Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

25 Jan 2006

Cowher's Gambit: The Steelers Will Wear White

OK, this is one of those stories you see during the "dead week" leading up to the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh, the designated home team, has chosen to wear their road whites for the big game. Bill Cowher claims that since his team isn't playing at Heinz Field, it's a road game. Maybe. Or perhaps it has something to do with the Steelers reeling off three in a row on the road in the playoffs.

Most football fans are superstitious, and as a Steelers fan, I might be the worst of the bunch, so this move makes perfect sense to me. Others might argue that it shouldn't matter what uniform a team wears, it ultimately comes down to execution. And there's probably something to this line of reasoning. To test it, I suggest the Seahawks come out of the tunnel in the Arizona Cardinals' home jerseys. (free registration/bugmenot required)

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 25 Jan 2006

25 comments, Last at 26 Jan 2006, 2:08am by Trogdor


by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 11:45am

It's not just fans who are superstitious. Players and coaches have their routines and rituals, which is essentially the same thing.

by Manteo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 11:50am

It's funny, before I heard this I was actually thinking that if I was Cowher I'd do just that. Good motivation: you got here by going the hard road and you're not done yet.

I hope the Steelers lose, but I like the way Cowher thinks.

by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 12:03pm

This seems like a wash, as the Seahawks get to wear the smurf suits with radioactive stripes that they were 10-0 in.

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 12:04pm

As a Steeler fan, I wish they were wearing black, but I think I'll defer to the eternal wisdom of Crash Davis on this one:

"If you believe you're playing well because you're getting laid, or because you're not getting laid, or because you wear women's underwear, then you ARE!"

by Mike (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 12:27pm

It also forces the Seahawks to embaress themselves in those putrid aquamen suits.

by Yaxley (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 12:33pm

Does Bettis still get to wear his home colors?

by Manteo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 12:37pm

Mike - the Hawks used to have pretty royal-blue and silver uniforms. And the team sucked.

Now we have the universally hated monochrome "aquaman" (as you call it) look, and we're in the Super Bowl.

The new unis look great to me...

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 12:37pm

#3: Actually, Seattle lost at Washington as the blue-man group. They also had the blue tops with white pants in the loss at Jacksonville (I think in both cases, the home team wanted to make 'em sweat).

I think if Seattle had had the uni choice, the outcome would have been exactly the same.

by JC (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 12:39pm

Having lived in Pittsburgh for 20 years prior to moving here (Southern California) I can only imagine what it's like there right now. This article (and Cowhers decision) have probably activated the regional emergency alert system. The National Guard is on standby for any other game decisions that may affect the game. It's gonna be a very looooong two weeks.

by B (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 12:43pm

I think it's the right choice. We all know what happens when the Steelers wear thier home uniforms in a championship game, after all.

by Kevo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 12:46pm

RE 10: According to Sportscenter today, they're 3-1 with the black unis.

by CA (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 12:48pm

The Steelers' black jerseys are better than their white ones. The Seahawks' white jerseys are better than their blue/green/gray dreck. This isn't a big deal, but it's not ideal either. It's the worst of both worlds for the audience, unimportant though those worlds are, and it could have been avoided easily.

by JC (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 12:50pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Steelers wear Black in the 4 victories?

In the words of Stevie:

"When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way"

Hopefully Stevie's wrong.

by JC (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 12:54pm

The only jersey decision that makes any matter should be to make sure that Maddox doesn't wear one.

by Vash (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 12:57pm

11: And 1-0 in the white.

by Andy (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 1:06pm

Stevie is the man. He brings joy to my life. Therefore, I'm going with the Blue Men Group in SBXL!

by Uff (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 1:15pm

The all-blue 'Hawks unis have really grown on me, to the point that I really like them. I'm thrilled they'll be playing a "home" game in Detroit.

Re: #4, you're totally right, and that's the precise quote I was going to use.

by Bruce (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 2:31pm

Aw man, I can't stand those head to toe radioactives the Seahawks have been wearing. Their Whites look good though. Maybe they'll come out in White pants at least (fat chance).

by JC (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 2:40pm

I know this is off topic but who would have ever thought that Charlie Batch might actually win a Super Bowl in Detroit.

by underthebus (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 2:52pm

RE:19 You are making me look stupid from laughing here at work.

by DGL (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 4:30pm

13: 3-1 in black, 1-0 in white. In SB IX, the first Steelers' SB win, they wore the white jerseys.

by DGL (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 4:40pm

In other news, Seattle Tight Ends coach Jim Lind will be wearing the official Seahawks Blue polo shirt for the game, while Steelers radio color commentator Tunch Ilkin is reported to be planning on wearing a black turtleneck.

by JC (not verified) :: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 11:03pm

What did Hines Ward have for dinner tonight?

by SJM (not verified) :: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 12:19am

"To test it, I suggest the Seahawks come out of the tunnel in the Arizona Cardinals’ home jerseys."

Ah, but you forget that teams wearing red are actually more successful than teams wearing bluish/greenish/grayish metallic teal. The Cardinals' uniforms would give Seatle the swagger of "red-uniform bias" and guarrantee them victory.

Why doesn't that work for the Cardinals? Well, they're the Cardinals.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 2:08am

Dangit! I just got saw this thread, and wanted to make the red=good comment, scroll through it all... and the last one takes it. Sigh.

So let me continue on that line anyway, with this question - what if the red thing actually does work for the Cardinals? As in, they would be even worse if they didn't wear red? That's really not something I should think about right before I go to bed, the nightmares of seeing something as horrible as an even worse Cardinals...