We were told to expect only minor changes to the Patriots new, post-Brady ensemble. Specifically they teased, "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." Which they could've shortened to, "the look we were sporting on Thursday nights while the Seahawks dressed like Hi-Liters and Kansas City vs. Green Bay looked like a battle between squeeze bottles of ketchup and mustard."
Patriots official site - Starting this season, the 2020 blue home uniforms are mostly identical to the "Color Rush" uniforms, with small tweaks made to the fonts on both the numbers and nameplates and red, white, and blue color-blocked socks 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.
While the home uniform is largely the same as the "Color Rush" design, the Patriots will have an entirely new look for away trips. The white road jerseys have gotten a fresh upgrade to match their blue siblings.
The blue pants will remain the same for both uniforms, but the away jersey is now complementary to the home with strong red and blue stripes on the shoulders and blue numbers outlined in silver and red.
Look, I'm not against change. Even change simply for change's sake. Certain uniforms have a classic design that I think shouldn't be touched except the slightest of tweaks. I'm talking about those franchises who established themselves early on and whose look became national symbols of success. The Yankees. Baseball Cardinals. Celtics. Raiders. Canadiens. Packers. Lakers. Cowboys. The college football dynasty of your choice. The Patriots look has never been one of those.
If I had to pick their best uniform strictly in terms of aesthetics, it would be the 70s and 80s throwbacks..
Which was changed not because it wasn't a razor sharp look, which it was. Rather, it was because NFL Properties found the Pat Patriot logo a royal pain in the ass to try and reproduce in the pre-digital age. So they were constantly pushing ownership to simplify the design. And they weren't wrong. On half the gear I ever got when I was a kid (which wasn't all that much because outlets like the Sears catalogue - the Amazon of the Jurassic Age - would list officially licensed NFL items and at the bottom in agate type it would invariably say "Not available in the following teams: Patriots …), the logo looked like a drawing your kid made that you wouldn't hang on the back of the fridge.
But even as time and technology made it as easy to reproduce Pat Patriot as the Bears iconic "C," another, deeper factor made change necessary: Human nature. I took a Semantics class in high school and one of the things we learned was about much influence symbols have on the human brain. How we learn to associate visuals with our own experience. The golden arches remind you of positive experiences while eating delicious comfort food. The red cross means someone is getting help. The cartoon tongue-and-lips invoke a hundred Rolling Stones anthems. And so on. No one had a beef with the Swastika when it was being used as a symbol of divinity and spirituality in Indian religions. But when it was leading the parade into the invasion of Poland, it was a different story altogether. And objectively speaking, nobody had sharper looking uniforms than those fucking monsters.
Unfortunately, those old school Pats uniforms came to symbolize what the team largely embodied. Failure. Losing. Chuck Fairbanks leaving the team to go back to college ball while under contract and in the middle of winning the division for the first time. The worst stadium in all of sports. Irving Fryar getting stabbed in a restaurant by his pregnant wife in the middle of the playoffs. Irving Fryar crashing his car leaving the stadium. At halftime. Rod Rust saying, "I'm proud of my team's effort today" after losing to Pittsburgh 24-3, dropping their record to 1-12. Zeke Mowatt waving his dong in the face of a female reporter and team owner Victor Kiam calling her, "a classic bitch." You get the point.
The fact is, the Pats uniforms from 2001-2020, in all their various iterations, have come to be synonymous with winning. With the standard of success every team in every sport aspires to. But also with controversy. Scandals, real and imagined. Polarization. A reviled coach and a largely resented quarterback. Which is fine. You don't plant a flag emblazoned with Flying Elvis into a mountain of your enemies' skulls without people learning to hate it. The key is to make it so this new, fashion forward color rush look also comes to symbolize everything America hates as day dawns upon The Jarrett Stidham Era. As long as they do that, I don't care what they wear.