Even the most ardent Patriots’ detractors are likely to admit that revealing new threads on Patriots Day is both strategic and clever.
Despite this year’s palpably different feel, the New England Patriots made their best attempt to make it pleasantly memorable. As had been promised on Friday, the team unveiled its new uniforms on Monday morning. It is the first change to the primary uniform in 20 years.
In short, the team’s most recent alternate (“Color Rush”) uniforms have been promoted as their primary home threads. However, the team will have a noticeably new look when playing on the road in 2020.
“Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue”
On Friday, the Patriots shared a teaser video with a cryptic clue about the uniform reveal: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” In addition to being catchy, the colloquialism also proved to be accurate.
As indicated from Patriots.com, New England’s 2020 blue home uniforms are mostly identical to the “Color Rush” uniforms. Still, there will be some subtle differences. For starters, the Pats have made some minor adjustments to the fonts (on both the numbers and nameplates,) and red, white, and blue color-blocked socks will be making their debut. The navy-on-navy combination is then complete with bold red and white stripes on the pants and the sleeves, where the Patriots’ “Flying Elvis” logo is featured prominently.
However, as previously stated, the Patriots new ‘traveling duds’ will have an entirely new look for the upcoming season. The white road jerseys will sport strong red and blue stripes on the shoulders and blue numbers outlined in silver and red. They will pair with the blue pants, which presently appear to be the Pats’ only option for leg wear in 2020.
Building on a Solid Foundation
Providing new aesthetics to modernize the Patriots look was actually a process that started more than two years ago. With the league only allowing changes to uniforms every five years, conversations to change began in 2018. In her statement to Patriots.com, Jen Ferron, the CMO of Kraft Sports and Entertainment, said that the team believed that they already had a strong foundation in place to begin the re-design.
“As we started to think about the 2020 season and a new decade, we began to envision what we wanted our uniforms to reflect,” Ferron said. “The success of the ‘Color Rush’ uniform that we’ve worn for the past couple of years had us thinking that we didn’t need to make real substantive changes, rather we could make modest changes to our home uniform and then use a complementary version with those same aesthetics for our away uniform.”
While the new Patriots’ uniforms are being met with more positive than negative reaction, many still clamor for a return to the classic, red/white throwback uniforms of the team’s early days. That look includes use of the original “Pat Patriot” logo, created by Worcester Telegram – Evening Gazette cartoonist Phil Bissell in 1960. For the most part, this look continues to be beloved by fans and football analysts alike. The red throwbacks are also among the most popular and best-selling jerseys in the Patriots Pro Shop.
So, why not just bring back Pat Patriot???
Despite what some may believe, the team is also aware of the fanbase’s affinity for the Pat Patriot-reds. In fact, the design for the initial “Color Rush” uniform was inspired, in part, by the uniforms of Patriots past. The strong, bold stripes on the sleeves are a nod to the red throwback uniforms. However, current NFL uniform rules state that teams can only use one helmet for the season. For this re-design, the Patriots chose not to jettison their silver helmets, which (as eloquently stated by Angelique Fisk of Patriots.com) ‘have come to represent the modern era of the New England Patriots. A silver helmet with the “Flying Elvis” logo just doesn’t work with the red uniforms, which, of course, feature a white helmet with the iconic “Pat Patriot” logo.’
Still, Patriots Nation may take solace in the fact that Ferron did leave the door open for a return to the prized retro look in the future. Should the NFL decide to change the rule to allow more than one helmet per season, the red uniforms could certainly make a comeback as the team’s alternate.
“Our primary uniforms in the modern era have been blue and white and they will remain so,” Ferron said. “We recognize that fans also have an affinity for the red ‘throwback’ uniform and we hope to incorporate that into our uniform rotation in the future.“
Perhaps what is past, could become prologue?
Until that day…A new era, a new starting quarterback and some new threads will all make their debut in Foxboro later this year.
-Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and Columnist for Full Press Coverage. He covers the New England Patriots and provides NFL editorial content. He is also the host of the Locked On Patriots podcast. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC