By Phil Hecken
As I’m sure you’ve noticed in the past few weeks, it has been remarked that there are a few of the real “old school” teams out there, some which we could never envision undergoing a “transformation” into a modern uniform. Of the teams who’ve undergone uniform ‘revisions’ of a significant nature in the past decade or so, some have gone from “classic” to “innovative” (wait, what?), while others have gone from semi-modern and thrownback to an older uniform style, while still others have almost moved almost laterally when they changed uniforms. Teams like the Giants, 49ers, and Jets have become more traditional, teams like the Cardinals, Falcons and Vikings have clearly moved into the “innovative” camp, while teams like the Lions, Patriots and Chargers have moved somewhat laterally. Clearly, the state of uniform design is in flux.
But what about the “real classic looking” teams (you know, teams that haven’t drastically changed their uniform look in a hundred years — the Bears, Browns, Packers, Colts, Chiefs, Raiders or Steelers) — what if they were to “change” or move into the “innovative camp”? Would we resist the change and hate it? You know, “change for change sake”? Or could one of them pull it off? I don’t know. But I would love to see what might happen. I’m not saying I would embrace such a change, but I would love to see what they might come up with.
In my trolling the Interwebs over the past several years, I found two mock-ups of what a new Browns uniform might look like, were it “modernized”: Exhibit A and Exhibit B. Clearly, the first example reminds us of the Broncos/Vikings/Panthers, while Exhibit B moves a bit more into the Falcons/Cardinals camp. Is either one that horrible? I’d say no. But do the Browns really need to “modernize” their uniform at all (other than ditching the brown pants)? Good question.
I’m trying to visualize teams like the Pack, Bears or Raiders in “something new.” Would such a change spell the end of civilization as we know it? Or would we merely begin to accept (if not agree with) it as we have with the Broncos? Should a team that really appears to have hit rock bottom like the Raiders think about mixing it up a little? And if we were to pick one of the “classics” to rework, who might the candidate be? Why?
Maybe thinking outside the box isn’t such a bad thing. After all, while there is no reason to “change for change sake” (CFCS), is there anyone who wouldn’t at least like to see one of the old school teams in nu skool digs — even if we were to summarily dismiss it?
We’ve seen several readers’ suggestions for uniform tweaks in the NFL, and Ricko & I have posted several of ours as well — although mine were more about returning the nu skool teams (see the second section) to and old school look (and Ricko did a superb job with his comp sleeve idea, we’ve never gone the other way — namely — giving a traditionally attired team a new look.
The “new look” doesn’t need to be drastic. For example, what if we simply gave the Steelers white pants instead of gold (and at the same time, pair their throwbacks with gold pants)? I’m sure die hard Steeler fans wouldn’t want to even think about it — well, maybe they wouldn’t embrace it, but it could give them pause. I think that might actually work for the Steelers, but pulling the same white pants treatment on the Packers probably fails.
A more radical concept, probably more suited to a “4th jersey” or “second alternate” might entail creating a uniform or jersey akin to the 1994 75th Anniversary uniforms worn by the Steelers and Bears — or would that look too much like the CFL’s Mad Dogs or Barracudas? Ricko came up with this Packer alternate as an example. Or what about the Brown’s using their elf mascot, Brownie? Remember, the suggestions in this section are merely for a once-a-year alternate, not a full-time revision.
Another possibility for an “alternate” for the classic old-school teams might be to introduce a third jersey which isn’t necessarily “nu skool,” but which isn’t exactly old school either. Ricko thought one way for the Steelers or Packers to “mix it up” a little would be to introduce a brand new jersey that combines elements from the past, but (if his “comp sleeves” solution doesn’t pan out), addresses the current state of jersey construction. When you have little or no “sleeve” on which to put your classic stripes, maybe you remove them and replace them with a yoke and a logo. Of course, just for “fun,” Rick couldn’t resist having some fun with the Colts classic. Ok — that’s probably a little much, but why not throw it out there?
But what if the teams were to go the Browns route (as seen above?). I personally love the Browns current look (sans the brown pants, of course), but I don’t totally hate the second Browns concepts (although, I think 9 combinations is a bit much). Is a team currently as bad as the Browns currently are perhaps looking for a new direction? What about say, the Raiders? Sure, they haven’t changed much since 1963, but what if they were to go down the “modern” route? Would the world suddenly spin off it’s axis? (Maybe it would). How bad could it be if the Giants added some bumperstickers? Or Da Bears. How about The Pack? Really?
What do you guys think? Should any of the current “traditional” teams try something new? And if so, what might you suggest? Lets see what you got (and all you graphic artists out there — how about giving a “modern twist on a classic” a shot). The rest of you, love to hear what you think.
UNI WATCH WINTER CLASSIC ADVISORY!!!
This is a “repeat” from yesterday, so if you read this then, just skip to the next section. If you didn’t see this, please check it out and give it some serious consideration! Should be a really fun event (and hopefully, if all falls into place, Paul and I will be there too)…think of it as a Uni Watch Gathering on steroids. I’ll let Rick describe it:
Even as we speak, Teebz (he of Winnipeg and “Hockey Blog In Canada”) and I (Ricko) are beginning plans for the first Uni Watch Winter Classic, a gathering here in the Twin Cities in January.
Paul may attend. He’s discussing covering Pond Hockey and other things with ESPN. I’m helping him with a list of “story possibilities,” including an interview with Ray Crump, who purportedly fashioned the first flapped batting helmet, for Earl Battey of the Twins (Crump owns a souvenir shop/baseball museum kitty corner from the Metrodome). Perhaps the Vintage Minnesota Hockey Jerseys folks? Maybe some curling?
· We’re talking January 22-23-24, 2009 to be precise, during which not one, but TWO Pond Hockey Championships are scheduled.
· U.S. Pond Hockey Championships on Lake Nokomis near Mall of America.
· North American Pond Hockey Championships on Lake Minnetonka, in a far western suburb.
· Saturday the 23rd is “Hockey Day in Minnesota”
· Minnesota Wild versus Detroit Red Wings, Thursday the 21st at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center. Wild is a tough ticket.
· Minnesota Timberwolves versus New Orleans Hornets (not, unfortunately, in their Mardi Gras unis), Friday the 22nd at Minneapolis Target Center. Special on tickets, $20, including some kind of vintage t-shirt.
· Wild versus Columbus Blue Jackets, Saturday the 23rd at the “X” with “Hockey Day in Minnesota” patch giveaway. Not as tough as Thursday’s Red Wings game, but still tough.
· Possibility of NFC Championship at Metrodome that weekend (said “possibility,” lol). Tickets pretty much impossible but we could tailgate.
Teebz can’t get any info on hotel group rates until we have some idea of how many rooms we’ll need. The best bet now is that we’ll focus on the Lake Nokomis Tournament. It’s older, has more rinks and teams, and is a bit more whimsical, perhaps. Plenty of places to eat in the neighborhood, including a pair of “joints” that claim the Juicy Lucy as their signature entree and another with fabulous pizza.
Lodgings would then likely be in the area of the airport./Mall of America. That means easy light rail connections to the airport, the mall and downtown (Target Center for ‘Wolves and Metrodome).
When the time comes, either Teebz and I can handle rooms and tickets through our PayPal accounts.
So far we have half dozen or so locals committed, plus Teebz and rpm (Robert Marshall) from out-of-town, and Phil is working on ways to leverage some of his inheritance early so that he can swing it, too.
For now, we’d like some feel for who would be interested. Any more form Chicago? Wisconsin? Hey, it’s Teebz, Grand Poobah of the UW Hockey Wing, and with any luck, the creative Mr. Marshall, Phil, and maybe even our Fearless Leader/Founder.
So post if you’re interested… email me and I or Teebz will be in touch.
Looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible,
Got several more NFL uniform tweaks/reworks/concepts to share with you this fine day, so let’s get right to it. Up first is John Follett, who actually held his own uni design contests for his board, and who is gracious enough so share some of these with us today. John actually sent concepts for several different sports, but for today, we’re just going to check out the NFL:
Lovin all the recent articles featuring subscriber submitted uniform tweaks/massive upgrades of professional sports teams. I have been a follower of the site for a long time and earlier in the year, I started an on-going project at a sports forum, where we set out to re-invigorate some of the more non-interesting and lame looks out there. Each week I would post a team and a small group of us would get to work on redesigning everything from the team’s logo to full uniform sets. I left the stipulations of the contest wide open and ordered that only 1 rule was to be followed throughout: create something better than what is already in place. In what was dubbed the “Design the Diggs” competition, I now present to you some of the good, the bad, and the ugly results of our short-lived project.
Week 2 switched gears towards the NFL where we hunted down a classic, but yet extremely boring look. After about 5 minutes of deliberation, our group concluded that what the Cleveland Browns have been wearing for so long just isn’t cutting it anymore. We found that re-designing the Cleveland Browns wasn’t as easy as initially planned. Most struggled to invent a new logo, (some tried: here, here and here), and it was a major consensus that the bulldog face should be adopted as the primary logo. New uniform designs didn’t result in much but we did try: here, here, and here.
Things didn’t get easier as the Washington Redskins were up next. Some entries continued to break the golden rule of create something better. Others went outside the box and actually came up with some pretty interesting designs, as seen here, here, here, and here.
Sadly our little contest ended in week 9 with the oblong task of re-designing the New Orleans Saints. More failure to get original but some nice touch ups resulted in this. In the end, the Saints managed to kill our contest and the creative flow inside all our brains…well…stopped flowing. In any event, it was fun while it lasted and I do believe that we accomplished our mission of creating some better looks than those that are already being used by said teams.
My love for everything Uni Watch stands for and the ongoing fascination for uniforms, colors, numbering styles, and logos is what inspired this contest…so it only makes sense that this is shared with the rest of the community. Thanks for the read, thanks for everything Uni Watch is, I look forward to reading on.
Up next is Denver Gregg, from whom we have already heard in an earlier edition of “tweaks,” with his Denver Broncos mocks. He’s back again for more, with some new teams:
I’ve got a few new ideas for some NFL re-designs. Hoping the ideas can get past my bad MS-Paint skills.
I loved the (inaccurate) Oiler throwbacks, so I came up with two Titan concepts (here’s the helmet) based on the throwback, each with a different element from the current set (with a dark blue helmet).
It always bothered me that the Vikes had Northwestern sleeves on the dark jersey and shoulder loops on the whites. This addresses that inconsistency and a few other issues some have with the Minny crew.
Our next set of tweaks is just for one team, the New Orleans Saints, and they come from Rafael Ortiz-Torrez:
My name is Ralph, and I’m from Daytona, FL
Back when the Jags, Lions, and Niners debuted their unis for the 09 season, I got to thinking who else needed a uniform update. The only team left that came to my mind were the New Orleans Saints. I’m not saying the unis they have now are bad, but just for the sake of creativity, I made these mockups of my idea for a new Saints Uniform, Wordmark, and Logo.
The uniform numerals are trimmed and faintly shadowed; the black jerseys have gold numerals trimmed in white with a dark gold shadow, the white jerseys have black numerals trimmed in gold with a silver shadow.
The jersey’s shoulder stripes are a thick gold stripe and a thin white stripe coming up and over the shoulder, going down the side of the jersey. The arm stripes are a thin white and a thick gold. Black is sandwiched between the two sets of stripes on the arm, and down the side as well. The sets of shoulder and arm stripes are on both jerseys.
The neck band is the same as the Vikings and Chargers uniforms, and is Gold on both jerseys. NOB’s, as well as workmarks on the fronts, are Black/White on White/Black respectfully.
The pants basically continue the side stripe from the jersey. The alternate logo is placed on the stripes on both sides of the pants below the waist. There are 3 pant colors, gold, black, and white, that are used, for a grand total of 6 possible uniform combinations.
The logo is really unchanged, but the presentation is different. The logo stays black, but is outlined in gold/dark gold, and silver. The gold outline is beveled to create a raised effect for the logo on the helmet. On the gold helmet, or on any other colored background, a white outline is added to the logo. The helmet stripe reverses the stripe colors, black-white-black, used right now, and uses white-black-white.
The wordmark is black and outlined in gold when presented with the logo or by itself on a white background. The city name is above the wordmark, and is gold with no outline. There is no outline on the workmark on the jerseys.
The alternate logo takes the classic Louisiana-Star logo, and modernizes it by using a concept made popular by the Hornets, the NOLA abbrevation. The state outline itself is gold outlined in black. The star has the same bevel outline as the logo, black outlined in white/gold-darkgold/silver. Inside the state outline, the letters “N O” are black outlined in white. To the right of the “N O” outside of the state outline is the letter “A”, using the Louisiana state outline as the letter “L”. For some reason, this was my favorite logo to do in this set.
(Using cities and states, “N” is to the right of Shreveport, the “O” is just south of Monroe, and the “A” is in Mississippi)
That’s my idea for New Orleans Saints logos and uniforms. Thanks for taking time out to read this.
Our last set of tweaks/concepts today comes from Andrew Wagner, who is undertaking the task of redesigning the entire NFL. For this set of tweaks, however, he’s just bringing us examples of four teams he’s done so far. Here’s Andrew:
Hey there, I wanted to contact you in regards to the NFL redesigns you are running on the site. I’m not sure what I should do in this situation because I am actually not just doing a few teams, but I’ve undertaken a task of working on the entire NFL. Every team is under scrutiny in my book here and I’ve completed over half the league so far. Basically, there are some teams where I have looked back to their history and decided upon the single best look and designated as the uniform. Or, like the Titans, I’ve modified it to certain degree. There are some of course, that I have left alone, but there are also other uniforms that I haven’t changed per se, but rather where I have made a decision on which jersey/pants combo. To give you an idea of what I’m doing here are a few samples I’ve done.
The Titans home uniform draws inspiration from the Oilers and in my opinion looks way better than the mismash that is the Titans current set. The away set is similar in design, but features navy blue in place of red and sets it apart with a classy color scheme that still resembles the home set.
The Saints see a more vibrant color of gold and the pants stripes now mimick the helmet.
When returning teams back to another era in their uniforms (ex. Bills to their lovely throwbacks), I also added alternates where I thought they looked good / appropriate. Bills got a red alt, and Patriots a blue one.
This is just an example of what I’m doing here and I’m not quite sure how I should go about it. I’ve got plenty more I’ve completed and I’m planning to complete the rest of the league on thanksgiving break and Christmas as well.
That is going to do it for this round of the NFL. I still have several more, and you guys keep sending them in (and please, continue to do so). Drop me a line and put in the subject line “NFL Uni Tweaks”. Thanks!
Ricko’s really on a roll with Benchies. In fact, today is a very special one. Once again, I’ll give him his own intro. Here’s Rick: “Someone asked last week why the Sunday “Benchies” have been in black and white lately. Well, I was fresh out of Sundays. All the Sunday “Benchies” to date–and a good share of the black and whites—had been from the Archives (oh, a few Sundays had some things updated, sure). Anyway, this is the first new Sunday I’ve drawn in something like 15 or 16 years. Script formed in my noggin along about Tuesday and I started working on it Wednesday night. Don’t quite have my chops back yet, so bear with me.” — Ricko
And with that, please enjoy a Very Special Sunday Benchies
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: We return to the gridiron this Sunday. Not too sure about the difficulty level, but some of you older readers may have no trouble. The only clue you need is right there in the center of the photograph. My only advice, if you can’t get this is: “Think.” Ready? Please post your answer int the form of a link — date, location and final score. Guess The Game. As always, if you enjoy the game, please send me some new scoreboards! Drop me a line. Thanks!
5. Kansas State/Nebraska — Not a fan of black football socks, but everything else is cool.
4. Harvard/Yale — They look smart, don’t they?
3. SMU/Marshall — I’ve been wanting to get SMU on here all year, and this is a good day to do it.
2. Penn State/Michigan State — Penn State/Pitt was a better rivalry, but this is a nifty nitty-gritty matchup.
1. LSU/Ole Miss — Rebels look even better than last week, and the Tigers look just as good.
And the WORST uni matchup of 11/21: Oregon/Arizona – I like blue helmets and all-red unis, but both teams have too much other stuff going on here.
UW #1 Seahawks Fan Michael Princip has been tracking the Oregon Ducks and all of their 2,456 possible uniform combinations this season. He’ll be updating it after each game. Last evening, in a real game for the ages, Oregon kept up its run for the roses with a thrilling, double-overtime win over Arizona, in a uniform matchup (see Jim’s 5 & 1 above) that was, well, less than stellar. But the game was an instant classic.
Uni Observation of the
decade evening goes to Mike Engle, who discovered there is quite possibly a reason for the “truncated” pants stripe on North Carolina. Don’t believe me? Check it out. Could the geniuses at Nike have actually been considering this when creating this little “uni quirk”? Who knows, but it’s food for thought…
That’s a wrap for this fine November Sunday. How bout them riflery uniforms yesterday, huh? Yeah, I was taking a class on photoshop so my graphics hopefully won’t suck so much, so I didn’t see any of the games, but I did see the highlights and stills. Nike didn’t make these uniforms because they wanted to — they did it because they could.
Everyone have a great Sunday.