. Fans will be able to customize their jerseys at stadiums during games.
• Ranking the XFL uniforms from worst to best:
8. D.C. Defenders: Too minimalist.
7. Los Angeles Wildcats: Clever idea to use blood-red claw marks as striping on the helmet and pants.
6. Houston Roughnecks: Silver helmet is sharp, but the rest of the uniform is bland. Perhaps hemmed in by their red, navy and silver color scheme, they strongly resemble their NFL counterparts, the Houston Texans. The New England Patriots, too.
3. Dallas Renegades: If it weren’t for the splashes of red, they’d look like the Tennessee Titans.
2. St. Louis BattleHawks: Terrific incorporation of the team logo into the helmet design.
1. New York Guardians: Classic and intimidating.