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Conspiracy theory: Could the Sabres be running the world’s greatest jersey con?

September 6, 2013

In an odd twist of rhetoric, many Sabres fans have been muttering a similar phrase the past couple of days. “It’s too bad to be true. Right?”

The Sabres new third jersey has only managed to scrape together a few dozen fans as backlash for the new jersey has been beyond negative to this point. Fans, bloggers and mainstream media members (local and nationally) have panned the uniform’s busy design leaving little support in their wake. Although social media was hardly what it is today when the Slug jerseys were unveiled, it seems as if this new creation has received more backlash than the previous number one contender for the worst jersey in Sabres history.

However, what if this was all part of a massive, well-orchestrated charade? What happens at training camp when the jerseys are to be officially unveiled and the lights go out and suddenly Ted Black’s entrance music comes on? Would the team President pulling the curtain on a different, better looking third jersey not be the greatest troll job in the history of hockey?

Naturally the chances of such greatness occurring are somewhere between slim and a new Peace Bridge, but I can’t say it wouldn’t be all that surprising. Let’s consider the facts:

-          The jersey is bad. So bad, in fact that many observers have wondered how it is possible that the design made it through the typical checks and approval process for such an item. Could it be possible that this is an overly ugly mockup designed to dupe the fanbase?

-          Black declined to comment on the jersey. The team President declined to comment. I understand that the backlash has been harsh. Really harsh. But what does it say for the uniform when the team’s President chooses to refrain from offering his thoughts on the new threads?

-          The unveiling seemed awfully sudden and poorly orchestrated considering the painstaking process the team had taken up from the original teaser video at Development Camp. After the original video the tedious Twitter photo tease process wore thin on everyone and almost seemed to be scrapped when the Sabres teamed up with Steve Ott to “leak” the jersey.

-          Ott’s leak was hardly what you’d expect for a team unveiling the jerseys. After a carefully planned schedule of teaser pictures the sloppy camera phone pictures taken in a half empty equipment room hardly stood up to the over-produced events that have accompanied previous Sabres and other NHL jersey unveilings. Not to mention the hasty photo gallery that was posted doesn’t hold a candle to the in-depth photoshoots used by every other team for new uniforms.

-          The entire package of the ugly jersey, the odd leak at the end of what was originally a carefully executed marketing scheme and Black’s refusal to offer comment all add up to a pretty strange set of circumstances.

While the factors surrounding this could be construed as fishy or even too ridiculous to actually be real, the fact remains that this is more than likely the third jersey the Sabres will use this year. Not only is there at least one lettered jersey floating around out there, there is at least on pant shell and even some affiliated retail items (t-shirts) already produced.

It would appear more likely that Black may be posturing to recall the uniforms and have his design team go back to the drawing board as opposed to ramping up for the ultimate heel turn. At this point a Mike Keenan-level reaction to the uniforms by Black may be the only light at the end of the tunnel for fans who wish to see these jerseys banished to the scrap heap.

The signs may point towards a wonderfully hilarious con orchestrated and carried out in flawless manner by the team’s upper management. But that would truly be too good to be true.

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