Sportswear or Don’t Wear?

By Special Contributor John Leite

I realize that here in the states, football means the one that’s played with hands and, this season aside, makes the fall and winter so very much fun to stay home, fire up the ol’ high-def TV and enjoy the action. Across the Atlantic, football is soccer, they play with their feet, and hooligans seem more purposeful.

As I think back to the incredible 2010-2011 season of European football (Manchester United blow past Liverpool with 19 championships, Real Madrid win the Copa but lose La Liga to Barcelona, and Bayern Munich’s horrible season), I started to notice some other differences between the two footballs. Specifically, between the head coaches. More specifically, their wardrobes. Let’s go to the instant replay …

Coach Bill Belichick is, by all accounts, a football genius, future hall-of-famer and is a perennial championship contender. However, can someone pull coach B aside and let him know the hoodie with the cut off sleeves is an eye sore? I hope he plans to leave it at home when he delivers his hall-of-fame speech.

By contrast, Roberto Mancini (Manchester City) merges a wool overcoat and the team-colored scarf tied in a daring knot. He even wears a pocket square in the outer pocket of his overcoat. Bravo bello!

Joe Gibbs … He’s coached superbowl football teams, managed NASCAR teams and is a popular draw in the corporate lecture circuit. Some blame the failure of his come-back to the NFL on outmoded strategies, poor recruiting and free-agency choices. I blame the team-maroon polo and pleated pants. Minimally, you must agree they didn’t help!

Portuguese fire-brand Jose Mourinho shows us you can merge team spirit (note the team crest on his jacket) and great style. The man has 5 championships with three teams (Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan), 2 Champions League titles (Porto and Inter Milan),  1 Cup (Real Madrid) and can rock a scarf and major ego like no one else.

His protégée, Andre Villas-Boas also shows a penchant for team crests on his jacket and winning ways (editorial note: how cool is a team crest for suits? Are you listening NFL? I’d kill to wear one). Andre has just won the Portuguese league title, supercup and UEFA title in one year with Porto. He’s off to Chelsea in 2012 and will be bringing his winning brand of football to London fans.

I love Bill Cowher. I was in Pittsburgh for graduate school, 1 superbowl and three AFC title games. His scowl, tough discipline and no-nonsense philosophy are perfect for the city and team. His sweater though….His sweater should have been burned in the furnace right before the last steel mill shut down.

This is Pep Guardiola from FC Barcelona. This is Pep Guardiola managing a game and showing Bill Cowher a) grown men wear v-necks, b) if you like color, pick and commit to one at a time, c) sweaters look amazing when combined with suits.

I should mention that there have been NFL coaches who have worn suits in games (Jack Del Rio, and Mike Nolan) but needed to ask for permission from the league to not wear hideous team-colored sport apparel. Really NFL? Really?

As the players and owners negotiated over salaries and TV rights, the likelihood an NFL season prior to August seemed slim. But now that the NFL is back for the 2011 season, let’s bring back some refinement in coach apparel.

Now, if only someone taught these TV sports goons on how to dress … sigh!

5 thoughts on “Sportswear or Don’t Wear?

  1. Some finely dressed gentlemen here indeed, except for Belichick. There’s a damn good reason for that though – Belichick loves football because it’s all about the TEAM effort (not individual efforts). There’s no room for superstars in his system, so he leads by example and dresses in the most normal, ugliest of sweatshirts – he’s trying to say, he’s just another regular guy who’s a part of the team. While it may be poor fashion sense on the surface, it’s admirable fashion because it represents the team mentality!

    There’s a great book about him that discusses this called The Education of a Coach –

  2. What makes Keyshawn Johnson and Deion Sanders “goons?” They’re both better-dressed that Bill Belichick, have their ties in a proper knot and are clean shaven. What makes them goons — is it that they’re the only two black males you depict here?

    • Not really RJ. Black has nothing to do with it. Their dress style is just loud and not appealing. If you follow my blog you’d know that I love the way gentlemen like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade dress – both of them happen to be black!

  3. You can also add Leonardo (Current PSG general manager and former Milan and Inter Milan Coach) to that list. I really like Pep’s style. He has a unique modern zest to his style.

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