WHEN THE Seahawks' newly acquired receiver Deion Branch donned a pair of neon-green catching gloves for his first game in Seattle last year, his intentions were innocent enough. Reebok had cooked up the garish hand gear for Branch, aiming to accent the gimlet eye in the Seahawks' logo. Within a few games DBs Kelly Herndon and Jimmy Williams followed suit, and the fans loved the flashy look. At Seattle's playoff game against the Cowboys last January, the team gave out pairs of the neon mitts to 50,000 fans.
The Seahawks won that game—helped by Tony Romo's dramatic last-minute fumble—and the green is now growing like kudzu: Linebacker Julian Peterson has a pair of Nike shoes with a lime-green swoosh; quarterback Seneca Wallace's cleats are prominently green; running back Shaun Alexander flaunts lime-green elbow pads during warmups. (While the NFL allows the variation on the gloves and shoes, it nixed the pads for games, saying they must match the Seahawks' predominantly deep-blue, black and white color scheme.) Linebacker Lofa Tatupu has suggested that the team market lime-colored jockstraps.
"People look at [the shoes] and go, 'What can you wear with those?'" says Peterson. "Then they see them with my uniform and go, 'Oh, yeah, O.K.'"
For some players, such as safety Deon Grant, who also wears the gloves that Branch pioneered, the color has more than an aesthetic appeal. "When you feel like you're looking good, you feel better about yourself," says Grant, who's on pace for a career-high 80 tackles, "and then you play better."
The Pop Culture Grid