A closer look at Syracuse’s new football uniforms

Like many, the initial reaction to Syracuse’s new football uniforms from me was a bland “Meh,” met with a condescending “Really?” Heck, it seems even the Syracuse football players were less than thrilled with the new look, a stark contrast to the reaction the football players at Miami had when getting a look at their new uniforms. But now that a day has passed, let’s take a closer look at the new Syracuse football uniforms, which were unveiled yesterday.

Home Uniform

2014 Syracsuse home uniform

First thing I noticed was the removal of an orange football helmet. Fear not. Syracuse will still have an orange helmet to wear this season, as they should. Personally, I believe Syracuse should never wear a blue helmet so hopefully they stick with the orange helmet more regularly because the blue one flat out stinks. So what about the rest of the home look?

Much too much blue for my tastes, and blue is my favorite color. Is it too much to ask for more orange in the uniform for the Syracuse Orange? Apparently there will be more orange coming in 2015, but why wait?

The numbers have been the target of plenty of early criticism. I do not mind them too much, but when Nike says they were designed to represent the New York City skyline I start to roll my eyes. I mean, Syracuse is only four hours away. I live half that distance away from the Big Apple but you don’t see me going out of my way to symbolize the New York City skyline. That’s a weak design explanation from Nike and Syracuse. However, the lines on the inside of the numbers are placed at a 44-degree angle, which is a nod to the legendary Ernie Davis, which is kind of cool. The icon on the bottom of the neckline is also a nod to the quad and Davis, using the number “44” to form a military-esque symbol to represent the team’s annual trip to Fort Drum, New York. OK, whatever. I suppose it is more unique than placing another “S” somewhere on the uniform.

I would have liked to see more emphasis of the color orange. The 44-degree angles in the numbers is nice, but just give me some nice bold orange numbers in white trim. Is that so hard?

Road Uniform

Photo credit: Phil Hecken

Photo credit: Phil Hecken

For the most part, this is not terrible. Many seem to like the white helmet, and it is trend running wild around the country right now. I would prefer Syracuse stick to an orange helmet and it does appear the orange helmet will remain a part of this uniform combo as well. Good.

The stripes start to make me think I am looking at an Auburn uniform though. Perhaps that is because there is too much blue in the uniform and stripes make me think of tigers first.

The all-white look with orange highlights is actually not all that bad, although I would have preferred to see more of a bold orange in the numbers as I mentioned for the home jerseys. Pair the white uniform with the orange helmet and blue or orange pants and I think Syracuse can pull this off. Please, no all-white from head to toe.

Alternate Uniform

Photo credit: Nate Mink

Photo credit: Nate Mink

Officially this new alternate uniform is dark steel grey, but you can’t pull the wool over my eyes and get away with it. This is a grey uniform and except for a couple of exceptions to the rule, grey uniforms are about as dull and bland as you can get in football. And Syracuse just went there. Worst yet, they showed it off with that hideous blue helmet.

There is absolutely nothing you can do to convince me gray is a good look for Syracuse, and once again there is a disturbing lack of orange in the uniform. Even pairing it with orange pants will look sad because it will just remind you how bland the jersey is. Let’s hope this grey uniform sees no more than one game per season. Perhaps somebody can sneak into the lockerroom and remove all of these uniforms and burn them in a garbage dumpster (note: please do not do that).

Final Analysis

If I had to design a Syracuse football uniform, it would be pretty easy. Orange helmet, blue jerseys with white numbers in orange trim at home and white jerseys with blue numbers in orange trim on the road and orange pants for home and away. But that’s the thing. I am a bit of a traditionalist and in today’s world of recruiting it is not cool to be stuck to tradition when it comes to uniforms. While incorporating tradition and symbols into the uniform is a nice touch, sometimes it gets buried in the overall aesthetics of the design. Telling me the numbers are designed to mimic the New York City skyline do not pass the sniff test. A team known as the Orange should be able to embrace that color much more than Syracuse seems to do here. A blue helmet and a white helmet for the Syracuse Orange? Come on. Some of the aspects of the Syracuse uniforms are nice, but they get outweighed by the negatives in this design.

Syracuse and Nike should go back to the drawing board on this one.

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to NBCSports.com's College Football Talk, Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and iHeart Radio. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.