Note: Washington Redskins’ Executive Vice President and General Manager Bruce Allen filled in this week for Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King and his “Monday Morning Quarterback” column. The Redskins Blog will be highlighting some of Allen’s comments from the column, which you can read in its entirety by clicking here.
If Bruce Allen had his way, the Washington Redskins would return to the days of the pre-1970s NFL — at least when it comes to team uniforms.
Allen — the Redskins’ executive vice president and general manager — touched on the topic Monday in his Sports Illustrated column, in which he offers this as his “Contrarian Viewpoint Of The Week:”
“Take the names off the back of the jerseys,” Allen wrote.
It’s certainly worth a follow-up to ask Allen to explain this stance a little more, so stay tuned. But when I’ve heard this topic come up before in the college ranks, for example, it’s usually a coach or team official encouraging team unity over individual play (the “it’s about the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back” mentality).
Fair enough, but let’s play along for a minute. According to ESPN.com’s Uni Watch, professional sports teams didn’t put names on the backs of jerseys until 1960, when then-Chicago White Sox owner Bill Veeck began the practice for his baseball squad.
Though the American Football League also jumped on the names-on-jerseys bandwagon in 1960, it wasn’t until 1970 when the National Football League — and the Redskins — joined in.
Currently, Major League Baseball is the only major sports league that does not require names to on the backs of their teams’ jerseys. The argument for names, I’d say, is because it makes the players more recognizable on TV.
And even in the MLB, the New York Yankees are the only team that has been able to stick with completely nameless uniforms. The Boston Red Sox and the San Francisco Giants do not have names on their home jerseys only.
Other MLB teams — like the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers — have also tried taking the names off their jerseys in recent years, but the move was quickly reversed after negative reaction from either the fans or the players (or both).
In a completely hypothetical sense, it’d certainly be interesting to see the Redskins playing without names on the back of their jerseys. Without them, however, we wouldn’t have the interesting story lines about rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Roy Helu Jr. being allowed to wear “Griffin III” and “Helu Jr” on their uniforms this year.
What do you think? Do you long for the NFL uniforms of old without the names? Or are you a names-on-jerseys supporter?
Tags: bruce allen, jerseys, washington redskins
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