Last week, in a move that was surprising to no one, the Seattle Seahawks signed Trent Dilfer. Yes, Trent Dilfer, the man who won a Super Bowl and then had to beg for a job as a backup last year.
Amused that the Seahawks had re-signed him and saddened that he is the class of the 2002 free agent market, I surfed on over to the Seahawks Web site to read about the details of new contract. Upon arrival at seahawks.com, I was surprised to find that the ‘Hawks not only had the audacity to give Dilfer a $4 million signing bonus, but that they had done something even more superficial. They changed their logo.
That’s right, the fictional birds from the Northwest have altered the shape of their mascot. Being one of those people who notices this kind of thing (I found the throat-protecting facemask that Kurt Warner wore in the playoffs to be garishly ugly), I decided to investigate further. After closer examination, not only did I decide that the new logo is almost as ugly as the old one, but that the change will result in one of two things:
1. The Seahawks will reach the Super Bowl within the next two seasons.
2. The Seahawks will become one of the worst teams in the league.
While option number two doesn’t seem that far-fetched, number one is inconceivable. Or is it? The Patriots did win the Super Bowl this year. But what does the change in uniforms have to do with it?
More than you think. I did a little research into the subject of uniform changes, and found that the tweaking of a logo can mean a lot to a team’s success or failure. My findings are as follows:
ARGUMENT A: Success after a uniform change.
When discussing the affect of logo changes, consider this: four out of the last five Super Bowl champions have made a uniform change within two years of their victory. Don’t believe me? The Broncos changed their unis in 1997. Result? World champions in 1998 and 1999. The Baltimore Ravens, after being sued by a man who claimed to have come up with their logo and had not received any of the proceeds, changed their helmets in 1999. Presto change-o, Super Bowl champs, 2001. And of course there’s this year’s glorious victor, the New England Patriots.
“NO!” I hear Bostonians cry, “They changed in 1993!” That they did, my Red Sox-obsessed friends, but in 2000 they changed the color scheme, moving from a royal to a navy blue. Navy must inspire confidence: 2002 titlists? Pats! And it doesn’t stop at the winners.
If you include the 2000 Titans, the 2001 Giants and the 2002 Rams, seven out of the last ten Super Bowl contestants have had a uniform change within two years of their appearance.
It isn’t only a football thing, either. The Arizona Diamondbacks, just 5 years old, have three different hat styles: the original bears an A, another displays a snake in the form of a D, and the third simply bears a snake. More logos? More success. Even the Lakers had to change their uniforms before winning with Shaq and Kobe, and the Sixers’ digs were made for AI.
ARGUMENT B: Failure after a uniform change:
The ultimate example of uniform changes leading to disaster are the 1995-96 Houston Rockets. After winning two consecutive NBA titles in red, the Rockets donned blue jerseys with white pinstripes in 1995. The uniforms were horribly ugly, as were the Rockets from that point on. Michael Jordan knows the curse of the wrong colors.
His Airness was seemingly only vulnerable for the short period that the Bulls suited up in black on the road in ’97. Football is not immune either, as the Philadelphia Eagles, a promising team in the early ’90s, fell into the NFC East’s basement after tweaking their jerseys.
So can we draw anything from all of this? Do uniforms really affect a team’s performance? Or are they merely a reflection of a team’s resurgence? Or hope thereof? Whatever the case may be, the Seahawks are hoping their new clothes will lead them to victory.
Trent Dilfer’s going to need all the help he can get.