Los Angeles knows a little something about fashion. Some of the more notable examples are the famous red carpet of the Oscars, the city’s famous Fashion District, or the way sports teams’ logos and paraphernalia have been surfacing in music videos since the dawn of time. It may not be Paris or New York, but Los Angeles is certainly an epicenter of fashion, which is why it was completely unsurprising that a uniform thread was one of the most popular topics on LA Rams Report’s boards.
New city means new threads, right?
Rams Report is far from the first outlet to address this topic, but the fact that so many outlets are talking about it is a sign of the times. Fashion has become a big part of the industry. It seem silly to talk about the importance of fashion in an article about football, but it’s part of the crazy taken-for-granted culture that makes up the most popular sport in America. It’s an integral part of what makes the sport so popular.
The college football game can provide a little context here. Uniform combination and good looking equipment has become a recruiting calling card for some schools. Oregon is the most notable example of a school using a fashion-forward brand, but more and more programs are using these concepts and ideas to attract top recruits. Those who have spent time covering any sort of high school recruiting will have undoubtedly heard some variation of the phrase “look good, feel good, play good.”
The phrase functions on a couple levels. It primarily functions as a statement of admiration, but it has a secondary function as a statement of confidence and conviction. Fashion is alive and well in sports and much of that is borne out of confidence. Top players like Cam Newton and Russell Westbrook are also magnets for the fashion world. Marketing these stars is also marking their look, hence their fashion.
A move to Los Angeles would suggest a new look to go with a new city. It’s a common trend among organizations when they relocate, but these things don’t always follow that script. In fact, when the Rams first moved to St. Louis, they largely left the uniforms untouched save for a patch. It wasn’t until 2000 that the franchise adopted the look still largely in place today. It is entirely possible that the Rams don’t change a thing.
A new look wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for a franchise looking to find new life in a fresh town. As mentioned in an earlier column, the Rams haven’t had a season with 10+ wins since 2003. Another way to look at that is that these uniforms have been worn by the franchise for the last 16 years and the Rams have had a losing record in eleven of those seasons. The current color scheme has seen a total of three seasons with 10+ wins and only five seasons of eight or more wins.
There is something to be said for ditching a look that has overseen one of the worst periods in franchise history. Even the abysmal stretch from 1990-98 never saw the team win fewer than three games. The Rams accomplished that twice from 2007-11. In fact, the last time the Rams only won two games in a season was the year I was born -- 1982. The last time the franchise only won a single game before 2009 was in 1962, the same year the Boston Celtics won their fifth NBA championship.
The Rams haven’t been this historically bad in a while, so maybe a new look wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. This wouldn’t be the first time a professional sports club has ditched a uniform because it had endured a bad stretch. The Toronto Blue Jays once ditched 18 years of history because of a five-game losing streak. The Cowboys reportedly only wear their road blues when they are forced to by home teams wearing their road jerseys. Teams tend to ditch looks that accompany losing stretches.
The Rams may not need a new look in Los Angeles, but the fans are already clamoring for one, the league is probably ready for a change, and the franchise hasn’t won a single thing of consequence since they dropped the old look. Maybe the Rams should look at the move as a chance to shed themselves of their failure fineries and adorn a winning wardrobe. It doesn't even necessarily have to be about the results on the field.
For many in Los Angeles, the current color scheme represents a period in Los Angeles without the NFL. These colors, these Rams, they belong to St. Louis and there is nothing wrong with that. It is time for Los Angeles to put their stamp back on this franchise. When the Rams changed their scheme in 2000, it was the final nail in the coffin for L.A. Rams fans still holding out hope that the franchise might one day return to Los Angeles. It was more symbolic than anything else, a reminder that weren't in L.A. and were going to scub off any reminder of their time in Los Angeles.
Now the Rams have a chance to undo the change and restore the look of a franchise that once proudly dominated southern California. Whether the franchise reimagines the old look or cooperatively works with fans to create a new look, Los Angeles deserves the chance to model this franchise in their own image. The Rams were the pride of Los Angeles for nearly 50 years prior to their move. It's time to restore the NFL to Los Angeles and it's also time to restore the look of Los Angeles to the NFL.
Or they could just go back to that sweet white and royal blue look that everyone loves so much. That'd be an okay compromise!