New ESPN column today — here’s the link.
Meanwhile: I’ve written several times about uniform prototypes that were produced but never used on the field of play (if you missed my ESPN column on that topic back in August, look here). Now reader Kevin Mericle, who’s apparently a prototype specialist, has contributed a bunch of new photos and information, most of it related to the NFL’s last wave of expansion in 1995.
“During the time of the expansion committee, I made many a call to the expansion finalists to find out more about their logos, colors, etc.,” Kevin explains. Here’s a rundown of what he recently shared with me:
• I’ve previously linked to this Jaguars prototype mock-up (as you may recall, the design was scrapped after Jaguar Motors threatened legal action over the helmet and jersey logos), but I’d never seen photos of the design until Kevin sent me this and this. “There was a small story on SportsCenter the day they were awarded a team franchise and showed off the jerseys/helmet,” he writes. “I specifically remember Keith Obermann saying the jerseys looked like something had licked them. Personally, I was disappointed to see that uniform and jersey scrapped.”
• Here’s one I’ve never seen — an early Carolina Panthers prototype. “That image appeared in SI shortly after the team was awarded a franchise,” says Kevin. “When the Panthers took the field in ’95 wearing black jerseys, I called the team office to find out what happened to the blue unis. Their PR guy told me that when they did some photo shoots of the blue jerseys in sunlight, it caused the dye to turn a brownish color. Not sure if that is true.”
• As you may recall, several other cities were being considered for franchises. One of them was St. Louis (remember, this was before the Rams had left L.A.). I’d previously seen this and this, but Kevin came up with some photos of actual prototypes (and boy does that look like it would’ve been the ugliest team ever).
• As for the proposed Baltimore franchise, I’ve seen this floating around for years, but no photos. Kevin doesn’t have any photos either, but he does have this. “The logo is from a T-shirt, with what I think are more accurate colors, because I was told the colors would be navy, orange and silver,” he explains. “Also, I was told that the pants were going to have either ‘Baltimore’ or ‘Bombers’ written down the sides.”
• “The Memphis Hound Dogs were the only proposed expansion team not to have a logo ready for any unveiling,” says Kevin. “I was told by their PR guy that the colors would have been forest green and copper (much like the CFL’s Memphis Mad Dogs). There’s a logo that has been circulating on the internet for years, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the logo they designed.”
• Here’s a proposed Rams logo from back in 2000. “It’s in the old colors and has a few small differences from the current logo,” says Kevin. “Note that the ram has an ear.”
• Kevin also sent some proposed Bills logos. “This one was actually registered in TESS [Trademark Electronic Search System] and appeared on the shoulder of their current uniforms in a style guide but was never used,” says Kevin. “This one appeared on a gumball helmet sticker sheet that appears to be genuine, not fan-made [I agree. — PL]. You can see how they swapped it for the current logo here. Not sure how close they came to using it, but I can’t help but think it would be better than what they have now.”
Great stuff — thanks-o-plenty to Kevin for sharing all this material with us.
Raffle Reminder: I’m currently raffling off a $250 gift card from our friends at Distant Replays, who are currently conducting their annual clearance sale. To enter, send an e-mail to uniraffle at earthlink dot net by 10 p.m. tomorrow. Only one e-mail per person, but everyone enrolled in the Uni Wach membership program by the time of the drawing will automatically get three bonus entries added to the pot. I’ll announce the winner on Monday.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Next time someone asks me why Wisconsin is my favorite state, I’m gonna point them toward this (extra round of cheese curds for Greg Riffenburgh). … There’s a really sensational compendium of information on cold-weather football games here, and a dynamite photo gallery here. … Unfortunate report from Thomas Foote, who writes: “I was watching NFL Total Access on the NFL Network this evening, and Mike Pereira, the NFL’s head of officiating, said both crews for the conference championship games would be wearing the black pants.” … Colin Wilcox notes that someone over at Wikipedia must be a Sean Taylor fan. … Major letter-spacing problems for Noel Spencer of Austrialia’s Newcastle Jets (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Not uni-related, but this is pretty funny. … A high school track star was disqualified from a recent event because her Muslim attire was deemed to be in violation of various rules. Vince may be writing more about this — stay tuned. … John Weghorst was poking around on Flickr and found this awesome 1970 Little League shot. … Speaking of Flickr, the Library of Congress has Flickr-ized a bunch of their pics. To see some amazing old stuff, go here and type “baseball” or “football” into the search field. … IUPUI hoops coach Ron Hunter will coach barefoot on January 24th to promote African footwear relief (with thanks to Chris Flinn). … Another ballpark ski jump setup here (with thanks to Chris Sperry). … Great 1934 Cardinals spring training photo here (awesome find by Bruce Menard). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Major pants piping inconsistency in this 1992 photo. Lineman Will Wolford, in the background, has red outlined in blue, while the other players have blue outlined in red. … Also from yesterday: West Virginia will supposedly wear these in the Big East tourney. … Tim Bennett reports that Dayton broke out some new baby blue alternates two nights ago. … I’m going to be out and about for most of today, researching a food story. Bryan will be minding the store, so let him know if you have any site-related concerns. Ticker material can still come to me.