The potential retirement of their best offensive player and face of the franchise in receiver Calvin Johnson, as well as slipping back to the middle of the NFC pack last season reportedly has the Detroit Lions contemplating a whole new look for 2016 and beyond. It's an abrupt departure for a team rooted in tradition that has basically kept its look consistent since the team was founded in 1930.
New Lions president Rod Wood told Detroit’s WMGC-FM last week that under consideration is a complete revamp of their longstanding Honolulu blue, silver, black and white color scheme and even the carnivorous King of the Jungle emblazoned on the helmet.
“I do want to look at our entire uniform color scheme and look, and that’s something that’s also on the table, maybe for an update of the regular uniform for 2017," Wood said.
According to Detroit Free-Press, a caller specifically asked if Wood is up to altering the team’s logo for something more realistic than the current Medieval crest-looking lion that’s adorned helmets and team merchandise for the last 46 years. Though Wood wouldn’t commit to anything drastic.
"I think everything is up for review with the uniform, but it does take a lot of lead time to make any change like that. So I’ll certainly consider it,” he said.
Wood is part of a whole new Lions front office that took over halfway through last season, one that began with a dreadful 1-7 start that put everyone on the roster and in management on notice of major alterations.
The Lions were expected to build on 2014’s wild-card berth with essentially the same roster returning and Johnson and quarterback Matthew Stafford still the linchpin’s of a dangerous offense. Detroit managed to recover and go 6-2 in its last eight games, but it wasn’t good enough for back-to-back playoff appearances.
Detroit has used a rebranding strategy before. After 2008’s historic 0-16 record, Detroit revamped its look to today’s form in the hopes of helping fans forget the worst regular season in NFL history.
Wood also said the Lions will likely use a third or alternate jersey for the first time since 2010, a move all NFL teams are expected to make specifically for “Thursday Night Football” appearances. Detroit’s also tinkering with the idea of a return of the popular throwback jersey, a simple blend of blue and silver with a logo-less helmet.
"We do have the throwback uniforms under discussion," Wood said. "One of the interesting things about the league is uniforms are very tightly policed and so to make any change, going back to the throwback or even changing the throwbacks to a different version than the one we have used in the past, almost gives a full season notice to the NFL to do that.
"So we’re in discussions right now about maybe bringing something back in the 2017 season. It would not be in the 2016 season."