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Sack Cloth

Meet the new-jersey Giants.

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Wins may be in short supply around Giants Stadium this fall, but at least New York aesthetes are scoring some Super Bowl-size victories. First there was the Jets' move back to their sassy Namathian uniforms last season, and then the decision to rip up the Meadowlands' plastic mat and install grass for the new millennium. But perhaps the best is yet to come: New York has learned that next season, the Giants will trade in their tapioca-bland Carter-administration togs for a retro-classic uniform befitting the legacies of Huff, Tittle (pictured), and Frederick Exley.

Word around the Swamp is that the G-men will bench their current helmet script -- which even after all those LT glory years still looks lifted from the letterhead of a Paramus mini-storage facility -- and restore the iconic ny logo, as mourned as the old Penn Station. The road uniforms, once as elegant as DiMaggio's pinstripes, will again feature the wonderfully counterintuitive pale-gray pants offsetting the white jerseys, which themselves will go back to minimalist red lettering instead of today's overcooked white-on-red overlay.

But, like designer J. Mays's new-old Volkswagen Beetle, the new threads will quote the past without returning to it. The distinctive Giants tradition of mismatching navy-blue helmets with royal-blue jerseys will apparently be retired, though the team won't say whether the new hats will go lighter or the new shirts darker.

"I don't want to be vague about it, but I will be," says Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon. "The official announcement of any kind of change will probably not be made until the first of the year. To say that we're going back to the old uniforms is not exactly accurate. But the Giants are going to make a uniform switch, and many of the elements of the traditional uniforms will be featured."

In recent seasons, teams such as the Broncos, the Buccaneers, and even the Jets got rid of their noticeable on-field reek as soon as they changed their clothes. And new uniforms mean new merchandising opportunities -- any price will be worth it for Big Blue's fashion-minded fans. It seems like a great play for the Giants, though Hanlon puts it a bit more bluntly: "If it scores touchdowns, it will be."


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