So, I was watching some random highlight of a Patriots-Rams exhibition game about a year ago when it suddenly crystallized for me. It takes two points to make a line, and finally I had identified a second, solid example of Sports Marketing Greed/Hubris, Couture Division.
Exhibit A) The Portland Trailblazers win the NBA title in 1976-77, wearing the same plain-Jane uniforms (white at home, red on the road; the “Blazers” lettering reading vertically down the jersey) they had sported since their joining the League in 1970. The very next season, they go to the arguably more attractive and apropos design — dual swaths, or blazes, of red, black and white that run diagonally across the breast and down the shorts. The result: They haven’t won a title since. Haven’t really come close, to be honest, despite a couple trips back to the Finals.
You think it’s an accident that one of the finest, most cohesive teams in NBA history literally disintegrated the moment they damned the championship karma and changed uniforms? Don’t be naïve… I had always wondered why the Blazers tempted fate in this fashion, but I couldn’t prove that some sort of karmic law had been transgressed, until now.
Exhibit B) Thewin the in their old yellow-and-blue uniforms. The next year, attempting to cash in at the merchandize window, they switch to GOLD and blue. Again, arguably an upgrade in style and originality, but a bald-faced affront to a clearly winning formula. They return to the in 2001, lose to an inferior Patriots team, and have since descended into chaos. , Hubris, Ate, Nemesis — the classic Greek cycle of decline…
Purists will note that the Rams’ yellow-and-blue togs were not their originals. The dark blue-and-whites I associate with, and the 1960s; the Rams actually go back to in the late 1940s, and I have no idea what colors they wore then. My point: The yellow-and-blue had been worn a good long time prior to 2001, since the early 1970s. They were established.
A one-off merchandizing cash-in you MIGHT get away with. But you can’t win a franchise’s first-ever championship and change things up so radically. You just can’t.