With all the drama going on in State College, word has been going around that Penn State is speaking with Nike regarding the potential for new uniforms for the football team. Are you for our against this concept? Yes, so are we. So let’s discuss. Welcome to Offense/Defence (note American and Canadian spellings) where two writers debate the merits of two sides of an issue. Enjoy, and give us your opinion below.
Chris Creamer: I am absolutely for this uniform change, Penn State needs a total image makeover in the worst way (and, no, it’s not due to the quality of their existing designs). With all the sanctions and bans levied against them by the NCAA, now’s the best time to experiment with their look and come up with something new in time for their return to college football prominence.
JR Francis: College football is currently overrun with 5 color combination, names on everything, textured helmets, logo’d gloves, mix-and-match mess. While there is certainly room for carbon-fiber helmets over neon colors and matte pants, there needs to be Ying to that Yang. (and I don’t mean twins) How can electric digital camo be interesting if there isn’t the classic navy and white of Penn State?
Chris: Hold on now, I’m not suggesting Penn State go the way of Oregon here, what I’m talking about something in between the classic Nittany Lions look of the last 70 years or so and the insanity that is the Ducks. They can still be the Ying to the Yang, but I’m thinking Ying 2.0
JR: You can’t be “classic” half way. And classic is very closely related to classy.
Changing the uniforms to “give a new start” is completely contrary to the point. If they come out with new uniforms, this gives the press a prime opportunity to mention exactly what they are trying to make everyone forget. “These new uniforms, released after the molestation scandal…” and “New uniforms changing the look but not the success of PSU after their scandal.” It becomes a reminder that everything is different now, that there was a point in time where everything went bad and everything changed. They should embrace what IS still good about the school’s football team; their history and their uniforms.
If we are changing Penn State’s uniforms to help them move on, why not change the team colors… baby blue and maroon would be cool. In fact, every time I see the name Penn State, I’m reminded, so let’s start calling them U of Pennsylvania, or just Pennsylvania like Alabama and Florida.
Change for the sake of change is never, ever, ever a good idea.
Chris: This is certainly more than just change for the sake of change, this is change for the sake of a new beginning that is sorely needed -perhaps more than ever before in the history of sports, a fresh start, a way to help erase the really terrible memories of the past. Of course the media will mention the reason for the uniform change, but the media is already mentioning the going-ons in EVERY story about the school right now anyways. And I know you were being somewhat facetious with your suggestions of changing the name and/or colours, but I wouldn’t be against it – you say the name “Penn State” or “Nittany Lions” and there’s only one thing I think of, and perhaps that’ll fade over time but I’m having a hard time seeing that it will. Maybe a simple uniform change isn’t enough, maybe as crazy as it sounds a name change is actually necessary here. Something as minor as no longer going by the abbreviation, “Pennsylvania State Lions” isn’t too far removed from the history but enough that it sounds different from the current identity?
JR: Oh holy crap, I’ve pushed you too far!
[This would be a good time to add a disclaimer, I am not a Penn State fan. I find every piece of the sex actions and following coverup to be an abomination of everything good decent people stand for. This level of covering up sexual abuse of children is so bad, its organized religion-bad. That said, let’s continue a uniform discussion.]
A new beginning is, in fact, needed, but it is being done in coaching, players, and attitude. What a team, and a school, need in order to move forward is a solid base upon which to stand. When rebuilding, you don’t just throw away everything, you look and see what still works, what is good, and build from there. What works about Penn State football today in 2012? Their simple, workman-like, team-first, straightforward uniforms. The two people most identified with the scandal are dead and in jail. I think that covers the need for change.
Penn State IS plain, simple, unadorned uniforms. Its the only remaining symbol of their team that shows respect and honor. They are conservative and clean. Honest and non-showy. Isn’t that the perfect place to start from? Wouldn’t something with piping and texture and modern numbers, with a lion logo on the helmet be MORE obnoxious, more braggadocious, more self-centered and against how they should be rebuilding the program?
The uniforms are the only thing worth keeping, so I believe they should be kept at all costs.