On Thursday afternoon, Penn State’s senior running back Bill Belton sent out this tweet:
Every team is getting new uni’s man. I’m sick we are not getting something ill for the season.
— Bill Belton (@W3BII) April 17, 2014
For those unaware, four schools — Syracuse, Florida State, Miami, and Illinois — announced that they will wear new jerseys during the 2014-15 season.
Belton was upset that multiple schools are getting new jerseys, while Penn State is keeping its iconic jerseys. Apparently, Belton isn’t the only member of the team who wants something new, as several players (including Adam Breneman and DaeSean Hamilton) either favorited, retweeted, or replied to the tweet.
That got us wondering, should Penn State look into new uniforms? Two of our writers debated the issue.
Keep ‘Em: Mike Reisman
Any switch from Penn State’s current iconic, minimalistic gems would be a mistake.
The most obvious reason to keep the current uniforms is simple — don’t fix what isn’t broken, especially if that thing is working just as well if not better than everything else.
In just the past year alone, Penn State’s uniforms ranked in the top three in the Big Ten, and second most iconic in the NCAA. Not only do outsiders love the uniforms, but it seems that every time any small change is introduced, most students, alumni, and fans jump to complain about the switch. It doesn’t even have to be something big like the names on the jerseys, but even just the smallest of changes like the ones implemented this year. Just read the comments. Even if, somehow, the jerseys could be improved, getting them the acceptance of the whole Penn State community would be just about impossible.
The other problem with Penn State getting new jerseys is the team’s colors. Consider the teams where Nike’s new jerseys have really worked well. You have Oregon, a team whose colors are bright green and yellow; Illinois, whose colors are a brighter orange and blue; and West Virginia, with yellow and blue. For all these teams and most others who have good new jerseys, the key is their team’s bright colors. Penn State’s white and blue doesn’t really give much room for the wow factor that comes from most teams’ ability to contrast a bright color with a darker one.
At best, all I could see the Nittany Lions getting is a dark blue jersey similar to the current one, just with some unnecessary modifications that take away the timeless look Penn State is known for.
So would some mock designs be bad? No, in fact they would probably be a welcome source of some fun debate. Some people have even suggested black and pink jerseys on homecoming to honor the school’s old colors, and I’m not opposed to that either. A little bit of change is never bad, but an overhaul of Penn State’s jerseys would likely just make them worse and destroy one of our most treasured traditions.
Let’s Do Something New: Bill DiFilippo
Here’s something that’s important to remember and a bit sobering when you remember any discussion about changing Penn State’s football jerseys: my opinion, Mike’s opinion, and the opinion of everyone else outside of the football program don’t mean anything.
The only people whose opinions mean anything are the players, coaches, and administrators associated with the team. The players want new jerseys. Why not appease them?
Easy: because of an intangible thing like tradition. Tradition is not defined by a jersey. Tradition is defined by a program as a whole. Even if Penn State changes its colors to lime green and purple and wears basketball jerseys every game, the program’s unparalleled tradition would still remain.
Plus, let’s face it, Penn State spicing up its jerseys is an inevitability. It’s going to happen sooner or later, so why not accept it and do it now? Just look at some other schools that also pride themselves on tradition like Notre Dame and Michigan, both of which have experimented with new threads that don’t look bad.
A jersey redesign doesn’t have to be completely new, like these suggested redesigns (which, for the record, look awesome and I would love). Just a few simple tweaks might appease the players while keeping the overall integrity of the jerseys and giving the program a fresh, new look.
Hell, even something like a new gray jersey — like the ones the team busted out during the Blue/White Game — or a pink and black jersey for homecoming would be cool. Or it could be a gigantic overhaul. I don’t care. I just want some kind of change to keep Penn State’s jerseys from going from “classic” to “boring.”