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Politics & Current Affairs

With the NFL Season Upon Us, What Do Your Team’s Colors Say About You?

With the summer now behind us, countless sports fans are finding a tangible meaning in their lives that hadn’t been there in some time. That’s right. Football starts this week, with hockey and basketball not that far behind. But according to some scrupulous marketers and psychologists, your team’s colors could say a lot about your personality.

We can all agree that sports, American football in particular, creates some of the most intense divisions in this country. Take the Oakland Raiders, whose silver and black have become synonymous with menacing pugilism over the course of generations. Particularly in their rivalry with divisional opponent San Diego. In separate incidents between both teams’ fans, Oakland fans have beaten, harassed, and stabbed (yes, stabbed) rival fans. So does the silver and black make them even more violent, particularly with the colors’ association with local gang iconography. Cornell University’s Mark Frank and Thomas Gilovich may have found the answer.

In 1988, both men studied what wearing black did to aggressiveness in sports teams. While subjects were shown different team colors completely out of context, respondents still found that teams with black uniforms were considered more aggressive and “played dirtier,” which in turn could help explain why Raiders fans are, well, nuts.

The importance and psychology of team colors hasn’t gone unnoticed. Particularly by Home Depot, who in 2006 launched a new sports-themed paint line called Team Colors, which was made up of 400 paint colors representing more than 125 different baseball, football, soccer, and NASCAR teams. The new line from the home-improvement giant was inspired by a Home Depot/Harris Interactive poll that found that 27% of sports fans, roughly 51 million adults, have bought an article of clothing in the color of their favorite team. The same poll found 13% of adults would paint a room in their home in the color of their favorite sports team. So other than the crazy black, what else do our team colors say? Does Michael Vick suddenly seem like a more sympathetic figure wearing the Philadelphia Eagles’ green and white instead of the black and red of his former team, the Atlanta Falcons.

What’s more, can team colors dictate your team’s success? Researchers from the Journals of Sports Science last year came to the conclusion that there is a winning color. Wear red and you’ll win. It’s that simple. So if you see a rival sports fan wearing black and your team wears red, you could be in trouble.


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