The Birth of Benchies

Bob Head

By Phil Hecken

Anyone who follows the Weekend Edition of Uni Watch knows of “Benchies,” the on-again, off-again adventures of Mick and Mike — the two lovable denizens of Bub’s pub who share a common interest in sports and women … and an apartment. Rick Pearson, who has been uni watching longer than many of us have been alive, created Benchies several years ago, and most of the strips you’ve seen over the past two years (with a couple of mini-breaks in between), have been of recent vintage. Like most cartoonists, the strip has evolved — an idea planted a long time ago morphed into a fully-developed comic strip, destined for placement in hundreds of daily’s across the States. Almost.

You may not realize this but Benchies has been published in a major metropolitan newspaper. In fact, Rick may have been thisclose to having Benchies make it big, like it deserved. But fate is a cruel mistress. As they say in sports and in life, timing is everything, and the timing just wasn’t right. But maybe the timing will be right again in the future. Until then, Benchies has found a happy home on the UW weekends, and I’m glad we have it.

In a very special post today, then, we have Rick Pearson to take us back to the beginnings of Benchies — how he got the idea and how it came to fruition — and how it almost made it into the Minneapolis StarTribune’s full time comics section. Sit back and enjoy the Birth of Benchies.

~~~

The ‘Benchies’ Backstory.
By Rick Pearson

In 1976, I was newly divorced and sitting at my grandmother’s house at some kind of family gathering with my cousin Ron. We were watching the Twins on TV, playing at Chicago. The White Sox were in white-over-navy, their new “tails out” unis. I said I thought they were kind of fun. Ron was the closest thing I had to a brother when his family would spent most of the summer in Minnesota from San Diego (one year, PCL Padre pitcher Pete Wojay rented their house while they were away). Ron had come back to Minnesota for college and stayed. Anyway, of the White Sox that night he replied, “I dunno. They look like a dispirited softball team.”

A thought crossed my mind, and I filed it away. “Hmm, that’d make a decent premise for a comic strip.”

Two years later, one of my best friends split with his wife and moved into my extra bedroom. He’s a character, one of those people who will always be a big kid at heart, and I got him involved in the “bar jock” scene, playing about every sport imaginable. He was a helluva blocking back, bowler and basketball player, but the rest was all pretty much new to him. We had a great time, and, things got more than a little crazy around both the bar (the now-gone Uptown Bar & Café) and our apartment.

Out of those “adventures” (and a tremendous amount of exaggeration and pure fiction) came “Benchies”. Here’s the first strip ever, in fact.

Bub’s Pub” is a direct nod to cousin Ron. One of the cowboy sidekicks in the B-Westerns that were all over TV in the 1950’s called everyone “Bub.” When we were kids playing cowboys during Ron’s summer visits, I called him “Bub” a few times and it stuck. That or “Bubber.” Anyway, after several other ideas for the name of the bar in the strip, I hit on Bub’s Pub.

Ron went on to become a mail carrier, one of those brilliant people who prefer an uncomplicated job so he can, for example, put on a headset and learn yet another language while he’s working. I got deep in my “career” as creative director for a couple of small to medium ad agencies. But I’d still get bursts of energy and crank out a pile of “Benchies” every so often. Originally, I’d post them on the bulletin board at the agency where I was working at the time. I submitted it to all the syndicates at one time or another, getting a polite “not interested at this time” from them all.

Then through a sportswriter friend I crossed paths with playing senior baseball, “Benchies” ran in the Minneapolis StarTribune for a week in 1992 when “Doonesbury” took an eight-week hiatus…one of eight strips that “auditioned” for readers by appearing for a week each. Tim McGwire, then managing editor, said, “You’re onto something here. A lot of aging Baby Boomers will identify with this.”

Readers were given a number to call to vote of the strip, and to record their comments. The top four vote-getters (percentage-wise) would be added to the StarTribune comic pages. The other seven already were in syndication. “Benchies” was the only “free agent” in the deal. It had the misfortune of leading off (they went alphabetically). I say “misfortune” because many of the comments said things like, “It isn’t political enough”, and even the editor I worked with at the StarTribune admitted people didn’t understand. At first, many apparently thought it was about auditioning a REPLACEMENT for “Doonsebury.”

That misunderstanding might have cost me in the end, because “Benchies” finished 5th, missing the cut by 4/10th of a percentage point. Among the strips it lost out to: “LuAnn” and “Overboard”.

Then, out of the blue, the StarTribune called me about it some five years later, but nothing came of that, either.

And they looked at it one more time in ’07, but asked me to keep it more local. That kind of defeated the purpose. Nuthin’. I could take that as failure after failure, I suppose, but they obviously hadn’t forgotten about The Boys.

Then in ’08, along comes Uni Watch, and Phil’s appreciation for Mick & Mike.

And a year ago tomorrow, Ron suddenly passed away. Too bad something didn’t break right for “Benchies”. I would love for him to have seen Bub’s Pub in the funny papers. I mean, it really does exist because of something he said.

~~~

Thank you Rick. And thanks for bringing us a little bit of great comedy each weekend. Maybe Ron didn’t get to see Benchies make it big, but it’s bringing laughs to a lot of folks even now.

~~~~~~~~~~

all sport uni tweaksUni Tweaks

Lots and lots of tweaks keep pouring in, so obviously this is a popular feature. A bunch new to get to today. If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.

Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great a keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!

Got a smaller of tweaks today…so lets get right into it:

~~~

Starting off the show is Brady Vardeman, who has a pro combat tweak for Oklahoma…in black:

Hey…I decided to go ahead and make a Oklahoma Sooners pro-combat, BFBS, uniform. It’s basically just the home uni, but black and black pants with a black helmet and a skewed “OU”. It turned out rather well

::Brady::

~~~

Next up is Clint Glaze, who has a Father’s farm team concept:

The former Portland Beavers AAA Team, the feeder for the San Diego Padres, is poised to move to Escondido, CA to start play in 2012 or 2013 in a proposed new stadium. The team is currently called the Tucson Padres and playing in a temporary home in Arizona. While the team name has not been decided upon (or even if they are 100%, for sure, coming to Escondido), the “Friars” is regarded as the leading name suggestion. Attached is my idea for their jerseys, closely following the existing Padres designs.

~~~

Next up is Ryan Ramirez, who has a great concept for the Bills. Oh…he’s only 11 years old!

Hi, my name is Ryan! I’m only 11. My friend just recently informed me of Uni Watch and I created my own uniform. It is my first one. I basically just took the Buffalo Bills’ uniform and made some small changes that I thought would make it look better. Thank you for taking the time out of your life to look at my uniform!

-Ryan

~~~

That’s gonna do it for this smaller tweak show. More to come next tomorrow!

~~~~~~~~~~

Benchies HeaderBenchies

Not only did Ricko give us a wonderful look back at the beginnings of Benchies, but he’s BACK with a brand new one for today.

You know spring is just around the corner when you hear the four greatest words ever uttered: “Pitchers And Catchers Report.”

Who knew Mike was a Mets fan?

~~~

d-mike tee-1

…and if that’s a tad too small…here’s the full-size version.

Welcome back to Benchies, Rick.

~~~~~~~~~~

ojBills Fauxbacks

As you all know (or should), a couple days ago Paul broke the news on the Buffalo Bills getting a new uniform for next season. Here’s what Paul’s “little birdie” told him:

These new Bills uniforms are clearly modeled after the later Simpson-era design, including the white helmet, but they’ve been updated to include a tiny amount of navy blue trim.

In my opinion, the navy blue is probably not necessary, but the uniforms do look quite good, and any sort of socks are an upgrade in my book. I wish they would update that darn logo, though. I’ve always preferred the solid red standing buffalo to the blue leaping buffalo, but I don’t think the retro logo works seamlessly with this new set, either. It is what it is. An upgrade, for sure.

An upgrade, for sure. I mean, when you dress like this, there’s pretty much no where to go but up. A couple hundred comments ensued, and it got me to thinking. In this day and age of fauxbacks (think Giants, Jets, Chargers and 49ers in football), I’m wondering if this is becoming more of a trend. Of course, many teams are throwing back as well, but those aren’t permanent uniforms (at least not yet anyway). Many sports do the fauxback thing. But — if you’re going to dump what is arguably not only the worst uniform in your own history, but possibly in all of NFL history, to create a “new” uniform based on a prior one … wouldn’t you want to either (1) fall back to your best uniform, or (2) the one in which your team achieved its greatest success? Because the impression I’m getting from hearing about these is the new uniform falls into neither category.

I was hoping the Bills would have gone with the AFL throwbacks which they have been wearing the past few years, including the road version that looks great even today. That’s probably (IMHO) their best all-time look, harkening back to the Jack Kemp days. Another nice look was their original 1960-61 AFL duds, which was a very plain blue and silver look, with silver helmets containing player numbers. However, that probably wouldn’t have translated very well into a fauxback. In between the 1964-1972 era and the originals, for two years the Bills wore a shoulder looped uniform that bore the same colors and helmet as the one which followed (Kemp era). But the Bills won two AFL championships in 1964 and 1965, in those striped sleeved unis — arguably their greatest success.

By 1973, the Bills would begin their their segue from the Kemp era unis to the era to which they are supposedly throwing back. 1973-4 brought the blue pants, and the last years of the standing buffalo for the new, charging buffalo helmet, complete with blue facemask. They would basically wear this uniform for nine seasons, from 1975 through 1983. I remember them introducing that uniform (having actually seen the Jets play the Bills at Shea when the Bills first introduced the new buffalo), and I never liked it. I never liked the blue pants or the charging bison, but at least they had a white helmet, which I had to that point always associated with the Bills.

Whatever the reason, most people attribute it to the AFC East (at the time) being the “white helmet division” (although the Jets had gone to a green helmet years earlier), in 1984 the Bills suddenly (and forever) switched to a red helmet. They would keep the blue pants in 1984 and 1985, eventually opting for one pair of white pants for both home and road. They’d keep the blue mask until 1987, when they went to a white facemask, and basically settled into the uniform which would propel them to four consecutive Super Bowls. Other than the AFL era, when they captured two titles, this was a period of tremendous success. And it was a pretty good looking uniform to boot.

Of course, they’d keep that uniform, more or less, until 2001. Taking all leave of their senses, in 2002 they introduced the current generation of uniforms, which of course, were designed to be worn either blue over white or white over blue and not the monochrome monstrosities into which they morphed. Easily the worst looking uniform in the game today.

So with three or four distinct looks to fall back upon, why would the Bills pick the era they did to fauxback to? It wasn’t a particularly good era (in terms of record or wins or success), and it wasn’t a particularly distinguished era, uniform-wise. I have a sneaking suspicion it was because it featured blue pants — allowing them the option to go monochrome blue at their leisure. I can only hope that’s not the reason.

But what about the decision to return to white helmets? I like it (since I never felt the Bills belonged in red helmets), but I wish they’d have chosen the standing buffalo. To me, the Bills were always a white helmeted team. I think that may be an age thing. I asked a question in the comments on Thursday, but it was late and only a few people replied — so I’ll ask again here.

Is “liking” a white helmet a generational thing? It seems to me that the older one is, the more one is apt to favor a white helmet, while the younger one is — the more likely one is to like a colored helmet. Which do you all prefer? If you’re under 30, do you prefer a colored helmet (not just for the Bills, for any team) and if you’re over 30, do you prefer the white helmet? I’d love to get an informal demographic as to what age (if any) favors a colored helmet over a white one. For the record, I’m 45, and I like white helmets.

~~~~~~~~~~

That’s almost it for today — couple things of note in the world of hoops occurred last evening. The Knicks and Lakers wore their “Hardwood Classics” throwbacks, but it looked very odd, since the Knicks were wearing blue at home. That’s a much better uni than their current roadie, with its BFBS piping, but they really missed an opportunity to throw back to the Carl Braun-era unis, with their tiled stripes. Granted, they were throwing back to their 1970 NBA Championship unis, (or perhaps, more appropriately, their 1973 NBA Championship unis (in 1973, they took down the Lakers). It wasn’t a bad looking game, but with the super long shorts and the eye-searing kicks, it wasn’t that great.

The OTHER news, of course, is the fact that the Cleveland Cavaliers ended the longest losing streak in…well, ever, I think, taking down the Clippers in Clevo. Who knew Ted Turner was a fan? Good for the Cavs. Now they can start a new streak.

~~~~~~~~~~

OK, Uni Watchers. That’s it for today. HUGE thanks to Ricko for finally letting me bring you the backstory on Benchies. Make sure you let him know how good the strip really is. And maybe it’s not too late for Benchies to make it into the funnies after all.

And hey — this Twitter is pretty great. Make sure you follow me @PhilHecken. OK? OK!

~~~

I don’t give a rat’s ass about the Lakers, but I’d love to see them wear the gold unis full-time. — James T. Huening

 

153 comments to The Birth of “Benchies”

  • Komet17 | February 12, 2011 at 7:24 am |

    Welcome back, Mike and Mick!

  • Dave Johnson | February 12, 2011 at 7:30 am |

    I’m 26 and I like white helmets, but I know the Bills as wearing red helmets, but either way works for me with that team. I prefer the charging buffalo over the one grazing, but once again, thats how I know the Bills, my brother’s favorite team.

  • The Jeff | February 12, 2011 at 7:37 am |

    There’s more to it than just liking or not liking white helmets. The Bills white helmets look perfectly fine on their own. But there’s 9 other teams that use white helmets in the NFL (6 full time, 3 throwbacks). That’s what makes it bad, to me. Instead of being one of only 2 teams with the red, they become just another team in a white helmet. In addition to that, they’d actually worn red for longer than they’ve worn white. In my mind they’d established themselves quite well as a red helmet team.

    I think you have to look at the uniform in the context of the entire league, not just in a vacuum. I’ve got nothing against white helmets in general, I just don’t like seeing over 1/4th of the league using them.

    For the record, I’ll be 30 next month. Of the soon to be 7 teams using white helmets full time, my preferences are as follows:

    Bills – red
    Chargers – white
    Colts – white
    Cardinals – white
    Jets – green
    Titans – powder blue
    Dolphins – white

    • concealed78 | February 12, 2011 at 9:30 am |

      I for one have never liked the Bills red helmet. The white helmet better off shows that huge logo and the ridiculous red streak that gets lost on a red helmet.

      Powder blue helmets, eh….

      “I think you have to look at the uniform in the context of the entire league”

      Nope. If a league happens to have a bunch of same shades in a division, it shouldn’t matter at all, and there is no set protocol for color schemes within (IMO unnecessary) divisions or leagues. If a white helmet looks good, then so be it. Each look should be based on the individual team. That’s like saying the Red Sox shouldn’t wear navy caps or jerseys because of the Yankees.

      • The Jeff | February 12, 2011 at 9:52 am |

        I won’t say there should be rules or anything, but there’s something to be said for everyone NOT looking the same. Baseball in particular suffers really badly from “every damn team wears blue, red or black” syndrome. It’s not a good thing.

        You can make a white helmet look good for almost every team. It’s really easy if the team already wears white pants – just have the helmet stripes match the pant striping and boom, you have a fairly good looking white helmet. That doesn’t mean everyone should wear one.

        • StLMarty | February 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm |

          I say ditch the red and the white. I vote that they get some of those Egyptian helmets made out of bread.

  • Pierre | February 12, 2011 at 8:02 am |

    I like the Bills’ white helmets and either buffalo design is fine with me. However, IMO, the real problem rests with the size of the buffalo logo…it’s waaaay too large. That’s the reason the Bills’ helmets look top-heavy.

    I understand the reason some NFL teams have, over the years, enlarged their helmet logos. It was to make their team helmet logos more easily recognizable on TV. Compare the vintage “standing buffalo” to the modern “charging buffalo” and tell me you can’t see the difference in size. And look at the effect it has on the appearance of the helmet. The modern Bills’ helmet looks enormous…making the players look top-heavy. This is particularly true considering that helmet shells are getting bigger, too. Balance is what’s needed…reduce the size of the buffalo logo regardless which one is used.

    • NE | February 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm |

      I think that’s a really good point.

  • Barry | February 12, 2011 at 8:28 am |

    I am 45 and generally don’t like white helmets except for being an Auburn fan and loving their white helmet, especially with the blue facemask. I don’t care at all for the late 70′s-early 80′s orange facemask.

  • Fred | February 12, 2011 at 8:35 am |

    The problem with the bills is that the helmet doesn’t match either the jersey or the pants. They are the only team in the league like that that. I’ve always though of the bills as a blue team (much like I think of the pats as a red team). I prefer colored helmets over white but do admit that white is classy (chargers, colts). I am 42

    • The Jeff | February 12, 2011 at 9:05 am |

      They weren’t the only team to do that, though it isn’t real common. The Browns are another one.

      • StLMarty | February 12, 2011 at 10:00 am |

        Panthers

        • JTH | February 12, 2011 at 10:08 am |

          Nope, unless you meant when they wear the white jerseys/pants, but a lot of teams do white over white with a different colored helmet.

          Perhaps you meant the Jaguars with that not teal/not black helmet of theirs?

          Or the Cowboys since they’ve got like 17 different types of silver on their unis?

    • scott | February 12, 2011 at 10:45 am |

      The Broncos used to wear blue helmets with orange jerseys, and no one seemed to have a problem with that look.

  • Craig | February 12, 2011 at 8:44 am |

    I’ll be 29 this month, and I prefer white helmets on the Bills and in nearly every other situation. I also hate piping, monochrome, and panels…I’m a jersey traditionalist all the way.

  • Patrick_in_MI | February 12, 2011 at 8:47 am |

    I don’t think one can make a blanket statement about liking or disliking white helmets as a whole. If the Gints or Browns or Texans (concept helmet was white BTW) were to change to white helmets, would it pass the sniff test? To me, a white helmet is just a plain shell until something adorns it, such as a standing buffalo or lightning bolts. As such, I don’t think it’s a generational thing but rather what fits into the scheme of the enire uni. I much prefer the red-lidded Bills with the white mask anyway. As TheJeff points out, it makes them somewhat unique. I’ve always been a fan of the Fouts-era Chargers unis (it’s what got me interested in the NFL when I was a kid) but I grudgingly accept the current white helmets.

  • Coleman | February 12, 2011 at 8:47 am |

    Rick, thanks so much for letting us in on the very interesting back story of Benchies. Those big time newspapers don’t know what they’re missing out on with this comic!

    Us UWer’s will always appreciate your genius!

    • pushbutton | February 12, 2011 at 9:04 am |

      I would have voted for Benchies ESPECIALLY as a permanent replacement for the overrated Doonesbury. You carved out a unique niche there, Ricko.

      • =bg= | February 12, 2011 at 11:01 am |

        Doonesbury…………overrated?
        Um, no.

        • pushbutton | February 12, 2011 at 11:24 am |

          Correctly-rated cartoonists don’t get eight-week hiatuses (hiatii?) from their syndicates.

          But hey, you’re talking to a guy who hasn’t liked a comic strip since “Priscilla’s Pop”.

        • Ricko | February 12, 2011 at 11:27 am |

          Love “Doonesbury”, but a curious thing often happens with at creation like that. It begins tweaking the nose of the establishment, but eventually becomes so entrenced that it’s almost part of the establishment it skewered in the first place.

          Know what I mean?

          Also (and, believe me, sometimes even when thinking about “Benchies” I find it to true) you have to watch carefully that you resist the temptation to get “preachy” just because you can.

          —Ricko

  • pushbutton | February 12, 2011 at 8:57 am |

    Every team should go back to what they wore in 1968.

    Teams that didn’t exist in 1968 can consult me and I will provide a design that will be unique, yet period-appropriate for 1968.

    I’m 99% sure I’m not kidding. Can anyone think of a ’68 design that is not preferable to a team’s current one?

    • The Jeff | February 12, 2011 at 9:16 am |

      Bengals (ok, 68 uni is better, but not the helmet) Patriots. Eagles. Lions. Rams.

      • StLMarty | February 12, 2011 at 10:03 am |

        Patriots road uni is the worst in football.

        • The Jeff | February 12, 2011 at 10:11 am |

          No, that honor belongs to the Giants road uniform, now that the Bills are changing theirs.

          Besides, the Patriots should have never worn red in the first place. Even the guy on the old helmet was wearing a blue shirt.

        • traxel | February 12, 2011 at 10:37 am |

          I love the Pats in red. That is one of the all time greats, simply because they are red. Why anyone would be that dumb to propose redcoats in the first place, and wearing them as long as they did, simply classic. I say go back to the traditional hyprocracy and let the redcoats invade once again.

        • Ricko | February 12, 2011 at 11:04 am |

          There’s a reason the original Pats ended up in red.
          And I figured we’ve gone over it enough that it wouldn’t need to get brought up over and over that they dressed “like the Britsh.”

          So I’m not gonna through it again. ;)

          —Ricko

    • JTH | February 12, 2011 at 9:22 am |

      The Rams — I don’t care for their blue and white look and (especially when they wear the gold pants) I think their current unis are actually better.

      It’s a minor quibble, but I prefer the socks the Bears wear with their white jerseys today to what they wore back then.

      The Bengals’ current unis are a disaster, but their 1968 ones are the worst in AFL/NFL history so their current helmets with the rest of the 1968 uni would be great.

      • JTH | February 12, 2011 at 10:00 am |

        Their 1968 *helmets* are the worst in NFL/AFL history — nothing wrong with the rest of that uni.

        • pushbutton | February 12, 2011 at 11:20 am |

          I guess I’m the only one that loves that helmet.

          A simple, declarative BENGALS in a radial arch over the earhole. No stripe; who needs it. I believe the word ‘badass’ applies. Less is more.

          Throw in the contrasting black belts and the 68-80 Bengals uni is one of my favorites.

        • interlockingtc | February 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

          No pushbutton, you are not alone. That original Bengals helmet (and uniform) is a thing a beauty.

    • LarryB | February 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm |

      Good and interesting point. I too tend to think that way for most all NFL unis. Maybe an exception or so but for the most part they looked better back then.

    • Komet17 | February 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm |

      Sounds like we need a poll: In which year did the NFL, as a whole, have the best overall set of uniforms. Could start it with 1960–the first year of the AFL…

  • eethy | February 12, 2011 at 9:15 am |

    35 – I think the white helmets look better, but I would have preferred they keep the red. As ugly as the Bills unis are, they at least stand out. I flip the game on I know immediately it’s the Bills. That’s something I’m afraid they’ll lose when they go white.

  • Ben Jye | February 12, 2011 at 9:28 am |

    In general I do like white helmets, and I’m just a shade under 30. However, in reading the article, it strikes me that the reason I like white helmets is because there are so many teams with colored helmets. I’m a fan of the alternate jersey/look in general (when it’s done tastefully and only as an occasional thing), and so I think seeing a team with a white helmet is a nice change. I love the Bills throwbacks, and favor the standing Buffalo over the charging one. Some of the best (IMHO) alternate helmet designs in college football over the past few years have been white helmets (Virginia Tech, Florida, and Arizona immediately jump to mind). I think it’s a great look, but like anything, if a lot of teams start doing it then in 10 or 15 years we’ll be asking if more teams should do colored helmets.

  • James | February 12, 2011 at 9:31 am |

    I turn 22 next month and I generally prefer color helmets because it seems like there are so many teams with white helmets now. However, I love the Bills’ AFL throwback helmet with the standing buffalo. I think their AFL helmet stands out in the AFC because the only other team with a white helmet with a red logo in the NFL is Arizona.

  • Conlan Hsu | February 12, 2011 at 9:47 am |

    Edin Dzeko, #10 of Manchester City, switched to a #60 blood jersey in the Manchester Derby after taking an elbow from Nemanja Vidic to the head.

    • johnj | February 12, 2011 at 9:51 am |

      More importantly… How about Rooney’s goal??!!

  • Kevin G. | February 12, 2011 at 9:51 am |

    I’m 38 and voting for the Bills in white helmets. They have never looked good with any of the uniforms they’ve had since the change. I would have been okay with it if they would have went to red as their primary color, but they stuck with blue.

  • Coleman | February 12, 2011 at 10:04 am |

    There are some really cool videos giving an inside look into the Super Bowl over on Packers.com. Not so cool if you’re a Steelers fan I guess ;)

    Something I didn’t notice until the video there: the confetti was actually mini-Lombardi trophies! I had no idea.

    • johnj | February 12, 2011 at 10:06 am |

      I think Paul mentioned the confetti in one of his posts… I don’t think they were all Lombardi trophies though. The red, white, and blue were rectangle and the trophies were silver…. i think..

      • Coleman | February 12, 2011 at 10:27 am |

        I never noticed Paul’s post about it. I’ll have to find that.

        The confetti, however, is definitely multicolored trophies. It might not have been nothing but trophies, but at exactly 5:00 in video 3 on Packers.com you can see a blue trophy confetti plain as day, and some others all over the place.

        Thanks for the info though! (talking about confetti shapes, I now know the extent of my insanity!)

        • Coleman | February 12, 2011 at 10:33 am |

          A really easy red one to see is at 6:20 in slow-mo. It falls right by Aaron Rodgers’ head… As he hoists that beautiful trophy it resembles!!!

          And there are plenty of the red, white and blue “plain” confetti pieces too, you’re certainly right about that.

        • johnj | February 12, 2011 at 10:57 am |

          You’re right, just checked it out…and don’t worry, we all obviously share the same insanity haha

  • johnj | February 12, 2011 at 10:04 am |

    In regards to white helmets:

    I think I subscribe to Paul’s good or stupid way of thinking. I can’t think of a team with a white helmet that i don’t think is ‘good’ so I do like them.

    On the other side there’s plenty of colored helmets that I also think are ‘good’ and should never go white(Rams, Giants, Packers, Steelers come to mind)

    There’s teams that would do well to change to white(Bucs, Bills, Pats (?) come to mind)

    So let’s go with a 24 year old saying white helmets are good (when not stupid) haha

  • Matt Beahan | February 12, 2011 at 10:21 am |

    Those Knicks throwbacks are NOT the championship-era ones – they’re damn near identical to the set they wore in 1991-92, down to the shorts logo.

    The 70′s Knicks had no shorts logo, and the shorts trim was much different.

    And don’t get me started on the inaccuracies of the Lakers throwbacks…

    • Mark in Shiga | February 12, 2011 at 10:35 am |

      Yeah, those are the Knicks uniforms I remember when I first got into them in the early ’90s.

      The Lakers really botched the shadows on the numbers; they could at least have consulted with the Rangers on how to do it correctly. It’s like they only noticed the shadow parts on the right side of the number.

      And what’s with the Knicks having every player wear #2?

      (OK, so it only *looks* that way.)

  • DenverGregg | February 12, 2011 at 10:34 am |

    I’m an old 47. I dislike most white helmets, but that’s mainly because I associate them with teams I dislike most intensely: the Boston Patriots and the Nebraska Bugeaters. That being said, some teams like the Longhorns and Dolphins (even the ‘zona Wildcats) wouldn’t look right in a colored helmet.

  • Anthony | February 12, 2011 at 10:43 am |

    At 31 (although I’ll be 32 in a week), I like the Bills in white helmets. While anything is better than their current monstrosity, I LOVE their throwbacks.
    I’m not necessarily partial to white helmets per se, but I’m not generally opposed either. When the Texans first revealed their uniforms/colors/etc., I was disappointed that they went with a white helmet, as it looked too much like the Titans. Switching to a blue helmet was a good idea for them, IMHO.

  • traxel | February 12, 2011 at 10:44 am |

    Ricko, really enjoy Benchies. Amazing how close you were to making it a daily, but it’s still VERY cool that it got in the paper the short time it did. There’s still time! And UW isn’t exactly a slouch of a home for it. The back story was fun and I’m sorry for Ron’s loss. You have a wonderful talent my friend!

    • LI Phil | February 12, 2011 at 10:58 am |

      agreed ben (and how often do i agree with you?)

      here’s hoping this space can serve as a re-ignition for benchies…

      on another note, trying to find something Ricko sent me like two years ago — kind of a “crib sheet” to the Benchies characters…gives a nice description of the main players (and some minor ones too)

    • rpm | February 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm |

      i enjoyed reading the backstory today too.

      and i agree ben, the weekend uni-paper isn’t exactly the worst place for this to land.

      • Broadway Connie | February 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

        Agree.

        • Ricko | February 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm |

          I hope nobody thinks I said UW was a bad place for “Benchies” to be.

          —Ricko

        • Broadway Connie | February 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm |

          ‘Course not.

        • traxel | February 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm |

          Sorry, no, I didn’t mean to imply that at all!

  • Ronnie Poore | February 12, 2011 at 11:04 am |

    i would prefer the standing bison on the Bills helmet, but since they are going with the charging buff, how about a compromise…get rid of the red slash, like so:

    http://s5.photobucke...

    better?

    • johnj | February 12, 2011 at 11:43 am |

      wow, definitely better… would like to see that version of the buffalo in red too for comparison… good look either way though ronnie

      • Broadway Connie | February 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm |

        SO much better! Jeez, Ronnie, please bother anyone and everyone (UW readers; Paul; Buffalo newspapers; the White House) to entice the Bills into adopting your design. Really like it.

        I line up with those who say A) That the value of a particular color of helmet depends utterly on how it looks within the context of the whole uniform; and B) that we should be less vigilant as to whether white or dark helmets predominate in a given conference and much more vigilant about heading off blue-and/or-red for everybody. I agree that baseball could use more green, brown, and (yes) purple.

        Ideally, of course, I’d banish fancy pants and have everyone wear matte shades of brown or gray for pants. No stripes except for socks and sleeves, where they would bloom. I would also revive the Providence Steamrollers and the Canton Bulldogs, but that’s another matter.

      • Ronnie Poore | February 12, 2011 at 7:38 pm |

        non slash buffalo in red, huh. ok here ya go:

        http://s5.photobucke...

        not bad if i do say so myself. i’d be good with the Bills using either one

  • Natron | February 12, 2011 at 11:10 am |

    Interesting… It’s the annual “Hockey Day Minnesota” today, and if anybody has access to Fox Sports North, you can turn it on and see a rarity. A couple of high school teams (Wayzata and Roseau) are both wearing white in the first game for some reason.

    • Ricko | February 12, 2011 at 11:15 am |

      Thanks. Playing outdoors, too, on a bright, sunny morning.

      —Ricko

      • Ricko | February 12, 2011 at 11:18 am |

        Announcers just said white-on-white “wasn’t by design” and that it “has to be tough on the players,” that they “have to look carefully” especially on long passes, but that Wayzata in blue helmets and Roseau in white helps a bit.

        —Ricko

  • wollen1 | February 12, 2011 at 11:21 am |

    I’ve never been a Bills fan, but for some reason the late Simpson era Bills unis are some of my favorites. I especilly like the road unis with the blue pants. I think it would be a great change, but more than anything, I’m just glad a change is being made.

    I recall when the Bills switched tot he red helmets in the late eighties. I remember that on our TV at the time the helmets actually looked pinkish. It was not a change that I favored.

  • MEMAL | February 12, 2011 at 11:29 am |

    Big shout out due to Ricko and Phil for sharing the backstory to the Benchies. They were something that I took for granted on this site and greatly missed in their absence. I may only be 27, but it’s easy to identify with the characters and I love the style of humor and subtly of the jokes.

    One of my favorite things about this website is the opportunity to share our creations with people who share our passions and getting to see other people’s creativity. Thank you Ricko and I hope you continue to share the Benchies with us.

    Although I know the Bills will look better in white helmets in their new unis, I prefer the red helmets, but I don’t think they would look right so I won’t miss them too much when they’re gone. I don’t want to see the charging buffalo gone, but if it would save the Bill from looking like the Charger’s current set(I hate the two shades of blue, looks too busy. The best part of their throwbacks was the complete abscence of any modern elements.) with it’s mashup of conflicting elements then I’m all for it.

  • Oakville Endive | February 12, 2011 at 11:30 am |

    I’m being facetious here.

    But it’s great to hear there’s revolution taking shape amoungst the NFL’s axis of uniform evil (Buffalo – Cincinnati and Seattle) – with the fall of the probably the most evil – the Bills uni. Now if only the Bunguls can fall and Seattle can simply ditch the monochrome, the dark uniform forces will have toppled – then what do we bitch about?

    It definitely is a real movement to more conservative uniforms and/or permanently going back to previous , generally simpler, uniforms – I’m probably missing a few , but here is 10 that come to mind, that have happened over the last few years:

    1. Phoenix Coyotes – I view this as pretty close to a two colour uni – that often gets missed on those lists
    2. the new Tampa Bay Lightning
    3. Vancouver Canucks
    4. Buffalo Bills
    5. San Francisco 49ers
    6. Philadelphia Flyers
    7. Boston Bruins
    8. Buffalo Sabres
    9. Golden State Warriors
    10. Milwaukee Bucks

    Based on this list – can say the Denver Broncos or say Toronto Blue Jays be far behind – theere two candidates that come to mind.

    • LI Phil | February 12, 2011 at 11:38 am |

      i think hockey & basketball, especially, are having a fauxback revolution (if you will)

      totally forgot to include the 49ers (in fact, i will add them to the top of todays article) as a team who went “back” (fauxly) to a previous incarnation

      even in baseball, only with the “alts”, we’re seeing a pushback to classic looks (phillies, mets, twins, indians…im sure there are others) not quite throwbacks, but definitely harkback/throwbacks

  • mike 2 | February 12, 2011 at 11:34 am |

    I’m 43 and grew up watching Irv Weinstein, Rick Azar, Tom Jolls, OJ Simpson, Joe Ferguson and the Bills over the antenna.

    I remember the change from the white helmet to the red helmet, and prefer the red helmet. Its just a matter of taste, but I think the Kelly era uniforms were just about perfect.

    http://www.classicbu...

    • JGoodrich | February 12, 2011 at 6:39 pm |

      I’m right in that demographic as well (don’t forget Rocketship 7 or Tom Jolls’ alter ego Commander Tom) and thought that I never liked the red helmet – until now that they’re switching back. It’s going to take some time getting used to white again.

      Hopefully they at least match all of the blues.

  • mike 2 | February 12, 2011 at 11:35 am |

    Also, the story of Benchies is great. Luann and Overboard???? People have no taste.

    • Ricko | February 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm |

      A little perspective on this.

      In the 50s and 60s, the prevailing attitude regarding innovative unis was to look clean and bright, with lots of flash and dash, to be visually exciting for the fans in teh stands those watching on TV.

      Bright colors and white helped immeasurably in that respect.

      Now, between digital and HD images that make viewing easier and a prevailing attitude that unis should be tough and somber (how many times have these poeple watched “300″, anyway) bright colors are seen as a sign of weakness, or something

      So that’s what it boils down to, two schools of thought on what a uni should accomplish. I’m not sure either is wrong, and neither should be saying the other is)

      —Ricko

      • Ricko | February 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm |

        Oh, man, that wasn’t supposed to be here, lol.

        —Ricko

        • mike 2 | February 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm |

          You don’t like Luann. I get it.

  • Samuel | February 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |

    I’m 24 and I am indifferent on white helmets. Actually, in the whole sense of helmets, I prefer if the helmet color matches either the jersey or pants.

    When the Bills had the red helmets, they didn’t have red jerseys or red pants, thus making the uniform a complete disaster. The white helmet works for them because they have white pants and the white road jerseys.

    Teams like the Packers, 49ers, Steelers, Jets have another part of their uni set that matches the helmet. That’s what I like.

    So, a white helmet is good for the Bills because they have either their jersey or pants to match it. Teams like the Falcons have helmets I don’t care for since they opt not to wear their black tops or black pants often enough. Their current look of black helmet on red jersey is not appealing to me.

    • Ricko | February 12, 2011 at 12:15 pm |

      Yeah, I don’t know that there’s anything inherently right or wrong, good or bad, about any color helmet.

      Or about when, or when not, to wear it.

      All depends on if it works with the particular uniform.

      By some of the “rules” espoused by some here, this is all wrong.
      But it was a great uni…
      http://cdn.bleacherr...

      —Ricko

      • rpm | February 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm |

        rick~
        the rules drive me nuts…tap tap tap…especially the ones about how every stripe must match on every uniform…tap tap tap…or the colour of the helmet must match the colour of the pants or jersey…tap tap tap…some people need some serious medication… tap tap tap.

        so when are the adventures of M&M going to be a regular thing again?

        • Ricko | February 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm |

          now

        • rpm | February 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

          oh, good. that was fast.

        • rpm | February 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm |

          i noticed that sometimes that the characters are not always perfectly symmetrical. that might be a problem here, but you can work on that.

          glad to hear you are going to start running these again, they’re fun.

        • Ricko | February 12, 2011 at 3:35 pm |

          Sorta do that on purpose, the distortions and “offness”. I could labor over them, but I conceived it as sort of having the look of having been drawn on a cocktail napkin. That’s why I draw them with a Sharpie instead of pen or brush and India ink. Seemed to fit the subject matter…looking a bit like quickie bar-top cartoons, that is.

          Not totally simplisitic like many(most?) of the strips these days, but not Alex Raymond perfect, either.

          Make sense at all?

          —Ricko

        • StLMarty | February 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm |

          I’ve been trying booze, but it ain’t workin. Where can I find this pill to cure my fascination with matching stripes?

        • Ricko | February 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm |

          Much of that asymetry is, if not intentional, at least allowed to pass because my concept was for “Benchies” to have something of “hurriedly drawn on a cocktail napkin” look, which seemed appropriate to the sujbect matter.

          That also why I do them with a Sharpie instead of brush or pen and India ink. I didn’t want the simplicity of so many(most?) strips, but didn’t want to get trapped in a search for the meticulous realities of Alex Raymond and Hal Foster, either.

          So I kind of let it flow. If the subject is a specific sport, or the given bit is related to the sport, I’ll keep the forms a bit more precise. Other times, when the content is heading off into Road Runner land, it gets looser.

          I suppose that’s another way of saying the style hasn’t toally evolved, isn’t it.

          Of course, in my head it all makes perfect sense.

          —Ricko

        • Ricko | February 12, 2011 at 8:00 pm |

          I know, I know, I addressed that twice.
          First one was “in moderation”.
          Then it when away, so I wrote the second.
          Then both were “in moderation.”
          And now they’re both here.

          Grrrr…about ready to have this laptop of mine against the wall.

          —Ricko

      • anotherguy | February 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm |

        Ricko, spraying to all fields here:

        Good story on Benchies: I had sort of assumed that it was a project you had marketed as an everyday strip at some point. Nice details on who and what inspired some things.

        Generational uni preferences: I think many of us never lose a fondness/nostalgic feeling for the uni’s we first see our hero’s in. I know for me the best uni’s seem to be the ones I remember from my youth.

        One thing that also has crossed my mind: some sports (like basketball) seem to like new and fresh uni’s (as well as arena’s) and others (say football) seem to go with tradition. That’s JMHO.

    • Gusto44 | February 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm |

      I’m a tad older than 24, and always preferred the white helmets for Buffalo. The blue facemask with the blue pants remind me of the Joe Cribbs era, I believe O.J. only wore this style for one or two seasons. The Cribbs era had more team success than the Simpson era, so that resonates with me more.

      The red helmet always seemed out of sync with the Bills historical look, blue seemed to be the primary color for that franchise.

  • NE | February 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm |

    28, white/standing > red/charging > white/charging. I think having blue and red as team colors can be a problem. You really have to pick one and run with it and have the other a distant secondary.

  • Joseph Gerard | February 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm |

    I’m 25, and I recognize the Bills with red helmets. However, having seen old NFL Films footage of the Bills wearing white helmets–as well as seeing the Bills wear their throwbacks against my Steelers wearing white helmets–I do think the white helmets for them look better.

    To be honest, white helmets, for the most part, aren’t bad. But if you want to talk about COLORED helmets–let’s just say the Steelers need to stick with black helmets and hide the gold helmets. What has me worried though is that they do wear the gold helmets in practice sometimes. (http://www.post-gaze...) Makes me wonder if they’re considering a full-time switch to gold helmets–and they’re the one team that needs to leave their uniforms alone! Aside from, of course, going back to block numbers.

    • The Jeff | February 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm |

      I think the only reason they do that is to break them in so the players are used to them when they wear the throwback during the season. I’d be really shocked if the Steelers had any plans for switching to yel…er…gold full time.

      I wouldn’t mind seeing them use both equally with a home & away helmet, but the NFL rules don’t allow that.

      • Joseph Gerard | February 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm |

        Well the first time I saw the Steelers wear the throwbacks in action were in 2007–coincidentally, against the Bills–and my first thought was “There’s a reason Art Rooney switched to black helmets in 1963.” Granted, I saw pictures of the helmets at their unveiling months before, but not in game action. I think the Steelers are the only NFL teams that practices with two different helmets on a regular basis. Unless the lockout extends into training camp, I’ll have to ask someone there when I go again this summer why they sometimes wear gold helmets in practice.

        • JEK | February 12, 2011 at 3:59 pm |

          They only wear the gold helmets in practice the week before they play a game in them. It’s been that way since they debuted the alt uniform. Thus they wear the gold lids two weeks (or three if they are wearing the throwbacks after their bye) per year. They do not use the gold helmets at any other time in-season. They may wear them during training camp, however. I don’t really know on that one.

          As for steeler nation wanting the old numbers back, I haven’t heard it. As long as our stripes and logo stay the same, steeler fans are generally pretty happy.

        • Joseph Gerard | February 13, 2011 at 1:16 am |

          JEK, the link I provided was from minicamp in June. I have seen footage during training camp and in practices in weeks where they are wearing their regular uniforms that they are wearing the gold helmets. It is puzzling, though. If they were to do that, you’d think they would go throwback with the practice jerseys too. (Which would be without numbers. I’m pretty sure they have to have the numbers on the practice jersey these days.) IDK if maybe they alternate or something, since the regular black helmets are also worn in practice. All the times I’ve been in training camp since the throwbacks came out, they were wearing the black helmets. I think Paul needs to do some investigating on this.

          It does concern me that uniform changes in the Steelers may be on the horizon after the inevitable happens. (Dan Rooney is 78) Notice that in the time Dan Rooney was directly running the team (1975-2002), the only uniform changes were the switch to black facemasks in 1977 and the rounded jersey numbers & logo patch in 1997. Since Art Rooney II has had more power over the team (and nothing against Art II, unlike some of the Steelers personnel he is very approachable and very nice in person at training camp), we’ve seen the throwbacks (nothing against them, but Dan Rooney said as recent as 2004 that the Steelers had no plans to have a third uniform set) and Steely McBeam (who can be tossed into the Ohio River for the fish to eat…I mean, he can go away now) that if Dan Rooney was still directly in charge, he’d never approve. From a personnel standpoint, Art Rooney II is doing a good job and is in essence his dad (NOT his grandfather the Chief, who mostly hired personal friends to drink and play poker with instead of competent football people like Dan and Art II have done), but from a uniform standpoint–it wouldn’t surprise me if after Dan passes away, that there’s a major overhaul.

        • BurghFan | February 13, 2011 at 6:23 am |

          You’re overreacting. They wear the gold helmets to break them in. There’s no need for different practice jerseys (which, to be real throwbacks, would have no numbers) because they’re not trying to make anybody think they’re going back to the days of practicing in South Park. So when you see the gold helmets in minicamp (assuming there is one), it just means that you’ll see the throwbacks during the season.

    • LI Phil | February 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm |

      Aside from, of course, going back to block numbers

      ~~~

      exactly

      • Joseph Gerard | February 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm |

        You have no idea how badly Steeler Nation wants the block numbers back. It was a nice change of pace in 1997. By 1998, fans wanted the block numbers back.

        • Gusto44 | February 12, 2011 at 4:10 pm |

          If the Steelers were to change back to block numbers, it would have happened by now. Personally, I prefer the current version, and we’re going on 15 years with that style. This style has corresponded with a different era of Steelers football, along with the logo on the jersey, so I like the difference.

          As was mentioned recently, the pre 1997 Steelers didn’t use block numbers exclusively, unlike other franchises. It’s possible that played a role in the 1997 change, since the team did use rounded numbers in the past.

        • Joseph Gerard | February 13, 2011 at 12:57 am |

          Gusto, in the late 1950′s the Steelers experimented with REALLY rounded numbers, even more rounded than what they have now. They were similar to what the Titans wore on their AFL Legacy Houston Oilers throwbacks. Take the numbers from the Titans AFL Legacy unis, apply it to the Steelers current third uniform set on the jerseys, remove the helmet decal and apply the numbers to that, and voila. That’s basically what they wore in the late 50′s.

      • CWac19 | February 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |

        Other than the Chicago Bears, are there any other NFL teams that should be messing around with other-than-block numbers? I will throw the Patriots and Chargers out there as having some of the most awful non-traditional numerals. I will echo a point made a few days ago: I am BRACING for the Bills to do something awful with the numbers…

  • Dave | February 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm |

    Well, it’ll be an improvement, but they’re still missing the obvious solution:

    1) Take AFL throwbacks
    2) Sub in a red version of the new Buffalo (just switch the red and blue)

    Done.

    • Ricko | February 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm |

      Ah, the voice of reason speaks.

      —Ricko

    • CWac19 | February 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm |

      Notwithstanding my post below, I think you NAILED it. Let’s make it happen.

      • Dave | February 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm |

        Too late, apparently.

        I’ve been saying this for years. I should’ve been much more willing to just photoshop it and submit it here.

  • Kub | February 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm |

    Why do the Bills insist on using Navy Blue? That was one of the terrible parts of the current unis is that they freely interchanged navy and royal blue. It looked terrible, like they wanted to switch to navy blue, but didnt wanna change the logo cause it was royal so they used both. You dont see teams using maroon and red, or forest green and kelly green together. Just chose one effing blue and stick w/ that. These jerseys are once again going to be a failure, just like every other recent Uni update(other than the Chargers)
    Reebok, youre the worst. You try to hard to be innovative to keep up w/ Nike and everything ends up looking like garbage. Go away.

    • CWac19 | February 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm |

      Reebok has managed to screw up the NHL waaaaay worse than anything they’ve done with the NFL, but point taken.

  • Flip | February 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm |

    Late to the party today and there’s a lot to cover:

    • Thanks for the back story to “Benchies.” I’m a newspaper guy and know how tough it is for new strips to break into the business. Never met Tim McGwire, but I’ve read a lot of his stuff in professional journals, etc., and have enormous respect for him. In this instance, I think he let a good one get away.

    • I’m what, 56 or 57, and don’t have a preference for football helmet colors. Never much cared for the Kemp-era Bills uniforms. The Juice’s Electric Company look was close to perfection, but you really can’t say anything bad about the Kelly Super Bowl duds, either.
    I wish my K-State Wildcats used the Power Cat on a white shell w/ a simple purple stripe and gray face masks, since I consider the school colors to be purple and white (officially, it’s just purple, but lyrics in the Alma Mater song make reference to white, too. I reluctantly accept gray as an accent color), Nebraska belongs in white, but when OU used white helmets in a throwback game a few years ago, it worked just fine. I liked the Jets in green, Pats in white (either their originals or w/ Pat the Patriot.

    • Don’t know why the ChiSox clam diggers never caught on. They looked comfortable. I think people got hung up on the long flapping collars. Bring back the clam diggers and introduce some striping to each of the teams.

    • There. I’m an old fart and I like tradition. But I’m not stuck in the past. That said, nothing outstanding has been introduced design-wise for a number of years,

  • CWac19 | February 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm |

    A couple of points, some of which may “upset the apple cart.” I often read, rarely post (though sometimes do inject non-sequiturs), on the blog, but I want to throw my proverbial two cents in.

    1. Kudos on today’s Benchies. Made me laugh out loud. Very clever. May be lost on those who aren’t familiar with the “mission” of Bellevue Hospital.

    2. Thrilled the Bills are moving away from the worst uniforms in the NFL, and I’m actually a fan of the particular combination they’ve chosen (except for the superfluous navy accents– the poster the other day who compared them to the superfluous gray accents on the Sabres faux-backs was right on point.) I’ve been an advocate of the return to the white helmet (I’m 33 y/o), along with the retention of the charging buffalo. BTW, Ronnie Poore, I REALLY like the charging buffalo, sans “action stripe.” Would be nice if the team took that cue. Would really be a worthwhile compromise between the “grazing” and “charging” factions.

    3. On a related note, I have to take issue with all of those who prefer the grazing buffalo logo and laud it as a “classic”. I would venture to guess that, were we to take a poll, the vast majority of the “grazing” supporters would identify themselves as vehemently (if not morally) opposed to the Bruins’ “Yogi Bear” logo that graced their yellow alternates. Putting aside the other hideous aspects of that jersey, the logo itself was poor because there was absolutely no emotion or action, or any attribute with which a hockey franchise would wish to be associated, at all conveyed by that logo. Ditto the grazing buffalo. (Although, perhaps the idea is to convey the “target” at which the real Buffalo Bill took aim…?) There are a number of reasons to otherwise distinguish the Bruins’ “benign bear” logo from the grazing buffalo, but at the end of the day, they are both mild-mannered creatures, ill-suited for the rigors of professional athletics. That said, might I suggest that we (as a group) are occasionally enamored of “classic” logos for the sake of their being “classic”? (Witness the fact that we even have a defender of the original Bengals helmet design, which seems to have been generated from the same design wizards that brought you the Oklahoma Thunder logo/wordmark/uniforms that most uni-lovers, I daresay, are not fans of…)

    3. Here comes the real controversial point: I want to officially declare myself a defender/supporter of monochrome uniforms — if only to say, in some cases, they work and are a better look than the alternative. And here’s the really bad part: I think the Seahawks home monochrome is an example of a look that works much better than the blue and white combo. I also like it when the Titans go solid navy (not as much with the solid powder.) There. I said it. Monochrome doesn’t always work (especially when matched with the same-color stirrups — I’m looking at you Saints and Ravens…). However, I’m not sure it’s appropriate to write off an entire pairing formula as “wrong.” Again, is this another sign that the bulk of uni-watchers are “traditionalists” to a fault…?

    • CWac19 | February 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm |

      D’oh! Just realized I had two paragraph 3′s.

    • interlockingtc | February 12, 2011 at 4:29 pm |

      CWac19, yes I liked the simple BENGALS wordmark across the helmet. And I actually like the OKC THUNDER wordmark. The wordmark. The Thunder logo is another story. That’s just downright bad. The Bengals logo I guess, back in the day, was of a cartoonish tiger carrying a football with his helmet about to fly off.

      I don’t know that I would call a silhouette of a grazing buffalo a “classic” design. It’s simply a strong design, regardless of the era in which it is used. It’s a very clear depiction of a noble, extraordinary looking beast that spends most hours in the day grazing. That’s enough for me.

  • interlockingtc | February 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm |

    That so-called charging buffalo looks like road-kill.

    This striking, one-of-a-kind, simple, dignified image should never have been replaced.

    http://mobi-wall.bro...

  • random reader | February 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm |

    Just writing to say I really liked Clint Glaze’s Escondido Friars concept uniforms.

    • CWac19 | February 12, 2011 at 1:59 pm |

      Agreed 100%. I’d like to own one.

  • hofflalu | February 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm |

    32. Red helmets. I also started following football as a 6 year old in 1984, so red is all I’ve really known. I always found the white helmets intriguing as a youngster football fan, since they had just been discontinued when I started noticing football. But to me, Bills football means red helmets.

  • LarryB | February 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm |

    Very cool to learn how The Benchies came about. Way to go Ricko

  • Matt Williams | February 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm |

    Out of curiosity, have the colorizations been put on hiatus?

    • Broadway Connie | February 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm |

      Itch, itch. Scratch, scratch. We need ‘em.

      • LI Phil | February 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm |

        yeah…they took a one week hiatus

        they’ll be back tomorrow

  • ab | February 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm |

    I like the Seahawks’ monochromes. They took a unique color (the lighter greenish-blue) to the NFL and ran with it. The Bills try to do the same thing with navy blue, a color used by a major percentage of sports teams, and it fails.

    I like Ronnie Poore’s idea of removing the red slash from the bison… maybe make it red to pay homage to the original bison logo.

    As for the Bills’ forthcoming uni change as a whole, I didn’t vehemently hate the 2002 uniforms, but they did seem quite overdesigned. The blue on white combo was probably the sharpest, and it’s too bad they didn’t use it often. Even if they go the Chargers’ “modern update to classic look” route, I’m thinking they’ll still have an improved look this coming season.

    • CWac19 | February 12, 2011 at 4:00 pm |

      Hear hear!

    • =bg= | February 13, 2011 at 12:20 am |

      Like…the….Seahawks…monochromes.
      Like…the….Seahawks…monochromes.
      Like…the….Seahawks…monochromes.
      Like…the….Seahawks…monochromes.

      Hmmmm. Must consider this.

  • Matt | February 12, 2011 at 3:34 pm |

    30 (and a Bills fan) I prefer colored helmets except for teams where white is clearly a team color (e.g. Jets). I also wish the Bills had just gone back to the 87-02 unis, but I’m glad they’re at least keeping the charging Buffalo.

  • aflfan | February 12, 2011 at 3:43 pm |

    Love the backstory on Benchie’s. Great job Ricko!

  • JD | February 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm |

    Awesome work Clint Glaze!

    • Tim Stoops | February 13, 2011 at 2:47 am |

      Agreed. Clint, I really like what you did with the road jersey, bringing back the sand color that the Padres have now ditched.

      The home uniform looks really sharp too, but I am seriously hoping they go a different way. We’re already the San Diego Brewers. We don’t need to have an Escondido Brewers in the minors too.

      Your work on both jerseys in great Clint.

      Speaking of the Tucson Padres, a recent Facebook post from the team said that the official hat design is still in the approval process, but “long time Padres fans will be very pleased.” It makes me wonder if we’re going to see the old different colored triangle in the front, but in Tucson colors.

  • James | February 12, 2011 at 4:04 pm |

    In response to the white helmet/ age discussion, I’m 24 and I’ve always liked white helmets on most teams, especially when they use a triple stripe pattern using two different colors. Examples would include college teams like Auburn, South Carolina, and Maryland and found in the NFL on the Miami Dolphins.

  • CWac19 | February 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm |

    Want to throw this one out there, in the same vein as the Bills’ mixing of old and not-so-old : what if the Jets were to keep everything the same with their current faux-back uniforms, but substitute the too-busy/not-really-all-that-inventive helmet logo for the pretty-sweet-looking/underappreciated, Gastineau-era wordmark.

    If anyone with the talents to produce a graphic mock-up of that would do so, I’d be interested to get a sense of what it actually would look like.

    And, just to emphasize the point I made about the grazing buffalo above, I submit that the Jets’ helmet logo is another one that people like simply BECAUSE it is old and not really because of its independent merits (“classic for classic’s sake”?… “CFCS”…?) It’s not really that great of a logo; it’s just that it’s part of a much better, more traditional kit that people universally associate with the little bit of success the Jets have had as a franchise.

    • Broadway Connie | February 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm |

      Sad but true.

    • Dave | February 12, 2011 at 4:29 pm |

      Agree about the Jets. I’m generally all for nods to history when an actual history is present, and I supported the move at first.

      But the late Ken O’Brien era green helmet set just plain looks better. I miss it.

      http://i2.cdn.turner...

  • Dootie Bubble | February 12, 2011 at 4:11 pm |

    I’m 93 and I prefer white helmets only between Memorial Day and Labor Day. After Labor Day colorful helmets are definitely the better bet.

    • jdreyfuss | February 12, 2011 at 4:24 pm |

      Hmm, good point. What about white pants after Labor Day? Can BFBS teams switch to WFWS during the summer if they wish, or is that only appropriate on a boat or in tropical weather?

  • jdreyfuss | February 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm |

    I’m 26 and I like both white and colored helmets. It’s a matter of what the logo looks like for me.

    A static logo, like the standing buffalo or Pat Patriot, looks best on a white helmet. A more dynamic logo, like the charging buffalo or Flying Elvis, looks best on a colored helmet. I’m not a fan of either team, but those are the best examples of the transition i can think of off the top of my head.

    If a team has no logo, like the Browns, or player numbers, like Alabama, it has to be a colored logo or else it looks lazy. Letter logos look good either way.

    The exception to the dynamic logo on a colored helmet rule is if the logo is especially colorful. For example, the Dolphins’ logo, with two colors on the dolphin and the orange sunburst, wouldn’t look good on either an aqua or an orange helmet, since the dynamic elements would get lost in the background color. The charging buffalo, on the other hand, is simple enough that it looks dynamic against any background, especially with the white outline they use on the helmets.

    • CWac19 | February 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm |

      This is an interesting theory, and I’m with you most of the way. I kinda dig the leaping buffalo on the white background, though.

      Where do you stand on the Titans’ flying/burning shield? Not sure that would look better on a blue helmet. Maybe silver…?

  • JTH | February 12, 2011 at 4:49 pm |

    I finally had a chance to read today’s main entry (just got back from Toy Story 3 On Ice — jealous? Of course you are).

    I’d heard the genesis of Benchies, but only in bits and pieces and not the full story. It’s great to finally get the whole thing in one complete serving.

    I’ve got to echo what others have already said. I rarely look at the comics section when I pick up a newspaper anymore but when I do, I can find two, maybe three, strips that are as good or better than Benchies.

    Keep it up, Rick. And what about that Benchies blog?

  • Marjorie Downing | February 12, 2011 at 5:57 pm |

    I Love your website. I’m gonna post a link on my Twitter Page!

  • Kyle Allebach | February 12, 2011 at 7:33 pm |

    I already commented on this before, however, I feel inclined to explain more. I like white helmets, but it depends on the team. The Chargers, the Jets, the Dolphins, Colts, Titans, IMO belong in white helmets. Teams like the Eagles, Vikings, Redskins…white caps don’t do them good.

    On the subject of the bills, I loved their red helmet, and enjoyed their current unis when it wasn’t the monochrome monster. The red was a certain shade that just stood out to me (I called it buffalo wing red), and helped balance the blue and red, even though I know that’s not the historical look for the team.

    I kinda wish they would just simplify their current uni–no blue pants(!), less accent colors, and turn that awkward gemetrical blue thing in the white uni into a shoulder yoke, and you’re golden.

  • Petedz | February 12, 2011 at 8:03 pm |

    Loved the history of Benchies. Thanks a ton for bringing it to us and I hope you keep bringing Benchies around every weekend. Love Mick & Mike.

  • Chuck | February 12, 2011 at 8:15 pm |

    Check out this surname …

    http://www.whl.ca/ro...

    • Patrick_in_MI | February 12, 2011 at 10:04 pm |

      Good find! I was watching CBC tonight and it was hockey day in Canada. Live from Whitehorse, Yukon! They had Vancouver Giants squaring off against Kamloops Blazers and that Vanwhateverhislastnameis got into fisticuffs. Announcers had a helluva time with his name.

  • timmy b | February 12, 2011 at 8:19 pm |

    UW is blessed to have a genuine talent like Ricko as a makor contributor. He is a charter member of the UW Hall of Fame.

    BTW, I am 52 and I am not too big a fan of white helmets.

  • timmy b | February 12, 2011 at 8:20 pm |

    Major contributor. I am typing in the dark. It shows.

  • japanjohnny | February 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm |

    53 and a huge fan of the grazing buffalo on white helmets with royal blue instead of navy. My guess is that they went away from that look to distinguish themselves from the Colts, who for years played in the same division and also featured a royal blue/white helmet look. I always liked the red buffalo precisely because it offered a great contrast to the uniform. That being said anything would be better than their current Sears kiddie pajama uni.

  • JTH | February 12, 2011 at 9:43 pm |

    Red vs. Gold in the NBA counts as color-on-color if the home team in gold isn’t the Lakers, right?

    Bulls in New Orleans — Hornets in their gold “NOLA” alts (it’s on WGN, if anyone’s interested).

  • Jim Vilk | February 12, 2011 at 10:53 pm |

    And now we know…the rest of the story. Thanks for the origin of Benchies, and the hope of more to come.

    I’m just a tad younger than Phil, and I like good helmets. Sometimes that means white (PSU, Texas, Nebraska, Cardinals, Colts, Dolphins, Jets, early Chargers with the numbers, early Bucs, Pat Patriot)…
    …and sometimes that means colored (’72 Oilers, Air Coryell Chargers, 80s Jets, 80s Bills).

    I don’t mind a white Bills helmet, but I do like the charging buff better than the hollow-eyed grazing buff.

  • Jim Vilk | February 12, 2011 at 10:55 pm |

    “You know spring is just around the corner when you hear the four greatest words ever uttered:”
    It’s March Madness time.
    /fixed

  • Jim Vilk | February 12, 2011 at 11:06 pm |

    “The OTHER news, of course, is the fact that the Cleveland Cavaliers ended the longest losing streak in…well, ever, I think, taking down the Clippers in Clevo.”

    Yes! Now all they have to do is win 7 more games, so that the Stepien/Laimbeer unis http://cdn.complex.c... remain the losingest ones in team history. The current team isn’t as bad, and they look better, too.
    http://cache.daylife...

    Of course, neither look is as good as this
    http://media.clevela...
    or this.
    http://www.cavshisto...

    • LI Phil | February 12, 2011 at 11:10 pm |

      i’ll give you the tiled stripes on burgundy (minus the too chunky wordmark) … but those orange unis?

      yeah…um …

      the only worse look than that is this

      • Jim Vilk | February 12, 2011 at 11:31 pm |

        You forgot the Kemp-era unis. Can’t even post those, they’re so bad.

  • chris | February 13, 2011 at 12:22 am |

    white helmets bug the hell out of me. they make me think of little league football where EVERYONE had white helmets. Colored helmets were what players in high school, college, and the pros had. BIG TIME. Plus, I was born in 83, so the Jim Kelly/Bruce Smith era is what I remember and love. RED helmets. I’m sad to see them go.

    • NickV | February 13, 2011 at 2:09 am |

      White helmets are OK to Great – depending upon the team. every team that had White helmets, went to colored helmets, and switched back to White IMPROVED their look (Chargers, Jets, now Bills)

      Anybody wanting the Jets in Green Helmets should only look at the film of 1994 when the ownership went
      on the cheap” and paired them with the current uni. BLAHHHHHHHH

      Dark pants with White jerseys bother the heck out of me and almost ALWAYS look immensely worse than what they replaced. The SAINTS, PATRIOTS, RAMS, BENGALS, JETS, CHARGERS and BILLS look much much WORSE with dark pants versus the lighter pants they replaced. It looks Bush League – I like to call it the “Jackass Junior College” look …

      As far as White “road” jerseys are concerned, the Patriots wearing Silver pants, the Saints with Gold, the Rams with White or Gold, the Chargers with same, the Jets & Bengals & Bills with White pants with their White jerseys would look cleaner, more professional, and better than the current unis they insist upon making us look at.

      Ironically, of all of those, I find the Bills late OJ look
      of Blue Pants/White jerseys to be the least offensive, but ofensive nonetheless ….

  • Marv L. Ous | February 13, 2011 at 12:59 am |

    World Series of Hallowe’en Costumes @ MLB/fox

    https://secure.mlb.c...

    • ab | February 13, 2011 at 4:06 am |

      My vote goes to Jack in his Ron Gardenhire costume.

  • NickV | February 13, 2011 at 2:14 am |

    Bils 1973 home uni is their best – the modern numerals and NOBs, and White pants. Kepp the White pants with both home and away, and perhaps shorten the sleeve stripes for modern uni cuts, and you have the GREAT UNIFORM …..

  • Sprint45 | February 13, 2011 at 2:15 am |

    I’m 22 and been a buffalo fan all my life, grew up in buffalo watching the games every sunday.

    I love the AFL throwbacks, with the white helmet and standing buffalo, but to me the bills belong in a red helmet and royal blue jerseys.

    I’ve never thought as the bills current uniform as the worst in the league, to me the bengals take that honor.

    I think y’all have to wait and see the actual new uniforms before you dismiss them as bad. All we have to go off of now is a hear say based description of what it could be.