By Matt Eurich, 247Sports
After hinting at a new jersey unveiling for the 2019 season, the Chicago Bears gave everyone a look at their new uniform for the upcoming year at the Bears100 event. Chicago debuted their “classic” jersey for the 2019 season in front of a packed house at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center on June 7. Cornerback Kyle Fuller was introduced to the crowd wearing the new uniform, a look that other members of the team had not previously seen.
The look is an homage to the team’s jerseys from 1936. The white jersey has additional stripes on the sleeves with navy and orange striped socks. The helmet will also feature orange stripes representative of the look from 1936. Chicago will wear the jersey on September 29 against the Minnesota Vikings and on December 5 against the Dallas Cowboys. Both of those contests will be at home.
This look will join multiple other looks for the Bears this upcoming season. In addition to their traditional look at home with navy tops and white pants, their traditional road look with a white top and navy pants and the orange alternate jersey with white pants, the classic look will get added to the mix this upcoming season.
Reactions were strong on both sides of the fence for the uniform once it was debuted. Scroll below to see how others reacted.
The first look
It appears that the only other player who knew about the new jersey, other than Fuller, was running back Tarik Cohen. The pair of Bears starred in a short video unveiling the new look for the team. Both Fuller and Hester look excited to don the new uniform this upcoming year.
The uniform is not all that different from what the team wears now on the road, but the biggest changes are the addition stripes on the jersey, stripes added to the helmet and stripes on the socks. This look has been brought up numerous times on social media before it was unveiled. Most believed this was the look the team was going to go for because of chairman George McCaskey’s fondness for this uniform.
Pride of Detroit, an SBNation site, was quick to disagree with the new look for the Bears. The site posted the photo above on its Twitter account. It is of Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet lying on the court with a cut just below his eye from Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors. VanVleet was elbowed in the face during that game and was cut wide open. The Pride of Detroit site likely used that photo to signify Chicago’s new jersey as being bad enough to make someone’s eyes bleed.
The Lions were last in the playoffs in 2016 and have never won the NFC North division. The team’s last division title came back in 1993 when it was still the NFC Central.
A Bengals comparison?
Jim McGrew, who says he is a sportswriter on his Twitter account, thinks there is a comparison between Chicago’s classic helmet and the Cincinnati Bengals’ look.
While both helmets sport stripes, they have different versions of stripes. Chicago’s new stripes go three across the front of the helmet and move from north to south to a point on the back of the helmet. Cincinnati’s helmet features numerous stripes going from east to west across the helmet to signify claws from a Bengal tiger. While somewhat similar they are far from being the same looking helmet.
Where the inspiration came from
Jack Silverstein, who is a sports historian for multiple outlets, gave everyone a glimpse at the look the Bears are paying homage to this upcoming season.
He had photos of legendary Bears players from the 1930s wearing the same uniform. The first photo on the top left features Beattie Feathers and Bronko Nagurski. Next to that photo is Bill Hewitt. At the bottom left there is a photo of lineman Ted Rosequist. That is followed up with a look at the team winning a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates while wearing the uniform.
The Bears have always looked at the past as inspiration for the future and that will once again be the case this upcoming season. The team went 9-3 that season and finished second in the NFL Western division. Chicago drafted future Hall of Famers Joe Stydahar (sixth overall) and Dan Fortmann (78th overall) in that year’s draft. Stydahar, Fortmann, Hewitt, George Musso and Bronko Nagurski were all on that team and all five later went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The fan above was not a fan at all of the new jerseys for Chicago. He is in the minority as a large chunk of the fan base have are not fans of the new look.
This user does not give a whole lot of reasoning as to why he does not like the new look. Some may not realize that this look is not going to be a complete overhaul for the team. Chicago will only be wearing this jersey twice during the upcoming year. The one area fans have had a negative reaction to is the socks. They are a bit outlandish for this current era of the NFL, but it ties in perfectly with the history of the organization.
An Eagles complaint
One Eagles account is upset the Bears can change their uniforms and they cannot. A lot of this has to do with the Eagles (or more so their fans) wanting to wear their “Kelly green” throwbacks. The league does not allow teams to wear multiple helmets throughout the year for safety reasons.
The Bears get around this scenario because they are keeping their same helmets (plain navy) and adding the striped look for the classic uniform. The team has similarly gone away from the classic “C” logo on the side of the helmet in the past when wearing their “Monsters of the Midway” throwback uniforms. That uniform had the Bears helmet without a logo and with a gray facemask. As long as the shell of the helmet remains the same the Bears are not breaking the NFL’s rules.
Virginia McCaskey isn’t a fan of the socks
Mike Berman of NBC 5 in Chicago pointed out that team owner, Virginia McCaskey, is not the biggest fan of the new striped socks. He noted that her son, George McCaskey, told his mother about the socks and she was not a big fan.
Berman said Virginia later confirmed that was the case.
The socks seem to be the one area fans are struggling with in terms of the classic look. The problem is, that is exactly what the socks looked like for the team back in the 1930s. There are multiple photos of legendary players from that era donning socks that feature orange and blue stripes. It seems odd that many would be upset with something as trivial as socks. But it does seem like Virginia is grown to accept the look this upcoming year.
“An offense to mankind”
Brian Hedger, who is a Columbus Blue Jackets beat reporter, had a strong take on the socks on the new classic jersey.
“The socks are an offense to mankind,” is what he wrote.
That is a rather strong statement for something as simple as socks on a uniform. He also argues that other teams in various leagues that are more iconic do not do this. But the issue is the Bears are celebrating their 100-year history. Hedger believes fans will not even know who the Bears are while wearing the uniform. What is comical about that is this look is not all that far off from what the team typically wears on Sundays, especially the jersey.
Happy it is different
Despite some criticism from fans on social media, one Twitter user opted to see the other side of the coin. He noted the Bears rarely, if ever, do anything outside of the box, so this is at least an attempt at trying something new.
The Twitter user also wanted a limited number of stripes on the socks and that the look had white pants. Despite acknowledging these uniforms are based off Chicago’s 1936 look, he had plenty of areas he wanted to change. This is a direct homage to that look, so changing it up with white pants or with socks that only had a couple stripes would not be doing much justice to a Bears team that was stacked with Hall of Famers at the time.
Dennis the Menace reference
One Twitter user said the socks worn by the Bears in this new look reminds her of Dennis the Menace. The issue with that is the Dennis the Menace cartoon did not feature the main character wearing socks. Most iterations of the character feature him wearing jean overalls that cover up what his socks look like. This could be a take on the shirt often worn by the character. In the live movie version that came out in the 1990s, Dennis wore many striped shirts.
Either way, this is another example of someone not thinking too kindly of Chicago’s socks for the classic uniform.
This article originally appeared in 247Sports.