By Joel Alderman
Those attending the Yale-Harvard game on Nov. 21st will not only be watching football under lights in the Yale Bowl for the first time, and be seeing the last contest there on a field of natural grass (see earlier stories), but traditionalists might be shocked to learn there will be a new appearance for the team from Cambridge.
One of the great things about Harvard and Yale is tradition, and that includes their conservative and rarely changing uniforms. Throw all that out the window! With the help and possibly influence from the Nike Corporation, the Crimson, or whatever color they may now be known by, will have a different look starting this season.
Why is that newsworthy? Because their uniforms have hardly changed since the mid-1960’s.
Let’s do this slowly, so our readers can absorb it better.
Harvard will now have three different solid colored jerseys, instead of just the crimson they have worn at home and white for away games. In addition to the bright red, there will be a set of alternate blacks and (for the road) white.
The Harvard crest will be on both shoulders.
Going way back to the 1950’s, Harvard donned only white pants. Then, starting somewhere during the 60’s and through last season, they would dress in pants of gold. The new pants will now be more of a pale or lighter gold. However, they could still show up in the Bowl wearing crimson pants (ouch!).
Now for the helmet, perhaps the most important item for a football player to wear, not for appearance but for safety. Since the late 50’s and early 60’s, the Harvard headpiece has switched a few times from crimson to white to crimson,. Since 1964 it has stayed only crimson.
It will still be crimson in 2015, only now it’s going to be a “matte” crimson. I’ve had a Yale education, not Harvard, and I had to check the definition of “matte.” It means a “dull and flat color, without a shine.” So, why couldn’t they say that in the first place?
Here’s the pièce de résistance when it comes to the helmet. The back will be inscribed with “10,000 Men of Harvard,” (photos here) taken from the fight song of the same name that is played and sung ad nauseam before, during and following practically every Harvard game. If putting that on the back of the helmet is not sickening enough, to make sure it is understood around Harvard Yard, the same motto will appear on the front, only (get this) IN LATIN (photos here).
Six different looks for Harvard
Whereas there were two versions of the Harvard uniform, now there will be six different combinations of jerseys and pants. The options, however, will be limited depending on whether Harvard is at home, where dark tops must be worn, or on the road, where white jerseys are required by the NCAA. Here are the combinations now possible:
1) Red jerseys and pale gold pants (home)
2) Red jerseys and crimson pants (home)
3) Black jerseys and pale gold pants (home)
4) Black jerseys and crimson pants (home)
5) White jerseys and pale gold pants (road)
6) White jerseys and crimson pants (road)
So what can we expect to see in the Bowl or on national television on Nov. 21st? The odds are 50-50 of making the right guess, but next year only a twenty-five percent chance. Meanwhile, Yale will always be looking to “beat the pants off of Harvard,” whether they be of pale gold or crimson.