COLLEGE PARK, Md. — “You know while the Yankees always win, Frank?”
“‘Cause they have Mickey Mantle?”
“No, it’s ’cause the other teams can’t stop staring at those damn pinstripes.”
While I will spare you from going into the details of two mice falling into a bucket of cream, I will tell you that the above line (from the movie Catch Me If You Can) rang in my head over and over during the University of Maryland’s season opening 32-24 win over the University of Miami Monday night at a sold out Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.
The exchange between Frank Abignale Sr. and Frank Abignale Jr. set the tone for the son to use elaborate distractions while committing major international check fraud crimes.
The only thing fraudulent about the Terrapins’ victory was their red zone offense, but I’ll save those crimes for another day.
After unveiling some 32 new Under Armour uniform schemes at an elaborate campus event a few weeks ago, the Terps managed to cause a bit of an internet firestorm. The attention (and the positive and negative feedback that came with it) served as great publicity for UA founder Kevin Plank (a former Terps special teams ace) and for the football team itself. While the attention surrounding Monday night’s season opener was mostly about the fallout from the Nevin Shapiro scandal in Coral Gables, the Terps did manage to generate some interest with the question “what will they wear”?
After warming up in more traditional colors before Monday night’s season opener, the Terps returned to the locker room and (with the help of a number of Under Armour reps) changed into some unique duds.
Not even amongst the 32 prior combos, Under Armour’s “PRIDE” uniform placed the colors of the Maryland state flag quite prominently on the team’s helmets, shoulders, gloves and cleats.
Within moments of the team’s appearance on the ESPN broadcast, Twitter and Facebook were on fire with reactions. Reactions came from far and wide, with even icons like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony sharing thoughts about them.
Certainly not all of the thoughts shared were positive.
The game practically played a supporting role to the uniforms from that point on. While Abignale Sr. believed less focus was on Mantle than the unis the Bronx Bombers donned, I can say with certainly less focus was placed on the debut of new Terrapins head coach Randy Edsall or the performance of quarterback Danny O’Brien (31-44 for 348 yards with a TD and a pick) than the team’s gaudy threads.
The team itself didn’t find out what they would be wearing into the contest until earlier in the day.
“You should have seen today in the team meeting. We came over and had a walkthrough, (then we went) back and had a Special Teams meeting” Edsall said after the game. “I talked to the guys for a little bit, I said ‘I’ve got two things I’ve gotta show you.’ I put a video on, (we) showed them a highlight-type video and then we had a video that had the uniforms, because they hadn’t seen them. You should have been in that room when this video came on that Under Armour did-that they played when we came out. I think we blew the roof off the hotel. Those kids were so excited.”
“It’s about the pride” Edsall added. “They’re playing not only for themselves, but they’re playing for every Maryland player that went through this program. They’re playing for every person in this state. That’s what we’re trying to build.”