The change was noticeable, from the black piping to the bird head on the back of the jersey to the fresh merging of the traditional red and white colors. But for the players modeling the new Arizona Cardinals’ uniforms Wednesday, it wasn’t the look that impressed them as much as the gesture.
“When the organization does this, when they say we’re going to change the uniform and they do, it shows the commitment,” defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. “When you add that up, the new coach, new uniforms, a good draft class last year, a good class (coming) this year, we can really start turning this thing around.
“Everything is adding up.”
Team vice president Michael Bidwill said the seeds to finally make a significant change to uniforms that had stayed the same for decades came in the fall of 2003 as the team made plans to move into the new Glendale stadium in 2006. Focus groups of fans were quizzed to find the right combination.
“We kept enough of the tradition but we made enough of a change that it is a change,” owner Bill Bidwill said. Michael Bidwill emphasized the team needs to start winning games, but he appreciated the fact the players were impressed with the move. The eight players who showed off the uniforms on the runway — Dockett, defensive end Bertrand Berry, safety Adrian Wilson, quarterbacks Josh McCown and Kurt Warner, running back Marcel Shipp, receiver Larry Fitzgerald and linebacker Karlos Dansby — had some fun with the unveiling, posing as they saw the cameras.
The changes were most easily seen in the white jersey, which has gone from solid white with red numbers to include red on the shoulders, sleeves and down the sides of the shirt. The red jerseys have white going down the sides. Each set of pants still has stripes down the side, but now they taper toward the bottom.
The jerseys also have a small “Cardinals” printed on the front above the numbers in addition to the bird head just above the player’s name on the back.
Wilson admitted he wasn’t sure if the new uniforms would ever come to be. Once the players saw them Tuesday for the first time as they were fitted for the fashion show, “it was a breath of fresh air,” Wilson said.
“I’ve been in the old ones a long time,” said Wilson, heading into his fifth season. “It was definitely time for a change.”
But Wilson wasn’t proclaiming the Cardinals any better of a team because of their new look.
“As long as we perform and win football games, hopefully the fans will be behind us,” Wilson said. “I don’t think the jerseys will help us win football games.”
Wilson was reminded that the new jerseys are made from “high-performance materials” that Michael Bidwill said provides “stretchability to run faster.”
Wilson shook his head and said, “I don’t have a comment.”
The uniforms aren’t going to score points or sack the quarterback, but the players understand the move is part of a larger trend.
“Michael Bidwill and them, they made good on their promises,” quarterback Josh McCown said. “When they said it was more of a revolutionary change in the uniform, it was.”
Then McCown added with a smile, “With the high-performance material, whatever excuses that were left are erased. I’m not one to blame a uniform, but if anyone did, that’s gone too.”
EXTRA POINTS: Quarterback Kurt Warner went through his second uniform unveiling, after doing the same for the Rams back in 2000.
“I’m one of the few that has been through it to a couple times,” Warner said. “It’s an example of how we’re trying to change things up.” . . .
Three players will be at three different Sports Authority stores from 5-7 p.m. tonight signing autographs in conjunction with the new uniforms. Receiver Anquan Boldin will be at the Arizona Mills mall location (5000 Arizona Mills Court, Tempe), Wilson will be at the Scottsdale Pavilions location (9009 E. Indian Bend Road) and quarterback John Navarre will be at the Paradise Valley location (12869 N. Tatum Blvd.) All Sports Authority outlets have exclusive rights to sell the new uniforms through Saturday. The jerseys also can be purchased through the team’s Web site, www.azcardinals.com.