There have been countless mock-ups on various social media platforms. Some have been done by those with no art talent (including yours truly). Others have been done by those with a degree in graphic design. Regardless of who has done the mock-ups, the result always leaves the same impression; the Miami Dolphins need a black alternate uniform!
A Black Alternate Uniform for the Miami Dolphins
The Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Francisco 49ers have all had black alternate uniforms. Why not the Miami Dolphins? Granted black absorbs heat and wearing them at home would be a terrible idea. But what about a December game in Wisconsin, against the Green Bay Packers, or upstate New York, against the Buffalo Bills? What about a game in New Orleans or Indianapolis or any other domed stadium? The Dolphins colors of aqua, orange, and white accentuate black so well, how can they not have a black alternate?
NFL Uniform Rules
The NFL will allow teams two options of helmets out of the following four in a season; classic, color rush, throwback, and current. What that means for the Dolphins in 2023 is their current helmet and either the logo that was used (albeit with some minor tweaks) from 1966-1996, or the logo used from 1997-2012. The first hurdle to clear will be to get a policy where teams are allowed to wear more than two helmets a season. As for uniforms, teams are allowed to wear up to four different jerseys in 2023. The Philadelphia Eagles will wear white, black, midnight green, and Kelly green, for example.
While Nike is the uniform supplier of the NBA, the NFL, and many NCAA football teams, what Nike is allowed to do in each league is somewhat different. The NBA allows teams to wear four different jerseys during a season; some NBA teams are allowed five. At the NCAA Football level, Nike and even their rivals Under Armour and Adidas, are making different jerseys for teams almost weekly. The best part about that is, for the fans, it is fun! There are black-out games, white-out games, space games, and jerseys that incorporate red because a horned frog can spit blood! The point is why an organization like the NFL which supposedly cares about the fan experience has not done the same as the NCAA, especially, and made it more fun for all of their teams’ fans and profiting while doing so.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. For those who (like myself) love orange, there was an anticipation building for the color rush uniforms. Then they came out and the players looked like a bunch of Cheetos (puffed variety). If the Dolphins were to never don the color rush uniforms again, fans would likely be fine with that decision. That is not to say some teams’ color rush jerseys were not decent, like the Dallas Cowboys or Tennessee Titans.
Yes, the history of a team is an important part of its identity. Teams should be allowed to wear at least one classic/throwback uniform. If a team has a long history the decision on one may be tough. Unless of course, it is the aforementioned Philadelphia Eagles and their Swedish flag uniforms. Or the Cleveland Browns and their “we wrote our numbers on the side of our helmets with a Sharpie,” uniforms. Some classic uniforms are better than others. The New England Patriots (I just died a little inside) have a great throwback uniform with Patriot Pat on the helmet, for example.
Every Team in Black
The likelihood of the NFL ever doing a blackout game like some of the NCAA institutions do is not likely. If that is the case, why can’t every team have a black uniform (or at the least, a jersey)? There is a reason why most tuxedos are black. There is a reason why men who do not need a suit have a black one anyway. Black goes with everything! Every color goes with black (Brown is a stretch, but it can be done). Why doesn’t every team have a black jersey?
What If a Team Already Has Black as a Core Color
If black is already a team’s core color then why doesn’t a team like the Las Vegas Raiders get an alternate color? The Raiders are in Vegas now and traditionalists may hate the idea, but what if the Raiders added gold as a color? Maybe the sword handles become gold. Isn’t gold what pirates (aka raiders), were looking for, when they “raided” ships? The Raiders, if they were to embrace gold, could have a gold jersey as an alternate. The NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights are already rocking gold helmets, why can’t the Raiders flash a little gold, too?
There has Been a Black Dolphins Jersey Already
Back in the 1990s, JCPenney was selling NFL jerseys in black. The Dolphins and New York Giants had black jerseys fans could buy, among other teams. The players never wore the black jerseys on the field yet they were made available to fans. The idea of teams having an alternate black jersey or uniform is not new. The question is why has this been an idea the NFL has had for roughly thirty years, yet has only acted upon the concept with a handful of teams?
Miami Vice and Pink
Yes, 30-50 somethings can wax nostalgic about the phenomenon of the 1980s which was the Miami Vice tv show starring Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas. The logo for the show (there appears to be more than one), is a combination of hot/electric pink and either aqua green or what is known as Miami Blue. The Miami Heat already have a Miami Vice uniform and it is tight! The stigma of pink does not seem to affect Heat players. The stigma of a pink uniform also does not seem to bother Major League Soccer team and also Miami-based, Inter Miami, who use pink as a core color. Why shouldn’t the Dolphins also have a Miami Vice uniform (Hot/electric pink and Aqua)? At the very least, why not a variation with the Dolphins traditional core colors (i.e., without the hot/electric pink)?
The NFL should allow all teams to wear at least four uniforms a season. Teams also should be allowed to wear more than two helmets in a season. One of the four colors all teams should wear is black. It is unfair that some teams like the Eagles, get the option to wear four different uniforms, while others, like the Miami Dolphins, do not. If the idea for teams to wear black jerseys has been around for nearly 30 years, why has it not become a reality? The NFL and potentially Nike, owe fans an explanation. If NCAA football teams change uniforms weekly, and in some cases work with Nike, as the NFL does, why can’t all NFL teams have more uniform options? Fingers crossed that the mock-ups, the good, the bad, and the ugly, of Dolphins black alternate uniforms, lead to it becoming a reality.
Main Image: JIM RASSOL/THE PALM BEACH POST / USA TODAY NETWORK