About Those Burgundy on Burgundy Uniforms
I gather that some fans were put off by the burgundy-on-burgundy uniform scheme the Redskins debuted Monday night. But if there's one phrase you'll associate with this week 20 years from now, it's not going to be "all-white status quo."
"I feel like we needed a change," said Santana Moss, a strong backer of the team's first-ever use of that jersey combination. "Just a change of pace," Marcus Washington added. "We always kind of wanted to do it, just because we've never done it before."
And did some fans recoil from that oddly colored display? Well, sure they did.
"They're just not used to seeing it," Mike Sellers said. "It's change, that's all it is."
So how did this happen? Several players in the locker room had long been lobbying for such an experiment; Carlos Rogers, Fred Smoot, Clinton Portis and Sellers were among the activists. Rogers said they took their case to the captains, who referred them to equipment manager Brad Berlin and Coach Jim Zorn. And the head man's reaction?
"I said 'Absolutely!' " Zorn said. "You know, maybe for fun, not for some big pysch-up thing or psych-out thing. It was just a change of pace for these guys. They came to me and asked if they could wear white-on-white when we were white-on-white. Sure. I want what the players want, from that standpoint. And I think they liked it. How'd you? Did it look kind of funny out there?"
See, that's the thing. I thought it was fun and different and striking; others both in and out of the press box intimated that they thought it was abominable and horrific and ghastly.
"I liked it," Sellers said.
"It's nice, man, it's nice," Rogers said.
"I kind of liked it on some [guys], you know what I mean?" Khary Campbell said. "Some guys pulled it off real nice, like Fred Smoot pulled it off real good. Cornelius Griffin, for a big guy, pulled it off real well. Demetric Evans, Andre Carter. But some of them O-linemen...."
"Stunk it up," said Smoot, who was listening in.
"Stunk it up," agreed Campbell, who said it was a harder look for a big man to handle. "I don't know why, either. It just didn't look quite right.
"Some guys just not smooth," Smoot said. "Basically it's just keeping yourself neat and put together."
"Like, Stephon Heyer did not make his uniform look right," Campbell said. "Something just didn't really match."
One player I talked to actually had a Zorn moment and referred to the color scheme as "maroon." But in any case, as you may have heard, the Redskins lost. Badly.
"Guess that's out now," Portis said of the burgundy-on-burgundy. Not so fast.
"Oh no, I'm not superstitious," Zorn said, leaving open the possibility of a return to burgundy. "I'll let the players decide how they want to do that."
"Man, that's something about our coach that I love, he don't look for the alternatives to blame. We went and got our butts kicked and that's it," Smoot said. "If we would have won it would have been better, but I think it looked good."
I didn't find one Redskins player who disliked the experiment, but even the burgundy partisans kind of tempered their enthusiasm, possibly in the spirit of cooperation and acceptance. Or possibly not.
"You know, this game is way farther than what you wear on the field," Moss said. "You line up and you play football, whether you don't have nothing on at all....I'm just saying that's the way the game is played sometime. Sometimes you've got to strap on whatever you have on, your little jeans or whatever, cut 'em off, put your knee pads on...."
"The uniforms don't do nothing," agreed Rogers, who liked the look. "It probably feels good at first when we come out: we're burgundy-on-burgundy, we look good. But once that whistle blows, you don't think about your uniform, no matter what colors you're wearing.....I mean, it's execution once you go out there. The uniform, once you put that on, that's over. You could be nekkid and lose, or win. So it don't matter."
Naked football, actually, would constitute change I do not believe in.
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