After a day of hearing all of the complaining about the Steelers’ newly-unveiled 80th Anniversary uniforms, I figured I’d come out of the bumblebee-loving closet and confess that I unequivocally love the new unis.
Now, obviously, they’re an aesthetic disaster. Black and gold is a hell of a study in contrasts, and the inch-plus alternating stripes are tough on the eyes. Adding the self-contained black numbers in a black-outlined white box makes the top half painful (potentially only saved by the black logo-less helmet). It gets worse below the waist, with doesn’t-match-anything sand pants and striped black and gold socks. I mean, seriously. They’re horrible looking.
However, I love the fact that the team is celebrating its history in an honest way, showing off one of its earliest looks even if the uniform is hideous. At a time when NFL teams are releasing alternate uniforms on a regular basis in the name of revenue generation, the Steelers picked a look that they had to know wouldn’t sell well (as of today, the jerseys are not for sale at the team shop). And this time, they actually had a choice, unlike the NFL’s 75th Anniversary, when all teams were required to wear uniforms from their founding.
Sure, the Steelers have dabbled in the alternate jersey universe, wearing the black-and-gold classics from the late 50s and early 60s (which, by the way, were pretty sweet despite the gold helmets). But this time around, it will be great to see what the games might have looked like in the early days of the NFL, even if that means 380ish-pound Casey Hampton has to squeeze into one of these puppies.
So thank you, Rooney family, for having the guts to put your boys in these monstrosities. I can’t wait to see them in action.