JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars took the latest step in the franchise’s makeover Tuesday, unveiling new uniforms and a two-tone helmet that’s sure to elicit positive and negative responses.
Billionaire owner Shad Khan, coach Gus Bradley and six starters were on hand for the unveiling.
Khan called the new design “a piece of art.” He said the NFL Nike Elite 51 uniforms, first worn by Seattle last season, represent the rebuilding Jaguars perfectly.
“We’re young, we’re contemporary and it looks to the future,” he said.
The redesigned jersey, pants and helmet are the latest changes for the Jaguars since Khan took over in January 2012. He revamped the locker room and the training room, made plans to install massive video boards inside the stadium, hired a new general manager and a new head coach, and unveiled a new logo.
So what’s left to do?
“Winning, winning,” Khan said. “That’s what’s left. That’s the most important part. … I absolutely think (these) are pieces, and it’s a commitment that you set the stage that we want to provide the best and then expect the best. The end result is having a franchise that is winning and a contender. That’s where we want to have it.”
The new uniforms — which have four color combinations — include an aggressive, redesigned font, claw marks on the shoulders and a “Jags” patch over the heart that serves as a tribute to the city’s strong military presence.
It’s the second time in the last four years that Jacksonville completely redesigned its uniforms. In April 2009, nearly four years to the day, former owner Wayne Weaver announced new uniforms in an effort to establish a more permanent identity for the franchise.
The Jaguars went 22-42 in those, so Khan figured it was time for change.
Players welcomed the new duds.
“We all want to represent something,” guard Uche Nwaneri said. “We represent the Jaguars; we represent that city of Jacksonville, and this uniform is our way of basically representing those people on Sundays. I feel like you have to look good when you have a uniform like that to represent your city.
“For what Nike and Mr. Khan were able to do, they really have stepped up what we’re going to be about this year with our uniform. It starts from the smallest details. The uniform is a testament to that.”
Tight end Marcedes Lewis acknowledged that the uniforms mean little in the grand scheme of things.
“The most important thing about it is that it’s comfortable,” Lewis said. “As far as the color scheme, I think they did a good job. I’m impressed.”
The black and gold helmets got mixed reviews.
They feature a unique paint scheme (also designed by Nike) that fades from matte black in the front to gold in the back — a two-tone look that’s uncommon in the NFL.
“It’s pretty dope,” Nwaneri said. “I didn’t know what to say when I saw it. I was shocked, like, ‘Whoa, this is really something.’ It’s unique, something that nobody else has, and the Jaguars are the first ones to use the matte and glossy finish and combination. I think that’s really going to be a pioneering thing. You’re going to see more teams in the NFL switch to something like this eventually. We’re really proud of it.”
The helmets didn’t get nearly as much love on social media sites.
“One thing I learned in the car business is it’s got to look good, but then it’s got to perform,” Khan said. “The helmets are going to look great with some mud and grass on them.”