Arizona Cardinals decide to paint it black

Fri, Apr 23

Quick quiz: Which NFL team is this? Looks a lot like the Falcons, right?

Nope. Ladies and gentlemen, your newly attired Arizona Cardinals. They'll be wearing that alternate uniform for two regular season games in 2010, plus one preseason game. (Further details are available here and here.)

Leaving aside the question of how many fans will want to wear a black jersey in the Arizona heat, the black alternate jersey phenomenon is so played out, no? Over on the Uni Watch Blog, we call this BFBS, which stands for black for black's sake -- a reference to the lazy, gratuitous use of black as an all-purpose solution to design problems, even if it doesn't make any sense. It's one thing for the Ravens to have a black jersey -- ravens are black. But cardinals? Not so much.

Look, here's how it works: The Raiders get to wear black, because that's their thing. Ditto for the Steelers. Those two teams own black -- everyone else is just renting (although a few of the renters have had very favorable long-term leases, like the Saints, Panthers and Bengals). But when a team like the Eagles or Lions or Cardinals trot out a black jersey, that's not a uniform. It's a merchandising program.

On the other hand, it's not as though the Cards are ruining one of the league's great designs. Basically, they've taken their existing uniform, which was pretty crummy to begin with, and made it even crummier. Well done!