The centennial NFL and Chicago Bears season are almost upon us. The Bears plan to release their new alternate uniform in the first week of April 2019 (or so) and the speculation is on!
Psych, they are going to have triple digit jerseys. That was fun while it lasted. ?
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 1, 2019
Regardless, last season marked the end of the beloved “Monsters of the Midway” navy throwback uniforms for now. What beauties they were. ?
This to-be-released alternate uniform has big shoes to fill in replacement of the Monsters uniform, but it also has to fit next to our home, away, and recently added orange alternate uniforms. I predict the Bears will rotate four uniforms this year.
I am firstly a die-hard Bears fan, but a close second is being a die-hard uniform nerd. So when I heard about the new alternate uniform, the Bear Raid sirens went off for me. With some time before they launch, follow my logic for the two options the Bears might release for this new alternate uniform.
Since this is the centennial season, let’s look back 100 years to what the Chicago Bears, or Decatur Staleys, were wearing in 1919.
The uniform is built with a navy top, stripes, brown pants, and a leather helmet. What makes (or breaks) the uniform?
The Stripes. A lot of vertical orange stripes.
The stripes had intention, though, and were not just aesthetic. The stripe material was felt so that the ball carrier had a better grip of the ball against his body. No Nike Vapor Jet 5.4 gloves back then to keep hold of the old pigskin. ?
As is, this uniform could not be put on a modern NFL field for one reason. Jersey numbers. There are no numbers on the jersey, as was custom for uniforms at the time. There would need to be numbers on the front, back, and possibly shoulders (TV numbers).
Aesthetically, the pants color should be either navy, white, or possibly off-white. The helmet would be another area to update. It would be fun to keep the gray facemask from the Monsters uniform, but add a twist with the white wishbone “C” logo on the helmet. The helmet shell will stay navy as teams cannot change shell color for the whole season.
This may be a route the Bears go in 2019 for this alternate, sans the felt material. If so, it may have poor reviews just like back in 1994 when a similar attempt was made for the 75th Anniversary uniform. This uniform does have a unique jersey number on the right shoulder of the player, which may be something we see if brought back.
The Bears jersey outfitter in ’94 was Champion, so if Nike had to put their spin with this as the inspiration, we may get a different outcome. I am no designer at Nike, but with all of the considerations above, I put together my first alternative centennial uniform.
Nike has been the league outfitter since 2012, so we have a track record of their uniforms to date. Here are a couple of examples:
I must say that teams do also influence the look of their uniforms, so any blame or reward should not fall 100 percent on Nike. It is fun to see their line of work up to this point, though.
If the Bears do not look at the 1919 uniform as inspiration, maybe they rely on the mid-1930’s white uniform. This route I see being worn on the road.
The uniform has a white jersey, navy block numbers, alternating navy and orange stripes on the shoulders, navy pant, and the icing on top (or bottom) are full alternating navy and orange striped socks. The helmet was blue leather with three Michigan-like stripes on the top. It would be fun to see the bears swap the current helmet logo with these stripes.
This uniform could easily be brought to today’s NFL and get some serious jersey sales, me being one to contribute. The only update needed would be implementing TV (shoulder) numbers, but that is it.
These are otherwise perfect, even without those TV numbers. What could it look like? I spent some time putting together my vision for this.
What will the Bears do for this uniform?
Well by now all we know is that the Bears have a sense of humor. It looks like we will have to wait for the Bears100 weekend to find out what’s really cooking for this uniform. Look out for my reaction article shortly after it is released.