A couple opinions on the Redblacks new jerseys

On Thursday (or Jersday, as it turns out), the CFL and its nine teams revealed their new Adidas-designed uniforms to the world. In Ottawa, we heard tidbits of information over the last month about some of the new features, but today was the day for fans to finally see what their team will be wearing in 2016.

Before we look at the new uniforms, let’s take a last look at the teasers, shall we?

(someone played with the greyscale to reveal this:)

And now, the Redblacks new uniforms, with thoughts from @DefendTheR and fellow jersey geek @NevillCarney.

HOME (black)


Changes:

  1. Red added to collar, shoulders and ‘flashes’ down the side of the jersey
  2. Larger ‘REDBLACKS’ wordmark below the collar
  3. Number colours swapped, now white with red outline, and no longer italicized
  4. Shoulder numbers removed
  5. (Appears to be) smaller font used for namebar on the back
  6. ‘#RNation’ added to pant leg
  7. Red trim behind the knee of pants
  8. Red socks

AWAY (white)

(Sorry, not too many pictures around just yet)



Again, here’s how they’ve changed:

  1. Red accents added to collar
  2. Red ‘OTTAWA’ wordmark below the collar
  3. Number colours swapped, now red with black outline, and no longer italicized 
  4. Shoulder numbers removed
  5. (Appears to be) smaller font used for namebar on the back
  6. ‘#RNation’ added to pant leg

Alright, now for our impressions of the changes:

@DefendTheR: The addition of red to the home uniform was a must and nicely executed. Was hoping to see some striping on the shoulders, but not to be.

@NevillCarney: RED! If there was one single complaint I had when Ottawa unveiled their uniforms in their inaugural season in 2014, it was that a team named the REDblacks hardly had any red! I love the red compression stockings and the way they seemingly connect with the pants.

@DefendTheR: The larger REDBLACKS wordmark on the home jersey is sharp, filling up a non-personalized jersey a tiny bit better.

The move to white numbers was a no-brainer. The old ones were simply too dark. That being said, I still think white numbers with no outline would look just a bit better.

@NevillCarney: Numbers improve legibility as they are no longer italicized and are now white on the black jersey, answering broadcasters’ prayers for better contrast. They also keep the axe notch in the font, so bonus points there.

As for REDBLACKS on the front of the black home jersey, given the large francophone population in the city, it seems to give preferential treatment to the English version of the name rather than the “Rouge et Noir” translation. The best way to please both sides is to have it read “Ottawa”, similar to the new white road jersey.

@DefendTheR: It’s great to see the OTTAWA wordmark on the road uniform (especially since it won’t be on the pants). Also, the use of red numbers provide quite a different look, one somewhat resembling the glory days, in fact.

Again, a single-colour number probably makes this look just a touch better, but it’s a good look.

@NevillCarney: I wasn’t overwhelmed with the new CFL logo when it was first revealed during Grey Cup week last season, but on the jerseys, on the red collar, it looks really sharp.

@DefendTheR: I’m not a huge fan of #RNation on the pants, frankly. And not for any of the silly reasons being spewed on social media, but because there isn’t enough ‘Ottawa’ on the uniform. In fact, on the home set, there’s none. That being said, how can you not like the fact the team is giving a shoutout to the fanbase? Pretty cool gesture.

@NevillCarney: I’m on the fence with #RNation on the pants, but I like how it was captured on the inside collar. I also like that the team recognizes its incredibly strong fanbase and social media supporters.

@DefendTheR: The Redblacks confirmed the team will continue to use their white helmets on the road, which I am happy about. However, I wonder if adding a red stripe down the middle might help balance out the entire look? (UPDATE: they won’t be).

@NevillCarney: Still no red on the helmets. Essentially, if you remove the logos from the black helmet, we have the exact same one as our nemesis in Hamilton! A red facemask and/or stripe down the helmet like the old Rough Riders would fix that.

Also, no plaid! After building a strong brand with the plaid alternate jersey for the past 2 seasons, there is no sign of this on the new look. I would have bet $$$ on there being some form of plaid in the new design. Glad I’m not a betting man. ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall Thoughts

@DefendTheR: Solid uniform upgrades. No question both sets needed more red and the home uniforms needed to be brightened up. The uniforms are definitely a more modern look, which is fine, although I would eventually like to see more traditional elements incorporated.

@NevillCarney: Ottawa’s new look is very similar to Calgary’s and Saskatchewan’s in the sense that it is a paint-by-numbers/cookie-cutter look. What do I mean by that? Look at each of the aforementioned teams and take note: do they have shoulder numbers? No. (This is a staple for football jerseys! Bring those back!) Do they have coloured patches along the sides and arms in the exact same spots? Yes.

@DefendTheR: The ‘ROUGEetNOIR’ wordmark is once again relegated to essentially an afterthought, used only on the front of the helmet. If the team is serious about this name as part of the overall brand, they need to start using it! And if not, might as well just abandon it altogether.

@NevillCarney: Overall, it’s an improvement over what Ottawa wore for the past 2 seasons, but still misses the mark in my opinion: 7/10.

Much like how superfan Jacob Barrette worked with the NHL’s Senators to design a heritage uniform that quickly became a top seller, I would suggest a similar interaction for the RedBlacks and their fans to really nail it for the inevitable next set of jerseys in the near future. We are so close to being the best-dressed team in the CFL, we just need a few tweaks to get there.

Thanks for reading!

@DefendTheR

(All photos from OttawaRedblacks.com)

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Retro Preview: How they’d look today – 1976

As we await the launch of the Redblacks’ new Adidas-designed uniforms for 2016, we thought this would be a great opportunity to “look ahead” to what Ottawa’s first throwback uniforms might look like. With 120 years of Rough Rider football to draw from, there are some great options to consider. In this short series, we’ll look at which year (or timeframe) we’d like to see remembered and why. Huge thanks to artist and CFL fan Nelson Hackewich for the concepts.

This week, we look at Ottawa’s last taste of Grey Cup glory, 1976.

History

The Rough Riders won the East in 1976, putting together a 9-6-1 season. The team was led by All-Stars TE Tony Gabriel (who would also be named the league’s Most Outstanding Canadian), RB Art green and LB Mark Kosmos, as well as All-Eastern QB Tom Clements.

  
Ottawa faced Hamilton (8-8) in the East Final, winning a tightly-contested game 17-15 at Lansdowne Park to earn a berth into 64th Grey Cup. Held at Toronto’s Exhibition Place, the Canadian championship pitted Ottawa against their sort-of nickname counterparts from Regina (11-5). A back-and-forth affair, Saskatchewan held a 20-16 lead late in the 4th quarter. With just 31 seconds remaining, Clements called for “Rob I, fake 34, tight end flag” in the huddle (not the call he received from the bench, by the way) and hit a streaking Gabriel in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. One of the iconic plays in CFL history, it is commonly referred to as “Clements to Gabriel” or simply “The Catch”.

  

Watch it here. Goosebumps every time.

  

The Uniform

And with that, here’s Hackewich’s take on the 1976 Rough Riders uniforms:

1976-style home uniform
1976-style road (away) uniform

One of the things we like best about (most of) the old Rough Riders uniforms is the simplicity. Nothing flashy, but a look that is timeless. The white jersey/red pant road uniform is a bold look with a very ’70s feel to it.

1976 was the first year the Rough Riders wore this jersey/pant combo, which they stuck with through the 1979 season.

As it is the uniform worn by the last Ottawa team to win the Grey Cup, have to think it is a front-runner for the first retro uniform to be worn by the Redblacks. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer to find out. The 40th anniversary would be a great time to do it, wouldn’t it?

Thanks for reading!

@DefendTheR

References

1. Forgotten Heroes: The Ottawa Rough Riders 1960-1996 by John Joseph Kelly 
2. Wikipedia 

READER’S TAKE: Why I don’t like the new Redblacks jerseys

While the large majority are giving the Ottawa Redblacks two enthusiastic thumbs up for their new uniforms, even some of the most loyal Ottawa CFL fans have their gripes. The following comes from Nevill Carney, he of some great Redblacks jerseys concepts and one of the dudes behind the Redblacks Theme Song. Nevill left the following in the comment section of this post and allowed us to re-post here, for your consideration.

Our comments are captured in bold.

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I was looking forward to this unveiling since the name and logo were unveiled a year ago. I cannot describe how bland these look! My heart literally sank as the first pics of the road jersey were released. My first thought: “where is the RED?!” Then, when the home jerseys came out, I was at least happy about them being black.

No doubt the lack of red was surprising. More on that later.

NEGATIVES

– Take away the numbers and logos from the jersey and you have a very dull looking shirt. Very much like the BC Lions home/away set. Fans will have to get numbers put on them to complete the look. (I can say now that Toronto and Edmonton have the best look in the CFL as their arm striping is sharp and creates a sense of movement when on the field)

Pretty common for a football jersey, since the number is such a prominent part of the design.

– Lack of arm striping. For OSEG, who wanted to link to the past Rough Rider teams, I really thought they would have some striping on the arms. The concepts that I had designed a while back were my hopes of what to see.

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Above is Nevill’s last concept. Really sharp, I thought. Great vintage look.

I was also surprised at the lack of striping, although the white jersey does have the more modern take on striping with the black trim on the shoulders & extending all the way down the sides.

20140507-225407.jpg

– Away uniform is depressing. It looks like a recoloring of Saskatchewan’s current road whites. Weren’t we trying to get as far away from what the GreenRiders were doing? I despise the white helmet. Stick with ONE black helmet for both uniforms. Establishing your brand in year one is VITAL. Look at the NFL teams; how many have multiple helmets?

In fairness, there are only so many jersey templates a team can use and those are likely determined by Reebok.

As for multiple helmets, I personally love it as a concept and love how the Redblacks white helmet looks.

I have heard the ‘stick with one helmet’ argument a couple times over the last few days, but don’t really get it. If a team can have 3 jerseys, no reason you can’t have multiple helmets. Baseball teams have different home/away/alternate hats, hockey teams often have different home/away helmets. Why not football?

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Odd side note: last year, every West team in the CFL had an alternate helmet (SSK actually had 2). None of the East teams did.

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Weird, eh?

– REDBLACKS plastered under the collar and above the front numbers. For OSEG, a business that has claimed to be supportive of both official languages since Day 1, this was a huge mistake. It now makes the English name of the team dominant over the French. I realize that they have “Rouge et Noir” on the front bumper of the helmet, but fans will not be buying the helmet. In order to offset this, they should have replaced it with “Ottawa.” The Renegades did this and it looked great.

Good point. Could have gone with OTTAWA on the front of both jerseys, or otherwise have REDBLACKS on one and ROUGE ET NOIR on the other. The bumper is a neat feature but also seems like a bit of an afterthought.

POSITIVES

– Sawblade logo on both arms. Nailed it. I was hoping for this and bam. Likely the main reason why I will be buying a home jersey rather than settling on a t-shirt to wear to games.

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– Black home jersey/black helmet. Traditional; enough said.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

– I would have really liked it if the Redblacks took a page from Fury FC and presented options of uniforms for the fans to vote on. This would have made the fans feel included (unlike the choosing of the team name fiasco from last year) and important enough to have a say with where the franchise is headed.

In fairness to OSEG, the ‘Name Our Teams’ campaign wasn’t actually a contest.

I am on the fence with getting one of these but I will for the sake of supporting the team (the home not the terrible away jersey).

C’mon now!

We have a so-so name, a terrific logo and now a “meh” set of uniforms. 1.5/3 for overall branding at this stage from this season ticket holder’s opinion. I can only hope that we have a retro design come to pass and become our regular set.

Not sure if it will be retro, but it sounds like we will definitely have a red third jersey later this summer. In this Ottawa Sun piece writer Aedan Helmer and OSEG president Jeff Hunt tell us:

A red third jersey will be unveiled later in the summer, and while Hunt said they went for the classic look for the home and away duds, โ€œthat (third jersey) is going to be different.โ€

So, that answers the lack of red in the home & away set. But how ‘different’, exactly? We shall see…

Regardless, I’m stoked for kickoff and to have Ottawa return to the CFL regardless of what they are wearing. Go Ottawa!

Thanks Nevill!

@OTTRoughRiders

Redblacks jersey numbers?

On the day of the Redblacks Expansion Draft, an astute CFL fan noted that the Redblacks official site was using this number template on its player pages:

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An interesting find. Definitely matches the cut-out style on the Redblacks R logo, as below:

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If this is indeed the number template they’re going with, it certainly points to a non-traditional jersey style. Not necessarily a bad thing. Certainly an ambitious choice. High risk, high reward, I suppose.

Interesting to note that the team has since removed the player number references from all player pages. Simply because numbers haven’t officially been assigned to players yet? Or cleaning up an unintended mini-leak? Pure speculation at this point. Pretty enjoyable speculation, actually ๐Ÿ™‚

#RNation