The Bengals’ uniform doesn’t get a ton of attention, for better or worse. There is a good reason for that. The uniforms are pretty bland. Despite having the coolest helmets in the NFL, the Bengals have failed to spread that sense of coolness to the rest of the uniform. Today we are going to take on the task of trying to improve these uniforms, or at least attempt to do so.
First thing’s first, we need to look at how far the Bengals’ uniforms have come over the years. To save some time we are going to skip Paul Brown’s rip offs of the Cleveland Browns’ uniforms. Anyone looking at them can tell very clearly from where the inspiration was drawn. If you are curious into looking closer into the history of those jerseys I suggest checking out Heritage Sports Art. They have a great collection of the jerseys the Bengals wore, and it was a very useful source of information for this story.
We are going to start with when the Bengals uniforms were actually considered cool. When they added the striped helmets in the 80s. Prior to that, the Bengals had an orange helmet with the team name on it. This drastic change actually helped spark the Bengals’ first Super Bowl run in 1981 (not really, but it sure was great timing).
I mean look at that jersey. That screams cool. The Bengal tiger stripes were a clear motivation here as they are on the helmet, jersey and pants. Honestly that is the coolest looking thing the Bengals have going for them. I don’t think the solution to the problem is simply going back to the old jerseys though. They clearly need to be touched up a little.
I’m also shutting down going to the color rush jerseys full-time. It is a great look to mix in, but black and white would get boring after awhile. Besides, the Bengals need a more drastic change than just color to get their uniforms back on track. They need to go back and remember what was cool before.
In case you forget, these are the Bengals’ current uniforms.
I think the saving grace from the current uniforms are the way they incorporate the stripes on the pants. It would look silly to just have Bengals striped pants, so having them on there in a curved fashion is nice. The actual jersey is boring and predictable though. It is like a halfhearted attempt to modernize the 80’s version of the Bengals uniforms. In fact there are plenty of similarities.
One instant change I’d make is getting rid of that white stripe on the jersey. It just feels so out of place. The space for the stripes on the jersey should also be less restricted. It can easily be spread to more of the jersey than just the sleeves. I get there is probably a point where the stripes can feel like too much, but using a black jersey as the base you could just add streaks of orange into it. Before any of you harass me about what an actual bengal tiger looks like, I will remind you that you are talking about a tiger. They are already cool looking. They don’t need fashion advice. Andy Dalton needs all the help he can get to look cool in his uniform.
I honestly like the pants. I don’t think they should match unless it is white on white though. The whole orange jersey and black pants is also a very strange color combination. Orange being the dominant color just hasn’t really worked. Unless you alter the pants slightly, it’d be best to go black on white as often as possible. I’m not quite sure though how you’d best alter the pants.
Overall, I’m not going to sit here and act like an expert. I’m just offering my suggestion on how the Bengals could capture the feeling they had in the 80s.
What changes would you make to the team’s jersey?