In high school during the 1990s I owned a Falcons pullover. As I recall, I wore it nearly every day for an entire school year. I was not a Falcons fan. I just loved the black-on-black look with that mean bird ready to attack. 

Teams with cool uniforms can develop brand power so strong that a teenager in Louisville, Ky., with no loyalty will wear their gear. Some franchises have long histories with iconic symbols that they’d be stupid to change (Packers, Browns, Raiders, etc.). The Falcons are not one of those franchises. They benefit from keeping it fresh. 

The Falcons are giving it another try. They were forced to unveil their long-awaited new uniforms Wednesday after the designs leaked online Tuesday evening. Most of the replies on the team’s Twitter post announcing the uniforms were, shall we say, negative. 

» MORE: Opinions vary on the new looks


 

 

 

The uniforms are trash. ... They look like they are for an XFL/Arena League team. ... The numbers are too big. ... The “ATL” on the front is lame. ... Why not just go back to the uniforms from (insert a time when they looked better)? 

Take the Twitter takedowns with a grain of salt. A big part of Twitter culture is clowning things just for the “likes.” Some of it is just rival fans taking any opening to talk smack. Also, there will always be genuine disagreements about what makes good style. 

Still, truly good things sometimes can break through the noise. Even the haters will begrudgingly give credit. The Falcons could not accomplish that with their uniform look. The Falcons say they considered fan input for the redesign, and anticipation for it had been building since the team teased the change in January, but the unveiling landed with a thud. 

Maybe the new-look Falcons uniforms will catch on eventually. Often the initial reaction to change isn’t the lasting one. And uniforms have nothing to do with how the Falcons perform on the field. If the Falcons start winning again, I doubt their supporters will care much about the uniforms (and it might create positive feelings about the look). 

My tastes are more refined now, which is to say I’m not as cool as I was in high school. But I think the Falcons look I liked back then still pops today. That was black jerseys with just a touch of red and silver pants with red-and-black stripes. 

To me, the worst part about the new uniform reveal is the video the Falcons posted. I couldn’t really make them out with all the flashing lights inside what appears to be a storage unit. But maybe the kids like that kind of stuff, and I’m just too old to appreciate it. 

Anyway, here’s my $.02 on the new Falcons uniforms: 

  • I really like the white-on-white road uniform. 
  • The black-on-black uniform looks good, but would be better without the red stripes down the side.
  • I know the “ATL” slogan has become cringe-worthy to some people who are from here, but I still like it. 
  • I strongly dislike the red jersey that fades to black.
  • The best look of them all isn’t new: the throwback black jerseys with white pants.  

The Falcons could take a lesson from the Rams and flip the negative reaction to their new look into a positive. The Rams faced intense backlash on Twitter from their fans after unveiling new colors and logos that integrate the team mascot with “LA.” Even Rams legend Eric Dickerson, now a team executive, publicly panned the new look. 

Rams executive Kevin Demoff decided to make the most of the criticism. He pledged to read mean tweets about the redesign if a local television station raised more than $2 million for coronavirus relief efforts. The fundraising hit that mark and Demoff, as promised, posted a video to his Twitter feed reading harsh criticism of a redesign that he headed up for two years. 

Kudos to Demoff for being a good sport for a good cause. However, the Rams said they have no plans to change the logos. They probably figure their fans will accept the changes over time. Tepid merchandise sales might change that stance.

We’ll see if Falcons fans will buy the new look the team is selling.

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About the Author

Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham has covered the Hawks and other beats for the AJC since 2010. 
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