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Pragada: Dressed for success

On Thursday, the Jacksonville Jaguars will unveil their new uniforms. This statement may mean absolutely nothing to you, but to me, it couldn’t be more exciting. Actually, to be completely honest, I’ve been waiting for these uniforms to come out since the day after the Super Bowl; they’d been teased ages ago. I think my anticipation for seeing a jersey that won’t even be worn until August stems partly from the fact that I’m football deprived, and partly from the fact that team jerseys are one of the most unique and representative icons of sports fandom.

You’ve undoubtedly seen countless people walking the streets in team apparel; it’s the easiest way to broadcast what organizations you’re supporting. When I strut around campus in a Joel Embiid t-shirt, people yell “trust the process” at me from across the street. When you see a guy at a frat party wearing a Tom Brady jersey, you know to probably not talk to that guy ever. And when you see someone wearing a Scottie Pippen throwback, you know they’re either some kind of weird hipster or an actual 50 year old man from Chicago. There’s a sense of pride associated with wearing a team’s jersey, a sense that you, as a sports fan, are closer to your team for representing them.

Plus, jerseys are really godd**n cool. Major sports organizations around the world have done an excellent job in creating epic color palettes, cool-looking designs and flashy logos that people want branded across their chests. Even jerseys that are basically giant corporate advertisements, like those of European soccer clubs, are still proudly worn, because despite the subconscious shilling, the jerseys still look awesome.

I’m willing to bet that off the top of your head you can think of a few jerseys that have caught your eye, be they the chic-looking black-on-red home jerseys of the Stanford Cardinal, or the classic, recognizable pinstripes of the New York Yankees. Certain color combinations just make you instantly think of a team, like the gold and blue of the Warriors, or the black and orange of the Giants, combinations that stick out among the traditional reds, whites, and blues.

Then there are special edition jerseys, which take team branding to an entirely new level, allowing for experimentation with an established uniform form. Everyone knows about the bright neon Thursday night NFL color rush games, but I find just turning up the intensity of color is too tame for alternate jerseys. Take the NBA’s city jerseys that were unveiled this year. These alternate uniforms allow for varied color palettes, but also intriguing design choices that let the histories of teams really shine. The Miami Vice alternate Heat jerseys are generally agreed to be the coolest, rocking the pink and teal palette, but Portland’s Rip City jerseys, Philly’s Declaration of Independence inspired jerseys and the Jazz’s color gradient jerseys all have a special place in my heart. If I cared at all about the Miami Heat, I’d have bought a jersey instantly.

I make it my business to own a player jersey from every single team I root for. There’s no way to feel closer to an individual player you like than wearing their name on your back, and carrying the name of their team on your front. Jerseys make me feel closer to my sports teams; they make me more passionate about cheering on my squads on gameday. Plus, if you don’t own a jersey, what the hell are you going to wear when you go to a game?

The Jaguars have one of the coolest color palettes in the NFL, being the only team to incorporate teal into their uniforms. The Dolphins use a lighter shade of blue, but it pales in comparison to the brilliant shine of the blue-green uniforms we used this season for the first time in years. With teal, gold, black and white in their arsenal, everyone is hoping for something spectacular at their release on Thursday. They’re also going to be getting rid of their two-toned helmets, a unique quirk of their uniforms that most people agreed was confusing and ugly. The anticipation is killing me; I truly can’t wait to see what they look like. If they use teal as the primary color, I’m going to be so excited watching my team on gameday, prowling the field in their shiny new duds. And of course, I’ll be in the stands or watching on TV in my new uniform too, only it won’t be the same as the ones on the screen. Because once the new uniforms get released, all of the old ones will go on sale. And that’s the real reason I’m excited for Thursday.

Contact Bobby Pragada at bpragada “at” stanford.edu

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