TDBH: Bengals announce rare uniform tweaks

Posted Mar 11, 2018

This Day in Bengals History - March 12, 1997

For the first time since the watershed uniform change of 1981 introduces their cutting edge striped helmets, the Bengals announce more alterations today when wide receiver Jeff Hill and linebacker Tom Tumulty model the changes at Spinney Field. But as Chris Haft writes in tomorrow’s Cincinnati Enquirer, “Fans might have an easier time recognizing a blitz than noticing the differences in the new uniform the Bengals unveil.”

Here are the changes: jerseys now have a leaping orange tiger logo on the sleeves and numbers on the shoulder pads; jersey numbers and player names are easier to read. The numbers are in tackle twill fabric with the names in a two-color scheme. Plus, sewn-on numbers rather than screen printed help the visibility; the striping patterns are simplified on the jersey and pants; the top half of the socks are black instead of orange, which is one of the major requests of the players during the 13-month re-design. Cincinnati’s own “Chill Hill,” out of Mount Healthy High School, notes that the road uniforms are no longer drab white. “My first impression is that the white jerseys are definitely a lot better with the added colors,” Hill says. “The dark jerseys seem a little brighter with the orange trim around the numbers.”

The task of marrying the bid to revive the Bengals’ merchandise sales mired in the NFL’s last quartile as they hope to enter the new Paul Brown Stadium in three years with club president Mike Brown’s desire to adhere as much as possible to traditional football fashion falls to director of marketing Mike Hoffbauer. Hoffbauer’s exhaustive canvassing includes input from focus groups consisting of, among others, avid fans, casual fans, and teen-agers. He attacks the two major complaints of “too white,” road uniforms and the lack of a logo that would define a T-Shirt or ball cap. “I don’t know if this is all that earth shattering, although we’ve been trying to listen to the fans and give them a little bit more,” Hoffbauer says. “This is something that was desired not only internally, but also from a retail level.”


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