In publishing this blog post, I am taking a risk that I may be trying too hard to push football on an audience who, frankly, doesn’t care. The intersection of the Venn diagram of art students and football fans is a small one, and I think that leads to a conception that sports are without art, but this could not be further from the truth. Whether it is in creating plays, representing statistics, or designing video footage, there is a large level of artistry that goes into making a professional sports team tick. But, it doesn’t stop there. One of the most precious and superstitious elements of the game is the team uniform. The Broncos uniform, as an example, has been updated almost every year since the team’s conception in 1960 and completely overhauled 3 separate times. This is not a-typical.
A uniform is a team’s identity. It has the power to evoke nostalgia, success, defeat, and more. There was even a streak in the 1970s where teams were hesitant to change uniforms because they were afraid it would make them lose their winning streak. These superstitions and emotions are tied to the design of the uniform.
In fact, there is an infamous era in Broncos uniform history called the “orange crush uniform.” It’s vintage, it’s cool and you’re as likely to find it adorning the walls of a hipster thrift shop in Denver as you are to find it at Mile High Stadium. No matter whether you are an art student or a crazed football fan, everyone can appreciate a good design and the emotions that come with it. Orange crush is not only a reference to the uniforms of the era, but also the defense. In this way, the sport becomes inseparable from the art.
I think that I have a generally unique outward appreciation for art in football. That is to say, not many other people talk about it, in both the art camps and in the football camps, but that doesn’t mean they don’t recognize it subliminally. Whether it is a non-football fan watching their first game and remarking “I like the costumes” or a staunch supporter feeling a sense of pride over a uniform from a particularly impressive season, art and football are intertwined and people are recognizing that, even if they don’t know it.