Having loved the San Francisco 49ers since I started watching football as a little kid, seeing my all-time favorite player, Joe Montana, take the field in the iconic red and gold of the team, it has become increasingly difficult to cheer for this team, 30 years after I began to love them.
The next step in their own destruction is the introduction of their new alternate jerseys for the upcoming season.
They are black.
Like, all black.
Black is not a colour in the 49ers palette, and the whole uniform looks like it belongs back in the late-90’s, when everybody seemed to want a black jersey. This is a lazy design, and it simply doesn’t look good at all. The red numbers on the black uniform look like they will be difficult to see from a distance, and the complete lack of gold (aside from the tiny Nike swooshes) is an abomination. Not that I would ever agree with this team bringing in a black uni, but not having gold on it was a massive mistake, especially since the combination of black and gold is always a solid one (even if they may be venturing into the New Orleans Saints territory there). But if red was added on top of it, then there may have been something there, aside from this incredibly dull set.
My most significant beef with these jerseys is the way that they match with the iconic Niners’ helmets. Meaning, they don’t belong together at all. Without a hint of black on the helmets, it looks like this is a team that is actually wearing the wrong jerseys, or the wrong helmets. They are that mismatched, and out of place. I could understand it if there was gold on the uniform, or if the helmets were primarily red, but they are not. It looks terrible.
I get the idea that they want to sell more uniforms, and having an iconic look limits sales to either a red, or a white, jersey. But aside from the obvious money grubbing of this uniform move, I simply don’t understand it. It is such a move away from the tradition of the team, and it serves at stripping away the identity of the NFL’s great franchises. I’m simply not sure why anyone would do that.
My only hope for this uniform set is that they are used twice this season (the maximum number of times they can be worn), and then they fade into obscurity because there are enough fans that feel the same way I do, and don’t shell out a bunch of money to buy these things. Hopefully, in a decade, we can look back at lists of the worst uniform changes in league history, laugh at how there was that time the Niners tried to wear black, and then move on from it, happy that the 49ers still wear red and gold, as they should.