The Uni Watch Super Bowl LVIII Preview
Amaze and annoy your friends with these fun facts about this year’s Super Bowl uniforms.
You probably know this already, but just in case: Super Bowl LVIII is taking place this Sunday. And that means it’s time for the annual Uni Watch Super Bowl Preview, with everything you need to know about the aesthetics of the big showdown between Kansas City and the 49ers.
The AFC is the designated home team this year, which means KC had first choice of which uniform to wear. They’ve opted to go with their standard home combo — red jerseys and white pants. That means the Niners, as the visiting team, are obliged to wear their white jerseys, resulting in the uniform matchup shown above.
Now, the average fan might just think, “KC in red, Niners in white — got it.” The somewhat more uni-aware fan might say, “This is the same uni matchup we had when these same two teams faced each other in Super Bowl LIV four years ago, so there’s nothing new here.”
Au contraire, mon frère! As you’ll discover in this article, there are lots of uni-related storylines and subplots lurking beneath the aesthetic surface of this Sunday’s game, including some things that have changed over the past four years. If you commit this info to memory and recite bits of it at appropriate junctures during your Super Bowl gathering this Sunday, your friends and relations will no doubt
move to the other side of the room, or maybe out of the room entirely be highly impressed by your sophisticated command of nuanced uniform minutiae.
Ready to dive in? Here we go with a dozen things you need to know about this year’s Super Bowl aesthetics, plus a boatload of additional notes and details.
1. A Super Bowl First
The NFL allowed players to wear No. 0 this season. Kansas City doesn’t have a zero-clad player on the roster, but the 49ers have cornerback Samuel Womack III, who wore No. 26 during his 2022 rookie season but switched to No. 0 this season. When he steps onto the field this Sunday, he will become the first player ever to wear No. 0 in a Super Bowl. (As an aside, Raiders center Jim Otto wore No. 00 in Super Bowl II, but of course that’s a completely different number.)
2. Taking It on the Chin(strap)
This year’s Super Bowl teams — or at least their respective equipment staffs — both engage in an NFL rarity: uni-numbering their chinstraps! (The Chargers also used to do this, but not anymore.) For both teams, the numbers appear on the lower points of the four-point straps, but not on the upper points. Just about every KC player has the little numbers (although the yellow-on-white numerals are hard to make out), while the 49ers are more of a mixed bag, with about half of the players wearing them and half going without them.
3. Then and Now: 49ers
Leaving aside the obvious changes to the NFL logo and the Nike tailoring template, the 49ers have made two alterations to their white jerseys since these two teams faced each other in Super Bowl LIV. First, they’ve gone from two sleeve stripes to three. And second, their chest wordmark is now rendered in their popular “saloon font.” Both changes were enacted in 2022.
As for KC…