The 49ers started the buzz about their new uniforms for 2009 at their State of the Franchise event in February. A fan asked if the team would ever return to it's old uniforms, and team CEO Andy Dolich ominously replied, "Stay tuned."
The crowd went bananas.
Of course, the crowd at that event went bananas over pretty much every single statement made that evening. These are people who line up to buy season tickets to watch a six-or-seven-win team, and came out on a stormy night in February to watch a highly-scripted public relations event. There was Scientologist-level of enthusiasm among that crowd, so of course they went bananas over any vague and slightly positive-sounding remark.
But another tease has heightened the intrigue. The 49ers announced Friday that the team would be wearing new uniforms for 2009, and that these new uniforms will be debuted at a team Draft Day party in Santa Clara on April 25. John Crumpacker reported in the Chronicle that these "new" uniforms will be highly reminscent of the old 1980's uniforms.
And no, frankly, I am not 100 percent sure that the cheapskate Yorks aren't simply re-using actual old uniforms that 49ers players had actually worn in the 1980's.
The throwback uniforms were used to great effect in the final game of last season -- several players decided to also grow 1980's throwback moustaches, and the 49ers' Tom Selleck handsomeness had the Redskins on their heels for a 27-24 loss.
The decision to go back to old uniforms is not that much unlike the decision to keep Mike Singletary permanently as head coach. It worked briefly, people kind of liked it, and for this organization that constitutes above-average results. Singletary himself is a throwback to the era when the 49ers were perpetual winners. Nostalgia sells better, with this franchise, than does recent results. The fair-weather fan base has been eliminated by several seasons of sub-.500 football, leaving only the decades-long fans -- "The Faithful" -- to fill the seats. And "The Faithful" love being reminded of the old days.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who might give the Tom Selleck moustache a try this season.