“New” Threads for a New Era

For the first time in 20 years, the Patriots will have a quarterback not named Tom Brady under center. However, that’s not the only big change for the team in 2020, as they recently debuted their “new” uniforms for the upcoming season. Other than the addition of alternate/throwback uniforms in the mid-2000’s and 2010’s, this is the first major tweak for the team since the turn of the millennium.

What’s different?

These uniforms are based on the Pats’ popular Color Rush alternates, which were introduced in 2016, as part of a league-wide initiative for Thursday Night Football. The Color Rush program was ultimately mothballed prior to the 2018 season, but teams such as the Patriots have continued to wear them as an additional alternative uniform. New England essentially took the monochromatic blue uniform, with thick red and white stripes on the shoulders (a nod to their popular Pat Patriot uniforms) and pants, and only changed the numeric font. In order to match their new home uniform, the team created a white counterpart (similar to their AFL away uniform), which features an inverted stripe pattern (with red and blue) and paired it with the same blue pants. Both jerseys feature slight silver accents on the numbers, and are paired with the team’s traditional silver helmet with a red facemask. The Pats also introduced new socks, which feature a color-blocked scheme of red, white, and blue.

new-patriots-uniforms
(Photo via the New England Patriots)

Although there are people who think that the team came up with the idea of new uniforms as soon as Tom Brady announced his decision to leave, this change has been in the works since 2018, in cooperation with the NFL’s rules on uniform changes (which requires at least 2 years advance notice from teams to the league office). This means that Tom Brady would have worn these uniforms if he had chosen to stay in New England.

How have Patriots fans reacted?

As most NFL teams (other than the Chargers) have realized this year, it is impossible to please your fans when it comes to changing your uniforms. Even though ESPN’s Mike Reiss mentioned in March that these changes would be “subtle”, most Pats fans imagined unrealistic possibilities ranging from re-adopting the Pat Patriot uniforms to making a modernized version of the polarizing 1990’s uniforms. Hence, fan reaction to this change has been mixed at best, as evidenced by several heated reactions on the team’s Twitter feed.

The negative reactions on social media can also be attributed to several blunders on the team’s part. For instance, the uniforms looked clunky on the models they chose, and they even advertised the wrong pants. The studio models were wearing last season’s Color Rush pants, with thick white stripes, while the uniforms sent to player such as Stephon Gilmore and James White featured pants with thick red stripes, which matches up with the stripes on the blue jersey.

What do I think?

Personally, I love the changes the team instituted, as I have been a big fan of the Color Rush alternates from the day they were introduced. Compared to the “Brady era” uniforms, these uniforms are much less cluttered, without unnecessary piping and side panels. There’s no doubt that the team’s previous uniforms are iconic and synonymous with success, due to the team’s unprecedented six Super Bowl victories while wearing that set, but it’s hard to ignore how dated the uniform got as time went on. This became evident when the league switched from Reebok to Nike for their uniforms, as Nike’s materials made the home silver pants look drab and boring, as compared to Reebok’s materials, which had made them look shiny and appealing.

slate old unis
(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

In addition, as Nike’s uniform templates got more advanced, the Pats’ early 2000’s design looked more out of place, as form-fitting uniforms made the team’s piping and side panels look increasingly unappealing.

Patriots Rams Super Bowl Football
(Patrick Semansky/AP)

Going back to the new uniforms, I love the red and white stripes on the home jersey, as they really give a pop of color against the blue base. The white jersey looks sleek, although I do agree with the people on Twitter who feel as though the team would be better off switching the red and blue in the striping pattern, as it is more pleasant to look at. My main gripe with the uniform set is that the team opted not to include white pants (for now), which would have perfectly complemented the current rotation. The all-blue home uniform is attractive, but pairing it with white pants could take it to another level.

cr promo
(PeterBretter/Reddit)

At the same time, having white pants would enable the team to also wear all-white on the road, which would be a heavily appealing option. The Pats wore all-white in 2017 against the Buccaneers in their old uniforms, which showed how sleek the combination could be. Hopefully the team chooses to bring them back!

Patriots Buccaneers Football, Tampa, USA - 05 Oct 2017
(Photo via Shutterstock)

 

A sign for the future?

Many fans wanted the Pats to bring back white helmets, which would have simplified the team’s color scheme, and enabled them to bring back the popular Pat Patriot throwbacks, which they have not worn since 2012 (due to the NFL’s controversial one-shell rule, which prevents teams from using more than one helmet). Fortunately, comments from the Patriots indicate that there may be changes in the works for the 2021 season, as the press release for these uniforms specifically mentioned the possibility of bringing back the red throwbacks if the league’s rule on helmets is nixed.

dev throwbacks
(Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

 

Ranking the other new NFL uniforms

The Patriots were one of seven teams to announce uniform changes, with the Rams being the only team to not introduce their new uniforms as of yet.

Here’s a ranking of the uniforms introduced so far (excluding the Patriots)

1. Chargers

chargers new unis
(Photo via the Los Angeles Chargers)

2. Browns

browns new uniforms
(Photo via the Cleveland Browns)

3. Buccaneers

buccaneers new unis
(Photo via the Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

4. Colts

colts new unis
(Photo via the Indianapolis Colts)

5. Falcons

falcons new unis
(Photo via the Atlanta Falcons)

 

The Pats take away Danny’s Dimes en route to a win against the Giants!

TEAM

1

2

3

4

T

NYG 0 14 0 0 14

NE

7 14 0 14 35

Even though the Patriots were able to defeat the Giants (2-4) by 21 points, yesterday’s game was much tighter than the scoreboard may indicate. The 35-14 victory improved the Pats to 6-0 on the season, and has them on top of the AFC, as the conference’s only undefeated team.

Here are some takeaways from this Week 6 contest.

1. The Pats’ defense was great once again!

Facing a short-handed Giants offense definitely played into the Pats’ hands, as they were able to stifle New York for most of the game. Stephon Gilmore arguably had his most active game of the year, as Daniel Jones opted to target him 6 times, which resulted in only 1 completion for 8 yards. The other 5 passes turned out to be an interception by Gilmore, a deflected pass that was picked off by John Simon, and 3 incompletions. Duron Harmon caught the second of Jones’ three interceptions, after an effective pass rush by Danny Shelton forced an errant throw. The Pats were able to confuse Jones with their coverage, and they sacked him 1 time, along with 8 QB hits. Jones is known for being mobile, but he was limited to 8 rushing yards off of 2 carries. However, the Pats were beaten by Jones on one play, when he lofted a perfect ball to Golden Tate that resulted in a 64-yard touchdown (and the first passing touchdown for a Pats’ opponent all year). Obviously, Bill Belichick won’t be happy seeing that play on film, but there was nothing that Jonathan Jones could do on that play, as Daniel Jones beat his perfect coverage with perfect ball placement. 

The Pats’ vaunted ‘Boogeymen’ linebackers struck again yesterday, as Jamie Collins Sr. and Kyle Van Noy combined for a forced fumble that was returned for a touchdown. This score was initially ruled out of bounds, but overturned after the referees took a second look at it. Van Noy’s touchdown came at a crucial point in the game when the Pats were only up by a touchdown, and ensured that New York wouldn’t be able to mount a comeback.

The Pats’ defense continues to play at a high level, and will need to be at their absolute best as the schedule ahead begins to get more difficult.

pats d v giants w619.jpg
(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

2. Another inconsistent outing for the offense

The Pats’ offense once again looked anemic for most of yesterday’s game, as it took them six drives to score a touchdown. In addition, Tom Brady had 2 uncharacteristic turnovers, with his first one being an errant throw that missed a wide-open Julian Edelman and was caught by Giants’ CB Janoris Jenkins, and the second one being a strip sack that was caused by Brady holding the ball for far too much time. That strip sack resulted in a Giants touchdown (which tied the game at 14 apiece), but was almost far more costly for the Pats’ offense, as Josh Gordon’s knee bent awkwardly when he went to tackle Markus Golden. Fortunately for New England, Gordon avoided a serious injury (although he didn’t return to the game), but the injury scare only seems to highlight the sudden need for another dynamic target at wide receiver. Edelman was his normal self yesterday, as he had 9 receptions for 113 yards, with his main highlight being a marvelous 36-yard catch, where #11 dove to get the ball. In the words of Rob Gronkowski: The furry Edelman fought to get his nut once again! 

Due to Gordon’s absence, Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski were thrust into the limelight, and performed adequately when called upon. After the game, both Belichick and Brady mentioned that the sudden lack of players at wide receiver forced the Pats to stick with one personnel grouping throughout the game. It was another subpar outing for the Pats’ rushing attack, as Sony Michel only mustered 86 yards off of 22 carries, with a good chunk of it coming from a 26-yard run during garbage time. It’s hard to deny that New England’s most successful running back last night was a player by the name of Tom Brady who had 7 carries for 6 yards, along with 2 touchdowns, which both came off of QB sneaks at the goal-line. 

As I mentioned in my preview for this game, any sort of success for the Patriots’ offense would be predicated on the success of the offensive line to protect Brady and help out Michel. Unfortunately, the offensive line was not at its best yesterday, as Brady was sacked 3 times, and was hit an additional 6 times. Throughout the game, he did not have enough time to effectively survey the field, which killed a few drives in the process. 

All in all, the Patriots need to find an answer on offense, as riding the coattails of their defense and special teams will not be a recipe for success during the tail end of their schedule.

jules catch v nyg w619.jpg
(Elise Amendola/AP)

3. Yet another mixed bag for special teams

One of the major talking points entering yesterday’s game was the potential impact of the gusting winds in Foxborough, and the wind did not disappoint! On a number of drives in Giants’ territory, Bill Belichick opted to go for it on fourth down, instead of attempting field goals, due to the obstacle presented by the wind in the stadium. Mike Nugent missed a 40-yard field goal which hit the upright, but was able to convert on 5 extra points.

Special teams was responsible for the Pats’ first touchdown of the game, as a punt by Riley Dixon in the first quarter bounced off of his teammate’s helmet, and landed in the hands of Chase Winovich, who proceeded to run into the end zone for his first career touchdown.

Hopefully Nugent will be able to rebound over the next few weeks, and having touchdowns via special teams will continue to help the Pats win games!

wino td v giants s619.jpg
(Elise Amendola/AP)

Bonus:

1. TB12 passes Peyton Manning for the second-most passing yards in NFL history!

Here’s the pass that broke the record:

https://twitter.com/Patriots/status/1182455343466602499

Here’s the team congratulating him in the locker room after the game:

2. Gronk makes his Fox Sports debut!

Yesterday’s game also marked Rob Gronkowski’s debut as a member of the Fox Sports, which featured some classic Gronk moments, such as this breakdown of Julian Edelman and Tom Brady.

3. Color Rush!

It’s always a sight to behold when the Pats wear their Color Rush uniforms, and last night’s victory improved them to 5-0 in their alternates.

tb cr w619.png
(Photo via Getty Images)

Statistical Leaders:

Patriots

  • Passing: Tom Brady – 31/41 for 334 yards and 1 interception
  • Rushing: Sony Michel – 22 carries for 86 yards
  • Passing: Julian Edelman – 9 receptions for 113 yards
  • Defensive: Jason McCourty & Jonathan Jones – 4 tackles each

Giants

  • Passing: Daniel Jones – 15/31 for 161 yards, 1 touchdown & 3 interceptions
  • Rushing: Jonathan Hilliman – 11 carries for 38 yards
  • Receiving: Golden Tate – 6 receptions for 102 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Defensive: David Mayo – 13 tackles (including 0.5 sacks)

 

What’s next?: The Pats head over to Metlife Stadium to play New York’s other team, the Jets (0-4), for the second time this season, under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. Unlike Week 3’s matchup, Sam Darnold will likely be playing for New York. 

 

Reigniting the rivalry?: The Pats face the Colts for the first time in 3 seasons!

In the early 2000’s, the Patriots and Colts had one of the most competitive rivalries in the NFL, as the two teams frequently waged battle to see who would reign over the rest of the AFC. However, the rivalry faded following the departure of Peyton Manning from Indy, and the matchup has been one-sided in favor of the Patriots in recent memory.

 There are several analysts who believe that the rivalry has been reignited due to Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels accepting and then turning down the Colts’ head coaching job during the offseason. We’ll find out if the rivalry is truly back when the Patriots host the Colts (1-3) tomorrow night on Thursday Night Football!

Here are some things to consider entering this Week 5 contest.

1. Will Jules’ return be the catalyst the Patriots’ offense needs?

The Patriots’ offense has had an up-and-down start to the 2018-19 season, as they were brilliant in Weeks 1 & 4, but were absolutely inept during Weeks 2 & 3. All things considered, I truly believe that Week 4 against the Dolphins was a step in the right direction for the Patriots, as they were able to establish a consistent running game, and also got solid contributions from their wide receivers (including new addition Josh Gordon). 

This week may be even better for the Pats, as they welcome back Julian Edelman, who was serving a 4-game suspension due to the use of performance enhancing drugs. Ironically enough, the last time the Patriots had Edelman in action for a meaningful game was during their historic comeback against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Most analysts believe that Edelman’s return to the lineup will help relieve pressure off of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. This will definitely be the case, as Edelman has the skillset required to shake off opposing cornerbacks and get open across the middle of the field. #11 will definitely draw attention from the defense, which will be useful for Gronk and can help to make life easier for the Patriots’ other receivers. Throw Josh Gordon into the mix, and it’s hard not to be excited!

jules v colts .jpg
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

2. Stopping Captain Luck and his army!

For those who don’t understand why I’m calling Andrew Luck ‘captain’, allow me to enlighten you. For the past 3 years, there has been a Twitter account known as @CaptAndrewLuck, which imagines Luck as a Civil War general (due to his infamous neckbeard). The account usually tweets about Luck and the Colts’ matchups against other teams, using terms usually associated with battles (in the form of a letter to his mother). Check out his tweet about the Patriots from Monday.

Getting back to the game, Luck has been impressive in his return from injury, as he has done his best to lead the Colts to victory, even though he has been let down by his offensive line and coaching staff. Luckily enough for the Patriots, Luck will be playing without his top target in T.Y. Hilton who got injured during the Colts’ Week 4 loss to the Texans. 

Both teams will likely be using tape from the Patriots’ loss to Philadelphia in Super Bowl LII, as Indy’s current coach, Frank Reich was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator at the time. Reich crafted a brilliant game plan that absolutely dissected the Patriots’ defense, and enabled the Eagles to earn their first Lombardi Trophy. Hopefully, Bill Belichick & Co. will be ready this time around to face a Reich-coached offense.

andrew luck v pats .jpg
(Photo by Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports)

3. Injury Report

Patriots

  • Rob Gronkowski (ankle) – Questionable
  • Jacob Hollister (chest) – Questionable
  • Josh Gordon (hamstring) – Questionable
  • Eric Rowe (groin) – Questionable
  • Elandon Roberts (calf) – Questionable
  • Geneo Grissom (ankle) – Questionable
  • Adam Butler (knee) – Questionable
  • Danny Shelton (elbow) – Questionable

Colts

  • T.Y. Hilton (chest/hamstring) – Out
  • Jack Doyle (hip) – Out
  • Marlon Mack (hamstring) – Out
  • Kenny Moore (concussion) – Out
  • Quincy Wilson (concussion) – Out
  • Hassan Ridgeway (calf) – Out

 

Bonus: Color Rush is back!

The Patriots will don their absolutely gorgeous Color Rush uniforms against Indy. Shouldn’t they just switch to these full time?

tb cr.jpg
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

PredictionPatriots 35, Colts 17

 

Here are my predictions for the rest of the NFL’s Week 5 contests.

Last week: 10-4

Titans at BillsTitans

Falcons at SteelersFalcons

Broncos at JetsBroncos

Jaguars at ChiefsChiefs

Packers at LionsPackers

Ravens at Browns: Ravens

Giants at PanthersPanthers

Dolphins at BengalsBengals

Raiders at ChargersChargers

Cardinals at 49ersCardinals

Vikings at EaglesVikings

Rams at SeahawksRams

Cowboys at Texans: Cowboys

Redskins at SaintsSaints