Perhaps nothing showed the ineptitude of the Decade of Darkness surrounding Arkansas sports was when someone let others start changing the Razorback brand.
Apparently someone didn’t pay attention to the fact that when Nike starts monkeying around with uniform design and changing stuff, it never works out well.
Jeff Long, in his apparent determination to destroy as much as possible around the history of Arkansas athletics, had the football teams in some of the ugliest uniforms ever designed, introduced the front-facing Hog logo and even allowed various sports to wear gray and black uniforms.
Every so-called anthracite piece of apparel with the Razorback logo should be burned. Those black uniforms could be used to start the fire.
My question has always been why some geniuses over-think things when you have one of the most unique and recognizable brands in sports with a color scheme that works?
“You are absolutely right,” Hogs radio announcer Chuck Barrett told Tye Richardson and Tommy Craft (The Morning Rush) on ESPN Arkansas on Friday morning from Gainesville. “That’s just one of the reasons, I’ll confess, that I hate the forward-facing Hog.”
It’s similar to the Dallas Cowboys changing their star, the New York Yankees messing with the pinstripes or Alabama running onto the field in something other than red or white.
Even Sam Pittman admitted in his press conference Thursday the classic Razorback is the one he prefers on his shirts. In typical Pittman fashion, though, he sort of shrugged it off, saying, “I’ll put on what they give me for free and rock it.”
That last part of was Pittman being Pittman.
If you’ve paid attention the last few years the horrendous anthracite has disappeared from the football field for a few years now. Chad Morris played around with white helmets a couple of times, but that even looked strange.
You do not change the way your brand looks if you’ve got a good one.
“You’ve already got the most recognizable logo in college sports, why would you want to change it?” Barrett asked. “That’s stupid.”
Yes, Chuck, it is.
But apparently there are some that want to look at a game on television and have to figure out what team is playing. That’s even more stupid.
It was the original (and really only) general manager the Dallas Cowboys ever had, Tex Schramm, who designed one of the most recognizable looks in all of sports by trotting people out on the field at Texas Stadium in different looks and watching on a television monitor.
“That’s where most of your fans see you,” Schramm said in 1983 after changing the road uniforms of the Cowboys, tweaking the colors … to look better on television.
It may be one of the smartest sports decisions I’ve ever seen. In a stadium there may be 100,000 people looking at you but on television even lower level teams have many more than that watch an ESPN+ on their computer or phone.
“Every one of those forward-facing logos looks exactly alike,” Barrett said Friday morning, an observation I noted on statewide radio when it was introduced. “You just substitute colors and names.
“We were never called Arkansas State before the front-facing logos.”
That has happened since Long allowed that logo to be used.
“A couple of times they’ve put that Red Wolf up there that looks EXACTLY like our forward-facing logo,” Barrett said. “They get them confused. Hey, you don’t see any Alabama or Florida front-facing logos, do you?”
Hunter Yurachek has seemingly spent three years fixing problems you’d think he wouldn’t have to address taking over a Power 5 program. Especially one with the most unique and recognizable brand in sports.
“At some point you’ve got to stand up for what your tradition has been about,” Barrett said. “We’re not the only one. We’ve let — and other schools have let — Nike come in and change a little bit too much.
“When they start messing with the logo they’ve gone too far.”
He’s absolutely right.
And it’s something that can be fixed … even before the whole soft drink issue.