The Harbaugh era is in full-swing at the University of Michigan, and no one is safe. Not even the uniforms.
You’ve most likely heard about the big (and EXTREMELY lucrative) switch from adidas to Nike that begins in 2016, but Big Blue fans will see some Harbaugh-wrought changes this year, as well. And one of them is already proving to be pretty popular among some of the Wolverine faithful.
According to Angelique Chengelis of the Detroit News, the famous “Michigan Legends” jerseys are gone.
While the concept of the legends jersey is a good one – who doesn’t want to pay homage to their program’s stars of yesteryear? – in practice, they proved to be confusing and a bit restricting to the players who wore them. How can a player be expected to create his own legacy and elevate his number to legendary status if he’s already wearing someone else’s?
Plus, I could just never get used to seeing a quarterback sporting the number 98. It was just off-putting, wasn’t it?
If your goal is to honor legends of the past, a few prominent, well-placed placards, signs or even statues (people LOVE statues!) around the stadium should do the trick.
Another jersey taking a hit, according to Mark Snyder of The Detroit Free Press: the alternate. It’s going bye-bye, at least for now. Harbaugh is apparently sticking with just the home and road looks for 2015, another move that appears to be popular among fans.
While some programs feature some pretty sweet alternates from time to time – Georgia’s little-used black jerseys come to mind – and some programs (I’m looking at YOU, Oregon) seem to wear nothing BUT alternate unis, Michigan is one of those teams that just doesn’t need a third jersey.
The B1G is all about tradition, after all, so it makes sense to stay with just a home and road set that is already one of the most easily recognized in college football.
But while a couple of traditions are going by the wayside, the Harbaugh-nator (see what I did there?) is bringing another one back: helmet stickers. Helmet stickers were used at Michigan under Bo Schembechler (including during Harbaugh’s time as the Wolverine QB), but were discontinued under Lloyd Carr, who wanted to focus on team accomplishments rather than individual performance.
I’m a big fan of helmet stickers. They reward a player for individual performance without drastically changing a team’s overall look.
Some schools have even taken to rewarding players’ academic achievements with a different colored sticker (back to Georgia here – the black Dawg bones on the helmet are for classroom achievement while the white ones are for on-field accomplishments), which allows a player to be recognized for the “student” part of “student-athlete.”
That’s never a bad thing. And besides, helmet stickers just look really cool. Seriously, what would an Ohio State helmet look like without all those Buckeye leaves at the end of the season? Or a Florida State helmet that wasn’t covered in tomahawks by year’s end? They’d be pretty boring, if you ask me.
Who knows what changes the mighty Nike empire may make to the Michigan look in 2016?
For now, though, Jim Harbaugh is putting his own stamp on the classic UM uniforms that Wolverine Nation has come to know and love. And in the immortal words of Martha Stewart, “That’s a good thing.”
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports