Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ill-advised and Beyond Awful

The Bumblebee Convict uniforms.  Yeah.  Hideous, foolish, laughable costumes just in time for Halloween.
This photo looks like it was taken in the yard under Cell Block D.
Heinz Field will look like the movie set of The Longest Yard on Sunday, when the Steelers don their hideous 1934 "throwback" uniforms -- ostensibly to honor their 80 years of tradition and to evoke an earlier era, but really, let's be honest, to coax marketing dollars out of Nike jersey sales, and to provoke "lively" discussion.  Trouble is, the law of unintended consequences being what it is, the discussion may turn unpleasant, embarrassing and uncomfortable for the Rooneys and the Steelers.

Oakland Alameda: Looking at Real Stripes
After all, how long will it be until some "wag" suggests the appalling 1934 "throwback" uniforms evoke prison stripes and, worse, call to mind any number of Steelers-related legal transgressions, allegations, accusations and all manner of malfeasance, real or perceived, imagined or extrapolated -- all to the laughs and hooting derision of followers of the Ravens, Browns, Eagles, Cowboys, Patriots, Redskins and, yes, even the Bengals and Raiders.  Even the Bengals and Raiders, for crying out loud.

Let's see, where do we start?  How about the most recent alleged law-breaker, Alameda Ta'amu, currently suspended and so recently in the news, facing five felony charges and 10 misdemeanor counts.  He comes to mind immediately, but it is inevitable that some snarky, self-righteous know-it-all will cite all the various sundry, unsavory and unpalatable accusations, transgressions and all manner of other trouble including Steelers past and present, and, yes, you know who they are.  Past and present, even if the accusations have been quieted, charges dropped and lawsuits settled.

The Wild Bunch: Your 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers. 
She's Going to Say It: "Does this make me look fat?"
How utterly stupid.  Whose brilliant idea was this?  And just how foolish did they want to make Steeler Nation?  This is our team.  With those uniforms, we're inviting derision.  And who among the citizenry is actually going to buy these sartorial atrocities, let alone wear them?  Who wants to be a laughingstock?  No self-respecting guy would wear one.  Have you seen anybody on the street wearing one? Chicks?  Knowing women as we do, horizontal stripes ain't gonna cut it.  We can hear her now:  "Does this make me look fat?"

Bring Back the Block Numerals
If the Steelers were looking to honor their proud history, they could have made better choices.  Even the 1960s "Batman" style would have been better, as awful as that uniform looked.  If "the standard is the standard," however, let's get real: The Standard was set by the 1970s Steelers, and that high bar remains The Standard.

The Rooneys should never have acceeded to the smarmy, glib, snake-oil marketing con-men of the 1990s who rounded off the block numerals to make the Steelers classic uniforms of the 1970s emulate the uniforms of the Chicago Bears.  Who in the name of Reebok thought that change would be for the better?

Those rounded numbers suck, and they wimpified the classic Black 'n Gold uniforms worn so proudly by Mean Joe, Jack Splat, Fats Holmes, Hollywood Bags, Pine Edwards,  Blount, Shell, Hammer, Moon, Frenchy, Webby, Rocky, et al.  Bring back those uniforms, once and for all, and ditch the rest.  Funny, but unless we're missing something, we don't recall other classic, time-tested and field-proven styles being tampered with too much.  Have the Green Bay Packers changed their classic look?  The Raiders?  The Yankees?

Finally, we have to ask, not to be nit-picky:  Why 1934?  Wasn't the team founded in 1933?  And, weren't the 1934 Steelers Pirates 2-10?  A fine tradition (ahem).  It took 40 years to shake off the dreaded "Same Old Steelers."  Why on earth did they want to risk bringing it back?  Throw 'em back.