Will the Seahawks defy superstition and wear lime green jerseys this season?
In 2009, the Seahawks wore lime green jerseys when they played, and lost to, the Chicago Bears. Former Seahawks coach Jim Mora, in an act of superstition, blamed the loss on the jerseys and forbid the team from ever wearing them.
But this year, at training camp, that same lime green apparel came out, leading many to wonder if we’ll see them on the field this season. And people definitely have strong opinions about it.
“Frankly, I don’t like any of the lime green tones that the Seahawks use,” said Paul Lukas, uniform columnist for ESPN.com. But he says his green disdain has nothing to do with Jim Mora’s superstition.
“All the sort of neon, very fluorescent tones that we see a lot of now, all of them to me, do not work well on the football field,” Lukas said. “I think they’re too aggressive, they’re too bold. They’re going to look very dated because they’re very trendy at the moment. I don’t think they’re going to stand the test of time. I just think they look garish.”
Lifelong Seahawks fan Michael Yantz, who has a website that tracks Seahawks uniforms throughout the years, says his dislike of the green also has nothing to do with superstition.
“Every time a different website or company does the ugliest uniforms of the NFL, those jerseys from 2009 come up every single time,” Yantz said. “I love the blue. You know, we have Blue Friday, we don’t have Green Friday. Our primary colors are blue and white, like they’ve been for the past 40 years.”
When I asked about the green jerseys on my Facebook page, it was easy to see there is one group that prefers the bright shade: women.
“I think it’s a great color,” said Lynnwood Seahawks fan, Daina Gray. “It’s loud and it’s bright and happy. I think they look great in them. I don’t really care what Jim Mora says. I think it’s dumb that he actually forbid them to wear them anymore. He’s an awful coach. I don’t think it had anything to do with the green jerseys. I think it had to do with him. The Seahawks are just a great team. They can play in blue jerseys or gray jerseys or green jerseys. I think they’ll be okay.”
Gray’s opinion actually matters. Teams come out with new jerseys partly so fans will buy them.
“It is a revenue stream and it does drive a lot of what we see on the field,” Lukas said. “It’s important to remember that not every fan buys a jersey. The older fans in their fifties and sixties, they tend not to buy jerseys. So the fans who do buy jerseys, mainly in their twenties, thirties and early forties, they are the ones being catered to with these designs because they’re the ones who buy the merchandise.”
As far as who makes the actual decision of what to design, it’s usually a collaboration between Nike and the Seahawks. And the coach and players decide which variation to wear each game.
But you can rest easy knowing that those green jerseys absolutely won’t be appearing on the field this season. The NFL wouldn’t allow it.
“I know there’s a lot of people worried about the green uniforms,” Yantz said. “But the NFL has a rule that your third jersey has to be worn for five years before you can change it. And since we changed our uniforms in 2012 with Nike, we still have the Wolf Gray at least through 2016. So there shouldn’t be any green uniforms on the field for the next two years.”
Lukas shares his opinion on the best and worst jerseys in the league.
“To me, the top four uniforms in the NFL are the Steelers, the Bears, the Raiders, and the Packers,” he said. “By far the worst look in the league, to me, is the Jaguars with that two-tone helmet. Easily the worst helmet in NFL history. The rest of the Jaguars’ design can’t overcome the problems presented by that helmet.”
And if you were wondering why football fans would care so much about what a player is wearing, Lukas explains:
“To me, what I write about is not fashion. What I write about is design and I think plenty of men are interested in design, and uniforms are sports design. It’s what we look at when we watch the game. It’s what we identify with. The players come and go; they retire, they get injured, they’re traded, they leave by free agency. But we keep rooting for whoever is wearing that uniform. That suggests to me that a lot of men and women care about design.”
For the record, Lukas thinks the Seahawks uniforms rank in the bottom third of NFL team uniforms. But, he says they’re in the top of the bottom third.