I found myself getting distracted several times while watching the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins’ Wild Card weekend matchup. This time it wasn’t from fans hurling ice chunks at Dolphin players but it was by what Mike McDaniel was wearing on his head.
When the game broadcast showed the Dolphins’ mastermind deep in focus on the sidelines, my head was involuntarily tilting and my eyes squinting. Not because I was curious about the play he was going to call next, but because the color situation on his beanie begged some questions.
Did the hat fall into the locker room mop bucket? Did the equipment manager accidentally mix whites and colors in the wash? Is the hat a prototype for Bill Walton’s new NFL x Grateful Dead collab collection?
Eventually, I remembered that nothing can be worn by an NFL coach or player that hasn’t been approved by the league. So when I saw other tie-dye/bleach-stained beanies over the weekend, it was clear these hats are another example of professional sports merchandise gone wrong.
No matter how ugly the merchandise is, pro sports leagues, like all other businesses, have the goal for profit to constantly grow. For the leagues, a great source of easy revenue is to wag new merch in their direction like a peanut vendor at the ballpark.
The worst of course is the NBA. I wish an equipment manager would “accidentally” put bleach in the wash load with all of the black New York Knicks uniforms so they could be taken out of the rotation for at least one night.
There are so many uniforms, including a city edition that is now redesigned every year. Some of the games can make a viewer’s head hurt because of all of the colors on the court combined with the uniforms. There is a reason that production crews white balance cameras. Too much color makes for an unpleasant viewing experience.
In many NBA games, there is no team wearing white. Color is being hurled at the viewer like a kindergartener got a hold of a 64-count Crayola box and the league decided to broadcast whatever the kid drew with before someone finally took away the crayons. Sporting events are not the Met Gala. Even there, as eccentric as some of the outfits are, at least the colors make sense.
But of course, money is more important than the viewer being able to follow the game. The NBA appears to be content to fire as many different color combinations and uniforms as possible at the viewers. The NFL is much better than the NBA about the color matchups on the field, especially since they have done away with the color rush Thursday night games.
That still doesn’t excuse these terrible beanies though. While I now know that the hats are supposed to look the way that they do, I would still rather not get hit in the face with tie dye every time the broadcast shows the sidelines.
Of all the business uniforms the phrase “less is more,” should be most applied to sports teams.