While the rest of FootballWorld is locked into the detritus of the NFL Combine (Leonard Fournette is fat until he goes to the bathroom! Christian McCaffrey a very fast runner and a bad furniture mover! The Philadelphia Eagles won a coin flip!), the real news from this week came from Los Angeles, where the Rams have decided to turn back the clock on their own heads.
Well, on their helmets, anyway.
They are abandoning the gold horns on the helmet for solely cosmetic reasons and replacing them white horns, as their forbears did in the 1960s and early ‘70s. They say it’s a throwback to the glory days, but (a) the glory days lasted eight years and the team lost their only two playoff games in that time, and (b) they didn’t change the jerseys, which still have that dismal gold.
So why should you care?
Well, if you’re a Raider fan, you shouldn’t care at all, since your own team hasn’t had a uniform makeover since 1964, save the one season they tried silver numerals on the road uniforms.
But then there are the 49ers, whose original colors weren’t red and gold but red and white, and whose original logo was the Dancing Gun-Totin’ Prospector. Given that uniform makeovers always go best after a dreadful year or years, it is hard to see how the 49ers couldn’t have considered a similarly retrograde look.
Oh, you devotedly faithful will tell us that the 49ers’ makeover was in the front office with John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, but that only flies so far. The Rams fired longtime head coach Jeff Fisher and replaced him with Sean McVay, who is seven years younger than Jed York, and they still felt compelled to tidy up in search of new sales.
And yes, you can make the point that the Rams were playing before almost nobody last year in the first season in Los Angeles. But you have also seen the vast expanses of empty seats in Santa Clara, haven’t you? What makes that different?
This seems like a small matter compared to the fact that the 49ers met with North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky today to get the cut of his jib, draftwise. But given that this is the season where everyone lies to everyone at every opportunity for every conceivable reason, anything you hear about him, them, or the meeting itself will be a festival of false.
So why not a hastily considered makeover just to move some product until Shanalynch fixes everything you really care about?
There is still the red, which is the principal color except when the 49ers decided to go all black in an attempt to cash in on the ninja craze. The gold looks nice enough, but it looked a lot better on Montana, Rice and Lott than it did Kaepernick, Smith and Reid.
And best of all, it brings back the prospector so that we can then agitate for the end of Sourdough Sam for reasons of redundancy.
We grant you here that the guns in the logo could be problematic for reasons of public relations, but remember that this is a league that still doesn’t mind Washington’s nickname. Or maybe you are troubled by the prospector’s angry face, ignoring that the last smiling mascot in NFL history was the 1969 Denver Broncos, and in that one the football player is standing on the horse’s back while wearing cleats, which is animal cruelty by any measure.
But the opportunity is probably lost, because a change now would make it look like York is reacting to Stan Kroenke, and reactionary behavior is what got the 49ers into the mess they’re in now.
And that’s too bad because as we hurtle back to the 1950s in so many different ways, the 49ers are missing a bet. Basic colors, a hearkening back to good old days that really weren’t, an angry prospector firing away at no discernible target below his feet . . . how does this not make perfect sense in these perilous times?
But if it helps, the Trubisky talks went well. Reportedly.