Columbia Football Sports

The Columbia football team should wear Columbia blue uniforms, 2017 edition

One of the primary perks of obtaining a bachelor’s degree is the right to complain wildly about the decisions, big or small, that your alma mater makes long after you’ve graduated.

With great power, as we all know, comes great responsibility. So it is with a great sense of responsibility that I now, for the second year in a row, write a screed about the travesty that is the Columbia football team’s home uniform.

I wrote most of this down last year, and this post repeats and re-alleges each and every allegation from last year’s blog post as if fully set forth herein. If necessary, I will write a post on this issue at the start of football season every year until the Sun finally expands to swallow this Earth once and for all.

The short summary of the problem, for those of you who are bored already, is as follows:

  • Columbia University has a color named after it, Columbia Blue. It’s a pleasant shade of light blue (Pantone 290, to be precise, or the marginally darker Pantone 292 when used by the athletic department) and is the official color of the university.
  • For many years, Columbia’s derelict football team wore Columbia Blue uniforms for their home games.
  • This was the only bright spot for the football team, which has managed to be so bad for so long that even the Washington Generals are curious how Columbia has pulled it off.
  • In 2015, Columbia, finally taking decisive action after 55 years of incompetence and increasingly improbable methods of failure, hired a legendary football coach and changed their home uniforms to be “anthracite” in color.

Let’s stop here to ponder “anthracite.” Anthracite, as my friend Jonathan Jager informed me last year, is “a type of coal found primarily in northeastern Pennsylvania.” So, for starters, “anthracite” isn’t even a geographically appropriate color for the Columbia Lions, who are located in Manhattan, New York City, New York State. (You would think that New Yorkers, not known for their curiosity about any part of America outside the five boroughs, would’ve raised more of a stink about this.)

On top of that — and I really cannot stress this point enough — anthracite is a grey color, not a blue one. This would be like if Brown University, which also has a color named after it (“Brown”) wore green uniforms at home, because green is more manly and rough and whatever kind of bullshit you want to throw out there than brown is.

(In case it’s unclear, my annoyance with the new uniforms is 70% because they only changed colors because some marketing guru somewhere thought grey anthracite uniforms would make the team look tough, and 30% because there’s a perfectly good color called Columbia blue already out there.)

After slogging through 2015 with uniforms that had, essentially, no blue at all in them, the Lions took a baby step forward with their 2016 alternate uniforms, which you can see here. Wow!

columbia football 2 These were better, because (1) they reduced the wretched anthracite tops to only one appearance all season, (2) they actually had some of the color blue in it, and (3) parts of the uniform were Columbia blue! The sleeves and the numbers were restored to the official color of the university. For this bone, apparently, I should be thankful.

However. Let’s look at this helpful graphic on Wikipedia called “shades of blue.” Because it’s on Wikipedia, these are (of course) the only official shades of blue in existence.


Look at the picture of the alternates. Now back here. What color blue are these alternates? They’re certainly not Columbia blue! I would say it’s either Egyptian blue or “International Klein Blue” (which, according to Wikipedia, is the official color of the Blue Man Group). But, again, the point is that they’re not Columbia blue.

It’s not like the Lions have been world-beaters in any of these uniforms. But it does seem like adding more Columbia blue helps! Since changing uniforms in 2015, they’re 3-7 when wearing white (on the road), 1-3 when in Egyptian blue, and 1-5 in the horrifying anthracite abominations. So — when at home, at least — more Columbia blue helps the team win. Clearly the only solution is to make the uniforms Columbia blue again and the Lions will finally win more than four games in a season.

(Screeds tend to run out of energy toward the end; mine is no exception. It’s exhausting to spend 700 words explaining why this vey obviously wrong thing is wrong. Time for the big finale.)

Peter Pilling and Al Bagnoli, please. You’ve done a lot in 2.5 years in charge of the Columbia Athletics program, from building a beautiful inflatable bubble over Baker Field to making our players no longer insanely racist on social media. You can fix this, too.

It’s so simple.

Call Nike. (They clearly make light blue football uniforms.)

Tell them you want Columbia blue uniforms for the Columbia football team.