The CFL’s off-season brand makeover took it’s next big step this morning.
Following unveilings late last year for a new Grey Cup logo and even a new one for the league itself, the Canadian Football League and Adidas have unveiled the 2016 on-field uniforms for all nine CFL teams.
“Today, we celebrate our newest partner, the globally recognized and truly iconic adidas brand,” Jeffrey L. Orridge, CFL Commissioner said in the press release. “Today is also about our game: exciting our fans, attracting new supporters of Canadian football and showcasing our League’s biggest stars.”
As part of the release today the league also unveiled a new line of clothing, the CFL Adidas Lifestyle collection, we will take a closer look at that later this afternoon or tomorrow within it’s own separate post. This article will focus solely on the team uniforms.
So first things first, let’s all calm down here… the thought that materialized since the announcement of this partnership that every jersey would feature Adidas’ famous three stripes can be put to rest. Aside from the Adidas logo itself, there appears to be no such addition to any of the new uniform designs released today (so can we stop this talk in regards to them taking over the NHL uniforms now too?).
And yes, as would be expected there were some wholesale re-designs released today, but like the Nike-NFL takeover a couple of summers ago, most of the teams look largely the same, making only subtle updates to their already classic sets.
The biggest change comes to the B.C. Lions who have an entirely new helmet design to go along with a new orange home jersey.
The helmet, now in black, features the lion head logo the club has used for the past three decades in orange without the “BC” part of the graphic. Instead the lion head extends from the traditional centre of the helmet down to the base with several black diagonal lines cutting through it almost giving it the impression of a gradient effect without actually doing so.
This same black-line design is carried over to the orange which runs stripe up the middle of the helmet, face mask is black to match the shell.
White gets tossed completely to the side on the jersey as the numbers go from white trimmed in black to just straight-up black. The faux-yoke is now an actual one, in black, with orange numbers on each shoulder. “LIONS” is underneath the collar in black and the pants, yes, black, with the Lions logo on one leg and the Adidas mark on the other.
On the road…
While white is gone from their home set, black has been almost entirely eliminated from their road (only seen on the wordmark and player name). Separate home and road helmets for the Lions, as an orange and white version of their black and orange home lid will be worn. Also note the Lions logo on the back under the numbers, this is also on the home uniform.
In Edmonton, the Grey Cup champs, didn’t do much with their uniform. Not that this is much of a surprise, the Eskimos have a good look going and they know not to tinker with it too much…
This is one of those changes where if I didn’t have a side-by-side from last year you’d think they didn’t do anything at all… this where I’m oh so happy to help:
Helmet? Same. Numbers? Ditto. Differences are in the striping around the arms, which goes from five contrasting yellow and white lines to a much more simple single yellow and single white, as well as with the collar which now has no striping at all. The result is a uniform with much less clutter. Oh yes, and the pants are also the same.
No good look at the road set, but basically a white flip of the homes:
Join me on the four-hour drive south on Highway 2 to see what the Calgary Stampeders have in store for 2016, which like their provincial rivals is not that much different than we saw 2015.
Basically we’ve got a clean new font for the numbers (similar as what we saw on their “signature” jersey last year), a new wordmark down one side of the pant legs, and (in what’s appearing to be a templatey thing here) the team logo on the front of the left leg:
As for their other jerseys…
— Calgary Stampeders (@calstampeders) May 12, 2016
Calgary retains their black signature jersey as the number style gets carried across their other two jerseys. The road has a black helmet (meh) with a white jersey featuring red and black shoulders and arms. *** The Saskatchewan Roughriders are dropping black from the uniforms. That’s all I need to say, the rest is just gravy. I mean, just look at these green-and-white beauties: Compare it with Reebok’s “Hey, we can do piping” uniform from the last few seasons. I’ve used this term a few times in this post already but it really applies with most of these new looks. Clean. It’s a clean uniform compared to what we had seen in the CFL in recent years. Black is gone from the numbers and the side striping, piping is mercifully gone, the collar is now white, pants have some diagonal green striping within the white, and of course, the logo has been modified slightly. Here’s the road set, some mix-and-matching going on with the pants giving us four potential combinations. My vote is for far left and far right please: *** Winnipeg’s the only team to take advantage of the switch to Adidas to go back to a more retro look, dropping the dark navy blue and replacing it with the royal blue the team used for many years, most recently in the early 1990s. The sleeve striping and wordmark font are also both similar to what the team used during their royal blue years. The overall busy-ness of the old uniform has all been taken care of, a fantastic upgrade. On the road the Bombers have added blue on the shoulders and down the sleeves… I think I’d have preferred this without the blue and to just keep it clean and simple like the home set:
Aside from the removal of the yellow collar, no changes. Numbers, striping, pants, helmet are all the same.
Here’s a brief glimpse of the road set which reads “HAMILTON” across the front and retains the black collar:
The Toronto Argonauts, meanwhile, are making a few more changes than their rivals. It’s nothing too major, but again, just a clean, small, subtle upgrade.
The light blue returns to the numbers as a trim colour and the team wordmark above the numbers both invoke strong memories of the Argos teams of the 80s and early 90s. Helmet remains the same.
Road uniform has the same design, TORONTO across the front in place of ARGONAUTS:
Canada’s newest team, the Ottawa RedBlacks made one welcome change and then added one which is generating some serious #eyerolls
First the good, the numbers have been de-italicized and the colours reversed, the red numbers are now white. Another simple change leading to a much improved uniform
Side panels are now coloured in red instead of just being empty piping and red is now also very present on the sleeves.
On the pants, that’s a hashtag, it says “#RNation”:
On the road, same but in white, Ottawa across the front in red.
— Ottawa REDBLACKS (@REDBLACKS) May 12, 2016
We wrap up our tour across this wonderful nation with a stop in Montreal, where the official unveiling gala will be taking place later today… it’s also where we saw the least amount of changes to any team uniform.
None. They made no changes. Sorry for the anti-climactic end to this journey. But the Als had no reason to change anything.
Overall, a massive upgrade to the look of the league, each team appears to have identified the little issues they had with their own uniform set and fixed them appropriately. I couldn’t be more impressed with the direction the league seems to have gone in with their in-game uniforms… personally, I could’ve done without the hashtag on the RedBlacks set but you can’t expect perfection.
Check back here and on our Twitter account (@sportslogosnet) later this evening as I’ll be at the event in Montreal tweeting out and adding to this post much more information and detailed photos as I get the chance.
UPDATE (May 14/16): This post has been updated to include photos of the road uniforms and any additional information we have learned since the official unveilings on Thursday.