[Editor’s Note: As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of the writings of Dave “Large” Larzelere, which appear daily on the No Mas blog. He e-mailed me during yesterday’s Giants/Packers tilt to say he was feeling rather uni-inspired and asked if he could pen today’s lead entry, an offer I was only too happy to accept. Here’s his essay; my own report follows after his. — PL]
Could any true football fan of a certain age who watched the Packers/Giants game last night honestly say that their enjoyment wasn’t keenly heightened by the mere sight of those two iconic uniforms doing battle against the freezing backdrop of Lambeau Field? The way the colors and logos so vividly hearkened to championship games played by these same two teams in the NFL’s glory years lent an inescapable air of nostalgia to the contest and a powerful sense of the sport’s past being present, a feeling that all too often seems lacking in this day and age of the league’s generally wretched marketing aesthetic.
The fact that the Giants wore their whites and the Packers their home green-and-yellows made for an interesting historical note, for it gave them a striking likeness to their 1961 NFL Championship showdown at Lambeau (then called City Stadium), which the Pack won in a Paul Hornung-fest, 37-0. That was an important year for Green Bay, marking the first NFL title of the Lombardi era, and it was also an important year for both the Packers’ and Giants’ uniforms, with each team wearing helmet logos for the first time — the very same logos they wore last night. Of course, the Packers only ever have sported one logo on their helmets, while that classic Giants helmet logo survived until 1975 and made its triumphant return in 2000.
For a generational uni-comparison, check out this shot of Frank Gifford and this shot of Hornung in their teams’ respective ’60s road and home looks, and then move on to Lawrence Tynes and Brett Favre yesterday. The colors are certainly brighter now, particularly with the Packers, and there are many subtle differences that I’m sure the average Uni Watch devotee is far more hip to than I am. The overall similarity is amazing, though. So when, I wonder, is the last time that an NFL playoff game was reprised almost a half century later and saw the two teams looking so similar to their bygone editions?
Well, if it had been left up to the Chargers, the answer to that question might have been “Oh, a couple hours earlier.” The championship game history between the Packers and Giants got a lot of press last week, while the same history between San Diego and the Pats was largely ignored. The great Chargers of the John Hadl-to-Lance Alworth era beat the then-Boston Patriots 51-10 in the 1963 AFL Championship Game at San Diego’s great Balboa Stadium. I managed to find only one picture of a Pats/Bolts game from that season, but it’s from an exhibition played in August. Anybody out there have pictures from the 1963 AFL title game? Of course, even if the Chargers were in white for that game — a uniform whose jersey and helmet would at least bear a passing resemblance to they sported yesterday the Pats couldn’t hold up their end of the time-travel bargain in any way whatsoever. Such a shame that the best of yesterday’s four teams was by far the weakest link in the uniform department. To that, I say: Help them, Pat Patriot, you’re their only hope.
Chip Off the Old Blockhead: Paul here. Gotta love how the paint and decals were flying yesterday at Lambeau. Brandon Jacobs’s “ny” logo got seriously torn, but we’ve seen that happen a jillion times this season. The real story was Ahmad Bradshaw, who not only lost one of his front helmet numerals but also had a helmet collision for the ages in the fourth quarter, when a big chip of paint, decal, and maybe brain matter came loose, peeled off, and went flying (here’s another view), leaving Bradshaw with a badly scarred lid (additional pics here, here, and here).
Better yet, in case you missed the play, we’ve got it on video. Check it out here.
Coupla other NFL notes:
• What the hell was Favre using on his nose?
• For those who are wondering: Pats are the designated home team for the Super Bowl, and will presumably wear their blue jerseys, meaning the Jints will wear white.
(Extra-special thanks to Ryan Whitacre, James Wortham, and Bobby O’Brien for their screen grabs, and to Matt Moschella for the video clip.)
Raffle Results: The winner of the $250 gift card from Distant Replays is Patrick Stickney, who should contact me to claim his prize. Thanks to all who entered, and watch for more raffles coming soon.
Friendly Reminder for NYCers: I’ll be presenting a lecture/performance on the pleasures of obscure trade magazines (like, say, this, this, this, this, and this) tomorrow nite at 8 p.m. at Union Hall in Park Slope. Four other people will be discussing similarly eccentric and entertaining topics (like this one), and the event is free. Hope to see lots of you there.
Uni Watch News Ticker: By now most of you know that many Cowboys players tie their jerseys to their shoulder pads. But that’s nothing compared to this old high school shot. Love the Band-Aid on the forehead, too (with thanks to Steven Brown). … Our recent discussion of prototypes prompted JD Denison to send along this. I have my doubts as to its authenticity, but it’s still pretty cool. … The Air Jordan XXIII will apparently feature an argyle pattern, presumably as part of a UNC tribute (with thanks to Seth Snyder). … Larry Weiderecht sent along some vintage uniform ads the other day. First there’s this one, for Rawlings youth football attire. Love how the text mentions that the jerseys “are great for just knocking around in between games” — still a novel concept at that time. Then there’s this one. Interestingly, the text notes that “16 major league teams suit up in Wilson uniforms … 9 for both home and road.” It had never occurred to me that a team might have different outfitters for their home and road unis. Why would that be the case? Anyone..? … Speaking of kids’ uniforms and related merchandising, check out all the great material Jon Helfenstein has assembled here (click on the individual images for larger versions) — addictive stuff. … Jeremy Brahm is intrigued by the logo for the 2008 FIVB World Congress: “The panels form a U, an A, and an E, for ‘United Arab Emirates,’ where the Congress will be held.” … Also from Jeremy: a gallery of Naomi Yotsumoto’s table tennis outfits (she’s featured in the shots with the green boxes). … Jeremy also notes that Ricoh is sponsoring MLB’s season-opening series between the Red Sox and A’s, which presumably means we’ll be seeing advertising on the sleeves and helmets again — ugh. … Lots of new MLS uniforms were unveiled at Friday’s draft (with thanks to Steven Lewis). … According to this item, the Raptors are working on an alternate jersey for next season. … The Bobcats wore special NASCAR-themed alternate uniforms on Saturday (additional views here and here). I’d been told about these before the season started but wasn’t allowed to talk about them and had forgotten about the whole thing until I saw the pics. I generally like checkerboard patterns, but the NASCAR connection is way too forced. And besides, shouldn’t the Pacers have first dibs on racing-related tie-ins? Not one of the NBA’s better ideas. … Reprinted from Saturday’s comments: North Dakota State had a really interesting football uni back in the late ’60s. On first glance it looks like they’re wearing short white sleeves with longer-sleeved undershirts, but it’s actually all one piece with contrast-colored upper sleeves. … Roman Karmazin, fighting on the Trinidad/Jones undercard, wore the name of slain NYPD officer Ruslan Timoshenko on his trunks Saturday night. … Karmazin’s opponent, Alex Bunema, was wearing one of those annoying loincloth/skirt getups, and so did another undercard fighter, DeMarcus Corley. … And let’s not even get into this guy (although it’s worth noting that he had a Yankees logo on his trunks). … “The U.S. men’s national soccer team beat Sweden, 2-0, on Saturday night,” writes Andrew Ghassemian. For some reason, Landon Donovan (our captain) decided to go with the orange cleats.” … Japanese golfer Ryo Ishikawa, who wore camouflage pants as an amateur last year, will not be allowed to wear them on the Japanese pro tour (with thanks to, of course, Jeremy Brahm). … Good article here about QBs and gloves (with thanks to David Sonny). … Faaaascinating article here about how Flying Elvis was designed, although the designer and the guy who wrote the article both seem to think that Elvis is cool and that Pat Patriot was lame, which should give you an idea of how clueless they both are. … Chris Yandle reports that Louisiana’s basketball team wore NOBs on Saturday night, after going NNOB this season up until then. … UConn wore silver-gray alternates yesterday. … Happy MLK Day, folks. I have a dream of a world without logo creep, of a Mets uniform set featuring only orange, blue, and white, and of the New York Football Giants winning one more championship for my old man, a lifelong Jints fan who turns 84 this week and probably never thought he’d get to see his team in another Super Bowl. Whoo-hoo, Big Blue!