For years now, many of us have lamented the fact that this NFL uniform database (which has plenty of errors but is still the best resource out there) only goes back to 1959. Now Tim Brulia — the same guy who previously compiled our NFL “White at Home” page — has attempted to document all pro football uniforms from 1933 through 1958. The results can be found here.
As you’ll see, it’s just a lengthy series of text descriptions — no visuals. But it’s a start. And hopefully someone with design skills will come along and work with Tim to create a visual database. (Special thanks to Phil for helping to edit and format Tim’s text files.)
New ESPN column today — here’s the link.
The Proctor Files, Continued: As I expected, Tuesday’s entry about the 1967 Russell Southern uniform catalog prompted some reminiscing from sporting goods scholar Terry Proctor:
That 1967 edition of the Russell catalog is the first one that I used at Ruby’s Sporting Goods. The style numbers and nomenclature used in it came back to me instantaneously. It’s like riding a bike — you never forget. I toured that factory in Alex City and their satellite plant in Dadeville, and I personally knew many of the people listed on that page.
One of the first orders I wrote from that book was for the Style 13524 football jerseys [as seen at the bottom of this page — PL] that we sold to my high school, Livonia Central High. They ordered royal blue jerseys with orange inserts. Numbers front and back were in solid-orange RussCote, while the TV numbers were solid royal in the insert. The varsity team wore those jerseys through the 1976 season and then they were passed down to the JVs. Like I said in our interview, you couldn’t kill a Russell football jersey.
To me, this catalog is the Holy Grail. It’s a reminder of my first, permanent job and all of the enjoyment I got from creating and selling uniforms, and a testament to how great the uniform business was at one time.
I’m very, very fond of this catalog myself, but it obviously means a lot more to Terry than it could ever mean to me. So after I finish scanning all of its pages, I’m going to send it to him. Enjoy, Terry — thanks for sharing all your knowledge and memories with us.
Uni Watch News Ticker: No more forfeited timeouts! Yesterday the NCAA issued lots of football rules revisions, including one pertaining to color-vs.-color games: “[The rules committee] approved a request to allow teams, when approved by the conference office and agreed to by both teams, to wear colored jerseys as long as they are clearly contrasting in color. When agreement is unable to be reached, the visiting team shall wear white.” … Interesting story from Craig Friday, who writes: “In 1998 Trent Dilfer of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had an equipment manager put Terry Bradshaw’s old facebar on his helmet. He wore it in a nationally televised game against Tennessee. From what I remember, he did it as a tribute to Bradshaw, who was one of his boyhood role models.” Anyone know more about this? … The Bulls wore red at home on Tuesday night, as a tribute to former coach and broadcaster Johnny “Red” Kerr. They also had this logo on the court and held a halftime ceremony for Kerr. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: color-coordinated hot water bottle! … Nick Noyes reports that the goalies in Tuesday’s Italy/Brazil friendly match were wearing scarves, and many of the players were wearing black gloves. … Here’s what appears to be the final chapter in the story about that woman who stumbled upon rare baseball card. … Someone on the Chris Creamer board has noted that the state of Georgia offers license plates with shout-outs to several non-Georgia schools. … Very cool vintage NFL book cover available here (with thanks to Mike Hersh). … Jeremy Brahm reports that the Vancouver Olympic torch design will be unveiled today. As you may recall from last summer, torch design has a surprisingly interesting history. … Back in December I ran this photo of a first initial appearing after the surname. Is this (which appeared in yesterday’s comments) another example of that phenomenon, or is it just a typical eBay fraud? … Oooh, very nice. … Can anyone explain how a bone nailed to a plank can harden bats? (With thanks to AJ Chalifour.) … Personal appeal from Joe Hilseberg, who writes: “I run a charity called CF4CF, in honor of my cousin, who passed away from cystic fibrosis. On April 3rd we’re having a benefit concert featuring her all-time favorite band, Mr. Greengenes, who are VERY much into the uniform/jersey world. They wear jerseys onstage all of the time, plus they’re the Phillies’ ‘official’ band and are on hand for pretty much every important sporting event in Philly.” For further details on this event, look here. … Ben Traxel has a bunch of old Sports Illustrated mini-posters, several of which raise interesting questions: (1) Are those back-yard gardening gloves or what? (2) Who were the Cardinals memorializing with that thick left-sleeve armband? (3) Are there any other teams that used team-styled uni numbers on their QB towels? (4) Did Phil Simms always autograph things as “Phill”? … Ben also has this poster catalog, all eight pages of which can be viewed here. … Nike is hyping its Pro Combat gear for the NBA All-Star Game. Details here. … Umpires usually wear solid-black shoes with relatively low-profile logo creep, but Reebok is bucking that trend with this white-logo model, which is now the official umpiring shoe of Major League Baseball. There’s some discussion about it here (with thanks to Mike Meihls). … Apparently there’s a whole subculture of people out there who like to repaint and customize McFarlane figures. Details here (with thanks to Jeff Katz).