Welcome to a new era of San Diego Chargers football; a 'Bold New Tradition' if you will. After a 14-2 season theChargers decided it was time for a new look, not only in the front office, but on the field as well. Much like the Denver Broncos in 1997, the Chargers are going with a new uniform in 2007 and it is crazy how many similarities there are and I am not only talking about appearance.
The changes that were made from last uniform to this one are rather minor. The lightning bolt itself is in the same position on the helmets, but is now more of yellow with a powder blue, navy blue, and white lining. The numbers have been changed to look modernized, much like what the Denver Broncos and Oregon Ducks have already done. And the helmet has been changed from solid navy blue to solid white, which is the only throwback to the uniform.
When I first heard about the new uniforms I was expecting the changes to be a little more dramatic and to be honest was a little disappointed when I first saw them on the Chargers official website. Since then a few months have passed and the uniform has grown on me; so much so, in fact, that I was tempted to buy a new jersey while I was at mini camp a couple of weeks back.
The thing I like the most about them is that they do not change the overall look of the team so drastically that they are unrecognizable (unlike the more major changes that the New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and to a lesser extent the Houston Texans who at one point were the Oilers), which pays respect to all the former players and front office personnel of the organization.
Now to get to the non-appearance related tie-in with the ’97 Broncos, in ‘96 the Denver Broncos went 13-3 and captured an AFC West Division title only to fall in the divisional round to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The next year was different for that team though, as they came out with a new look. The old orange uniforms (that only a mother could love) were gone, and to replace them the Broncos went with a modernized appearance and a whole lot less eye-blistering orange. This turned out to be a great move for the franchise as two consecutive Super Bowls, under the leadership of John Elway and Terrell Davis, would immediately follow. Did the uniform have anything to do with this? That I don’t know, but they certainly turned the team's luck around.
The Chargers, as we all know, won the AFC West last year with a 14-2 record only to fall to the New England Patriots in the divisional round. Now it’s a new year and a new modernized uniform that was even inspired by some of the players themselves, namely LaDianian Tomlinson.
“All of those guys had their identity, their kind of uniform that made it unique for their teams,” Tomlinson said. “Well, I think it is time for us to have our identity, with our jerseys. This is our era. We’ve got great guys on this team and this is going to be the San Diego Chargers for years to come. So I think it is only right to have our own new jerseys and create our own era and our own identity.”
This team is widely considered to be the best in the NFL today as they were at the top or near it in power rankings at the end of the ’06 regular season. When you have players like LT and Shawne Merriman, who are the two best players in the league on both sides of the football, it begs the fans to ask the following question; 'Will the new uniforms be the good luck charm for the Chargers just as they were for the Broncos only a decade ago?' I most certainly hope so!