By Phil Hecken
One of my great pleasures in serving at Paul’s Bench Coach is getting to meet (either in person or through the magic of the Interwebs) many of UW’s fantastic contributors, many of whom either assist me with my weekend duties, or who provide either a “graphic” or a tweak or a section, or what have you. Anyone who followed Uni Watch through this past football season is well acquainted with the Ducktracker, the weekly documentation of the myriad uniform machinations of the Oregon Ducks football team. And in what turned out to be a magical season for the Ducks, capped by a run for the roses, many of us eagerly awaited the updated Ducktracker after each game.
The Ducktracker, as you are no doubt aware, is the brainchild of Michael Princip, who we’re about to meet in detail today. Anyone who knows (or knows of ) Michael might think he’s obsessed with the Ducks, and while they’d be right, there is so much more to him and his amazing skillset, love of all things uniform, and particularly the Seattle Seahawks. Mike’s also a “helmet junkie” and a collector. In addition to supplying my weekend columns with the Ducktracker, I worked very closely with Mike and Larry Bodnovich on several mini articles leading up to the Rose Bowl, culminating in our epic New Year’s Day article.
Many of you may remember Michael “unwittingly” having the “scoop” on the greatest April Fool’s Day joke that wasn’t back in 2009. I’d been hoping to interview Mike for some time, but he’s been a busy man, reinventing his own website, “GreenGlare” into the gem that it has become. You’ll hear more about that below.
So, sit back, and let’s meet Mr. Princip and the fantastic goings-on in his world.
By Michael Princip
As far as I can remember, I began to watch and enjoy football (NFL) in the late summer of 1977. It was in a DC suburb, when I was 8 years old and at a friend of the family’s house, where it all began. I was looking through a book collection and spotted the 1977 NFL Pro Football Encyclopedia. Now, at the time, my father was a Redskins fan, and I was a little kid trying to figure out this game. I did know one thing, that the helmets were interesting and visually appealing to me with the remarkable color combinations and distinctive decals. I remember flipping through the pages, of this Encyclopedia, and stopping at the Seahawks team section. Transfixed, I glanced over the images and knew that logo/decal was from something remarkable (NW American Indian Art) and that this was my team.
The first time I saw the Seahawks play was probably through NBC’s NFL highlights, hosted by Bryant Gumbel. There, Bryant would go over the scores, then segue over to Mike Adamle for more detailed analysis and video of the game. The Seahawks had a below average team in 1977, however, a much better season in 1978. For a third year expansion team, the Seahawks nearly made the playoffs and swept their divisional rival 1976 Super Bowl XI champion Oakland Raiders. My favorite players were like most other fans, Jim Zorn and Steve Largent. However, I really admired Sam McCullum as well. Not only was he a fantastic player in my opinion, he also had a very cool style. Looked great in a Seahawks uniform, that was very much enhanced by his two bar mask TAK 29 helmet. In fact, it was the Seahawk helmet that really intrigued me. I didn’t know much about this unique aquiline hawk logo at the time. However, I eventually discovered it was designed by the NFL Properties design team, headed by David Boss and influenced by North American Indian art.
The first bit of memorabilia I remember having at this early stage of my NFL courtship had to be my football cards. I vividly remember opening up my first pack of the 1977 Topps football set, sifting through the deck and thinking; “What the hell is this shit?! Why are all of the decals missing from the helmets? Did they only take pics from games where they played without the decals? Preseason?” I later found out that Topps did not have the rights to reproduce the actual team logos on the helmets and uniforms of the players. Which was disappointing, however, I loved my 1977 team set none the less. I still have the exact same set I had when I was a kid.
In addition to the football cards, I also had the 1976 inaugural pennant, Tudor electric players (custom painted by me, because this was awful), duffel bag, gumball helmets, Kellogs Cereal stickers, Sears Fall/Winter catalog products, super rare switch cover, and many many clippings.
Living 2,800 miles from Seattle, there wasn’t too much in the way of Seahawks memorabilia or articles that I could get. Just to get a glimpse of that uniform was a thrill and I pretty much bought and clipped out any images I could find of my team. I remember my favorite pics were of any players wearing the Dungard style masks. Fortunately for me, the Seahawks were one of the football clubs that pretty much outfitted the entire team with Dungards (seen in the first 1976 team picture).
I simply love these masks because they were so distinct and organic looking. From the two bar model DG 210, which most of the offense and DBs wore, to the DG 125 with the center nose guard, and the supreme badass DG 140. The latter DG 140 made the lineman look like they just ripped out the ribcage of a small animal, and decided to use it for a face guard. Intimidating yes, however, in the end they found out that the Dungards were just too difficult to see out of, and the aluminum was way too easy to bend out of shape. That being said, owning one of these helmets nowadays, fitted with the original Dungards is a real honor, of sorts. I never stop admiring and examining my helmets worn by these Seahawk pioneers.
I started my website, www.greenxoblue.com, solely for the need to document and reflect upon these products that thrilled me as a kid, and maybe learn something from other like minded people. It didn’t matter if they were a fan of the Seahawks or any other football team, because we all share a common interest here.
I want to showcase the design of the product, and feature their unique characteristics within a clean, graphically fun, and easily navigable environment. There is an emphasis on the vintage items, however there are some newer items included in the website in which I find appealing and unique also. For example, my Seahawks game day poncho, B-boy hats, foam head, original artwork concepts, and Lofa Tatupu’s rookie helmet.
The latter is especially unique because it’s the first helmet Lofa got when he joined the team (Riddell Revolution), and wore it all the way up to the very last regular season game, of the 2005 season. This helmet can be photo matched, all the way back to the first game of the season, by a very distinct gash on the first upper vent hole. That was the only year that Lofa wore the Riddell Revolution helmet, as a Seahawk. Interestingly enough, he went to the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl that year as a defensive captain rookie middle linebacker. For any NFL player this is quite impressive. For an NFL rookie it’s doubly impressive. Add to that, he was coming off a BCS National Championship win with the 2004 USC Trojans.
Eventually, I hope to include more original artwork from other artists and showcase their work/interpretations of Seahawks uniform concepts, as well as product & graphic design. In addition to the greenxoblue site, I also run the Illustrated NFL site with my friend and artist Dan Tearle. Within this site we have a nice break down on how the Damac series posters were created, as well as, interviews with some of the artists that worked with the NFL Properties design team in the late seventies & early eighties.
Fantastic job Michael. Thanks for
the interview writing the whole main article for me. Looking forward to getting back together this fall when you again track the Ducks and hopefully before then for more updates on your fantastic site.
From The Squiddie Files: Back again with our Life Coach, Lance Smith, who’s back with more great stuff. Patches? We don’t need no stinkin’ patches…do we? Sure we do, and Squiddie has a sweet look at some of the patches of yesteryear. Here’s Lance:
This got me thinking about baseball sleeve patches. These days we’re used to teams wearing patches commemorating anniversaries and new stadia and memorializing players or officials who have passed away. How common were such patches and insignia in the past? Looking through the Dressed ot the Nines Uniform Database at the Baseball Hall of Fame shows that the left sleeve patch or embroidery wasn’t always as common as it is today.
Using an arbitrary period of 1937-1962, when Life was probably most active in its coverage of sports, let’s see what there is in the archives.
Let’s look at some photos.
Starting out with failure, I couldn’t find any photos of the World’s Fair patch worn by the New York teams in 1938. Plenty of photos of the Perisphere and Trylon and the World’s Fair tour guides, though.
The next big event was the Baseball Centennial in 1939 where most teams wore a commemorative patch. (Here’s one that sold at auction in 2007.) This was worn throughout the year including in Spring Training and the All-Star game. It appears to be a large patch that took up a sizeable portion of the left sleeve.
One of the few teams that didn’t wear the patch were the St. Louis Browns who were already wearing a patch featuring the Apotheosis of St. Louis.
In 1941 the Giants added a NY logo, modeled here by Carl Hubbell.
The Cleveland Indians have a string of Native American insignia. A chief emblem adopted in 1938. A cartoonish Chief Wahoo was added in 1947 as worn here by Satchel Paige. This was replaced by the current version in 1951.
A similar path was taken by the Boston and Milwaukee Braves. A head with a full headdress was adopted in 1945, shown during Spring Training in 1949. When the team moved to Milwaukee, the patch came with. In 1957, Milwaukee switched to a yelling Brave patch.
In 1952, the Yankees celebrated 50 seasons with a commemorative patch worn here by Jerry Coleman. Oddly, they didn’t wear the patch during the World Series. Compare Stengel before and Allie Reynolds during the Series.
The St. Louis Browns replaced the AL patch with a brownie in 1952. When the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1954, they did without a patch for a year, but in 1955 they added an oriole. (The oriole patch in color as modeled by Hoyt Wilhelm.)
Sometimes uniform trends require adaptation. In 1955 Cincinnati wore a Mr. Red patch on their sleeve. When they moved to vests in 1956, the patch moved to the chest.
Teams will often dig into their pasts for insignia. The Philadelphia Athletics were called a White Elephant by John McGraw in 1905 and adopted the mascot. When the team moved to 1955, the mascot was revived for the new city. The elephant would be brought back in 1988 by Oakland.
In 1959 when Calvin Griffith moved to cement the Washington franchise’s image as the Senators, he added a pitching Senator patch and put the name on the jerseys. When the franchise moved to the Twin Cities, a Twins patch replaced the Senator. (Rich Rollins and Harmon Killebrew.)
Oddly, Life didn’t cover the 1962 Mets and their skyline patch. This photo is from a few years later, but it’s just about the same, right? I’m sure the Marvelous Marv would understand.
That’s about it. Next week I’ll try to find some photos that aren’t about baseball. Maybe the Brooklyn Dodgers football team! (That’s the AAFC version.)
Wow…once again, fantastic stuff Squiddie! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next week.
Really, there are no words for what you’re about to see. But Ricko has a few anyway.
Imagine fame. Notoriety. Someone actually giving a damn about your tweets. Recognition at Denny’s. How would you handle it? Would you remember the “little people,” be kind to them, let them know you appreciate them? Well, WOULD you?
So, yeah. Here’s you’re full-color Sunday Bencies. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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.
Starting off the show, we don’t so much have a “uni” tweak as we have a “wall” tweak. What’s that you say? Here’s the Former Dirt Dart, Walter Young to explain:
I thought I would improve the score board.
Yeah, I left out 1999.
In the two-hole today is Jeff Shirley, with a Jazzy-Jazz redesign:
Just thought I’d submit another updated version of the Utah Jazz uniforms featuring the musical ‘J’ note logo, since they’re rumored to be bringing these back for next season. I used their powder blue template, even though some think the ‘Utah’ on the shorts looks too high school. I was pleased with how they turned out, although it kept reminding me of Notre Dame with these colors. I’ll be anxious to see how the new ones look when they come out.
Keep up the great work, as usual.
Moving along, we find Gus Romero with his take on the Friars:
You have may seen this one a few times but for the life of me I cannot remember seeing them on your blog. I am a die hard Padre fan, and love the different Padre Tweeks over the past few months or so. But I’m an old school guy, and will always be faithful to the brown and gold of Padre Past. I love the lettering of the current home unis, and just did the obvious switch to give them that brown and gold touch that is sorely missing. This is just the home Unis.
Thanks, keep up the awesome work. Loved the bowling alley entry. One of my faves yet.
And finally, we have Brian Erni, who has a BFBS tweak for the Cardinals. And a couple tweaks for the White Sox:
Okay, here are a couple of tweaks. Go easy on me, as it’s my first submission.
First up the Arizona Cardinals new black jersey:
I get that this is definitely BFBS, but I thought at least if they were going to add a black look, they might as well do a better job with it. Go easy on me here with the sleeves, because i did draw them by hand in Paint, but I added the old 1996-2002 Arizona flag sleeve stripes, removed all the unneccessary piping and changed the front and TV numbers from white/red to red/white. I left the nameplate white/red on purpose, thinking it might add an interesting quirk to the uni and make longer names (like Fitzgerald) stand out more. I think it’s a major improvement.
For the White Sox, here’s a home and road set I did. I decided on a pale red to add to the current white and black, since there’s definitely a precedent for red in the Sox’s history. I combined a bunch of eras on this, using the 1949-1970 primary as their new sleeve patch. For the home, I recolored the old 1917 SOX insignia and removed the stars, mimicking the logo on the hat.
For the roads, I used the 1976-1981 road font for the front and recolored it. I think the three color piping helps and actually doesn’t clutter it. And of course, notice the white stirrups with black sanitaries and the striping on top. Obviously, if this actually did get picked up by the Sox, those wouldn’t make the cut, but I think they’d look jsut as good with solid black “soccer” socks.
Thanks! And keep up the great work!
Another round of tweaks in the books. Keep ’em comin’.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: Dialing up the way-back machine a bit today, we have a beautiful color scoreboard from a simpler time. It is probably not terribly difficult, but it sure is a pretty picture. All the clues are right there, and even the novices at this game should be able to get it correct. Hey, how many stars are on that flag? 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!
Let’s put this one into the books. Big thanks to Mike Princip for that tremendous main article, and of course to Squiddie and Ricko. Everyone have a great Sunday.
It was just a matter that we had a pro team and how fantastic it was. We didn’t have to put a lot of wins on the board for people to get excited. — Jim Zorn