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The ‘Greatest Game Ever Played’

ggep-Unitas pocket

By Phil Hecken

As most of you know by now, tonight ESPN will be airing a documentary, including the colorized version of what has been called “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” the 1958 NFL Championship Game, which took place between the New York Football Giants and the Baltimore Colts on December 28, 1958, at Yankee Stadium. The broadcast will come as we approach the game’s 50th anniversary, and will take place at 9pm eastern, following the Heisman Trophy presentation.

Upon hearing news of what promises to be an extraordinary event, I contacted UW scholar and archivist Rick Pearson (aka Ricko) to draw upon his own personal experience, since he watched the game on his TV as a 12-year-old boy. Having never seen the game myself (and only a few highlights), I was very curious about what to expect during this broadcast — what did a pro football telecast look and feel like back then?

Ricko was happy to oblige. I asked him to recreate the sights, the sounds, the smells of a NFL game. I got that, and a lot more. But hey, enough of my yakkin. What follows are excerpts of my interview with Ricko.

Phil Hecken: OK, so what’s your impression of the “Greatest Game Ever Played”? As you know, I’m a Giants fan, so I guess I’m going to be disappointed.

Rick Pearson: First off, apologies to Giants fans, but what made this game so significant was the Colts’ personality and their performance. It wasn’t just that they won in Sudden Death, but the way they did it. This game — certainly its final moments — truly was the national television debut of the modern passing game. And it should be noted that it’s coming against Giants defense, the league’s toughest and most renowned, which made it all the more memorable. They didn’t beat just anybody, they beat the frickin’ GIANTS.

PH: Well, guess we know your rooting interests. They played this game in Yankee Stadium. What was that like?

RP: In those days many NFL teams played in baseball stadiums. Practically no college teams did. And those major league infields were never re-sodded for pro football. The game just didn’t have that kind of clout. That meant games played in Yankee Stadium, for example, always gave the NFL a lunch bucket, hardscrabble, sometimes dusty atmosphere, decidedly different from the image of tree-lined, pristine (meaning they didn’t play for “money” — how gauche) college campus football.

PH: So, this game — the NFL Championship — wasn’t really that big of a deal back then? Certainly not like the Super Bowl is today.

RP: As I remember it, the first NFL title game that drew more attention than ordinarily it would was the ’56 game at Yankee Stadium when the Giants clobbered the Bears in the second “sneaker game.” TV loves a gimmick, especially a visual one, so when the Giants came out in white canvas high-tops, the medium and the viewers ate it up. Nobody wore WHITE shoes for football. Basketball, yeah, but not FOOTBALL.

PH: Yes…the “Sneaker Game” (of 1956). Against Da Bears. How come “Big Blue” wore white jerseys?

RP: Still don’t know why the Giants wore white jerseys at home for that game, by the way. But it did give them, along with the white tennies, a sort of “snow elf” look that seemed appropriate for December football. And when they won — and won big — to some extent because of their footwear choice, it was news.

PH: Well, we know that back then, “college was king” of the football world, but this had to be pretty big, right? Especially since the college game was basically on hiatus until the New Year’s Day bowl games. And those all took place in warmer weather.

RP: Colleges didn’t even ATTEMPT December football up north. They waited around for “bowls” in warmer climes. The Bears-Giants game was no beauty-queened, sun-splashed alumni escape. Not a float in sight, just grown men grinding it out in front of cigar-chomping, fedora-sporting, top-coated New Yorkers on a field so frozen that cleats didn’t work. And the “sneaker” ploy, well, that represented some kind of rugged Yankee ingenuity — not to mention playing an angle — that seemed perfect for pro football.

PH: So, after ’56, pro football was pretty big, especially in the major cities. What were you expecting in 1958?

RP: Fast forward two years. Same venue, same time of year. Here come the Colts in their first-ever NFL title game. They’re wearing those fancy new shoulder-loop jerseys. Not the single wide red one the 49ers wore on the road that year, or the narrow burgundy band the Redskins had on their whites. These were the snazzy double ones, like UCLA and LSU, who played where there were, like, palms trees or something. This was decidedly forward-looking for the Colts, from Baltimore of all places, a city one writer had called “the Dogpatch of the Eastern Seaboard.”

PH: And the Colts had Unitas.

RP: Well, if it WAS Dogpatch, then Johnny Unitas was the flat-topped, raw-boned hick who calmly beat the big city out of you at any game you chose to play. Bowlegged, wearing hightops when everyone else — notably some of his own teammates — were opting to “personalize” their gear, hinting at what lay ahead for the NFL.

PH: You mean, as the kids say, “stylin'”? Like who, for example?

RP: Lennie Moore, for example, taped his cleats from the top way down low. Like spats, which just happened to be his nickname, “Spats.” On the front of the tape, in the area of the laces, he stashed what looked like axle grease, but it was actually stickum, before most of us knew what stickum even was. He had come into the league as a halfback. Now, though, he was flankerback, split out (usually to the right) a step off the line of scrimmage so he was, technically, still the backfield. Scary fast, he was part of one of Unitas favorite ploys. Early in every game Unitas would heave one deep to Moore, not really caring if it were complete or not. It was just to get the defense leaning back. Unitas called the play “The Intimidator.”

PH: What about Raymond Berry? I heard he plays a role in the “Greatest Game Ever Played.”

RP: Wide left was Raymond Berry, the split or “spread” end. Skinny, studious and probably deserving of a story all his own, Berry wore plain black shoes, blacking out the three white stripes on whatever brand those “pre-Adidas” were. He wore a cage facemask. As far as I could determine (and I looked hard) he was the only NFL non-lineman who did.

PH: What’s the deal with Berry’s glasses?

RP: Berry had lousy eyesight and was among the first to give contacts a try, and he made himself as light as possible to compensate for his lack of speed by wearing special pants made of lighter fabric, smaller than normal pads, and choosing lightweight cleats. He also experimented with prescription goggles for a few sunny games that gave him an interesting “bug eye” look.

PH: So Ray Berry and Lenny Moore were a pretty good twosome?

RP: Berry and Moore were the prototype combination of wideouts that would populate the league for a generation or more. Slow, shifty possession receiver on one side, burner on the other. These two invented it. Well, or at least made it famous. Starting with that title game of ’58.

PH: So, I should look for a lot of forward passes and such, which, though pretty common today, weren’t really a part of the game back in the 1950’s? They were innovators then.

RP: As if all this individual style weren’t enough, they also seemed to be inventing a new kind of passing game. Moore went deep or turned short passes into thrillers. Berry ran routes that looked like the path through the maze in a coloring book, ending up right where Unitas was throwing the ball. I remember thinking, even as kid, that it was SO COOL. It was like they were saying, “Yeah, you might be big and fast, but we’re SMART.”

PH: Sounds awesome. I guess I shouldn’t be expecting to see real “old time football,” with lots of sweeps and running plays and the like. This must have been something for the TV audience.

RP: Watching something other than run-play after run-play was exhilarating. The pro game had begun to play “wider” on TV. The potential for something dramatic happening more often downfield in the “secondary” (a new word we heard more and more) was…I dunno, compelling.

PH: Visually, what was this game like?

RP: So now we have Unitas and the Colts, moving across the chilly gray Yankee Stadium landscape, resolutely racing the clock toward a field goal that could leave things tied (introducing America to the “two-minute-drill” along the way), daylight dying and the lights becoming an obvious element. There were virtually NO night football telecasts other than The Chicago Tribune’s annual College All-Star Game. But that was in the summer, not in DECEMBER, for pete’s sake. It was all just totally new.

PH: OK, the game has some drama. That’s good. Did you know that if the two teams were tied after regulation, there would be “overtime”?

RP: Lordy, it was a dramatic viewing experience. And then the announcers began explaining that if it were tied after four quarters, there would be this thing called “Sudden Death.” Oh, my, for the first time ever in the history of football, we were informed, a tie would not be allowed to stand. Time itself, it seems, would stop. The clock, which had been so critical in that final drive, was now irrelevant. They would play on — forever, if necessary — until someone scored.

PH: Was it fun to watch on the Dumont?

RP: Frankly, black and white television contributed to the drama. I recall Siskel & Ebert many years later saying that a black-and-white film distills the story down to its basis elements. And that’s the way it was with this game. Either the white team or the black team was gonna lose in an instant. Simple as that. I don’t think I can convey how even non-fans like my parents were sucked into the whole thing. It was absolutely mesmerizing. Almost surreal. A potentially endless football game. In the cold. And the dark. My God, how long would it make the weekend last? I mean, what would the network do if they were still playing when it was time for The Ed Sullivan Show?

PH: So, in a way, the Giants are responsible for making the NFL what it is today?

RP: Well, stir in that both these games took place in New York, and you have the media/advertising cabal discovering, “Y’know, this professional football has some potential.” Yeah, football didn’t have to be only college-pure. Lunch-bucket, hardscrabble, intelligent, for-a-living football was pretty damn marketable. Had the game been in Chicago or Cleveland, or especially somewhere warm like the West Coast, eliminating the dramatic December weather aspect, I’m not sure it would have had the effect it did. At least not so quickly.

PH: So, after it was over, it was a big deal?

RP: The game flat-out elevated pro football. I mean, if you talked about it, your friends — or even adults — knew what you were talking about for a change. College football wasn’t the only game in town anymore. Lots of little things happened after that. For example, instead of “the pros” almost always being relegated to the back of college football magazine annuals, they started warranting mags of their own. Specifically, I remember the two biggies — Dell and Street & Smith’s — each creating separate “Pro” titles. By the standards of the era, that was something.

PH: These guys were now media darlings, heroes? They could walk into any bar in America and everyone would know who they were?

RP: Oh, yeah…exactly a week later, Berry appeared on CBS’s What’s My Line? Stumped the panel. They didn’t figure out he was a professional football player.

PH: Well then, I guess not.

==========

I want to extend my great thanks to Ricko for granting me this interview. He also supplied many of the linked photos (most from his own personal collection) as well as some of the artwork (which Rick drew from this photo). Pretty neat stuff, eh? So when you watch the game on ESPN tonight (in color and digitally restored on your 65″ plasma-screen HDTV with surround sound), think back on what it must have been like to have been 12 and Ricko watching on his 10″ black and white, developing a love for the game that sticks with him to this day, 50 years later.

Notes and asides: • Since no one sent me any “worst uni matchup” nominations this week, I’m gonna end that segment •• All you members of the Hockey Wing who asked to participate in the third jersey critique and haven’t sent me your rankings, try to get them to me this week. Those who have already done so, I thank you again! ••• In what may be the closest voting in decades, Sam Bradford should be hoisting the Heisman hardware by 9:00 tonight…I don’t see Tebow pulling an Archie Griffin, but don’t count out Colt 45. •••• I apologize for the length of this entry. It was supposed to have run yesterday, but with all the hoopla over the new Red Sox jerseys, it is now the Saturday piece.

All Ricko — All the Time: This weekend also marks the debut of Rick Pearson’s comic “Benchies”. I proudly present you with The Introductory Installment. See if you can guess which “boy” is modelled after Ricko!

 

109 comments to The ‘Greatest Game Ever Played’

  • Stuby | December 13, 2008 at 7:45 am |

    I’ve said before that there’s no better way to start off the day than a good Spinal Tap reference.

    Thanks, guys, for the terrific interview. Ricko, you are a truly a treasure trove of memories.

    Phil, maybe you could change the “Worst Uni Matchup” to just “Ugliest Matchup Involving Illinois’ Home Orange Unis” because they could win every week.

  • Ffej | December 13, 2008 at 9:04 am |

    Frankly, being in Baltimore I’d heard about this game (and it being replayed) for quite sometime and this is the first thing that makes me want to actually watch it.

  • JTH | December 13, 2008 at 9:09 am |

    Do the Giants have a shrine to Saint Hubbins in their locker room?

    Good stuff (as usual), Phil. And Ricko, of course.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    But hey — enough of my yakkin’. Whaddaya say? Let’s boogie.

  • Matt B | December 13, 2008 at 9:35 am |

    Apologies to ESPN, but this colorization scheme is bush-league. Just show the game. If “TGGEP” is the
    the Citizen Kane of football, then an Orson Welles quote is in order:
    “Keep Ted Turner and his goddamned Crayolas away from my movies.”

    Andy Reid watches the game for the first time, and dissects it here:
    http://www.theatlant...

  • jmart | December 13, 2008 at 9:41 am |

    great entry today really interesting how the nfl wasnt always top dog

  • jmart | December 13, 2008 at 9:56 am |

    and also how simple things today such as lights, games in december, those two stripes on the jersey, and overtime were radical back then

  • Restless Native | December 13, 2008 at 9:57 am |

    Not sure where to send questions, but was wondering about the Cleveland Cavs unis from last night. Any idea where/when they are from? Thanks

  • mark frantz | December 13, 2008 at 10:24 am |

    Cavs uni’s are their original 1970-74 home “kits”.

    P.S. Phil don’t ever feel the need to apologize for a GREAT Saturday ‘Watch’…The mo’ info the better – I say

  • Bob Andrews | December 13, 2008 at 10:30 am |

    As a Baltimore native and blue-bleeding Colts fan of fifty years I thoroughly enjoyed today’s entry. Thanks to both of you. But I have to say that reading Ricko’s eloquent description of my favorite players is akin to being at a dinner party and hearing someone describe your girlfriend to someone else. “Hey, that’s MY business”.

    re: today’s topic. I was THIS close to being at the game. My Dad had two tickets and was planning to take me but decided at the last minute not to bring me (an 9 year old) up there with him. He took my uncle instead.

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 10:32 am |

    I could swear the original Cavs unis were “champagne gold” (kinda like Notre Dame’s current football pants), not light gold. But maybe the “champagne” was a change a year or two later.

    —Ricko

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 10:40 am |

    Nice job, guys. Rick, I wonder if you ever saw a program in the mid-1970’s called “The Way It Was”. It was a PBS show done as almost as a talk show with a panel of three or so members of from team discussing the game(s) with Curt Goudy acting as moderator.

    Obviously, the ’58 Championship game was a subject. Many WS, championship boxing, etc. It was terrific partly because it was done at a time when all the guys were still remembering those events and there certainly was very little “Hollywood” embellishments and pre-ESPN so it was the first time many of these events were treated on video (also no hidden agendas which can be ESPN’s wont).

    With all the retro channels around these days, it’s hard to believe these shows didn’t make it back. There was also a companion coffee table book that highlighted each show, good stuff.

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 10:43 am |

    [quote comment=”305395″]great entry today really interesting how the nfl wasnt always top dog[/quote]

    Just for fun, I checked SI’s 25th Anniversary special of all its covers to date. First NFL action photo cover wasn’t until near the end of the seventh year. Prior to that ’60 cover(Eagles’ Norm Van Brocklin), college football was on the cover 25 times, NFL six times (all posed photos or paintings).

    —Ricko

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 10:47 am |

    [quote comment=”305406″][quote comment=”305395″]great entry today really interesting how the nfl wasnt always top dog[/quote]

    Just for fun, I checked SI’s 25th Anniversary special of all its covers to date. First NFL action photo cover wasn’t until near the end of the seventh year. Prior to that ’60 cover(Eagles’ Norm Van Brocklin), college football was on the cover 25 times, NFL six times (all posed photos or paintings).

    —Ricko[/quote]

    Actually, 29 college covers (four “Holiday” issues with split-subjects; all with college football as one of them)

  • George McClure | December 13, 2008 at 10:54 am |

    Great piece on “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” Here’s a 1964 photo of Raymond Berry and his goggles:

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 11:00 am |

    [quote comment=”305393″]Apologies to ESPN, but this colorization scheme is bush-league. Just show the game. If “TGGEP” is the
    the Citizen Kane of football, then an Orson Welles quote is in order:
    “Keep Ted Turner and his goddamned Crayolas away from my movies.”[/quote]

    You may not be completely off about the gimmicky nature of the broadcast. But when was the last time there was something about this game on the “WWL”. They use to have NFL Films features on ALL the time and it was a good thing. Now we get 24-hour SportCenter and fuckin’ poker. The amount of exposure the league received in the 1980’s by ESPN airings really expanded young people’s knowledge of the NFL game (even if some of it was BS). Hell, the NFL Network doesn’t show older NFL Films features anymore.

    I remember friends quoting Chuck Bednarik or Sammy Baugh and talking about games that would have been forgotten about long ago. Without NFL Films and ESPN where would the Immaculate Reception be today?

    Anything to get this sort of stuff on, I’m all for.

  • Giancarlo | December 13, 2008 at 11:02 am |

    Loved today’s entry; I should read Saturday more often.

    I raised an eyebrow at Ricko’s drawing of the ’58 Redskins… so they were wearing a gold helmet before their burgundy helmet? Hm.

  • LI Phil | December 13, 2008 at 11:05 am |

    [quote]when was the last time there was something about this game on the “WWL”. [/quote]

    you mean other than their plugs for it every 10 minutes?

    /gotta admit, after talking with rick and seeing what is coming tonight, there are few programs i am waiting for with such baited breath…did mccoy steal the heisman yet?

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 11:22 am |

    [quote comment=”305412″][quote]when was the last time there was something about this game on the “WWL”. [/quote]

    you mean other than their plugs for it every 10 minutes?[/quote]

    I didn’t mean this broadcast, I meant this game. I have in my own “personal” library at least three different treatments of this subject that aired on ESPN, but that was long ago.

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 11:24 am |

    [quote comment=”305412″][quote]when was the last time there was something about this game on the “WWL”. [/quote]

    you mean other than their plugs for it every 10 minutes?

    /gotta admit, after talking with rick and seeing what is coming tonight, there are few programs i am waiting for with such baited breath…did mccoy steal the heisman yet?[/quote]

    Were you joking?

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 11:25 am |

    [quote comment=”305411″]Loved today’s entry; I should read Saturday more often.

    I raised an eyebrow at Ricko’s drawing of the ’58 Redskins… so they were wearing a gold helmet before their burgundy helmet? Hm.[/quote]

    Side note on that. NFL was a lot more flexible about uni issues back then. The ‘Skins burgundy “feather” helmet actually debuted late one season. Just switched to it from gold one week.

    Similarly, Steelers first black helmet showed up, I think, in what NFL called the “Playoff Bowl”. For a couple seasons there, the teams that finished second in the East and West played a game at a neutral warm weather site (recall Eagles and Lions at Orange Bowl, maybe?). Steelers intro’d black helmet when they played in it, I think. “Playoff Bowl” concept was a real snoozer and died quietly.

    —Ricko

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 11:29 am |

    Revisiting yesterday, it might be splitting hairs, but the Sox updates seem to resemble the late ‘60’s version even more than the mid ‘80’s.
    Better looks than provided yesterday: http://www.thatsmybo...
    http://www.thatsmybo...

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 11:31 am |

    [quote comment=”305416″][quote comment=”305411″]Loved today’s entry; I should read Saturday more often.

    I raised an eyebrow at Ricko’s drawing of the ’58 Redskins… so they were wearing a gold helmet before their burgundy helmet? Hm.[/quote]

    Side note on that. NFL was a lot more flexible about uni issues back then. The ‘Skins burgundy “feather” helmet actually debuted late one season. Just switched to it from gold one week.

    Similarly, Steelers first black helmet showed up, I think, in what NFL called the “Playoff Bowl”. For a couple seasons there, the teams that finished second in the East and West played a game at a neutral warm weather site (recall Eagles and Lions at Orange Bowl, maybe?). Steelers intro’d black helmet when they played in it, I think. “Playoff Bowl” concept was a real snoozer and died quietly.

    —Ricko[/quote]

    DISCLAIMER (LOL). I may not have the circumstances exactly right, I just remember watching TV and –what the hell–the Skins and Steelers all of sudden had new helmets one week.

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 11:33 am |

    Same thing with US Steel logo on Steelers’ gold helmets. It just showed up one week. BTW, originally it just said “Steel” and was exactly the company’s corporate logo.

    I’ll shut up now.

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 11:35 am |

    [quote comment=”305416″][quote comment=”305411″]Loved today’s entry; I should read Saturday more often.

    I raised an eyebrow at Ricko’s drawing of the ’58 Redskins… so they were wearing a gold helmet before their burgundy helmet? Hm.[/quote]

    Side note on that. NFL was a lot more flexible about uni issues back then. The ‘Skins burgundy “feather” helmet actually debuted late one season. Just switched to it from gold one week.

    Similarly, Steelers first black helmet showed up, I think, in what NFL called the “Playoff Bowl”. For a couple seasons there, the teams that finished second in the East and West played a game at a neutral warm weather site (recall Eagles and Lions at Orange Bowl, maybe?). Steelers intro’d black helmet when they played in it, I think. “Playoff Bowl” concept was a real snoozer and died quietly.

    —Ricko[/quote]

    From wiki (so take with a grain):
    To his players, Lombardi called the Playoff Bowl “the ‘Shit Bowl’, …a losers’ bowl for losers.”

  • LI Phil | December 13, 2008 at 11:39 am |

    [quote]Were you joking?[/quote]

    about mccoy or the broadcast?

    because i am TRULY TRULY pumped for this…i’ve only seen highlights of this game (and i realize ESPN isn’t going to air the entire game, more like extended highlights), but im fascinated by it…i learn more from UW every day (and not JUST about unis), especially from ricko and you, larry, and it’s amazing…you two (and of course Paul) will forget more about this stuff than i will ever hope to know…

    so, if your question was about this documentary, you could say im pretty psyched, yes

    as far as colt vs. tim vs. sam? i think bradford deserves it (despite never wanting to hear boomer sooner ever again), but they’re all good and it looks to be close

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 11:41 am |

    [quote comment=”305421″][quote comment=”305416″][quote comment=”305411″]Loved today’s entry; I should read Saturday more often.

    I raised an eyebrow at Ricko’s drawing of the ’58 Redskins… so they were wearing a gold helmet before their burgundy helmet? Hm.[/quote]

    Side note on that. NFL was a lot more flexible about uni issues back then. The ‘Skins burgundy “feather” helmet actually debuted late one season. Just switched to it from gold one week.

    Similarly, Steelers first black helmet showed up, I think, in what NFL called the “Playoff Bowl”. For a couple seasons there, the teams that finished second in the East and West played a game at a neutral warm weather site (recall Eagles and Lions at Orange Bowl, maybe?). Steelers intro’d black helmet when they played in it, I think. “Playoff Bowl” concept was a real snoozer and died quietly.

    —Ricko[/quote]

    From wiki (so take with a grain):
    To his players, Lombardi called the Playoff Bowl “the ‘Shit Bowl’, …a losers’ bowl for losers.”[/quote]

    It was a great place for wiring players and coaches. Jim Marshall’s mic’ed feature was a P.B. and the Vince Lombardi “What the hell is going on out here” came from a playoff bowl.

  • Giancarlo | December 13, 2008 at 11:49 am |

    [quote comment=”305419″]
    DISCLAIMER (LOL). I may not have the circumstances exactly right, I just remember watching TV and –what the hell–the Skins and Steelers all of sudden had new helmets one week.[/quote]

    That jibes with what The Helmet Project site says about the Steelers. Black helmets debut at Playoff Bowl in Miami, January ’63.
    Steel logo debuts (on yellow helmets) ten games into the 1962 season.

  • Jordan Sogn | December 13, 2008 at 11:55 am |

    [quote comment=”305412″][quote]when was the last time there was something about this game on the “WWL”. [/quote]

    you mean other than their plugs for it every 10 minutes?

    /gotta admit, after talking with rick and seeing what is coming tonight, there are few programs i am waiting for with such baited breath…did mccoy steal the heisman yet?[/quote]

    I hope Bradford takes it home (OU fan here) but it’s hard to argue against McCoy. I’d rather see McCoy win than Teebow any day. You’d think Teebow was the only football player in history that does/did good things. Look at BYU’s roster & you’ll see 100 guys who put other things in front of the line other than tackle football.

    Also, don’t forget to tune to NBC for the Ironman Championships from Kona…amazing, sobering tv on a few levels.

  • Carl | December 13, 2008 at 12:37 pm |

    [quote comment=”305420″]Same thing with US Steel logo on Steelers’ gold helmets. It just showed up one week. BTW, originally it just said “Steel” and was exactly the company’s corporate logo.

    I’ll shut up now.[/quote]

    …so why the decision to keep the logo on one side then? Was that for TV? Didn’t the Packers have just one “G” for a long while too?

    Also, great article/interview today guys. As a ‘youngin it help to see how far the NFL has come.

  • tom farley | December 13, 2008 at 12:42 pm |

    Similarly, Steelers first black helmet showed up, I think, in what NFL called the “Playoff Bowl”. For a couple seasons there, the teams that finished second in the East and West played a game at a neutral warm weather site (recall Eagles and Lions at Orange Bowl, maybe?). Steelers intro’d black helmet when they played in it, I think.
    I believe that’s right, Ricko. I recently watched my copy of the ’62 Lions highlight film, and the Steelers have the black helmets; earlier in the season, in the Robert Riger “Best Plays of the Year” book, they’re in gold, no logo.

    Giancarlo’s source is right; I’ve seen the diamonds logo on the yellow helmets.

    I recall reading someplace that they wanted to do something special for the Playoff Bowl, since they’d be on national TV.

    Jim Marshall’s mic’ed feature was a P.B.
    Yes. The one at the end of the ’68 season. Don Meredith’s last game.

    and the Vince Lombardi “What the hell is going on out here” came from a playoff bowl.
    No. That quote comes from the Packers-Vikings game at the Met late in the ’67 season. The Sabols wired him for that game, and the game at the L.A. Coliseum six days later.

    Both wirings are featured in the “Lombardi” documentary narrated by Facenda, recently put out on DVD. (“Legends of Autumn Vol. VI: Eyeball to Eyeball”)

  • BurghFan | December 13, 2008 at 12:53 pm |

    Same thing with US Steel logo on Steelers’ gold helmets. It just showed up one week. BTW, originally it just said “Steel” and was exactly the company’s corporate logo.

    Since we split these hairs, it wasn’t US Steel’s logo, which was/is usually USS in a circle, but a logo used for the product:

    http://news.steelers...

  • tom farley | December 13, 2008 at 12:55 pm |

    lwiedy, in the book “Lombardi” by John Wiebusch, Willie Davis says the Lombardi took out an ad in the Wall Street Journal calling the Playoff Bowl “a game for losers played by losers.” And right before that, Herb Adderley says that Lombardi said that if they’d finished second for the third straight year in ’65, they wouldn’t go to Miami to play in the game.

    And here’s your quote, from Bob Skoronski, from the incredible book “When Pride Still Mattered”: “He called it the ‘Shit Bowl.’ That’s the word he used. He said it was a losers’ bowl for losers.”

    Ricko, was it your impression that the Playoff Bowl was a bigger deal in the early ’60s, when only two teams qualified for postseason championship competition? Sports Illustrated even sent Tex Maule, their NFL beat writer, to cover the first one.

  • steve | December 13, 2008 at 12:56 pm |

    LW and Ricko,

    Don’t know you guys at all, but am facinated by your take on things. As the producer of the When It Was A Game series on HBO, as well as the recent Baseball’s Golden Age on FSN, I have made a career of using real color film on events that had previously lived in Black and White. As such, I am torn by ESPN decision to colorize the game. And knowing them, I guess I will likely be disturbed by the fact that this colorized version will now become historical record.

    LW, you are correct in saying that this particular game has been documented time and again. So there is only one explanation for the huge amount of attention this particular show is getting…and that has to be the colorized film.

    Give ESPN credit for one thing. They know how to pile on. In this case, they caught a wave of publicity and are now riding it home.

  • tom farley | December 13, 2008 at 1:01 pm |

    Yeah, here it is. I forgot that it was also called, officially, the Runner-up Bowl early on. They probably heard about that from Lombardi as well.

    http://vault.sportsi...

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 1:02 pm |

    [quote comment=”305428″]Similarly, Steelers first black helmet showed up, I think, in what NFL called the “Playoff Bowl”. For a couple seasons there, the teams that finished second in the East and West played a game at a neutral warm weather site (recall Eagles and Lions at Orange Bowl, maybe?). Steelers intro’d black helmet when they played in it, I think.
    I believe that’s right, Ricko. I recently watched my copy of the ’62 Lions highlight film, and the Steelers have the black helmets; earlier in the season, in the Robert Riger “Best Plays of the Year” book, they’re in gold, no logo.

    Giancarlo’s source is right; I’ve seen the diamonds logo on the yellow helmets.

    I recall reading someplace that they wanted to do something special for the Playoff Bowl, since they’d be on national TV.

    Jim Marshall’s mic’ed feature was a P.B.
    Yes. The one at the end of the ’68 season. Don Meredith’s last game.

    and the Vince Lombardi “What the hell is going on out here” came from a playoff bowl.
    No. That quote comes from the Packers-Vikings game at the Met late in the ’67 season. The Sabols wired him for that game, and the game at the L.A. Coliseum six days later.

    Both wirings are featured in the “Lombardi” documentary narrated by Facenda, recently put out on DVD. (“Legends of Autumn Vol. VI: Eyeball to Eyeball”)[/quote]

    I’ll defer to you on that. I have “Eyeball” on tape. Was that the one where Lombardi calls out Lee Roy (presumably Caffee)? I’ll have to bust it out to get the quote (beats the hell out of anything on now). I know he was wearing a pretty silly looking visor during that game.

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 1:04 pm |

    [quote comment=”305429″]Same thing with US Steel logo on Steelers’ gold helmets. It just showed up one week. BTW, originally it just said “Steel” and was exactly the company’s corporate logo.

    Since we split these hairs, it wasn’t US Steel’s logo, which was/is usually USS in a circle, but a logo used for the product:

    http://news.steelers...

    Good to know, thanks. At the time, it just knew it was a coprorate image of some kind.

  • buckeyebrain | December 13, 2008 at 1:06 pm |

    Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL to wear prison outfits on January 30 for Rod Blagojevich Night.

    http://www.ktnv.com/...

  • tom farley | December 13, 2008 at 1:06 pm |

    As the producer of the When It Was A Game series on HBO, as well as the recent Baseball’s Golden Age on FSN, I have made a career of using real color film on events that had previously lived in Black and White.
    Steve, you have one of my dream jobs. Well done. I am a huge fan of your work.

    I can’t tell you what a thrill it was, back in ’91, to see Dimaggio and Jackie Robinson in uniform in color for the first time. The FSN series was great, too. Any plans for a DVD set?

    As such, I am torn by ESPN decision to colorize the game. And knowing them, I guess I will likely be disturbed by the fact that this colorized version will now become historical record.
    I hadn’t thought about it becoming the historical record, but that’s an unfortunately good point. I’m a bit troubled by the colorization of those images, too. Like a lot of people here, I recognize so many plays on that drive as they’re unfolding. To see them in color is jarring.

    But I’m mostly thrilled that this tremendously important piece of sports history is being brought to the attention of a new audience.

  • Jordan Pope | December 13, 2008 at 1:06 pm |

    [quote comment=”305429″]Same thing with US Steel logo on Steelers’ gold helmets. It just showed up one week. BTW, originally it just said “Steel” and was exactly the company’s corporate logo.

    Since we split these hairs, it wasn’t US Steel’s logo, which was/is usually USS in a circle, but a logo used for the product:

    http://news.steelers...

    its based off the logo of the American Iron and Steel Institute logo

    http://en.wikipedia....

  • timmy b | December 13, 2008 at 1:07 pm |

    Ricko, You are GOD when it comes to unis. You have become my idol this year.

    But if I can clarify…

    Skins wore the gold helmet for the first 10 games in 1958 and switched to the burgundy feather helmet for the last two games (both at home in 1958). Saw this in the Wash. Post. Not a word mentioned about the change in newspaper accounts.

    Steelers in week 9 started wearing the steelmark logo in 1962.

    A more “recent” one was the Lions adding the white ouline around the lion on the helmet in 1970, without notes, I believe in week 6.

    Or the Cowboys starting 1966 wearing the three blue striped sleeve jersey for their first two home games and then going with two sleeve stripes for their third home game. They still wore three white stripes on their blue jerseys for the rest of 1966.

    Just chiming in.

    Timmy B, Old football uni geek club member

  • tom farley | December 13, 2008 at 1:11 pm |

    Was that the one where Lombardi calls out Lee Roy (presumably Caffee)? I’ll have to bust it out to get the quote (beats the hell out of anything on now). I know he was wearing a pretty silly looking visor during that game.
    I think the Rams game with the late blocked punt is the one where he’s chewing out Caffey. And that visor he’s wearing in the Rams game is silly: It says UCLA on it and looks to be made of cardboard.

    Didn’t read Esquire for the men’s fashion spreads, apparently. ;-)

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 1:18 pm |

    [quote comment=”305430″]lwiedy, in the book “Lombardi” by John Wiebusch, Willie Davis says the Lombardi took out an ad in the Wall Street Journal calling the Playoff Bowl “a game for losers played by losers.” And right before that, Herb Adderley says that Lombardi said that if they’d finished second for the third straight year in ’65, they wouldn’t go to Miami to play in the game.

    And here’s your quote, from Bob Skoronski, from the incredible book “When Pride Still Mattered”: “He called it the ‘Shit Bowl.’ That’s the word he used. He said it was a losers’ bowl for losers.”

    Ricko, was it your impression that the Playoff Bowl was a bigger deal in the early ’60s, when only two teams qualified for postseason championship competition? Sports Illustrated even sent Tex Maule, their NFL beat writer, to cover the first one.[/quote]
    [quote comment=”305430″]lwiedy, in the book “Lombardi” by John Wiebusch, Willie Davis says the Lombardi took out an ad in the Wall Street Journal calling the Playoff Bowl “a game for losers played by losers.” And right before that, Herb Adderley says that Lombardi said that if they’d finished second for the third straight year in ’65, they wouldn’t go to Miami to play in the game.

    And here’s your quote, from Bob Skoronski, from the incredible book “When Pride Still Mattered”: “He called it the ‘Shit Bowl.’ That’s the word he used. He said it was a losers’ bowl for losers.”

    Ricko, was it your impression that the Playoff Bowl was a bigger deal in the early ’60s, when only two teams qualified for postseason championship competition? Sports Illustrated even sent Tex Maule, their NFL beat writer, to cover the first one.[/quote]

    Wiebusch? Former Mpls Star/Tribune guy. Marvelous, marvelous writer. One of my favorites.

    Oh, yeah, “Runner Up Bowl.” Forgot about that. Can’t speak for SI, but even as a high school kid I thought the idea was dumb. Seemed like the game for third place in the state hockey and basketball tournaments. Only people who’d care would be fans of the teams involved, not even sure the players would. SI may have sent Maule just to SEE if anyone gave a damn. I think the NFL practically had to give away the tickets, especially because of the neutral site.

    LOL, I remember thinking I had a brilliant idea and wrote to the NFL suggesting instead they make up East-West all-star teams of guys who didn’t play much. Call it the BackUp Bowl. Thought would be more interesting to see guys who might be up n’ coming, or that were famous in college but we hadn’t seen for awhile. Guess that notion wasn’t totally stupid, later showed up in the NBA’s rookie game (sorta).

  • LI Phil | December 13, 2008 at 1:33 pm |

    [quote comment=”305431″]LW and Ricko,

    Don’t know you guys at all, but am facinated by your take on things. As the producer of the When It Was A Game series on HBO, as well as the recent Baseball’s Golden Age on FSN, I have made a career of using real color film on events that had previously lived in Black and White. As such, I am torn by ESPN decision to colorize the game. And knowing them, I guess I will likely be disturbed by the fact that this colorized version will now become historical record.

    LW, you are correct in saying that this particular game has been documented time and again. So there is only one explanation for the huge amount of attention this particular show is getting…and that has to be the colorized film.

    Give ESPN credit for one thing. They know how to pile on. In this case, they caught a wave of publicity and are now riding it home.[/quote]

    steve,

    thanks for posting!

    yeah, after Paul, larry (Lwiedy) and rick (Ricko) are like demi-gods around here (at least in my eyes) as are many others

    would love to hear more of your take on not just this game, but your work in general as well…(and hopefully you’ll give us your review of the treatment of the GGEP tomorrow)

    cheers!

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 1:34 pm |

    [quote comment=”305431″]LW and Ricko,

    Don’t know you guys at all, but am facinated by your take on things. As the producer of the When It Was A Game series on HBO, as well as the recent Baseball’s Golden Age on FSN, I have made a career of using real color film on events that had previously lived in Black and White. As such, I am torn by ESPN decision to colorize the game. And knowing them, I guess I will likely be disturbed by the fact that this colorized version will now become historical record.

    LW, you are correct in saying that this particular game has been documented time and again. So there is only one explanation for the huge amount of attention this particular show is getting…and that has to be the colorized film.

    Give ESPN credit for one thing. They know how to pile on. In this case, they caught a wave of publicity and are now riding it home.[/quote]

    If I connect the dots correctly, did you not even write the original piece of “When…”? Wow, you have many admirers (and enviers).

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 1:38 pm |

    Ooops, forgot to mention. It was pretty obvious the “RunnerUp Bowl” was so the NFL didn’t leave a weekend open where the only pro football on TV might be that damned new AFL.

    That, I think, was the true motivation behind the game.

    —Ricko

  • steve | December 13, 2008 at 1:44 pm |

    Yes I wrote all of them, as well as 18 or so of the historical HBO docs, but the way we worked in our end of the business, writing the shows was not the key element. It’s all about finding and collecting the images and putting them together in a interesting form and that comes from the producers, which I was one, and the editor, which was my partner.

  • Johnny F. | December 13, 2008 at 1:46 pm |

    Hey Phil,

    As a diehard hockey fan (as you know), is there a list that missed of the new alts? I’d love to contribute to the vote mentioned in your write up today. I must have missed the start of the discussion while I was moving/working on the new house in Highland Falls(still a couple weeks away! doh!).

    I also went back and looked at the “winter classic” hockey convo that you linked on the board yesterday. GREAT JOB, by the uniwatchers there. I actually remembered parts of that day’s discussion, and am shocked it was almost a year ago.
    Also- Wonderful job, with Ricko in that interview. Ricko’s comments remind me of a conversation I had with my grandfather about the game (no offense, haha)…although we’re hardcore Giants fans, so the tone was a “tad” different.

  • tom farley | December 13, 2008 at 1:46 pm |

    Marvelous, marvelous writer. One of my favorites.
    He’s excellent. He wrote some other books for NFL Properties in the ’70s.

    It was pretty obvious the “RunnerUp Bowl” was so the NFL didn’t leave a weekend open where the only pro football on TV might be that damned new AFL. That, I think, was the true motivation behind the game.
    Ha! Yes, perhaps it’s no coincidence they started up the game for the end of the 1960 season.

    timmy b, I had no idea the midseason switch was as common as that! I’m going to have to grab my tape of the ’66 Cowboys highlight film — recorded off of ESPN Classic, which lamentably no longer shows those fantastic films — and watch.

    Not for verification. Just ’cause.

    It’s in ’67 that the star on the Cowboys’ helmet gets its blue outline.

  • Geoff | December 13, 2008 at 1:47 pm |

    I’m watching the D-II Football Championship game right now on the Deuce, and it looks like the NCAA has mandated those silly stick-on “NCAA” logos for all championships, not just the D-I Basketball tournament. Both NW Missouri St. and Minnesota-Duluth are wearing the tacky, afterthought of a patch.

    Imagine these http://www2.pictures... on a football jersey.

  • LI Phil | December 13, 2008 at 1:55 pm |

    [quote]Hey Phil,

    As a diehard hockey fan (as you know), is there a list that missed of the new alts? I’d love to contribute to the vote mentioned in your write up today.[/quote]

    check your e-mail, brah

  • Johnny F. | December 13, 2008 at 2:01 pm |

    I forgot to mention…I did some research on the 1967 Army-Navy football game, that I was talking about last night (the game I thought was historic b/c of Vietnam). Turns out, I was right…which surprised me.

    I found this, in a pdf of 1st hand accounts of Army-Navy games (sorry if it’s a tad long)….but it’s worth the read.

    “I started a single football game during my two-year Navy football career—the 1967 Army-Navy game. The Vietnam War was raging and,as a result,the game was attended by more cabinet officials, high-ranking politicos and Army-Navy brass than had attended since the 1941 game before Pearl Harbor. More importantly,the Class of 1968 had yet to beat Army in three previous contests. This was our last chance.
    The success of the season came down to our final game with a favored Army (8-1) team. We had to make some changes. Four days before the game,The Washington Post reported that Coach Bill Elias “plans to start three inexperienced (defensive) backs in, of all things,the Army-Navy game at Philadelphia on Saturday. None of the three has started a game before.” The article concluded, “Buttrill,Motl and Sheppard are on their own.” We went through final preparation for the game that would be my first start at Navy and the final football game of my life. With support from my teammates, classmates, friends and parents, I was far from being on my own.

    The game started and we jumped off to a quick lead of 10-0 by the end of the first quarter. Army was testing us new guys.On the kickoff following yet another Navy score in the second quarter,I lunged for the ball carrier and dislocated my shoulder for the third time that year! I can’t begin to explain the pain … and I’m not talking physical pain. I was out for the quarter.At halftime, Coach Elias asked me,“Motl,can you go back in?”

    “Coach,are you kidding?”, I replied. We maintained our 17-0 lead through the third quarter,but then the tide began to turn. Army inserted Jim O’Toole at quarterback in the fourth quarter and led Army to two quick scores, including a 52-yard bomb making the score 19-14 with 7:05 left. Army kicked off and stopped us.With 4:32 left, Army advanced to the Navy 23.It was cold,dark and the noise from 102,000 fans was deafening. Navy had to hold! On third down, Army fumbled and our Ray DeCario recovered! Pandemonium!

    -Captain Gerry Motl ’68, USNR (ret.)

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 2:06 pm |

    [quote comment=”305447″]Marvelous, marvelous writer. One of my favorites.
    He’s excellent. He wrote some other books for NFL Properties in the ’70s.

    It was pretty obvious the “RunnerUp Bowl” was so the NFL didn’t leave a weekend open where the only pro football on TV might be that damned new AFL. That, I think, was the true motivation behind the game.
    Ha! Yes, perhaps it’s no coincidence they started up the game for the end of the 1960 season.

    timmy b, I had no idea the midseason switch was as common as that! I’m going to have to grab my tape of the ’66 Cowboys highlight film — recorded off of ESPN Classic, which lamentably no longer shows those fantastic films — and watch.

    Not for verification. Just ’cause.

    It’s in ’67 that the star on the Cowboys’ helmet gets its blue outline.[/quote]

    I can tell my wife “someone else taped all that stuff, too” Just popped in a reel and now watching “Old Leather”. After that, “They Call it Pro Football” then “Eye to Eye”.

    I originally subscribed to the “off” cable provider because T-W did not carry “Classic Sports Network”, later ESPN Classic. ESPN’s early influence on programming was positive, then they destroyed it.

  • tom farley | December 13, 2008 at 2:07 pm |

    Wow, great anecdote! Thanks, Johnny F.

  • tom farley | December 13, 2008 at 2:13 pm |

    I can tell my wife “someone else taped all that stuff, too”
    Oh God yes lwiedy. Obsessively.

    There was a period there, around ’01-’02, where every spring they’d show one or two classic NFL highlight films every weekday morning at about 6 or 7 a.m. Not Your Father’s Classic, I think the annoying little logo in the upper right corner says on all my tapes.

    Now, I miss that annoying little logo. But I miss Classic Sports Network more. At least you knew they wouldn’t pre-empt the old film you wanted to watch for something someone declared an Instant Classic.

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 2:24 pm |

    [quote comment=”305453″]I can tell my wife “someone else taped all that stuff, too”
    Oh God yes lwiedy. Obsessively.

    There was a period there, around ’01-’02, where every spring they’d show one or two classic NFL highlight films every weekday morning at about 6 or 7 a.m. Not Your Father’s Classic, I think the annoying little logo in the upper right corner says on all my tapes.

    Now, I miss that annoying little logo. But I miss Classic Sports Network more. At least you knew they wouldn’t pre-empt the old film you wanted to watch for something someone declared an Instant Classic.[/quote]

    Absolutely correct. I would tape the favorites for family and friends whether they wanted them or not.

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 2:58 pm |

    [quote comment=”305427″][quote comment=”305420″]Same thing with US Steel logo on Steelers’ gold helmets. It just showed up one week. BTW, originally it just said “Steel” and was exactly the company’s corporate logo.

    I’ll shut up now.[/quote]

    …so why the decision to keep the logo on one side then? Was that for TV? Didn’t the Packers have just one “G” for a long while too?

    Also, great article/interview today guys. As a ‘youngin it help to see how far the NFL has come.[/quote]

    Packers added “G” in ’60, and was always two-sided. Can say that for sure; we still got their games every Sunday because first Vikings were a year way.

    Have no idea why Steelers are one-sided, but has been that way since it first appeared. (sorry for not replying sooner, btw).

  • Mike Engle | December 13, 2008 at 3:07 pm |

    [quote comment=”305456″][quote comment=”305427″][quote comment=”305420″]Same thing with US Steel logo on Steelers’ gold helmets. It just showed up one week. BTW, originally it just said “Steel” and was exactly the company’s corporate logo.

    I’ll shut up now.[/quote]

    …so why the decision to keep the logo on one side then? Was that for TV? Didn’t the Packers have just one “G” for a long while too?

    Also, great article/interview today guys. As a ‘youngin it help to see how far the NFL has come.[/quote]

    Packers added “G” in ’60, and was always two-sided. Can say that for sure; we still got their games every Sunday because first Vikings were a year way.

    Have no idea why Steelers are one-sided, but has been that way since it first appeared. (sorry for not replying sooner, btw).[/quote]
    It’s in the FAQ. But basically, the logo was one-sided only because it was on a trial period. (Do we really like the logo, or should the helmets stay blank?) During the trial period, the team became very successful and instead of tinkering with good luck, the look became permanent. Logo only on players’ right sides of helmets.
    /Grinds my gears when I see a “backwards” representation of the helmet.

  • steve | December 13, 2008 at 3:09 pm |

    guys,

    ESPN did not ruin ESPN Classic. They tried to do classic programming but the ratings were horrible. Sad to say, but not as many as we would like enjoy that type of programming.

    As for you Phil, I have spoken to Paul a few times about coming to see our library of historical color film, which includes film from baseball, football, basketball, hockey and the olympics and dates back to 1937.

  • scott | December 13, 2008 at 3:10 pm |

    [quote comment=”305405″]Nice job, guys. Rick, I wonder if you ever saw a program in the mid-1970’s called “The Way It Was”. It was a PBS show done as almost as a talk show with a panel of three or so members of from team discussing the game(s) with Curt Goudy acting as moderator.

    Obviously, the ’58 Championship game was a subject. Many WS, championship boxing, etc. It was terrific partly because it was done at a time when all the guys were still remembering those events and there certainly was very little “Hollywood” embellishments and pre-ESPN so it was the first time many of these events were treated on video (also no hidden agendas which can be ESPN’s wont).

    With all the retro channels around these days, it’s hard to believe these shows didn’t make it back.

    There was also a companion coffee table book that highlighted each show, good stuff.[/quote]

    The Way It Was was shown on ESPN Classic quite often. While the show did have original footage from World Series games, they would often bring in a famous “guest” broadcaster to redo the highlights, which I found tacky. The recollections from the players, usually three from each team, are what made the show worth watching.

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 3:36 pm |

    [quote comment=”305458″]guys,

    ESPN did not ruin ESPN Classic. They tried to do classic programming but the ratings were horrible. Sad to say, but not as many as we would like enjoy that type of programming.

    As for you Phil, I have spoken to Paul a few times about coming to see our library of historical color film, which includes film from baseball, football, basketball, hockey and the olympics and dates back to 1937.[/quote]

    I’m certain you are right, I guess I say they ruined it for the likes of ME. I guess they’d be better off calling it ESPN3. I built an entire video library around the programming of the late ‘90’s and early aughts. I’m sure no one else (beside Tom) was watching but me, but I bet I miss it more than those who watch now.

  • Skycat | December 13, 2008 at 3:40 pm |

    After having watched previews of the “Greatest Game Ever Played,” I question the accuracy of the colorization. It appears to me that both teams are shown in a darker shade of blue than the teams actually wore (and currently wear) at the time. Here, for example, is the uniform history of the Giants.
    http://history.giant...

  • chance | December 13, 2008 at 3:49 pm |

    [quote comment=”305456″][quote comment=”305427″]
    …so why the decision to keep the logo on one side then? Was that for TV? Didn’t the Packers have just one “G” for a long while too?[/quote]

    Packers added “G” in ’60, and was always two-sided. Can say that for sure; we still got their games every Sunday because first Vikings were a year way.[/quote]

    Yeah, tough to remember that Minnesota was once strict Packers territory (I still have friends there who follow the Green and Gold because their grandfather was a die-hard way back when before the Vikings).

    It was ’61, actually. The Packers played two seasons in Vince Lombardi’s classic uniforms before adding a logo to the helmet; before then they went logoless, which sometimes makes them look like the Browns in old BW photos.

  • jmart | December 13, 2008 at 4:03 pm |

    also for all those in the nyc area and that can get msg from time to time they run a show called the vault i think where they show classic ranger and knick games mostly from the 60’s and 70’s

  • Mike Engle | December 13, 2008 at 4:07 pm |

    Back to the new Red Sox road grays…
    Just found this picture of Luis Tiant. Had no idea this uniform existed. Note the block BOSTON in navy, but outlined in red. Just my humble opinion, but I don’t like it. The red doesn’t come out at all. Just blurs the whole uniform.
    That being said, I’m ready to tell the designers, “Thanks for leaving the red out.” It would have been worse, trying to have a red outline for the extra-fancy word mark. For whatever reason, navy almost always works as an outline for red, but not vice versa.

  • Bill Fenbers | December 13, 2008 at 4:29 pm |

    A couple college basketball notes from today:

    Utah Utes going with “Utah” on every player instead of NOBs.

    Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg wearing tuxedos for todays Memphis/Georgetown game on CBS.

  • timmy b | December 13, 2008 at 5:02 pm |

    [quote comment=”305462″][quote comment=”305456″][quote comment=”305427″]
    …so why the decision to keep the logo on one side then? Was that for TV? Didn’t the Packers have just one “G” for a long while too?[/quote]

    Packers added “G” in ’60, and was always two-sided. Can say that for sure; we still got their games every Sunday because first Vikings were a year way.[/quote]

    Yeah, tough to remember that Minnesota was once strict Packers territory (I still have friends there who follow the Green and Gold because their grandfather was a die-hard way back when before the Vikings).

    It was ’61, actually. The Packers played two seasons in Vince Lombardi’s classic uniforms before adding a logo to the helmet; before then they went logoless, which sometimes makes them look like the Browns in old BW photos.[/quote]

    Packers actually wore white socks in 1959 after the uni change with the green-yellow-green-yellow-green stripes. Then came the green socks for both white and green jerseys in 1960, then the “G” logo in 1961.

    That numeral font the Pack wore from 1961-1964 was the greatest ever, too.

    Golly gee, I LOVE football unis!!

  • Johnny F. | December 13, 2008 at 5:36 pm |

    In the spirit of the Army-Navy posts…a ticket to the 1935 “Little Army and Navy Game”….

    http://www.nymacadet...

    (I know I’m a week late with the Army-Navy stuff, but I love it)

  • timmy b | December 13, 2008 at 5:39 pm |

    chance,

    Oops! Forgot to open the link in your post. The white socks from ’59 are there to see.

    Sorry!

  • lou1970 | December 13, 2008 at 5:57 pm |

    A cycling note… the maglia rosa for the 2009 Giro d’Italia has been designed by someones named Dolce & Gabbana, story & pics here: cyclingnews

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 5:59 pm |

    [quote comment=”305462″][quote comment=”305456″][quote comment=”305427″]
    …so why the decision to keep the logo on one side then? Was that for TV? Didn’t the Packers have just one “G” for a long while too?[/quote]

    Packers added “G” in ’60, and was always two-sided. Can say that for sure; we still got their games every Sunday because first Vikings were a year way.[/quote]

    Yeah, tough to remember that Minnesota was once strict Packers territory (I still have friends there who follow the Green and Gold because their grandfather was a die-hard way back when before the Vikings).

    It was ’61, actually. The Packers played two seasons in Vince Lombardi’s classic uniforms before adding a logo to the helmet; before then they went logoless, which sometimes makes them look like the Browns in old BW photos.[/quote]

    Is my face red. You’re absolutely right. And I should have known it was wrong when I typed it. They had no “G” when they lost to the Eagles in the ’60 title game.

    Was ’61, indeed. It’s correct on my index card drawings made at the time, but somewhere between looking at the cards and typing, I got it wrong.

    But, I guess that’s all the more reason I know it was on both sides; I saw them play the Vikings at Met Stadium in ’61. That, btw, was when it started dawning on me that NFL teams weren’t ordering “off the rack” gear. Seeing teams in person I began to realize that, for instance, the Packers’ “gold”—both helmets and pants—was far more “yellow” than the “gold” trim on the Vikings and Rams uniforms.

    Thanks for correcting my mistake, Chance.

    —Ricko

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 6:14 pm |

    [quote comment=”305461″]After having watched previews of the “Greatest Game Ever Played,” I question the accuracy of the colorization. It appears to me that both teams are shown in a darker shade of blue than the teams actually wore (and currently wear) at the time. Here, for example, is the uniform history of the Giants.
    http://history.giant...

    Noticed that, too. On the promos, both look more like navy than royal. Well, computer colorization is, at best, an inexact science. So I guess we’ll have to imagine the royal. Although ballpark lighting wasn’t what it is today, so had the game been telecast in color they may actually have looked more like navy anyway.

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 6:34 pm |

    Speaking of inexact sciences, I just noticed that on that Giants uni history it says the helmet numbers and the striped road pants go back as far as 1954, which isn’t right. In the Sneaker Game photos we can see the road pants have no striping and there are no numbers on the helmets (plus I still can’t tell if those pants are gray or white; based on photos from other games, I have a hunch they wore plain white pants with the white jerseys for awhile there). Whatever, by ’58 and the GGEP, the helmet numbers have been added. I can’t say for sure, though, whether the gray striped road pants and the helmet numbers came in ’57 or ’58.

    Timmy B, your dice.

  • steve | December 13, 2008 at 6:40 pm |

    Ricko,

    I believe there is color film of the sneaker game, which off the top of my head can be seen on the Giants history DVD.

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 6:43 pm |

    [quote comment=”305475″]Ricko,

    I believe there is color film of the sneaker game, which off the top of my head can be seen on the Giants history DVD.[/quote]

    Now THAT I’d love to see.
    (And looking again at the photo of Mel Triplett scoring, the pants do appear to be darker than Bears’ white)

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 6:52 pm |

    Hey! Also just noticed in that Triplett photo that Giants guard Darrell Dess (#66) is wearning black tennies! Cool, the Bowery Boys look (or is it the Bob Cousy look?) comes to the NFL.

    Damn, he’s in the other photo, too.

  • Jefferson D | December 13, 2008 at 7:02 pm |

    Anyone notice the (R) logo on the UNI football field during the FCS champsionship? Has it been there all season for them and mentioned here?

  • Johnny F. | December 13, 2008 at 7:11 pm |

    All this Giants-Colts historic talk had me searching the net for interesting, topic-related stuff…and check this Colts (baseball) item out!

    http://thompsonian.i...

  • Carl | December 13, 2008 at 7:13 pm |

    [quote comment=”305462″][quote comment=”305456″][quote comment=”305427″]
    …so why the decision to keep the logo on one side then? Was that for TV? Didn’t the Packers have just one “G” for a long while too?[/quote]

    Packers added “G” in ’60, and was always two-sided. Can say that for sure; we still got their games every Sunday because first Vikings were a year way.[/quote]

    Yeah, tough to remember that Minnesota was once strict Packers territory (I still have friends there who follow the Green and Gold because their grandfather was a die-hard way back when before the Vikings).

    It was ’61, actually. The Packers played two seasons in Vince Lombardi’s classic uniforms before adding a logo to the helmet; before then they went logoless, which sometimes makes them look like the Browns in old BW photos.[/quote]

    Yea, it is easy to forget that Minnesota was once technically Packer territory given how warm & fuzzy things are between franchises. I suppose it’s similar to the old timers that still follow the Yankees, etc. from pre-expansion days.

    And thanks for not shunning me for not checking the FAQ. Always good to re-cement the basics.

  • steve | December 13, 2008 at 7:13 pm |

    Ricko,

    Check out nygiants.com. Go to the multimedia section. Go to history and you’ll see color highlights of the ’56 championship game.

    steve

  • =bg= | December 13, 2008 at 7:16 pm |

    Phil, you or Paul online? I just came across some stuff you might really be interested in, vintage and in perfect shape from the mid 70s, saved in my scrapbooks. Whats yer email?

  • Mike Engle | December 13, 2008 at 7:51 pm |

    [quote comment=”305482″]Phil, you or Paul online? I just came across some stuff you might really be interested in, vintage and in perfect shape from the mid 70s, saved in my scrapbooks. Whats yer email?[/quote]
    Paul is uniwatch at earthlink dot net
    Phil is phecken at yahoo dot com

  • Ricko | December 13, 2008 at 8:31 pm |

    [quote comment=”305481″]Ricko,

    Check out nygiants.com. Go to the multimedia section. Go to history and you’ll see color highlights of the ’56 championship game.

    steve[/quote]

    Watched it. Thanks. Fun to see.

  • LI Phil | December 13, 2008 at 8:37 pm |

    [quote comment=”305482″]Phil, you or Paul online? I just came across some stuff you might really be interested in, vintage and in perfect shape from the mid 70s, saved in my scrapbooks. Whats yer email?[/quote]

    my e-mail is what mike said…but i’ll shoot you one too…i actually don’t have my column prepared for tomorrow, so let’s have a look-see!

  • jmart | December 13, 2008 at 8:55 pm |

    rangers wearing white at home so the hurricanes can wear their black alts

  • Mike Miller | December 13, 2008 at 8:58 pm |

    color v. color on ESPN in the Crosstown Shootout. Cincinnati at home in red, vs. Xavier in road navy blue.

  • MPowers1634 | December 13, 2008 at 9:14 pm |

    Sorry I’m so late but contratulations are in order for Phil and Ricko.

    Ricko, you’re old as dirt but you have used your years wisely and we all benefit from your accrued knowledge.

    Phil, Your weekend entries have become a true guilty pleasure for me!

    I’m glad to have found UniWatch, but the two of you definitely make it THAT much better!

  • dannyb | December 13, 2008 at 9:19 pm |

    So I’m watching TGGEP in colour, and it is pretty damn good in my book…

  • MPowers1634 | December 13, 2008 at 9:20 pm |

    [quote comment=”305489″]So I’m watching TGGEP in colour, and it is pretty damn good in my book…[/quote]

    The actual game footage is GREAT, but I absolutely love the current Colts and Giants interviewing the older players.

  • jmart | December 13, 2008 at 9:22 pm |

    not only are the interviews cool but also the old school logos are so clutch

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 9:28 pm |

    [quote comment=”305460″][quote comment=”305458″]guys,

    ESPN did not ruin ESPN Classic. They tried to do classic programming but the ratings were horrible. Sad to say, but not as many as we would like enjoy that type of programming.

    As for you Phil, I have spoken to Paul a few times about coming to see our library of historical color film, which includes film from baseball, football, basketball, hockey and the olympics and dates back to 1937.[/quote]

    I’m certain you are right, I guess I say they ruined it for the likes of ME. I guess they’d be better off calling it ESPN3. I built an entire video library around the programming of the late ‘90’s and early aughts. I’m sure no one else (beside Tom) was watching but me, but I bet I miss it more than those who watch now.[/quote]

    You know what, I’ve changed my mind. If ESPN doesn’t think exposing new fans to a guy like Art Donovan is worth while, then shame on them. And I don’t mean just from tonight, much of what I know about a guy like Donovan, I saw on ESPN Classic when they pretended to care about preserving the history that made 24 hour sports relevant.

  • Jordan Pope | December 13, 2008 at 9:34 pm |

    [quote comment=”305490″][quote comment=”305489″]So I’m watching TGGEP in colour, and it is pretty damn good in my book…[/quote]

    The actual game footage is GREAT, but I absolutely love the current Colts and Giants interviewing the older players.[/quote]

    i agree
    the art donavan and michael strahan interview is a good one

  • MPowers1634 | December 13, 2008 at 9:49 pm |

    Is the “Ov Glove” considered uni-worthy?

  • LI Phil | December 13, 2008 at 9:50 pm |

    [quote comment=”305494″]Is the “Ov Glove” considered uni-worthy?[/quote]

    is mrs. powers wearing it?

  • MPowers1634 | December 13, 2008 at 9:57 pm |

    Frankly, I don’t know.

    I snuck up to the attic to watch TGGEP while the kids are watching the new Willy Wonka and she finished the Gingerbread House!

  • LI Phil | December 13, 2008 at 10:01 pm |

    [quote comment=”305496″]Frankly, I don’t know.

    I snuck up to the attic to watch TGGEP while the kids are watching the new Willy Wonka and she finished the Gingerbread House![/quote]

    i bet that’s good enough to eat!

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 10:09 pm |

    You think ESPN is glad they picked Steve Smith as the Giants WR to feature. What do you think Jim Mutscheller thought last weekend “Hey, I know that guy who helped Plax”.

  • LI Phil | December 13, 2008 at 10:11 pm |

    photogrammatical mapping?

    WTF?

  • Sammy | December 13, 2008 at 10:17 pm |

    I have to say that I’m a little disappointed in the ESPN production. I was under the impression that ESPN would be showing the whole game, not just little pieces. I understand that the original TV tapes no longer exist, but I expected a more continuous game action.

    Plus there are too many interruptions, for the interviews and COMMERCIALS!! Were there TV timeouts back then?

  • Marcus from B-More | December 13, 2008 at 10:21 pm |

    very interesting for me to see football at yankee stadium (30 year old diehard baseball fan who remembers watching this on tv as an almost 6 year old kid). Watching the ball punted in the air and seeing this (sans the allstar logo of course)

  • Lwiedy | December 13, 2008 at 10:25 pm |

    [quote comment=”305500″]I have to say that I’m a little disappointed in the ESPN production. I was under the impression that ESPN would be showing the whole game, not just little pieces. I understand that the original TV tapes no longer exist, but I expected a more continuous game action.

    Plus there are too many interruptions, for the interviews and COMMERCIALS!! Were there TV timeouts back then?[/quote]

    Can’t say I disagree, but perhaps the thought is that it has already been done. In the late ‘90’s there was a near play-by-play version done by NFL Films, part of the “NFL Films Greatest Games” series. Plus there are several other fairly plain treatments as well. They seem to be doing a very good job of “building” the drama in a game that has more than once been called “overrated”.

  • Marcus from B-More | December 13, 2008 at 10:26 pm |

    [quote comment=”305501″]very interesting for me to see football at yankee stadium (30 year old diehard baseball fan who remembers watching this on tv as an almost 6 year old kid). Watching the ball punted in the air and seeing this (sans the allstar logo of course)[/quote]

    fixing my linking

  • LI Phil | December 13, 2008 at 10:33 pm |

    [quote comment=”305505″][quote comment=”305503″][quote comment=”305501″]very interesting for me to see football at yankee stadium (30 year old diehard baseball fan who remembers watching this on tv as an almost 6 year old kid). Watching the ball punted in the air and seeing this (sans the allstar logo of course)[/quote]

    fixing my linking[/quote]

    And of course you know that was nothing more than a recreation. All of the original façade died in 1973. The remakes were merely the “corner” pieces. The full length pieces were far more impressive. http://i256.photobuc...
    using your fixed link, thanks[/quote]

    ya…larry beat me to it, but that frieze (the original) was iconic…the new stuff was just fluff…an afterthought almost…

  • timmy b | December 13, 2008 at 11:30 pm |

    [quote comment=”305474″]Speaking of inexact sciences, I just noticed that on that Giants uni history it says the helmet numbers and the striped road pants go back as far as 1954, which isn’t right. In the Sneaker Game photos we can see the road pants have no striping and there are no numbers on the helmets (plus I still can’t tell if those pants are gray or white; based on photos from other games, I have a hunch they wore plain white pants with the white jerseys for awhile there). Whatever, by ’58 and the GGEP, the helmet numbers have been added. I can’t say for sure, though, whether the gray striped road pants and the helmet numbers came in ’57 or ’58.

    Timmy B, your dice.[/quote]

    Ricko,

    A bit late, so I’ll add this to 12/14 if need be.
    The ’56 Giants pants were a light shade of gray (worn with both white and blue jerseys) and the stripes didn’t come until 1957. As for the helmet numbers, the Giants apllied them only on the back of the helmet in 1957 and then slapped them on the front as well starting in 1958.

    One curious thing with the Giants from this end. In 1961, when the “ny” was added to the helmets, from some game action shots, it looks like only about 3/4’s of the players had the logo while other Giant helmets were logoless.

    HTH, guys.

  • scott | December 13, 2008 at 11:49 pm |

    Has the “100 years of UMass basketball” patch been discussed on uniwatch?

  • Terry Mark | December 14, 2008 at 12:45 am |

    [quote comment=”305393″]Apologies to ESPN, but this colorization scheme is bush-league. Just show the game. If “TGGEP” is the
    the Citizen Kane of football, then an Orson Welles quote is in order:
    “Keep Ted Turner and his goddamned Crayolas away from my movies.”

    Andy Reid watches the game for the first time, and dissects it here:
    http://www.theatlant...

    I disagree with those who have taken issue with colorization of “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” particularly the comparison with “Citizen Kane.”

    Orson Welles and other legendary filmmakers composed their shots and lit the sets they did because they knew they were filming in black and white. The black-and-white prints are how the filmmaker intended for those scenes to be seen. That’s why colorizing B&W films is such an affront.

    Colorizing footage of a football game is much different. The game wasn’t broadcast in B&W because that’s how the NFL or the producers wanted it. It was because of the technological.

    To say that colorizing the footage would distort the historical record is puzzling. If the players on the field testify that the field was brown and the film shows it as gray, does that mean the field was “historically” gray?

    Do we all live in Pleasantville, where only B&W is good and color is “dangerous” or “inaccurate”.

  • The Hemogoblin | December 14, 2008 at 2:36 am |

    [quote comment=”305508″]Has the “100 years of UMass basketball” patch been discussed on uniwatch?[/quote]

    Perhaps the better question:

    Has the 100 Years of Ricko Patch been designed yet?

  • Hurnf | December 16, 2008 at 6:02 pm |

    I watched GGEP.

    One missing “pairing” — Peyton and Eli Manning.