I’m going to post all my sports columns to get more content on here and because I feel I do some of my best writing in this context.
I remember watching Oregon come to WSU my freshman year and being Duck-green with envy.
“Look at those beautiful jersey,” I thought. “These guys look sweeter than Gerard Butler in the movie 300.”
Then I looked over at our sidelines and wished my buddy sitting next to me would gouge two sharp sticks in my eyes.
Here I am at Washington State University, which features one of—if not the best—logos in college sports, and we have these stupid helmets with “Cougars” written in a Microsoft word cursive font, instead of the classic “WSU” Cougs logo.
Before I came here I only knew Russell brand made sweatpants. It turns out they made bad Division-1 college football jerseys too.
Luckily WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos and I have similar theories when it comes to football uniforms. When Moos came to town, Nike, the king of sexy sports gear came with him, and Russell got run out of Dodge.
Since taking over athletics in Pullman a year and a half ago, Moos has employed a “brand and identity program” for WSU sports, with sporty new uniforms being a top priority.
“One of my priorities when I became athletic director was to have a recognizable look across our department and athletic programs,” Moos said at a uniform unveiling last April. “We have what I and many believe to be the best logo in college athletics, yet we have not had the consistent look on our apparel or throughout our facilities that allows instant recognition for that brand.”
Amen Mr. Moos.
You see, what Moos understands is the importance of dressing for success. You don’t wear your “Jesus is my Homeboy” t-shirt and faded blue jeans to a job interview, and you don’t wear high school football jerseys to a Division-1 college football game.
For those who say fancy uniforms don’t make your football players any more talented, I would implore them to talk a little “Sports Psychology 101” with me.
Football is an incredibly violent game of chess. It’s as mental as it is physical. I remember being a 115 lb sophomore on my high school football team, but then I’d smear that tough looking black paint under my eyes and put on a couple sweatbands before a game and I felt like I weighed 215.
Does that stuff really help keep the sun out of your eyes or absorb sweat? Heck if I know. All I know is the sweeter and tougher I looked, the more confident football player I was.
On Tuesday, grantland.com (ESPN Sports Guy, Bill Simmons new website) posted an article on the rise of Oregon football and there infamous jerseys. It’s no coincidence. The Ducks have only experienced powerhouse success in the last decade, right about the time Nike (which is based in Eugene) started making the Ducks look mightier than Disney did.
The article quotes Oregon Heisman hopeful running back LaMichael James, a native of Texas, as saying, “I loved the uniforms, and then I got to know more about Oregon.”
Even if uniforms don’t make better football players, for head coach Paul Wulff, it will certainly help him recruit better ones.