You know the old joke. 7,253 uniform combinations and zero (using the Oregon logo as the number) national championships. For years, the Oregon football team has always been known for their flashy uniforms and the seemingly infinite combinations. It used to be a fun guessing game every week. But this year, it’s just gotten out of hand.
While the team used to have an endless supply of uniforms, there was always at least a base that the team was going off of, where each set of jerseys, pants and often times helmets would have the same design, but just be different colors, mostly green, yellow and the occasional black.
See these following examples:
But this year, Oregon has completely ditched that concept. Now, it’s all about turning the uniform combinations into some weekly marketing presentation that some poor athletic department staff member slaved hours over. If you’ve been following this year, you'll know the AD puts together a fancy Adobe Spark presentation for each week to explain the full meaning behind the uniform for the upcoming game.
Recent uniform themes have included “Men of Oregon”, “Once a Duck, Always a Duck”, “Villains”, “Lightning” and “Rad”. Each week, there is a story behind the uniforms. Sometimes the story is halfway decent (the “Rad” theme was a tribute to strength and conditioning coach Jim Radcliffe), while others are a complete stretch, like the Men of Oregon theme, which had more to do with a player’s personality than what he wore on the field.
Here are all the uniform combinations Oregon has worn this year:
Were you hoping to buy an Oregon football jersey to rock on game day this year? Good luck picking one that the team will wear more than once, because it doesn't look like that’s going to happen.
Look, I know the marketing department loves the whole “Tradition never changes, champions do,” bit. But pretty quickly, it’s going to become embarrassing when a team that can't even make a bowl game (because that’s where this season is going), puts together a full-blown presentation on their uniform story for the week. I’m also well aware that the presentations and the result of the product on the field have nothing to do with each other, but that doesn't make it any better.
Call me old-fashioned, but I just want to go back to the days where we at least had a rough idea on what we might wear from week to week. It was more fun when the uniforms had at least some sort of identity. I enjoyed wearing the same jersey to the games every week without worrying that it’d be both the first and last time the team would ever wear it.
To be fair, all of the combinations this year have included at least our current logo or one school color. But this week, for the biggest game of the season against No. 5 Washington, the Ducks ARE GOING TO WEAR BLUE BECAUSE TRADITION, BABY!!!!
Yep, that’s right, Oregon is wearing blue and yellow against Washington this week, a look our friends in Berkeley should be familiar with. Ironically enough, the AD used the term “tradition” to describe these jerseys, even though we haven’t worn them for about a century.
My expectations for Oregon football have lowered every week. First, I just wanted us to win a respectable bowl game. Then, I just wanted us to go to any bowl game. Then, I just wanted us to beat Washington and Oregon State. Now, I just want us to go back to the good ol’ days where we could wear green and yellow every week and still deliver fresh uniform combinations without feeling the need to make every uniform a damn spectacle.
It’s no secret that this is going to be a rough year for Oregon football. Let’s not make it worse by looking like jackasses when our Adobe Spark presentations look better than the team on the field losing every week.