Sports Outside the Beltway

Steelers Add Throwback Unis and Mascott for 75th

JJ Cooper laments the fact that his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers are following the rest of the league in adopting marketing gimmicks.

There are a lot of reasons to love the Steelers, but one of the biggest reasons is that they aren’t afraid to be charmingly old-school. The Cowboys can have 12 different uniforms, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and a faux dome with a hole in the roof. The Steelers are the team that doesn’t have a need for cheerleaders, no need for mascots and no need to succumb to the goofiness of throwback uniforms.

Well, until now.

To celebrate the team’s 75th anniversary, Pittsburgh will don throwback uniforms that honor the Steelers uniform of the 1950s. I can live with that. It will be the second time the Steelers have done throwbacks, the first was the horrendously awful 1930s uniform during the 1994 season, but that was because the NFL mandated it. I wish that if the Steelers were going to go to the throwback they’d at least go to the horrendous Bermuda Triangle uniform of 1967.

I take JJ’s point although it’s ironic that he chose the Cowboys, whose uniforms have remained essentially the same since their third season, as his counterpoint. Jerry Jones has had some marketing boondoggles, including the hideous “double star” alternate jersey in 1994-95, but the team’s uniforms have been instantly recognizable since the days of Dandy Don Meredith.

It’s true, though, that the Steelers have been more Old School than most. Indeed, the reason they had to drag out the 1930s unies during the NFL’s 75th Anniversary gala was because their uniforms for the past several decades have, like the Cowboys’, been amazingly similar.

But my big question is why do the Steelers have to go all goofy on us and come out with this horrendous new mascot. You’re the Steelers guys, you haven’t needed a mascot for the past 75 years and you don’t need to change that now.

Indeed, the Cowboys subsisted without an official mascot until the unveiling of “Rowdy” in 1996. The late, great Wilford “Crazy Ray” Jones was around from 1964 until his passing last month, but he was just a Super Fan, not a cartoon character.

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