First of all, the above news. Here is a part of the release:
The 49ers will be introducing the team’s first alternate uniform in franchise history. The 49ers last made changes to their uniforms prior to the 2009 season, when San Francisco reintroduced the classic color of the 49ers, alongside the return of the grey facemask to the helmet. The new alternate uniform was the result of a coordinated effort between the 49ers, their players, Nike and the NFL.
“I think the fans are going to be excited when they see our new look,” said 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who was among a group of players involved in the design of the new uniform. “I think the fans are going to understand we mean business. All I can say is we won’t have to worry about how we look, because we’ll know we look good.”
This is not a surprise. In fact, this was in the works in 2013.
So what do we expect to see? Well, first of all, we have to look at the language of the press release. It says new “alternate uniform.” That must mean it will be changes made to the jersey and pants. If it was an alternate jersey, wouldn’t they say so? That’s my speculation. But for sure, the jersey will be new.
The press release did not mention it being a throwback. Therefore, I will eliminate any kind of idea of this new uniform being a throwback. It will be an alternate and in the NFL, the teams that wear alternates follow a very specific procedure.
In the NFL right now, there are 12 teams that use alternate (non-throwback) jerseys. All 12 of these jerseys are created with the same template design as the primary jerseys. For example, the Bengals’ orange alternates are the same template of their standard jerseys. The Cardinals are just a black version of their standard jersey. All of these alternates are like that. And all of these alternates are using a color base for the jersey that is already part of the team’s color scheme.
So if the 49ers follow the route all the other teams, then their alternate will be a recoloring of their current standard look. All these other teams have just recolored their jersey with an alternate color. The 49ers have only two options for alternate colors: black or gold. Given that the NFL has only seen a team wear gold jerseys once, it seems unlikely the 49ers will go that route. Especially since their gold pants aren’t really gold at all. Which means that this new uniform will be black with the possibility of it having black pants as well.
Another option for the 49ers is to keep the jersey red but to change the design of it. Having a red jersey already makes this decision unlikely. There are no other teams that feature two standard jerseys of the same color. Nike and the marketing team want to sell jerseys that look different. (After all, isn’t this whole thing profit-driven anyway?) In that case, it would be unlikely the 49ers would go with another red jersey. With that said, there would be little changes since the jerseys are pretty standard. And since it’s not expected to be a throwback, the uniform set they wore during their 1994 season will not be what we will see. (Although if they did bring a throwback, this has to be the one they go with, right?)
The last option, which is also very unlikely, is a silver jersey. The 49ers have worn silver in their past history and they could go this route. Because of the rule that the team cannot change helmet shells, a silver helmet to go with this is not an option. As mentioned before, there are no teams in the NFL that have introduced a new color to their identity through an alternate. With that said, once again the 49ers are unlikely to go this direction.
With these three possibilities laid out, it seems like the first option is the way to go.
Take a look again at the image shared in the Twitter post.
With the help of Photoshop, this image has been circulating a bit with the contrast turned up. And it looks like it’s a black uniform.
If we take this image for what it is, it appears that the jersey is going to be all black. The numbers, names and stripes will be red. There appears to be no hint of gold or white. It’s also hard to tell what color the pants are, but if we take the word about this being an entire alternate uniform, the pants could be black. (And if the pants are black, there are chance they could be paired with the white or red jerseys down the line.)
A black 49ers jersey isn’t uncommon if you watch their practices. The quarterback normally wears a black jersey during practice. So if this new look is black, then you can use this as a visual reference.
What do you think? If the uniform is black, do you think it’s a good look?
And you know what’s crazy? Three years ago I predicted this would happen.