By Phil Hecken, with Rick Pearson
Back again with more NFL uni tweaks, but this first section, entirely envisioned and described by Ricko, is, in a word, “brilliant.” Whereas our previous “tweaks” were designed to solve our own misgivings about certain teams uni-choices, these are actual practical solutions to real problems. What is that real problem? Well, unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past decade, you’ve most likely noticed that the sleeve on the football uniform, with the exception of a few quarterbacks, a wide receiver or two, and kickers, is basically a vestigial element now. While this may not be such a big deal in the overall scheme of uniform design, it is a MAJOR headache for teams who still choose to put stripes on what were once full sleeves. You’ve seen the half-assed solutions being proffered by designers who are
admittedly clueless apparently at a loss for ways around the new uniform cuts. Some have apparently no stripes at all. Or they end up stretched onto the chest. I mean, c’mon. This is getting ridiculous.
Enter Ricko. What he’s about to offer up is a simple, straightforward and logical answer to the “disappearing sleeve” on the NFL uniform. And with that, I give you Ricko:
Talk About Wearing Things On Your Sleeve
by Rick Pearson
First of all, this is NOT about re-designing anyone’s unis, so let’s not get our hackles up. This is about what to do with sleeve stripes when you have no sleeves to put them on.
A while ago on UW I asked, not altogether rhetorically, Why not put the stripes on the sleeves of the compression shirts? That makes this about an “Apparel Innovation.” Nothing more.
The central notion, then is: Let’s give up trying to make stripes work on today’s shortie jersey sleeves, shall we? The hell with it; put ‘em somewhere else. Say, where they belong? That way, TV numbers and logos could move back to (when appropriate or desired) the more traditional position on the sleeves. Also, TVs could return to the customary 4-inch size…in some cases in the past, even larger.
This idea WOULD require development of a half-sleeve compression shirt in addition to the full-length and “armpit”-length versions typically produced. Secondly, it would be nice if the NFL adopted a Uni Rule reading: “Shoulder pads and armpits must be completely covered by the player’s jersey and/or under sleeves”. But that’s not realistic, I suppose. I think today’s players really get off on showing their guns. “Chicks Dig It” is the rationale, I imagine.
So, without a lot of explanation of what you’re about to see, here’s what you’d get (presented in no particular order)…Redskins, Packers, Giants white, 49ers, Browns (yes, I added stripes to the brown pants; couldn’t help myself [white socks too — that pic was taken from last year’s preseason game when the Brown’s first broke out the Brown pants with Brown leggings — they have since switched to white socks [–PH]), Steelers, Vikings throwbacks and Bears.
I did mess around with Cardinals, taking elements of their St. Louis and early Arizona unis (especially the whites) to show how a team could to do some unique things with the compression sleeve stripes. The “5-stripes same width” look is derivative of their throwback socks from 1994. Taken to the dark uni, it’s interesting, but a bit much. This combination — more like the 1980’s — for home and road may look old-fashioned to some, but it’s clean…and interesting. A sort of “minimalist” spin on their St. Louis duds.
And, yes, I did the Bengals, not to criticize their current uni, but to show that a team could really go nuts, actually making the compression sleeves the uni’s “signature element“. I certainly could have done the same concept for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats or Princeton University, so please don’t take it as slam on the Bengals. No white version of these sleeves with this one. Imagine them, black sleeves and colored stripes, with a white jersey. Yowsa.
Conclusion (mine, anyway)? It could work.
BAD news for fans: Two separate garments needed to get “official” game day look.
But that’s the GOOD news for the NFL merchandising arm (no pun intended). Plus, they’d probably sell a boatload of just the striped compression shirts, too.
Okay, I’m done.
Phil here. Great job with that Ricko. You may have seen some of these designs in the comments section before, but never in a full-blown post. This is an idea the NFL should seriously consider, especially for teams who still, ya know, wear striped jersey sleeves.
After Ricko came to me (and you via the comments) with the idea of the comp sleeves, one of UW’s readers, Patrick “pflava” Woody provided me with a graphic set of Ricko’s proposals, which I’ll present here, and which gives another idea of how both the long and short sleeved comp sleeves could look (in a couple of cases, Patrick’s template designs differ from Ricko’s, but the idea is the same): Redskins, (which is more of a throwback look than Rick’s compression sleeve idea for the current uniform) Vikings (throwback), Steelers, Browns, 49ers, Giants (road), and Bears.
Fantastic job with those Patrick. I also wanted to show you the same concept, brought to you by Fred Strom, who took Ricko’s Packers idea and made this mockup. But he didn’t stop there: Fred also mocked up the Steelers, da Bears, and (my favorite), the Browns. Great job Fred. (By the way, Fred is the guy who gave us one of the first neon
snot green Seahawks — created shortly after Paul’s April Fool’s Day post — and who saw my piece on them last weekend, but whose work I wasn’t familiar with at the time). So, I’m including Fred’s Neon Green Seahawks concepts here.
I’m sure I’ll be featuring more great works from Patrick and Fred as the season wears on. But props to them for helping to bring Ricko’s Comp Sleeve proposals to us today as well.
Getting Loopy On You
by Phil & Rick
Moving along to a joint effort between Ricko and myself, we’re sure you’ve noticed that not only have sleeves disappeared on NFL jerseys, so too have the once prevalent and beautiful shoulder loops (or “arches” as Ricko refers to them) that at one time once graced NFL uniforms in varying degrees. Whether their disappearance into truncated stubs like this, this and this is a function of the new jersey cuts, or simply manufacturer’s sloth isn’t really important. What is important is that even teams who sport truncated loops still have players who wear full loops with the current jersey.
Obviously, then, there is no real reason why the loop has basically disappeared. Sure, the newer cuts might make it a tad more difficult to design a uniform with actual loops but this truncated garbage is horrible. Ricko and I differ a bit on solutions to this, since technically, most teams “loops” weren’t actually full loops (as I like) but “arches” (as Ricko calls them), which are more approximations of loops, as seen in the UCLA style guide (although some teams did use full loops and some were full but tapered). I prefer the full loop, whereas Rick would prefer to end them under (or close to) the armpit, but either way, the appearance of a full loop is what is needed.
So, in my tweak, the Colts get full loops whereas in Ricko’s redesign, he gives them “arches” and ends them at the armpit. The New York Jets get the full treatment in redesign as do The Titans of New York, whereas Ricko would again end the loop (arch) under the arm. After looking at both of those options, perhaps neither one is perfect, but both are better than the truncated loop. As a compromise, we’d both move to taper the loops as they pass under the arm, yielding a look like this. Much better, no?
OK. That’s it for today on this bit of uniform fixing. But you gotta give big ups to Rick Pearson for the Comp Sleeve idea. Seriously, Mr. Goodell … Are you listening?
UW’s biggest Seahawks fan, Michael Princip has a fantastic ongoing project over at his Illustrated NFL site. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. Mike recently added a few more illustrations over in the Artists Section. Most notably, a new entry for Lon Keller and his amazing true vintage football illustrations. Michael totally digs this one of Tom Fears (80) & Elroy (Crazylegs) Hirsch (40).
Great stuff! Be sure to check that out if you haven’t already!
UW Mystery Jersey “square” — My doubles partner and UW West Coast Correspondent Brinke Guthrie has found the latest UW mystery. Check out this Huskie…what in god’s name is that dark square on his belly? I first thought it was a sweat stain, due to the new jersey cuts (which are giving unis a weird two-tone look), but now I’m pretty sure there is more to it than that. Different material? Anyone wanna take any guesses? Neither Brinke nor I can ever remember seeing anything like that before.
I don’t usually pay much mind to “top 10 best” or “worst” lists of uniforms. I mean, we here on UW should have the final word on that sort of thing anyway, right? But Ricko sent me this one. This one is a head shaker. Plus the guy who wrote it is either a homophobe or a bad comedian. Probably both. But check out the choices and the rationales. Here’s a typical quote: “The Dolphins uniforms should be San Fransisco’s uniforms. It’s hard to imagine a uniform that better represents fruit than these.” Right. Not quite sure how old it is, but it’s definitely not from this season. Still, this gets a huge “WTF?”
Our man in the street, Jim Vilk brings you his “Top 5” Best and one WORST college football uni matchup from yesterday:
5. Wyoming/Colorado – Throwbacks save the day.
4. Florida State/BYU – Cougars matched up well with FSU…well, looks-wise, that is.
3. Florida Atlantic/South Carolina – If FAU played as good as they looked, they’d be champs.
2. Southern California/Washington – Upset game; uniforms not upsetting at all.
Giants vs. Colts Duke/Kansas – The greatest game ever played…in Lawrence, Kansas…this weekend.
baddie worst uni matchup of the weekend: Cincinnati/Oregon State – A veritable black hole.
Nice work Jim. How you couldn’t put the throwback Buff’s higher is beyond me, but hey…at least they made the list. Those helmets are the bomb.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: Got another scoreboard submission from SlimandSlam today. Not quite sure about the level of difficulty, but you guys should be able to get it without too much difficulty. Stadium should be obvious, as are the teams — it only comes down to the date and the final score. Might be tricky. Ready? Guess The Game. As always, please link to the answer thru Retrosheet or Baseball Almanac. Thanks for the submission, Slim!
Well, the football season is in full gear now…and the boys of Benchies are back on the gridiron. I asked Rick how come Mike wears adidas, Mick wears Nike, and the defender in this clip wears Puma. Rick’s answer? “It’s just until I get my shoe contract.” Of course. Anyway, enjoy your Sunday Benchies. Bonus points to anyone who can name the sweatband manufacturer.
And that’s a wrap for this Sunday folks. If you missed yesterday, there was a “Design A Cap Contest” you all should check out. Keep those submissions coming!
Please make sure to compliment Patrick & Fred for their efforts as today as well. Good stuff there. And for the love of god…can somebody get the NFL front offices on the line and convince them that Ricko has the answer to the disappearing sleeve? Not only would the comp sleeves solve the disappearing/shrinking stripe problems, but they’ll be able to move one more piece of merch in the process. It’s a win-win! Cheers.