Here’s a little quiz for you. In each of the following photos judging only by uniforms, identify if the player pictured is playing: A. At home B. On the road C. Not enough information given
1. We’ll start easy.
2. Still easy (base your answer on current rules in NHL)
3. A little tougher
4. Onto football
5. Who’s home and who’s away here?
Here are the answers: 1. B. Road, 2. A. Home, 3. A. Home, 4. B. Road, 5. Black team (S. Carolina) Road and white team (Mississippi St) Home, 6. C. Not enough info.
How did you do? The first part of this quiz was easy enough, right? Why was that? Well, Major League Baseball has rules about what uniforms a team wears when playing on the road or at home; hence, those who know baseball even casually know that gray uniforms signify road and white ones mean home. But what about question 3 wherein Derrek Lee is sporting the Cubs wicked awesome alternate jersey? Look at his pants — they’re white, meaning Lee is playing at Wrigley. The NHL has similar rules (though they just switched them): the home team wears team color unis, and the road team wears white; thus, Joe Sakic is at home.
On to the crux of the matter: football. It used to be that by just turning on a football game and glancing at the jerseys, one could tell who was playing where. No longer. My boy Drew Tate and the Hawkeyes (and most of college football for that matter) still follow the standard format: white jerseys = away; color jerseys = home. But look, at the monstrous crime that happened just last night when South Carolina traveled to Mississippi State! From the picture, it looks like MSU is playing an away game, but they’re not. Here I was watching this tremendously boring contest, breathing a sigh of relief that at least in college one could tell who was playing where, when suddenly I realized that those in black were playing on the road. Naturally, I was ticked.
The real problem stems from the stupid team represented in question six: the Dallas Cowboys. Let’s flashback to better days when every NFL team wore their home (their team color) jerseys at home and their away (white) jerseys away, and it all made sense. Enter the Cowboys. For some reason, Dallas decided to rebel against the league, common sense, and aesthetic taste and wear their boring, everyone-has-one-of-these white jerseys* at home, forcing the visiting squad to don their cooler, unique-to-team home jerseys even though they were on the road. Those visiting teams should’ve been ecstatic because home jerseys are the cooler jerseys for every team (until Seattle had to wear monochrome pukesuits, and even then, if they would only wear white pants it wouldn’t be so bad). So the Cowboys were stupid and the rest of the league made sense. If only it would’ve ended there…
But it didn’t. I don’t have a comprehensive list of rule-breaking teams, but here are some I can think of whom I have seen wearing away jerseys at home: Dallas (the instigators), Cleveland, New Orleans, Miami, Carolina, Arizona, Washington (all the freaking time), Philadelphia, New York Jets, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, and Houston. In every case, their home jersey is far cooler-looking than the stupid white AWAY jersey. This is especially true of Dallas, whose rarely seen navy jerseys rock. What are they thinking?
Thankfully, there are some teams you can count on not to violate the white = away policy. Here are some of them: Green Bay, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Denver, Kansas City, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis. The teams I didn’t mention for either category haven’t violated the rule as fas as I can recall, but I don’t trust them to uphold this standard of uni decency, especially you east coast, stupid, trendy teams.
Why does any of this really matter, aesthetics aside? Because when I turn on a random game and that handy scoreboard isn’t up in the right-hand corner of the screen, I want to know definitively who is playing at home! This shouldn’t be a mystery! WEAR YOUR FREAKING HOME JERSEYS AT HOME!!
So what’s to be done? Well, ideally, the league should start handing out fines to violating teams until we all figure out the obvious: away jerseys are for away games ONLY. Failing that, fans should boycott road uni purchases; buy the home jersey! It’s better looking anyway. And maybe for punishment, Dallas should be forced to wear their home jerseys everywhere for ten years. Fear not; when the Cowboys are playing elsewhere, said team still gets to wear their home jerseys too. The colors should be different enough in most cases. And please, PLEASE, college football, don’t copy the idiots in the NFL. You know better.
Whew. That probably wasn’t worth all the time I spent on it, but it was worth most of it.
*Dallas’ white jerseys are even lamer than any other team because (apparently) the team designer is colorblind. The Cowboys’ colors are navy and silver; these roadies have royal blue numbers that look stupid with the ‘boys’ helmets and pants, both of which sport NAVY BLUE. Now, unfortunately for us all, the Bills have followed suit mixing blues all over the place. Ewww.