clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The SPQR Derby Special: Roma's Best-Ever Kit

Our kit of the decade is also our kit of a lifetime.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-ROMA-LAZIO-DERBY Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images

I'm not much of a bettor these days, but I always get suckered into office March Madness pools. And while it can be fun to litter your bracket with upsets and Cinderellas, sometimes it's safer to go with the chalk. Top seeds are top seeds for a reason. So while it may not make you seem like some secret genius, the safe bet is often the wisest bet. In the case of our Roma's Best-Ever Kit Bracket challenge, that honor fell to the SPQR Derby Special from 2017.

This stunning maroon and gold kit bowled over the competition in every round on its way to a finals match-up against the two-toned Champions League kit from 2001-2002; the one that carries the Scudetto shield like a badge of honor, and the one that looks like it was tailor made for Francesco Totti's young shoulders. It was a noble competitor throughout this bracket challenge, scoring an upset in the semi-final round over this season's retro blue kit.

But it was no match for the derby special, who breezed to the title of Roma's best ever kit with 63% of the final tally, living up to its billing as the top seeded shirt in club history.

To describe what makes this shirt so unique, let's turn to the original press release from November 25, 2016:

The regal kit, a striking dark red complemented by metallic gold details, evokes the red tunics and bronze armour and helmets the Roman legions wore when they fought to defend the city.

The derby shirt boasts a modern crew-neck collar with a maroon band at the back, a gold AS Roma crest, and ‘SPQR’ in gold on the back of the neck rib.

SPQR – ‘Senatus Populus que Romanus’ (‘The Roman Senate and People’) – is a Latin phrase synonymous with the city. For more than 2,000 years these initials have been used to represent Rome, from the standards held aloft by the Roman legions to today on the city’s red and gold coat of arms.

Source: AS Roma

Given the confluence of aesthetics and history, we were immediately impressed with this shirt, but we couldn't help but ask why they didn't immediately put the SPQR on the chest rather than the back of the neck?

Of course, the club did kick things up a notch for the April 30, 2017 derby by putting the SPQR front and center on the shirt, taking a kit that was arguably already a ten out of ten to entirely new level.

The fact that this shirt only saw the light of day once is precisely what makes it so special and so unique. Had they worn this week in and week out, it would have lost some of its shine. So, in a sense, it's the rarity that made it so outstanding, though it is of course beautiful on its own merits.

I can't be the only one who regrets not swallowing the €121 price tag to grab one of these, but in a bitter twist, that scarcity has probably made the legend of this kit grow larger over the past few years.

I hope we'll see this kit (or a similar version) in some future derby. But until then, it will live on in our memories as the greatest shirt any football club has ever worn.