By Phil Hecken, with James Huening
In a wonderful bit of serendipitous timing, the Arizona Cardinals broke some 100+ years of history on Thursday, introducing a black jersey and new pants and socks into their uniform repertoire. While not the most egregious form of “Black for Black’s Sake,” it certainly ranks up there with the worst offenders, only proving the point that this 1990’s phenomenon just won’t go away.
“But wait,” you say, “the Arizona Cardinals haven’t been in existence that long, and their official colors include black. How can this be BFBS?” Well, it can, and it is. But we’ll get to them shortly. For now, I’ll introduce my collaborator, James Huening, who assisted me on “Part I” of this Black for Black’s Sake examination last weekend. He and I had prepared a large portion of this post before the Cards went BFBS. So, his section will include an examination of “BFBS: ‘The College Years’,” as well as some additional looks at professional teams guilty of this fashion faux-pas. Here’s James, with a slightly modified introduction:
GLENDALE, AZ – After this post had already been written, word came in that the Arizona Cardinals have just
shocked the world leapt into the 90s by climbing aboard the BFBS bandwagon. (In case you missed it, there was quite a bit of discussion about them in Friday’s comments section.)
In case you’re wondering, if this had happened before last weekend’s post, they would have definitely made my “bad BFBS” list. The truly sad thing is that as awful as they look, they actually look approximately 11 trillion times better than their normal red or white ones. *Yawn*
I don’t know if there is such a thing as “good BFBS” when it comes to college sports. Your school colors are your school colors. However, there are some instances where I think black is acceptable when it isn’t one of your official colors. Maybe there is a need to create some separation between elements in your logo. Or maybe the school colors are visually similar, like silver and gold. Or (as long as you don’t push things too far) maybe you just want to use a wee bit as a trim/accent color.
I don’t really have a problem with any of those situations. What I don’t care for is when teams just blatantly adopt black as a dominant color when it really doesn’t seem necessary.
The following examples barely scratch the surface but this year’s Final Four featured three teams who do full-on BFBS. West Virginia and Butler: both schools have dark blue as an official color. Black doesn’t even complement it very well at all. It’s like if the Bears or Yankees rolled out black alternates. What would be the point? Sure, Duke’s shade of blue looks better with black than navy blue does, but why is it necessary, especially when they’re the Blue Devils? And not that they deserve to be mentioned in the same paragraph as the words “Final Four” but DePaul: is this really how Blue Demons should look?
With that in mind, the future looks pretty bleak. Soon, the sports landscape will consist of nothing but games where one team is dressed head-to-toe in black, the other in white. Right? That seems to be the logical progression.
Perhaps not. It seems as though the tide has maybe turned a bit, at least in the pro ranks. Over the last several years, many teams have actually ditched the black. When the (Devil) Rays updated their unis a few years ago, black elements were removed. The Royals have also banished the black that had crept into their identity. Of course, both teams seem to have latched onto the latest sports color fad, but that’s probably a topic for another day.
The NBA may have taken the greatest strides in this area. The Suns, Pistons, Cavaliers, Grizzlies, Jazz, Hawks and 76ers have all taken black out of their color schemes in recent years (2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2004, 2007 and 2009, respectively [if I’m not mistaken]).
Thank you James.
Just when we thought it was safe to reenter the water, that BFBS had maybe run its course…that teams were finally coming to their senses…along comes Arizona,
unleashing introducing their stupendous new duds on the world.
This once proud franchise, whose roots date back to the beginning of the last century, has never, not once worn a black garment. In fact, they were NAMED for the color of the jersey they once sported:
In 1901, the team gained longstanding identification when O’Brien, finding a bargain, bought used jerseys from the nearby University of Chicago. The jerseys were faded maroon in color, prompting O’Brien to declare, “That’s not maroon, it’s Cardinal red!” The club’s permanent nickname had been born!
So, not only have they never worn black before, they were actually named for the color they have now replaced. Brilliant. Or maybe it is — only minutes after the new uniforms were introduced, fans flocked to the team store to pick up their very own badass jersey. Clearly, the fans must love them, and, judging from the looks on the players’ faces, they must love ’em too. We’ll see how much they enjoy wearing black in 117 degree heat. Yeah…lets see you guys smiling during two-a-days wearing those things.
Oh sure, sure…they’ll probably break them out on some Monday Night game when the sun has set (or will be low enough in the sky so as to not matter), gaining maximum tv exposure (and more sales revenue) in the process. I mean — what’s not to love about these jerseys?
Basically…everything. First of all, the Cardinals have one of the WORST uniforms in the NFL (finishing 26 out of 32 in last fall’s poll) to begin with. Now, when some teams trot out an alternate, they try to be somewhat different with it. But not these birds. Nope, all they did was swap the black for the red on every conceivable part of the uniform, right down to the socks, side panels and bumper stickers. Everything — just a perfect color swap. Ugh.
And, aside for this being BFBS (yes — it’s black for black’s sake because, at least according to one of MY definitions, as I stated last week: “It also includes the introduction of an alternate uniform, created WHETHER OR NOT black was an existing color, merely for the sake of adding a black alternate”), and being a shitty looking uniform, it now appears the Cardinals are going for the let’s try to look even more like the Falcons look. In fact, when these were first released on Thursday night, it didn’t take long for The Jeff to come up with this gem. Genius.
So, there you have it. James has given us another wonderful look at a few of the college teams who perpetuate this BFBS nonsense, along with a few teams in the pro’s who have actually come to their senses and started to get away from it. And then, we have the Cardinals. Sigh.
Last weekend, we asked your for some of your submissions for the worst examples of BFBS, and today we’re going to do the same, just in case we may have missed anyone. Since James is UW’s pollster extraordinaire, we’re going to put the BFBS teams to the ultimate test soon: you. So let us know what is bad, and we’ll likely include them in the forthcoming poll.
And if you disagree with me on the Cards, I’m sure you’ll let me know.
Today’s ‘rup of the day is the Athletics gorgeous stirrup set, which actually comprised three different versions: the most commonly worn 2-stripe model, and the less-often worn 3-stripe version,, (more on that later), and the very-rarely worn stripeless model (seen there in the pre-stripe days). When Charley Finley dressed his Kansas City A’s in gold, green and white in 1963, it was quite a shock to the baseball world. Never before had such a display been seen on a diamond. The A’s would wear that combination for their final five years in Kansas City, but in 1967, their last year, they would add the striped stirrups and the now trademark white shoes. Again, the baseball world had known only one color cleat until that time, and it wasn’t white.
The A’s would move to Oakland in 1968, removing the “KC” from their caps and replacing it with the solitary “A”; they’d continue to wear black cleats on occasion, but stuck primarily with the white shoes.
As often as not, they’d appear wearing monochrome yellow unis (note the 1969 centennial patch on the vest), wearing the “heather gray” (which contained green fibers interwoven into the gray flannel) on the road, the white at home, and the gold unis both at home and on the road (at least in 1968, I believe). They’d keep those combinations until 1972, when they switched to double-knit polyester pullovers taking over baseball at the time.
As mentioned, the A’s rarely wore “solid green” stirrups, and it’s tough to tell with guys like Reggie, who pulled ’em high, in some photos. But notice the third base coach in the white cap — his rups are striped.
The A’s didn’t often break out the three striped stirrups, but when they did, they were a thing of beauty. Most often, they donned the 2 stripe edition, but, this being a time when guys were really beginning to pull their stirrups way high, it often appeared as only one stripe or in Reggie’s case, one or none (note the player behind Jackson is the three stripe version).
Two stripes or three, it was a great look. And it was one Comrade Marshall had made one of the original offerings for the stirrup club. Unfortunately, while I got a shipment of EIGHT stirrups yesterday, the 67-71 A’s were not inside, as they are now sold out. But Robert has promised me that if we can get enough interest, he’ll order up another batch. So what say you, UWers, can we get enough people for another order?
If you want the A’s rups (and I know I do), you can check out Comrade Marshall’s latest missive, in which he has this month’s new offerings as well. OK? OK!
Arizona wasn’t the only team getting a new set of uniforms yesterday (or Thursday). The entire Michigan State Spartan sporting universe underwent an entire rebranding. You may recall the hubbub a few months ago when Sparty toyed with a new logo. It was all part and parcel of a larger, university-wide effort to make Michigan State’s uniforms…well, more uniform. Although the Spartan logo remained unchanged, all 25 teams on campus will have the same deep shade of green, and have all gotten face lifts for their unis. Let’s have a look:
The football team gets three new uniforms (here’s a rear view), with basically the same shade of green in the past but new numbers and fonts, and a really stupid looking shoulder yoke on two of the three unis. The alternate uni, which has a solid green jersey, looks really good from the front. The problem is the
crap bumper stickers on the pants. Why? If you have to have that stuff, wear it with the yoked uni, not the plain one.
Moving along to the hoops team, there are two unis, a green and a white, all in the same font and number pattern as the football team. Meh…looks to be typical Nike SOD wear. Not bad but not good.
Shifting to puck, I actually like these unis a lot. All except for the breezers — BFBS? Really? I don’t care if they had black breezers before (I honestly don’t know — it’s college hockey, why would I know that?), but seriously, would green pants have looked so bad? No? I didn’t think so.
There is one new rebrand I really like however. I’m not even sure what sport it’s for, but I assume that’s volleyball. In this case, I’m willing to overlook the BFBS shorts.
Overall, an interesting concept to “standardize” the uniforms. I love hunter green, so for the most part, these have always been visually appealing to me. I could do without the “modernization” (and what’s with the “slash” number font?), but as far as rebrands go, this one certainly isn’t the disaster it could have been.
Let’s face it. Mike can be a pretty frightening dude anytime. Especially when he’s doing it wrong. Here’s Rick:
The thing about bringing new people into your activities is the fresh perspective they add. They just kinda, y’know, see things from a new angle, take things in a new direction. Simply put, they make life a little more interesting. Yeah, that’s it…interesting.
Here’s your Saturday Benchies.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: Guest scoreboard today, and if you paid attention in the comments this week, it was already posted. Comes to us courtey of Rick Pearson. This one is a doozy, but there should be enough clues on the board for you to figure it out. Ready? Guess The Game From The Scoreboard. Date, location and final score, please, and be sure to link to your answer. And, as always, if you enjoy the game, please send me some new scoreboards! Drop me a line. Thanks!
Back again with more Uniform Tweaks, Concepts and Revisions today. Lots to get to, and if you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
First up is a BIG set of tweaks, spanning the three major sports, as well as hockey, from John Follett. John sent me 9 “weeks” worth, and last weekend we looked at the second three. Here’s the final batch:
Week 7 – Minnesota Twins: Better late than never…right? Keep in mind this contest was circa May of 2009. Jarrod Lundberg spending way too much time playing Tekken. Deeillini took the concept and managed to make it look even more distasteful. Baggino comes in less bizarre but pretty lame. Snowy comes in with a design that looks all too familiar…but does point out that the similarity to the symbol of Gemini makes perfect sense. Says Snowy: “Gemini is in fact Latin for Twins.” Snowy then puts out the rest of his design and again from all angles. My design comes in and I am still in love with it. Ask me and my design blows away what the Twins are wearing right now.
Week 8 – Los Angeles Lakers: We decided to reverse the course for Week 9. The Lakers have a look that is timeless but is it possible to make it better? Snowy re-buffs the primary logo and then puts it to good use. Sam’s submission leaves the LA Clippers filing a lawsuit for secondary logo infringement. Given the lack of results from week 9, we came to the conclusion that the Los Angeles Lakers’ design is all good.
Week 9 – New Orleans Saints: I was listening to DMB’s latest album all day when I decided to take a crack at the Saints’ design. Great album btw, influenced and recorded in NOLA. Absolutely loving Snowy’s upgrade. More modern but not too over the top. Ironically I failed to finish my design for this week…which sadly was our last. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted and perhaps we bring it back someday.
– John Follett (aka “AE” from Sportz Insomina)
Next up is Johnny Seoul, who brings us some new Browns looks:
JohnnySeoul from Wikipedia here again.
Cleveland Browns: I think I tweak the Browns uniform on a monthly basis. I suppose I’m just obsessed with them getting rid of the awful look they have had since their return in 1999. I decided to go back to their pre-1995 look with the TV numbers on the upper sleeves and dropping/shrinking the stripes to the bottom of the sleeve. Why they took the stripes and shoulder numbers to the extreme post-1999 is beyond me…they just look odd. I also brought back the 1960 helmet which featured the full stripe pattern and numbers (classic look). As for the 3rd optional alternate uniform, this is a great way for the Browns to try out a completely different helmet design without getting a fierce backlash from the traditionalists. The 3rd uniform also has a nice throwback feel to it.
Here’s the latest Cleveland Browns look.
Buffalo Bills: Time for a change in the land of Buffalo. I was greatly influenced by Ohio State’s Nike Riflery uniforms worn last season against Michigan. That type of look works very well with a traditional old school team such as the Bills. I also brought back the 1974-1975 white helmets with the grey facemask (my favorite). I also added “Bills” across the front and the Bills logo on the back to keep up with the current trend. As for the Toronto Series, I had some fun with this one. A nice clean straight red uniform seemed very fitting and the Maple Leaf on the back instead of the regular Bills logo was a great way to top this one off.
Here’s the latest Buffalo Bills look
Kansas City Chiefs: This poor franchise has been struggling for an identity ever since Joe Montana lead them to the AFC Championship. It was time for a brand new look that keeps them also looking very traditional and not creeping into that Arena Football League look that the Falcons, Cardinals, and Vikings unfortunately fell into. Another thing that bothers me about the Chiefs uniforms is that are almost the same design as the Washington Redskins (almost same colors too). Time to get out from their shadow and start brand new. Plus, since the Redskins and thinking about going black, I say beat them to it! Yes, black helmets would look great with the KC arrowhead. I also changed their stripe pattern, again added “Chiefs” across and front and their logo on the back for trendy reasons, kept the AFL patch, and added black pants as a 3rd option for when they finally deserve a Monday Night Football game.
Here’s the latest Kansas City Chiefs look
I always love hearing feedback, regardless of it is positive or negative.
In the third and final spot is Kyle Hardee, who has some Broncos tweaks:
I first saw Uniwatch on ESPN.com at the begining of this past NFL season. I loved it because im a huge uniform guy. My favorite NFL team is the 49ers but since they just went “retro” I thought I would tweak the Denver Broncos and go “retro”. I included a new retro inspired logo, uniforms, and helmet.
-Kyle Hardee — Myrtle Beach, SC
Aighty then, that’ll end today’s tweak show. Check back next time for more.
And finally… the San Francicso Giants broke out their new orange jerseys last evening. According to UW’s number one Giants’ fan, Brinke Guthrie, these will be worn only for Friday home games. Interestingly, the Giants did not pair the new two-tone cap with the new jersey (as had been rumored). This may have had something to do with Cy Lincecum being on the bump, and having a “lucky” cap or something however. (Thanks to Brinke for the screen shot). As of 12:15 am, no additional photos were available, but if they do, they’ll be found here
That’s going to do it for today. This may be some kind of record for new uniform releases in a short span, as the Chicago Bears will officially be unveiling their new alternate/throwback later today. I’ll have full coverage of that tomorrow (plus a wonderful look at the 1940’s jerseys on which the throwback will be based, many in color), so be sure to check back then.
Everyone have a great Saturday, and don’t forget to let us know your nominees for the worst BFBS offenders. I’d say we now have great a new candidate.
This new uniform is part of an overall organizational effort to continually keep things dynamic and innovative. — Cardinals President Michael Bidwell