It was rumoured for several months now and it was made official this past Monday; Adidas will become the official outfitter of the Canadian Football League and all nine of its teams effective the 2016 season.
For most this was hardly a surprise, as Adidas had acquired Reebok some time ago and the Reebok brand had decided to refocus itself as more of a personal athletics company as opposed to outfitting sports leagues. The National Hockey League also announced that they will be switching to Adidas as official outfitter for the 2017-18 season. Often when a new company signs on as an outfitter, there’s a good chance that new-look uniforms are on the horizon.
Most of the CFL teams have already switched or slightly altered their uniforms in 2012 when Reebok came out with their reengineered jerseys. Adidas had a hand in designing those as well as the Signature Look jerseys that debuted last year to middling success. Some teams’ new threads looked incredible while some were openly mocked for how the final design turned out.
A very telling sign of how some of these Signature Look jerseys were panned by their respective fanbases came to me two weekends ago. A Reebok outlet store in the Montreal area had their annual tent sale, with tons of Reebok/Adidas merchandise being sold at liquidation prices. There was a slew of CFL gear for sale, including some teams’ Signature Look jerseys. The very same jerseys that some team stores were asking $100+ for last year were now being sold brand-new for $15!
Mind you, there were all kinds of team merch being sold at cut-rate prices that weekend so it’s certainly not the be-all, end-all of the league’s success that I’m sure a lot of wags would like it to be. But rather, a sure sign that Reebok would like to rid its stock as quickly as possible and allow Adidas to handle the CFL load, so to speak.
So what does that mean for the fans? Well, aside from it not being wise to pay full-price for the soon to be outdated Reebok clothing currently available at team stores, it could mean that a new look just may be coming yet again to a CFL team near you. That could possibly include your team, Alouettes Nation!
A new look for the Montreal Alouettes may not necessarily be a bad thing, as the team will no doubt be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the relocation from Baltimore back to Montreal. It just may be the right time to introduce a fresh new look for this franchise.
This Alouettes team has come a long way in 20 years and despite all of its trials and tribulations, it has been a generally successful sports venture for the city of Montreal and the province of Quebec. When the Alouettes came out with their current logo in 1996, a lot of people felt it looked too cartoonish. A lot of people also disliked how minimalist the uniforms and indistinct were; that there was nothing that stood out and gave this franchise an identity all its own.
That changed last season when the team introduced their take on the Signature Look uniform. With these new duds, the team had a look that not only paid tribute to their past, but had an eye on the future. And while not everyone was in love with the feather design on the shoulders, it certainly screamed Alouettes loud and clear. So with that in mind, I would like to see the Montreal Alouettes make their Signature jersey the official look of this team going forward for the 2016 season and beyond.
This would be my choice for the team’s new logo:
And this would be my choice for the home/away jerseys (apologies for the so-so Photoshop job):
These uniforms not only keep the look that many Montreal fans seem to enjoy, but also maintains the visibility of this team for all to see. Note that I moved the MTL to the road uniforms and placed ALS on the home jerseys, much like how ALOUETTES has been featured on the home jerseys since 2012.
A lot of people, most notably those who were Alouettes fans during the first inception of this team, would prefer to see Montreal go back to the logo and uniforms from the 1970’s. And you know what? I’m good with that, but not full-time. I say that these retro uniforms could be brought out once or twice a year so that fans of all ages would be able to appreciate them:
They are beautiful uniforms (and so were these ones!) but being stuck in the past works for Saskatchewan Roughriders fans, not Alouettes Nation. Once or twice a year would suffice as this team should rather go forward with a truly new look that can appeal to everyone.
And that will be crucial, uniting everyone both young and old. The Ottawa RedBlacks faced a similar quandary when it came to naming the newest incarnation of the franchise that plays in the nation’s capital. While most people initially bristled at the name RedBlacks, the organization did make a key concession in featuring the past by including the iconic R from the old Rough Riders franchise on the team’s current logo and helmets.
In keeping the past integrated with the current franchise, the Ottawa ownership group also honoured the retired numbers of the Ottawa Rough Riders. That despite the sole connection between the former team and the RedBlacks being that both teams played in the city of Ottawa. It’s never easy finding a balance, but now everyone in Ottawa is firmly behind this new RedBlacks franchise as they look forward to a new generation of successful Canadian football patronage.
As the Alouettes plan ahead to the next 20 years of playing in this league, let me say this; A new logo, a new look, a new chapter in the history of this franchise. While fans are normally resistant to change, I truly believe that this would unite Alouettes fans from all walks of life while the evolution of this franchise continues.
I’ll be back later this week for a preview of Sunday’s game versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Alouettes practice tomorrow and Friday at Stade Hebert; be sure to check out the practice schedule for more info.
The bye week is over and the second half of the season is officially underway!
GO ALS GO!!!