Along with the rest of the CFL, the Ottawa Redblacks unveiled their new look Adidas jerseys this morning. Leading up to the big reveal, the main thing R-Nation wanted was easier numbers to read, as everyone from fans in the stands to broadcasters had at some point or the other, complained about their legibility.
Quite clearly the team heard fan concerns.
The all black home jerseys are gone, replaced by a look that puts a healthy dose of red on the home jersey. There’s more red under the collar and thick red stripes that extend from the armpit down the ribcage to the hip. Another change is that the number colours have been reversed. Instead of red numbers with a white outline, the new jerseys feature white numbers boldly outlined in red trim. This simple switch has the effect of the making numbers much easier to read. The best part about the number change is that the Redblacks have preserved the saw blade notch; a distinct look that plays well into their lumberjack theme.
It’s worth noting that both the home and away jerseys go out of their way to nod to R-Nation, with the hashtag stitched inside the back of the collar.
— Adrian Sciarra (@OSEGAdrian) May 12, 2016
As for the white road jerseys, perhaps the most notable change is that the word “Ottawa” now replaces “Redblacks” across the chest. Like the home uniforms, the number colour scheme for the road look has also flipped, going from black numbers with a red outline to red numbers with a black trim.
The red numbers are also a subtle throwback to the Rough Rider’s golden era when Russ Jackson was winning back to back Grey Cups.
To sum up, both looks are sharp, clean and an overall improvement. The only thing that might divide fans is the R-Nation hashtag which run down the side of the pant legs.
Personally, I’m torn on the issue. On one hand, I absolutely love including fans as a part of the jersey. The Redblacks represent R-Nation and in turn, R-Nation represents generations of Ottawa fans whose support has never wavered, despite enduring various management groups and owners. Ottawa’s fan base is unique in that you have people who grew up and fell in love with the team in the Rough Rider glory years, alongside those whose first introduction to the CFL was with the Renegades and/or Redblacks. I get that the hashtag is a nod to the vital role that fans play in ensuring the team’s success (off-field) and acknowledges the very real home field advantage that TD Place provides.
But on the other hand, though I’m in that millennial group the CFL is so eager to target, when it comes to hashtags on a uniform, I just think it looks tacky. Not to mention the fact that if you wanted to show your fans some love, you’ve already included R-Nation on the inside of the team’s collar, so why do it twice? If they were going to put anything on the pants, I’ve would’ve liked them to keep the word “Ottawa”, just like the Signature Look pants.
In the end, it’s really a non-issue, because fans don’t buy the pants, we buy the jerseys. Either way, it shows that the Redblacks aren’t afraid to be unique when it comes to marketing and the move does set them apart from every other team in North America.
All in all, Adidas and the Redblacks should be commended for their sharp tweaks to what was already a strong looking uniform.