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Back to black – Falcons break out new uniforms
9:55 AM ET
  • Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer

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    • Covered Bears for seven seasons at Chicago Tribune
    • Also worked at Chicago Sun-Times, Fresno Bee
    • Honorable mention, Football Writers Association of America for enterprise writing, 2002

Black is back for the Atlanta Falcons.

The team announced Wednesday its new uniforms for the 2020 season, marking the first redesign in 17 years. The new Falcons home uniform will feature black jerseys and black pants, while the away look will be white on white. There will be up to eight uniform combinations, including a throwback version to the 1966 team and a “Rise Up” alternate uniform.

The new uniforms were supposed to be revealed next Tuesday, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that internet leaks led to the Falcons pushing up the date. The team’s announcement comes a day after NFC South foe Tampa Bay unleashed its new threads.

Team owner Arthur Blank addressed the changes in a letter, starting by discussing the coronavirus pandemic affecting the country and praising health care workers for helping aid the fight. In discussing the uniforms, Blank referenced the importance of the “back to black” theme.

“Black has been a part of our history since 1966 and both our fans and players have asked us to bring it back,” Blank wrote. “The ‘ATL’ moniker is known around the world, and we now wear it proudly as our badge of unity, diversity, and togetherness. Something our world needs more of, especially in these tough times.”

The collection includes four jerseys (black home, white away, gradient alternate and the ’66 throwbacks), four pants (black, white, red and throwbacks) and one helmet (satin black).

For our team.

Our fans.

⁰Our city. pic.twitter.com/15e5ZX6EtE

— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 8, 2020

The Falcons used nearly two decades of fan research and collected reaction from focus groups, online and social media. They also took input from current and former players, who decided it would be wise to “own red” but bring on the black, reflect the progress of the city, and keep things simple while staying true to the roots. Internal discussions for the change began in 2016, with the process officially beginning in January 2018. It was a collaborative effort with the NFL and Nike to produce the final product.

Quarterback Matt Ryan, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, wide receiver Calvin Ridley and linebacker Deion Jones were among those modeling the new uniforms.

“There’s just a feeling to it,” Ryan said. “I can’t explain it when you look in your locker and that color and head to toe in black is going to be good too. I don’t know what it is, but I know there’s a feeling that comes with it for the guys too, when we see that in our lockers.”

Added Jarrett, “I think these new uniforms will give us, give the city, a new energy, and I think people are going to really be excited about it. We know this is a tough time for everyone right now, but we hope this can bring some excitement and light to our city and our fans. Around the whole world everybody knows what ‘ATL’ stands for, so we’re proud to represent that, today and every day.”

Coach Dan Quinn also expressed his enthusiasm regarding the changes.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to see this look come together,” Quinn said. “Not only will the players be happy, but I think our fans will be happy. I know the head coach is. During this tough time for so many, we hope this new look gives our fans something to look forward to.”

Uniforms aside, the Falcons are looking to rebound from back-to-back 7-9 seasons and return to the playoffs in a pivotal season for both Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. The Falcons made it to the Super Bowl in 2016, losing to new Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in overtime 34-28.

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