These days, the NFL is not known for its sartorial finesse. In 2001, the League signed a deal with Reebok, making the retailer the official and sole provider of both uniforms and sideline apparel, including what’s worn by coaches during games and official press conferences; in 2011, Nike, alongside New Era, swiftly intercepted rights as the official outfitters of apparel and on-field hats, respectively. When violations result in steep fines, coaches, as much as players, tend to dress in rigid uniformity — with athletic sweats and color-coded baseball caps — becoming less-than-handsome mascots for the bland corporate sponsorship currently dictating the sport. It’s official: the gridiron is where menswear goes to die.
This wasn’t always the case. Coaches once reigned with poise, exhibiting leadership through style, class and self-expression. Suits and ties were the norm, and a tasteful fedora felt right at home under the floodlights. As the 2015 NFL season gets underway, there’s no better way to pay tribute to a bygone era of sport style than by pairing classic looks from legendary coaches with modern interpretations. They understood suiting up for the game better than anyone in the game today, and you’d be wise to follow their lead.