By Phil Hecken, with Larry Bodnovich and Michael Princip
Happy New Year, Uni Watch!
The first of January always is a great day for sports fans and uni watchers alike, as we are treated to a plethora of sporting events, including several Bowl games. Two big events of uni-note occur today: the Third Annual Winter Classic (more on that below), which is followed by The Grand-daddy of Them All, the Rose Bowl.
The Rose Bowl got it’s nickname, “The Granddaddy of Them All,” because it is the oldest bowl game — first played in 1902, and continuously since 1916. Since 1945, it has been the highest attended college football bowl game. And unlike some of the other big bowls, it is ALWAYS played on New Year’s Day, and has become as much of a tradition as almost anything in sport. For many folks waking up groggily on the first of the year, the Rose Bowl Parade is a part of starting the new annum — and usually lasts about as long as some resolutions.
Today, I’m joined by two of UW’s long time readers, and quite possibly the biggest fans of the two universities involved in today’s matchup, Michael Princip, who will be rooting for the Oregon Ducks, and Larry Bodnovich, who will be pulling for the Ohio State University Buckeyes. They’ll be giving us a look at this event from their uniquely talented perspectives.
The Buckeyes, tradition-bound and proud, recently “bucked” tradition (pun firmly intended) by allowing Nike to outfit them in “pro combat” uniforms for their traditional rivalry game with Michigan. Will they wear those uniforms again for the Rose Bowl?
The Ducks, on the other hand, are anything but traditional when it comes to their uniform machinations. All year long Mike has been keeping tabs on the myriad uniform choices being worn by the Oregon squad through his wonderful “Ducktracker”. And, if you didn’t see the wonderful interview with Casey Martin by UWer Kenny Ocker, you’ll understand how figuring out what the Ducks will be wearing is as much as a challenge as it is for opposing teams to scheme their defenses.
These two teams have a history in this game as well. They played once before, in 1958, and though both have won the game and both have played in the Rose Bowl since 1958, this is their first meeting since that time — a rematch that has been fifty-two years in the making.
Today’s matchup will feature what other blogs are calling “Tradition versus Innovation”, proving that we here on Uni Watch aren’t the only ones fascinated by this rematch. So then, let’s take a look at the Ducks, the Bucks, the Rose Bowl, and the past and present of what to expect today.
We’ll begin today with Michael, who is going to take us back to the 1957 season, where Oregon played it’s season en route to the 1958 Rose Bowl meeting with Ohio State:
When the Ducks, or Webfoots, started the 1957 season, Oregon was ranked seventh of the nine schools in the PCC (Pacific Coast Conference). However, to everyone’s surprise, the team rallied to finish the season by becoming co-champions for the first time since 1948, and won the vote of PCC faculty representatives as the most eligible candidate for the 1958 Rose Bowl. The team was coached by Len Casanova, a coach that held no delusions for his 1957 team. From a team that had won four, lost four and tied two in 1956, Oregon lost seven starters to begin that 1957 season, leaving the Webfoots with a patched-up team. Thus, development of the reserves had much to do with Oregon’s success. Oregon had never before possessed the manpower to attempt unit substitutions, although Coach Casanova put it through effective use.
Oregon had one bad loss in 1957, a 6-13 loss to Washington, a team Ohio State took care of handedly with a 35-7 victory earlier that season. The only other loss was 10-7 to Oregon State. Despite this fact, 1957 was an otherwise extraordinary season capped off by Oregon’s triumph over Stanford in a 27-26 win, establishing the Webfoots as Rose Bowl possibilities. If there is a character trait shared between the 1957 Ducks team and this 2009 team, it’s their ablilty to win the close ones. Yet, one would be hard pressed to find many comparisons between both offenses. Where the 1957 team lagged in the vertical passing game, the 2009 version Ducks excel in it, armed with a dynamic and quick scoring offense. Notwithstanding, the running game for the ’57 Ducks was in fact the most potent in the school’s history at the time. Led by Jim “The Shadow” Shanley, this halfback had the most career rushing yardage of any in Oregon history. Also should be noted, Jack Crabtree, the Ducks starting quarterback, was named Rose Bowl MVP, one of only two players from a losing Rose Bowl team to win the award. Jack played a heroic game, seeing that his Ducks were outmatched, yet, almost pulling off the upset. That being said, they did only manage to score 7 points. So, it could be stated, the defense had quite a good game as well, holding Ohio State to only 10. That defense was led by defensive lineman Tom Keele. The 1958 Oregana called Keele the “Webfoot brilliance on the defense”.
Going into the game, the Ducks were definitely considered the underdogs. In fact, if they had won, it would have been the second PCC team win since the Big10-PCC pact was established in 1947. USC had won the Rose Bowl in 1953 beating Wisconsin 7-0.
In the 1958 Rose Bowl, the Oregon Ducks had a feature within their jerseys that could be considered distinctly west coast in it’s inception. The Ducks were outfitted in their away white Nylon-durene jerseys that featured a UCLA shoulder loop, a feature that was popularized by Red Sanders’ West Coast teams in the early 50s (#19 Bruin @ left) . For the Ducks, a thin green stripe that bordered a thicker solid middle yellow stripe on each side. The shoulder loop was a very noticeable feature on the jersey that helped Coach Sanders decipher his Bruins on the grainy black and white game films of the time. This look was eventually adopted by some professional football teams in the NFL/AFL; i.e. Vikings, Colts, Chargers(w/center bolt), Patriots, 49ers, NY Titans, and Rams.
Larry, not to be outdone, has his own wonderful look at Ohio State. Mr. Bodnovich has some amazing and unique talents, which we’ll be looking at here.
The 1957 Ohio State Buckeyes finished up an impressive season at 9-1, and finished up the ‘regular’ season as the number one ranked team in the nation. Larry has an entire album of historical pictures (both in color and black and white) from that magical season for the Bucks. Here is a great picture of tOSU versus Iowa, and another wonderful shot of Ohio State versus Wisconsin (Larry points out that this picture is from 1958, but were identical uniforms to what they wore in 1957). Their standing as the number one team in the nation in the 1957 earned them a date with Oregon in the 1958 Rose Bowl.
With the stage thus set, the Ducks and Bucks met in the 1958 Rose Bowl. You could spend an hour looking through that album, but Larry thought there are some really good, close action shots from that game.
Here is a quick rundown of the 1958 Rose Bowl for the Bucks: They emerged victorious, 10-7 over Oregon, with an attendance of 98,202. Ohio State (9-1, lost its first game to TCU: 14-18) came into the game ranked # 1 (UPI) and heavily favored over the Ducks of Oregon (7-3) ranked #17 (UPI). The Bucks who were averaging 29 pts per game drove 79 yards for a TD on its first possession and later the Ducks drove 80 yards in 10 plays for their own touchdown that would end the scoring until early fourth quarter, when Don Sutherin kicked a 34 yard field goal for the 3 point margin of victory. Oregon had missed a 34 yard FG in the third quarter.
Ohio State ended up #1 in UPI (Coaches) and Auburn (10-0) #2, Auburn won the AP at #1 and Ohio State #2. Oregon ended up #17 UPI but not ranked in the AP.
Back then, there weren’t as many Bowls, and they carried a much greater import. In a strange twist, Auburn didn’t even get a bowl invite — Ole Miss went to the Sugar and Tennessee went to the Gator Bowl.
To further expound upon the eye-candy that are found in Larry’s albums, he some explanations of Ohio State’s uniforms for those 1957-58 games:
Ohio State wore the short sleeves most of year in home games. But long sleeves with traditional gray sleeve stripes in cold weather such as the Purdue game. Buckeyes wore the white shoulder stripes in away games such as Michigan game.
4 players from the 1957 Buckeyes were All Americans at some time. The 1957 Buckeyes had some famous names such as Jim Houston, who played on the Browns. Dick LeBeau became an NFL player and Steelers defensive coordinator. Galen Cisco pitched in the Major Leagues and became a pitching coach. Jim Marshall would become a future Vikings NFL star. Dick Schafrath also played on the Cleveland Browns.
You might think that the Buckeyes and Ducks wouldn’t have much history between them since the 1958 Rose Bowl, and you’d be right, but the teams have actually met several times in the past.
This upcoming game will be the 8th meeting between the Bucks and Ducks and only the second time that Oregon was ranked either at game time or end of season. This will be the sixth time that the Ducks will face a top 10 ranked Buckeye squad at game time.
Following the Rose Bowl, the two squads faced off another seven times, most recently in 1987 — unfortunately for the boys from the Beaver State, the results haven’t been good. In fact, the Ducks have never beaten the Bucks. For those keeping score at home, here’s the breakdown (click the year for a pic from that game):
Record: Ohio St. 7-0
In Ohio: 5-0
In Oregon: 1-0
Neutral Site: 1-0 @ Rose Bowl
So you can see, there’s more than a Rose Bowl Championship at stake today, there’s quite a bit of pride for the Ducks. Maybe the final scores haven’t always been pretty, but the games usually have been gorgeous. And of course, Larry has an album to document every Ohio State/Oregon game ever played.
After the 1957-58 Rose Bowl, Oregon wanted Ohio State to play in dedication game for Autzen Stadium. It took a while but in 1967 the Buckeyes finally made the trip to Oregon.
Larry noted the yellow chalk lines for the Ohio State-Oregon Rose Bowl and wondered why they they were so colored. At Hayward Field, Oregon used yellow chalk to mark the yard lines — and so, that year, the Rose Bowl had yellow-colored yard lines, not white, for the first time ever.
Larry also notes that in the days leading up to the Rose Bowl, the Oregon officials struck up a friendship with the Ohio State officials, and (Oregon’s) Harris coaxed a promise from the Buckeyes to play the “Dedication Game” in Oregon’s new football facility. Harris thought it would be four or five years down the road, but it wasn’t until 1967 that Oregon opened Autzen Stadium, and true to their word, the Buckeyes came for the Dedication Game, winning 30-0 that Oct. 7.
That’ll wrap up Larry’s portion of this Rose Bowl piece. Tremendous work there, Larry. And now, we’ll return to Michael, who’s been playing the role of “investigating reporter,” and believes he has the scoop on what the Ducks will be wearing this afternoon:
Mike is pretty certain the Ducks will be sporting (mostly) school colors, and believes they’ll go with a white-green-white combination. If the Buckeyes stick with their traditional silver-white-silver/gray road uniforms, this should be a very appealing uniform match up.
As always, Mike’s finest work, like Larry’s, is found in their unique abilities to bring their favorite team to live graphically — Larry with his albums and his colorizations, and Mike with his Ducktracker. But, for the past few weekends, I’ve been featuring a project Mr. Princip has been working on since the Ducks booked their ticket to Pasadena — the Ducks Rose Bowl History. Every day he’s been adding something new, and if you’ve been following along with my Sunday “Countdown to the Rose” segments, you’ll be amazed at how much more history he’s added. If you haven’t, please do yourself a favor and click on that link — and be prepared to spend an hour checking out all the wonderful pictures and factoids (and rare video) detailing each of Oregon’s past Rose Bowl appearances.
My huge thanks to Larry and Michael for all their work and dedication. Today’s Rose Bowl may or may not be an epic game, but it’s a rematch that’s been in the making for 52 years. Hope everyone gets an opportunity to check it out!
Whew…OK — today’s Granddaddy is certainly a uniform and sporting highlight, but that’s the main course. There’s another game, and another sport, taking place up in Boston. You may have heard aboot it — that’s right, the Third Annual Winter Classic is being played several hours before the Rose Bowl, and that, dear readers, is today’s appetizer.
I’ve asked Hockey Wing President Teebz to give us the rundown on the event this year. You will recall that last year, the two of us combined on a preview of the Wrigley Field Winter Classic. I decided to “cover” the Rose Bowl this year, but I couldn’t forget about the NHL’s entree into New Year’s Day. So, to get you in the mood for some late-afternoon football, here’s a taste of early afternoon puck…and here’s Teebz:
With all the NCAA Bowl games being played today, you may not realize that there is a hockey game being played today.
Ok, who am I kidding? As you all are aware, the 2010 Bridgestone Winter Classic is being held in historic Fenway Park today, and will feature the Philadelphia Flyers against the Boston Bruins. Fenway Park follows in the footsteps of Wrigley Field last year as the host of the NHL’s New Year’s Day tradition, and the stadium appears to be setup with all the accoutrements. The scoreboard will feature the two teams just as Red Sox fans are accustomed to, the signage has been changed, and the retired numbers of the Bruins have even been added to right field.
The Bruins will be wearing classic yellow-and-brown jerseys on the ice, and should look great against the backdrop of Fenway. While the jerseys themselves aren’t a throwback to one particular era, the mish-mash of different elements from the Bruins’ history brings together the vast amount of memories that this team has been a part of. And today is no exception as the city of Boston hosts the Winter Classic. Like the Blackhawks last year, the host team sets the example for what the Winter Classic should look like.
The Flyers will be wearing a throwback to the 1970s, complete with black nameplate on the reverse. These jerseys look good, but they will be the runners-up in the best-dressed team event at this pageant. I do believe, though, that the white jerseys with orange shoulder-to-wrist stripe are the way the Flyers should dress all the time, so I’m a fan of the front of the jersey. I just don’t like the black nameplate when they had other options from which to choose.
Enjoy the NCAA Bowl games today, even if you don’t remember who won the Capital One Bowl three years from now. Chances are, though, that you’ll remember who won the 2010 NHL Winter Classic if you tune in!
Thanks Teebz! Everyone be sure to check it out, even if you have no bearing on the Nielsen ratings for the game. The Winter Classic is a fantastic “event,” and one that I hope will remain a viable New Year’s Day option for years to come. They may be running out of old baseball stadia in which to hold these games, but that doesn’t mean it can’t continue to be a great early day kick-off before the big Bowl games later on. I’ll have more on this Winter Classic down the road.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: Ah, a new year, a new scoreboard. With all the college football games on the agenda today, what better than to start the new year off with a game from Pasadena. Oops…too much of a hint? Well, maybe some of your brain cells aren’t working so well just yet. Ready? Guess The Game From The Scoreboard. Please link to you answer. And, as always, if you enjoy the game, please send me some new scoreboards! Drop me a line. Thanks!
I love it when Ricko provides us with a “themed” Benchies. Especially when it involves the events from the past night. Here’s Rick:
An old, old Benchies, from when it was just taking shape. The issue? Getting it together for the annual New Year’s Day early morning touch football game. Tough sometimes. Very, very tough.
Have a great New Year’s Day Benchies!
As we enter the final week of the season, we begin with another set of NFL uniform tweaks/revisions/concepts.
First up today is Michael Emody, who’s been following a recent trend of tweaking the New York J-E-T-S…Jets Jets Jets. Here’s Michael:
Dear LI Phil,
I was looking at some of the NFL “improvement” ideas last weekend, and started thinking that if the Jets are the Titans for almost half their games each year, why not combine the two?
Next up is Abraham Khorsani, who has written an essay of the uniform tweaks he has for the Bengals, Giants, Jaguars, Redskins, Seahawks, Bills and Vikings:
Been following Uni Watch for a while, and particularly interested in the NFL uni tweaks. I like screwing around with Photoshop and creating logos/uniforms for video games, so this was kinda up my alley. Been working on these for a while, finally sending them in. All templates and logos were found on Chris Creamer’s site.
First one I tackled was the Jaguars. The Jags went from a great design to what they have now, which is mediocre at best. Ideally, they should just go back and forget this year ever happened, but since that would never happen, I thought I’d take a stab at this. There’s one big thing that jumps out at you with their current set — well, to be more specific, NOTHING jumps out at you. They’re so BORING! There’s no logos on there anywhere, and gold is nowhere to be found. Their unis couldn’t be more generic. So I thought I’d make a simple tweak — add some gold to the outline of the numbers. I think this looks best on the home (teal) uniforms. The road uniforms still look too black, but that’s how they were on the old set too. I also added a black alternate, since that got lost in their uniform transition. To help identify it as a Jags jersey, I added what I thought was a cool “shield-like” Jags logo patch on the sleeves. Thought it would look good with the otherwise blank design.
Next up is Washington. I thought of this when someone was talking in the comments section about the Redskins changing their name. The name “Warriors” was suggested, and it sounded good because they could alter their identity as little as possible. These uniforms were based on some old Skins unis — specifically, the one used as a throwback in their 75th anniversary year. I darkened up the burgundy color and changed the stripe pattern on the sleeves. Also changed the yellow to gold, as with the old uniforms. Replaced the Redskins logo with the old “spear” logo. These could be used for the Skins and could be kept if they decided to change their names.
After that, I decided to challenge myself with a particularly ugly set – the Seahawks. Their current set is just unbearably dreary with all the blue (two shades!). Not to mention the neon snot green! I was inspired by the original helmet concepts when they changed the uni designs a few years ago. The fans voted between blue and silver-ish helmets. So I made the helmet a bluish-silver, and copied that over to the pants, which breaks up the monotony. Next up was, obviously, changing the shade of green. I thought a more traditional green, similar to what they used to use, could be utilized more prominently. Added that to the primary logo, as well as an outline around the number. Then came the matter of neatening up the two shades of blue. I kept both shades, but didn’t mix them so haphazardly. I left the darker blue for the logo (and the collar), and made the uniform the lighter blue all around. Finally, I thought it necessary to bring back the best part of the old uni — the wraparound logo on the sleeves. On the away uniforms, I left the (lighter) blue sleeves, because I thought they were distinctive. Also created a bluish-silver alternate, though looking at it now I could take it or leave it.
My Giants tweak was simple – add red stripes from the away unis onto the home set. I added a bit of a white outline to the stripes to add some contrast.
Next, I came up with a concept for if/when the Bills move to Toronto. Got rid of the godawful panels and the 18 different colors and tried to neaten up while keeping it “modern.” As they would be Canada’s first NFL team, I made red the dominant color of the set and ditched pretty much all the other colors — specifically the royal blue in the accents and logo. I went with a kind of Texans-style look, with the thin single shoulder stripe, but kept it running down the sides (I know how much you guys LOVE side panels) and made the side panels match the pants stripes. On the road uniform, I thought it would be too boring if I made it all white, so I left the sleeves red.
I like the Vikings’ new uniforms — specifically the shape of the shoulder stripe as a horn. I love when teams use logo elements creatively like that (the Rams’ horns on the sleeves, the Eagles’ wings on the helmet, etc.). But I think the wraparound piping and side panel took away from that, so I removed it. I think the shoulder horns get the point across much better by themselves, and the uniform just generally looks cleaner. Another thing I like about their uniforms is the white panel with the logo on the pants (keeping the white side panels of the jersey continuous). Having removed the side panels, the current pants design was kind of obsolete, so I tried to make it a bit more traditional while still paying “homage,” so to speak, to the white panels on the current pants. The “truncated” stripe probably wouldn’t be too much of a hit with the traditionalist crowd around here, but I think is a fair compromise between traditional and modern.
Finally, a Bengals concept. I’m not a huge fan of it (needs more work), but it’s a general idea. I don’t mind the current set, to be honest (flame away). But since they’re so unpopular, I took a stab. Frankly, I think the tiger stripe design is perfect for their uniform, so I tried to implement it in a more “subdued” manner. I think the “stripes within a stripe” is a good start, although it makes the uniforms a bit boring in my opinion.
Sorry this turned into an essay – if only I put this much effort into school…
Moving along, we have another essay, from John Allen, who has some ideas for the Ravens:
I’ll start by saying there is only so much you can do with purple. But given the Ravens have about 70,000 purple seats in “Ravens/PSINet/M&T Bank/Future Bankrupt Company to be Named Later Stadium”, I’m guessing it’s not going anywhere. That said, the Ravens’ uni’s seem to be lacking in any kind of concept or character. Just kind of blah and randomly thrown together…not to mention a bit sore on the eyes. So I say nevermore.
First, I replaced gold with silver. To me, it works better with the main purple and black colors. Somehow gold just doesn’t seem to fit…and there is something about the combination of purple, black and gold that is particularly arena league-ish.
Next, I moved the Ravens/State of MD Seal/Police patch from the jersey to the pant stripe. While I admire the shout out to both the police and the city/state (which is particularly important given the incident in the middle of the night with the moving truck that rhymes with dayshower, along with the recently remedied lack of city or state mention on the O’s uni’s), it just doesn’t work on the home jerseys. I’m more of a stripes fan anyway, and the existing “B” on the pants is logo overkill…how many different logo’s do you really need on one uni set? So exit the B and enter the seal on the pants.
In place of the seal on the sleeve, I moved the TV numbers down and then added a shoulder stripe. With the disappearing sleeve act sweeping the NFL, the shoulder seemed to be the better location for a stripe…and the shape unintentionally resembles the tapered helmet logo that I’m guessing is meant to reflect a Raven talon. The shoulder stripe has a white accent on the home and black alt jersey, and a grey accent on the road whites. The pant stripes have the same color pattern as the shoulder stripes on each jersey for a little consistency. You’ll notice the pants are all white aside from the stripes. I vote a strong Ney on the existing black pants…combined with white socks, they belong in a Jane Fonda workout video more than on a football uniform. Can anyone say leg warmers?
Finally, I added striped on the socks with black from the bottom of the stripe to foot…not sure if the NFL has a rule about white socks, but all black seemed to be a better look for a nasty purple and black kind of team.
Working within my grade-school like skills in MS Paint (it was either that or paper mache), here’s the final product.
— John Allen
Our final revision today comes from Adam Walter, the man who so generously assists with our poll tabulations, and who has a short statement on his Bengal tweaks:
Hope you have had a great holiday.
Being jewish on Christmas in the midwest + bored out of my mind = Bengals redesign.
Hope you enjoy and have great continued holidays.
That’s all for today, folks. Sorry for some of the submitters’ verbosity, but sometimes the ideas behind the graphics are as important as the graphics themselves. Keep ’em coming, because we have a few more weeks left in the NFL season. If you’d like to “tweak” other sports, we can move on to that too, as I’ve already received a few hockey redesigns and one or two for hoops as well. We’ll get to those next. Send all submissions my way. Thanks.
Well, Uni Watchers, that will do it for the first post of the year. I want to again give thanks to Michael Princip and Larry Bodnovich for their fantastic work on the Rose Bowl, both past and present, and to Teebz for the Winter Classic write up. For those of you just waking up, the Winter Classic begins at 1:00 PM Eastern Time on NBC, and the Rose Bowl kicks off at 5:00 PM Eastern on ABC.
Have a wonderful 2010 everyone. Let’s all make it the best year of our lives.