In most cases, a planned uniform redesign happens with months if not years of advance notice to the public. This dynamic allows fans to purchase jerseys based on the to-be-discontinued uniform with full and fair knowledge that, very soon, the purchase will be made obsolete.
The Falcons provided no advance notice to the public before announcing out of the blue on Tuesday that new uniforms will be unveiled in April. The letter from the team to season ticket members makes it clear that the new uniforms have been in the works for two years.
So what about the fans who purchased Falcons jerseys in the past two years without knowing that, in April 2020, the uniforms would be replaced? Most recently, the 2019 season (and the 2019 holiday shopping season) unfolded without anyone knowing that the jerseys carry an expiration date.
It could have been worse; if the Falcons actually had contended in 2019, more jerseys would have been purchased — and more fans would be chagrined to learn that those brand new jerseys are going to be stale, soon.
Here’s an interesting question: If the Falcons had secured a playoff berth and were playing this weekend in the NFC Championship, would the Falcons have announced today that the jerseys that fans would be buying this week and, possibly, for the next two weeks would soon be supplanted? (Wild guess: No.)
Regardless, the Falcons haven’t changed their uniforms in 17 years. The idea that notice of a change came after the primary purchasing months for Falcons jerseys ended for the year has an unseemly feel. Fans who bought those jerseys in recent weeks have every right to be upset, and the right thing for the Falcons to do would be to offer refunds, or at a minimum a straight-up exchange for the new models that come out in April.