The Winnipeg Blue Bombers recently unveiled their alternate uniforms for the 2022 season and they are a strong addition to the team’s wardrobe.
As a uniform enthusiast, I love seeing teams come up with new uniforms. Winnipeg’s current uniforms are just about as close to perfect as you could hope for, but an alternate look that will be worn twice is a great way to add some variation while keeping the visual identity of the football club consistent.
This brings us to the third uniform announcement from a few days ago. The Winnipeg Football Club had been marketing this as a “third jersey unveiling,” so I assumed this would just be an alternate jersey accompanied by the standard gold helmet and pants. The unveiling was actually for a completely new alternate uniform, with new helmet striping to go with the new jersey and pants.
This new uniform falls into a couple of categories which won’t be popular with all fans. The first is that it eschews the standard large chest numbers and replaces them with a large ‘W’ logo across the chest. The second is that it is a mono-colour uniform: the jersey, pants, and socks are all royal blue. The NFL has been doing this for years with their “colour rush” program, which has largely been panned by uniform enthusiast.
I believe football clubs should leave large chest logos to hockey sweaters and stick with the traditional numbers on the front of jerseys. I feel for Derek Taylor, the new voice of the Blue Bombers, having to try to read the small chest numbers from the Bob Irving Media Centre at IG Field.
With that said, I can understand the team’s intention with this design choice. The club has been using ‘ForTheW’ as their official hashtag/slogan for years now and given that the only other change from the regular home jersey is the shoulder stripes, the large ‘W’ certainly makes the jersey unique. A third jersey should stand out, and although not everyone likes a large logo across the chest, this jersey certainly stands out.
The first time the club wears this alternate uniform on August 11th will mark the first time since November 6th, 2015 that the Bombers have worn blue pants. I prefer jerseys and pants to have different colours, but I appreciate the club wanting to display their primary colour so boldly. I would like to see the Bombers wear these new blue pants for a road game this season as they would offer a completely different look paired with white road jerseys and gold helmets.
My favourite part of this new uniform, by far, is the striping. The double stripes on the shoulders and pants are an absolute classic football uniform design and the gold really pops. The fact that the two stripes are meant to symbolize the past two Grey Cups should be more than enough to get every local fan on board.
The item I am most interested to see live at IG Field is the helmets. The typical single blue helmet stripe has become white and is flanked by a pair of blue stripes. It’s not a massive difference, but the addition of white and the significantly wider stripe width will be very noticeable on the field.
The helmets weren’t featured very heavily in the club’s promotional material and there weren’t any images of players wearing their helmet with the uniform. I suppose it does leave something to be discovered when the uniform is worn for the first time in a game this summer.
While the large chest logo and the mono-blue might not be winners for everyone, there is a lot of good in this alternate uniform. The stripes are fantastic and the club has stayed true to the royal blue and gold it’s worn since the beginning of the 2016 season.
For me, swapping the chest logo out for traditional numbers would have made this uniform an absolute slam dunk, but I can understand the club’s choice to focus on the ‘W.’ Ultimately, this uniform is a chance for the Bombers to change things up a little and have some fun, and they’ve done that while sticking to their team identity.
These alternates are Winnipeg’s first new uniforms since the 2016 CFL season. The club has been remarkably consistent with their uniform for the past five seasons, keeping it identical every game apart from swapping royal blue and white jerseys depending on the location of the game.
The lone standout was the Dené Sinclair-designed star blanket ‘W’ logo that appeared on the club’s helmets for last season’s October 9 home game against the Edmonton Elks.
Winnipeg will wear these alternate uniforms on August 11th against Montreal and on September 10th when the Saskatchewan Roughriders are in town for the Banjo Bowl.