Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray admitted Tuesday many football players' pre-game ritual includes making sure they look just right before stepping on to the field. And with the positive reviews following the CFL team's unveiling of its new 2012 jerseys, that could mean a steady stream of players to the dressing room mirrors before games.
"They fit really good, you want it to be as close-fitting as you can but you also want to be comfortable out there," Ray said after he and some teammates modelled Toronto's new duds at a fashion show before roughly 1,800 fans. "As athletes, we say if you look good and feel good you play good.
"We spend a lot of time in front of the mirror before the game before we go out, I know a lot of people don't know that but the better you feel that way the more confident you're going to be.''
The CFL's four East Division teams officially unveiled their new re-engineered jerseys created for the 2012 season by Reebok. The remaining four West Division clubs will do so Wednesday.
The CFL is sporting the new uniforms as part of its 100th anniversary celebration, which will culminate Nov. 25 with the Grey Cup game at Rogers Centre.
"The 100th Grey Cup will be a celebration of our proud past, and its bright future, at the same time," CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said. "So while we will mark this historic milestone in many ways, we have also worked with Reebok to re-engineer team jerseys for the way the game is played today - and to help our athletes succeed tomorrow.''
The launch caps two years of development by Reebok and the CFL on the new jerseys, which will provide a light but tighter fit with increased elasticity while also boasting new moisture wicking technology incorporated to the fabric.
"After two years of hard work and close collaboration with the CFL and the teams, Reebok is proud to introduce its re-engineered CFL jersey," said Stewart Clark, director of marketing, Reebok Canada. "For a greater range of motion and a better on field experience, the new On Field jersey is tighter, lighter and now features a moisture wicking technology incorporated in the fabric.
"The fan jersey has also been improved to offer a more lifestyle fit.''
The new uniforms will also be available for sale on the website as well as those of its eight teams. Select stores across Canada will also offer the jerseys. The suggested retail price will be $109.99.
Argos slotback Andre Durie said the lighter fit will pay dividends for players in games.
"I know some people might not know the whole mechanics behind everything but the more you sweat and can't breathe the harder it is to take in oxygen," he said. "Having something that's breathable is so much better for recovery while you're playing.''
Toronto has returned to its true Cambridge and Oxford University double blue colours and also sports new stripping on the sleeve that's reminiscent to the uniforms the Argos wore from 1968 to '75 when they were one of the city's most popular sports teams.
Earlier this season, the NFL also introduced new re-designed jerseys from Nike for all 32 of its teams.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were the first CFL team to unveil their new jersey Tuesday. The home uniform is reminiscent of the club's look in the 1970s with the traditional black with gold trim and a Tiger-Cat on the sleeve with four stripes on each arm.
The Ticats will also don helmets minus a stripe down the middle to create an all-black design.
"I love the cleanliness of it, to me it's simple," Ticats quarterback Henry Burris said on the club's website. "Sometimes when you dial things back and make them simple it gives it the best look possible.
"I'm loving the look and can't wait to unveil it for the first game here at Ivor Wynne.''
Winnipeg will feature a different look on the road this year, sporting a gold jersey with blue numbers and a blue patch on the shoulder with white stripes instead of the usual white with dark numbering.
The Bombers home jersey will be predominantly blue with gold numbering and gold shoulder patch and white striping. The club introduced its uniforms at the Pan-Am Boxing and Athletic Club, complete with a little warm-up from two young boxers.
The location was selected because team received its name in the 1930s from a local newspaper reporter who had covered Joe Louis, whose nickname was the Brown Bomber. Vince Leah of the Winnipeg Tribune wrote in 1936 that "these are the Blue Bombers of western football." The Winnipeg Football Club adopted the name.
"We are very excited about the new look of our team and know our fans will be too," said Bomber president Garth Buchko.
It has been an off-season of change for the Bombers, who earlier announced they were going back to their classic white W helmet logo this year.
The club had been wearing different variations of the lightning bolt logo on its helmet since moving away from the white block W in 1995.
There will be little difference in Montreal's home jersey, which will again be primarily red with blue neckline, shoulders and sleeves and a white stripe up the side and around the shoulders, which will also feature the player's number.