Something's been bothering me lately. All is not right in the universe. I have questions that need answers. This goes beyond simple phenomenons like UFO sightings and crop circles. This is something far more mysterious and troubling and I just don't know who to turn to for answers.
I first noticed it back in the late nineties when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers changed their uniforms from the blaze orange (which I loved) to the putrid pewter (which I hate). The Bucs were known as the Yucs over the previous two decades. They were consistent cellar dwellers rarely finishing with a record above 5-11. Then they changed their logo and suddenly they're in the playoffs every year and they're hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy six years later.
But it didn't stop there. The Broncos, the Oilers/Titans, the Giants, and the Browns/Ravens all either went to, or won a Super Bowl after making dramatic uniform changes and in some cases, name changes.
Well, I did some searching and I could not find one sportswriter who has ever mentioned this fact so I decided to do my own little study. So I got out my NFL almanac and went through the records of every team before and after they made a dramatic uniform change over the past twenty or so years and here's what I found:
In 1998 the Jets went from this: to this: and suddenly found themselves in the AFC Championship game that year. In the five years leading up to the change they won a total of 27 games, and in the five years after the change they won 50 games and made the playoffs three times.
In 1993 the Patriots went from this: to this: In the five years before the change they won a whopping 23 games, but in the next five years they won 45 games and made it to the Super Bowl in the fourth year with their spiffy new threads.
In 1996 the old Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and changed their name to the Ravens going from an ugly blank orange helmet: to . The Browns never got to a Super Bowl but the Ravens won it in 2000.
In 1999 the Tennessee Oilers (formerly the Houston Oilers) decided to drop the old name, logo, and everything to become the Titans. The last five years in these helmets: produced a total of 33 wins while the next five years in their new helmets: produced 61 wins and a trip to the Super Bowl right off the bat.
But the most overwhelmingly absurd turnaround came in 1997 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team that invented losing, the team whose coach, when asked about his team's execution said, "I'm in favor of it," the team that had a spot reserved for them at the bottom of the NFC Central every year suddenly became a perennial powerhouse and a Super Bowl champion simply by switching logos and colors. While wearing this sweet helmet: they averaged less than five wins a year in their first 21 years in the league. Then they went to this ugly thing: and went to the playoffs in five of the next six years, winning the Super Bowl in the sixth.
So I guess my ex-girlfriend was right when she made her predictions based on the team's colors. Apparently the key to success in the NFL is to keep changing your uniforms. Perhaps this explains why the Vikings have never won a Super Bowl. But this presents another great dilema since the Vikings obviously have the sweetest looking uniforms in all of sports. Would I be willing to trade them for an ugly new style like the Buccaneers have in order to finally win a championship?
No, I will not. Tradition runs deeper than rational thinking in Minnesota. We're like the Roman Catholics of the NFL. And if Zygi ever tries to unviel a new logo you can bet there's gonna be an angry mob storming Winter Park with torches and pitchforks.
COUNTDOWN TO SUPER BOWL XL
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