As noted earlier, Cal has new unis and helmets this year. One other feature to their new uniforms is that there will be no names on the back of the jerseys. Cal Coach Jeff Tedford took the names off the jerseys for the bowl game. Since the Golden Bears were playing in the Armed Forces Bowl, Tedford felt that in tribute to the military the players should be nameless.
Tedford has decided to continue honoring the military by keeping the names off the jerseys. He also admits there is another reason.
As part of a last year's late-season freefall - losing six of seven games after being No. 2 in the nation - Cal looked uninspired in losses to clearly less-talented Washington and Stanford teams.
"After the way Washington and Stanford happened, it was evident that we all needed to come together and look at accountability issues," Tedford said. "That's what we did. It was taking identity off of individuals and putting it back on the team."
So, it's to honor the military while teaching and reminding the players they are a team. Because the team framework broke down last year. It sounds good. The problem is that if you ever put the names back on the jerseys -- you know, if the players show that they have learned the lessons of teamwork or if the present group graduates -- then aren't you also saying you are done honoring the military?
That's the problem with making what was a one-time statement, open-ended. A positive gesture and a good motivator for the team in the bowl game. At some point if you end it, it suggests that the reason for doing it became less about the honoring the armed forces, and more about football.