For a sampling of the reaction, check the Facebook page comments from when we posted a link from SBNation.com about this yesterday. It's... not pretty.
"I'm playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the ba... oh."
So will the coaches now refer to themselves only as "The Staff"?
Can I hit the person who came up with this idea?!?! Collin was it you? Collin: Um... no. But I'm sorry anyway?
And if you think this was just taken out of context in some way, this is from the official USF practice report yesterday:
Putting THE TEAM First
Individual names on jerseys have gone away for the good of the team.
"THE TEAM" will be displayed above players' numbers on the back of Bulls game jerseys this season in an effort to keep the squad a close-knit group it's become since the start of the offseason.
"We're all Bulls. We're a team. We're not going to have names on the back of our jerseys this year. We're going to represent the Bulls, not to say that they won't come back at some time, but our football team is focusing on the team," Taggart said. "That's where it needs to be and our guys have done a great job with that this entire offseason starting back in January. It's all about the team and every decision we make is what's best for our football team."
My biggest issue is the definite article. If you go with just "TEAM" on the back of the uniform... well yeah it's a bit cheesy, but ok fine. But "THE TEAM" gives too much comedy potential for people with Photoshop capabilities or a snarky wit and lots followers on Twitter.
What happens after a beatdown and someone puts Colonel Kurtz in a Bulls jersey that reads "THE HORROR"? Or a player has a terrible game and just their number ends up on a pic of a jersey saying "THE WORST"? We're enough of a national laughing stock after 2-10 and getting woodshedded by McNeese State... maybe we should avoid being so memeable until we start winning some games again?
We loved the Coach T's Bus campaign last year... but look what the internet did to that after just one game in 2013:
Maybe we can not poke the Comedy Gods until we're a bit farther in this rebuild?
Oh, and then there's the issue that this might be totally illegal anyway. It certainly seems that way if you read this NCAA memorandum issued just two weeks ago:
"Other than the player’s number, the jersey may only contain:
• Player’s name.
• School name.
• NCAA logo.
• Sleeve stripes.
• Logo for school, conference, mascot, postseason-game, memorial, the military.
• American flag.
• State flag."
By interpretation, only military service academies may substitute words such as
Honor, Integrity, etc. for the player’s name on the back of the jersey. This
interpretation applies only to the military service academies; civilian institutions may
not substitute other words for the player’s name. A single manufacturer’s or
distributor’s normal label or trademark that does not exceed 2.25 square inches in area
also may be included.
Teams found to be in violation of this rule would be charged a timeout at the beginning of every quarter. For a team that had as many delay of game penalties as we did last year, we need every freaking timeout we have. Even against Western Carolina.
If USF put this out there without checking the rules, well that's pretty bad too. I'm sure we'll hear from USF Media Relations soon to find out if this is still the plan for all of 2014, for just one game, if they intend to seek some kind of waiver with the NCAA, or if they don't think the rule applies. It's possible the rulebook is an out here so this doesn't actually happen. And from the initial reaction from Bulls Country that we've seen, that might not be a bad result.
Otherwise... THE BLOG and THE AUTHOR are excited to watch THE TEAM play THE GAME in 11 days.