Shamrock Series: Uniform Review
Jimmy Kemper | Friday, November 11, 2016
As we descend further into the abyss that is the 2016 Notre Dame Football season, we at least can take comfort in knowing one thing won’t fail us: tradition. Whether it be the tradition of wistfully remembering years where we didn’t lose to Navy or the tradition of selling the rest of our season tickets in Facebook groups after the first home loss, Notre Dame fans can always rely on glorious tradition to compensate for the fact that we’re probably a basketball school now.
One tradition that has always remained a consistent source of pride for Notre Dame fans is the uniform. That’s why, every year, Brian Kelly, Jack Swarbrick and the gang at Under Armour cook up a special Shamrock Series uniform which throws all sense of tradition out the window in the name of being edgy. This year’s Shamrock Series uniform is a particularly atrocious affront to tradition at Notre Dame, as it mashes together military pride, religious imagery and on-campus architecture into a hideous, olive-green mess.
But as Mike Vorel of the South Bend Tribune notes in what I assume is the only article ever giving an in-depth criticism of this absurd perversion of Notre Dame tradition, this uniform isn’t for the fans. It’s not about how many overpriced jerseys they sell in the bookstore or how many #interactions they get with millennials on Vine. The Shamrock Series uniform is about one thing and one thing only: marketing.
The Shamrock Series is one of the best recruiting and marketing tools that Notre Dame has. Dressing our players in ridiculously flashy uniforms in a nationally televised game in the heart of Texas – the epicenter of high school football – is a fantastic way to attract new recruits to the program who will win football games and contribute to Notre Dame’s bottom line. So while we wait for Father Jenkins to devise a way to relocate Campus Crossroads to Houston, let’s break down how effective this year’s uniform is:
Per usual, the helmet is the least offensive part of the Shamrock Series uniform. As long as they don’t make it blue like they did for the 2012 game, viewers will be able to tell who the Notre Dame players are, since it’s the only part of the uniform that vaguely resembles what we’ve been wearing for the past 129 years.
However, like the rest of the uniform and frankly, the rest of the football team, the helmet comes with its own share of problems. Under Armour toned down the gold to a deeper yellow shade than our traditional, storied gold. On its own, this isn’t a problem. Thankfully, it’s not the absurdly bright yellow of 2011’s game, which blinded everyone in FedEx Field. Yet because it doesn’t match the gold on either the jersey or the pants, our players will look like three-year-olds who tried dress up for the first time as they walk into the Alamodome on Saturday.
What happened here? I understand that the goal was to emulate military officer uniforms, but the olive green color simply doesn’t work with the Notre Dame aesthetic.
Having the stonework with the “God, Country, Notre Dame” motto from the Basilica on the helmet, the gloves and the jersey feels like overkill. Combine that with the American flag on the back, and it seems as though we had to make sure the Army knows we love America more than they do.
The one redeemable aspect of this jersey is the font of the “Notre Dame” wording. It’s slick and old-school, but the Old English style feels surprisingly modern in light of the prominence of “Pablo”-style gear. One of the more unique ways to reach out to the kids.
While the gold here doesn’t match the bronzier gold of the jerseys, we’ve seen worse from Under Armour. It’s definitely a step above the Green Power Ranger uniforms that players wore in Fenway Park last year.
It’s surprisingly minimal given the usual over-branding of Shamrocks Series gear, featuring only the obligatory Under Armour and Notre Dame logos.
As we prepare to lose yet another game on Saturday, it’s discomforting to know that we won’t even have decent uniforms to compensate for the loss. If this uniform and this season are any indication of the future of Notre Dame football, then we can all look forward with dread to a 0-12 season in Mendoza-themed uniforms.