Sports Outside the Beltway

Nolan and Del Rio to Wear Suits on Game Day

The NFL has relented and will allow head coaches to wear suits on game day. Sort of.

Mike Nolan and Jack Del Rio are ready to suit up. The San Francisco coach and his Jacksonville counterpart have the NFL’s permission to wear dress suits designed by Reebok during two games this season. Nolan is expected to debut his old-school outfit — a black suit, a white shirt and a red-and-gold-striped tie — at the 49ers’ home game against Seattle on Sunday. Del Rio also will wear a suit-and-tie ensemble in Monday night’s home game against the Giants.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the 49ers coach has permission to “test-drive” the suit at two games this season. “Working with Reebok, they were able to come up with something that should work for him,” McCarthy said.

Nolan first broached the idea shortly after he was hired by the 49ers in 2005. He believes the ensemble will project an image of authority while also honoring his father, Dick, the 49ers’ coach from 1968-75, and Hall of Fame coaches such as Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi.

But the NFL couldn’t immediately give permission, citing its lucrative outfitting contract with Reebok. Nolan has worn pullovers and polo shirts during his tenure, but has worked with Reebok’s designers to come up with the natty ensemble he’s expected to show off Sunday.

Dan Reeves is thought to be the last NFL coach to wear a suit on the sideline. Coaches have been required to wear team-issued clothing since 1993.

A good move by the NFL, although I’m a bit dubious of dress suits designed by a sneaker company. I understand the desire to generate revenue by having the coaches sport sponsored apparel. Still, the players and assistant coaches will be doing that, anyway. Frankly, most head coaches will, too, out of sheer comfort and practicality. But a proper suit was what men like Halas and Landry wore. Surely, honoring that tradition should be permitted.

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Something’s screwed up if a coach needs league permission to wear a suit to work. I can’t imagine Tom Landry putting up with that.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth | November 16, 2006 | 03:36 pm | Permalink

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