What do you get when football and high fashion collide? The Army-Navy Game, naturally. Well, “high-fashion” might be a stretch. But as you have probably heard by now, Nike is using the Army-Navy Game to showcase the unveiling of its new “Enforcer” line of football uniforms. Both teams will come out sporting the new look, in uniforms apparently designed to honor the services they represent. Army will be wearing camouflage in one shape or another, while Navy will be wearing white jerseys with blue numbers, plus blue pants with a blood stripe (a la USMC) flanking either side. The stripe will be framed in gold. (You’ll have to take my word on this one).
I consider myself a traditionalist, as do many Navy fans. It’s kind of the nature of the school. And I can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth now. DEATH BEFORE FOOTBALL UNIFORM ALTERATION! But hold on a second. Uniform stunts are a part of Army-Navy tradition, especially for Navy; from the throwbacks in 1999, to the blue helmets of 1993, to the orange helmets worn by receivers in 1962. Hell, Wayne Hardin like to do something different each year. There were the “Jolly Roger” skull & crossbones helmets, “BEAT” and “ARMY” written on the shoulders, and Chinese characters on the helmets to mess with Paul Dietzel’s “Chinese Bandits” defense, made famous when the Army coach was at LSU. And then there’s my personal favorite:
These things didn’t ruin the game or trample on the sanctity of the rivalry. Instead, they just became part of Army-Navy lore. Yeah, I know, it’s hard to get all misty-eyed for a Nike publicity stunt. But it’s fun for the players, and adds just a little zest to a game that has seen declining ratings. It isn’t the end of the world. I mean, we aren’t the ones wearing camouflage helmets (lol @ Army). Is that the opposite of the orange helmets? Will it look like a bunch of headless Cadets running around the football field?
So chill out! At least until we know that these things are absolutely heinous.