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It's not about fashion


I am not a fashion kind of guy. My life is about shades of khaki.

That's not to say I don't value the merits of a handsomely-attired football team. It's just that I prefer football uniforms to be fundamental in design and statement. Football, in my opinion, is a tough game for tough guys and tough guys shouldn't concern themselves with fashion.

That opinion is not shared by most fans. I've learned that from my "Ask Vic" inbox, which was flooded all season long by this question: When are the Jaguars going to wear their all-black uniforms?

It was one of the most asked questions I received. Even after I answered it, that the Jaguars would not wear their all-black togs in 2005, it persisted. When I revealed the all-black decision, there was outrage. I got e-mail after e-mail harshly criticizing the Jaguars' decision not to wear their all-black uniforms.

Let's just say I don't get it. What does it matter what uniform you're wearing? Just win the game, right? What else matters?

Well, I am just as perplexed by the shock and fascination for Bill Cowher's announcement that the Steelers will wear their road-white jerseys in the Super Bowl. The Steelers will be the home team and the Steelers have always worn their black jerseys when they've been the home team, but you had to be numb between the ears to think Cowher would discard the white shirts after wearing them in victory for three consecutive road wins in the playoffs.

"We're not playing at Heinz Field so, in my mind, it's an away game," Cowher told reporters on Tuesday.

Nice try, Cowher, but that's not it and you know it. Is it about superstition? Maybe, but that's not the big issue. You have to have plant food for brains not to know what the big issue is. You have to know even less about fashion than I do not to understand why the Steelers will wear white instead of their fashionable black jerseys, even if the game is an after-six affair.

So what's the big issue? Here's the big issue: Those white jerseys are the symbol of what the Steelers have accomplished in this postseason. Those white jerseys are the identity of that team.

We're talking about the first sixth seed to ever make it to the Super Bowl. We're talking about a team that's played five of its last six games on the road and had to win them all to make it to Detroit.

The Steelers are the first team in NFL history to win nine road games in a season. Whether they beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl or not, this season's Steelers are the greatest road warriors in NFL history and nothing represents that distinction more fully than the white jersey they will wear in Detroit.

We're talking about a team that won games in San Diego, Indianapolis and Denver this season. We're talking about a team that won twice in Cincinnati and in Minnesota when the Vikings were on a six-game winning streak. In each of those games, the Steelers were wearing their white jerseys.

In the postseason, the Steelers beat the one, two and three seeds on the road; three teams with a combined 38-10 record. Now, tell me, how could Cowher decide not to wear white?

Should the Steelers win their fifth Super Bowl, it's the white jersey that will set the '05 team apart from the 1970's bunch that won four Super Bowls. Those teams never came close to doing what the '05 boys have. In the eight playoff wins that carried the '70's Steelers to their four Super Bowls, only one of them was on the road; the '74 AFC title game win in Oakland.

Truth be known, as great as those teams were, I doubt they would've been able to win three straight on the road in, say, Miami, Oakland and Houston. I doubt if the current Steelers will win four Super Bowls, but just getting to where they are is an amazing accomplishment that has absolutely nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with blocking and tackling.

How could they say no to those beautiful black jerseys? Come on, white was the only way to go. You don't have to be a fashion expert to know that.

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