I didn’t recognize the Steelers’ team on the field Sunday against Detroit.
They played like a functional NFL offense.
Roethlisberger aired it out for 367 yards and four touchdowns after the Steelers abandoned the running game in a shootout.
Calvin Johnson exploited Pittsburgh’s secondary. Nothing new there.
Strangely though, for this year, the Steelers put their collective foot down at the end of the game to quash any hope of a Lions comeback.
Mostly though, I couldn’t bear to look at what Pittsburgh was wearing.
They donned their 1934 throwback jerseys for the second consecutive year to look like a reject prison football team.
Change the yellow stripes to white and you’ve got The Longest Yard.
I’m all for honoring the franchise’s past, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to recognize a team that went 2-10.
1934 was a different time for NFL fans.
The Steelers were still called the Pirates at that point and lost to such teams as the St. Louis Gunners and Boston Redskins.
The team finished last in the Eastern Division that year, fielding a team made of largely rookies and second-year players.
Johnny (Blood) McNally was the team’s elder statesman with nine years of experience followed by the comparatively grizzled Jap Douds, who had played for four years.
It’s perfectly understandable to want to honor one of the first squads in team history, but the look has not aged well.
The off-brown pants are meant to intensify the “vintage” look, but give the appearance that the equipment managers have become lax in their laundry duties.
Plus having black and gold Nike cleats with their standard helmet kills the illusion.
I’m not advocating a one-game leather helmet cameo (imagine the lawsuits from that one) or a Packers-style brown facsimile.
I really don’t have a solution to improve the look; I’m not a fashion designer.
Truth be told, not even Coco Chanel could make that jersey look good.
Then again, it’s not like the Steelers have many other options to choose from for a throwback jersey.
They haven’t changed their jerseys since “updating” them in 1968.
That era has seen six Super Bowl championships and eight appearances in a consistently sharp look.
Why mess with success?
Pittsburgh looks good every (normal) time they step on the field and have for 45 years.
The look doesn’t lack for visual interest, either.
The Steelers are the only team in the league that only wears a logo on one side of their helmets.
At this point it’s tradition, but it started because Art Rooney was too cheap to paint the logo on both sides.
The team could surely afford it now, but it doesn’t make sense to do away with tradition for the sake of uniformity.