By Phil Hecken
About a month ago, I told you about the beginnings of a very special project — one which may some day go down in the annals of uniform history — on a par with Marcus Okkonen’s Dressed To The Nines That of course, was Tim & Bill’s “NFL Uniform Project.” If you didn’t see either one, Part I is here and Part II is here. At the time, we heard from Uni Watch NFL Historian Tim Brulia and his able graphic partner, Bill Schaefer. They were thisclose to launching a full-blown website; all they lacked was someone with the proper experience in building one.
Well, shortly after those posts ran, they found one, in the form of Uni Watch reader and Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan Rob Holecko (who you may know as “Rob H” from the Comments section), who you’re about to meet in a bit of greater depth today. Rob is the man who became the final piece to a very important puzzle — the man who enabled Tim’s vision and Bill’s graphical expertise to now find a home on the Internet. I’m pleased now to bring you Rob, who’ll explain the last part of the NFL Uniform Project. Here’s Rob:
The Gridiron Uniform Database
By Rob Holecko
For the past few weeks I have been working with Tim Brulia and Bill Schaefer to help them build the website they described they were looking for to house their amazing collection of pro football uniform history. I am pleased to announce that we have launched a website called The Gridiron Uniform Database, on the web at GridironUniforms.com. We hope that our website will become the definitive reference for football uniforms in much the same way that Dressed To The Nines is for Major League Baseball uniforms.
My motivation in undertaking this task was pure selfishness. The truth is, I was selfish in that I wanted there to be a website that I could go to to look up these images. As a sports fan, I have visited the Dressed To The Nines site as well as Craig Wheeler’s Football Uniforms Past and Present. When I read on Uni Watch the first part of Tim and Bill’s story, I figured that they’d be putting together a website in no time.
When the second part of the story ran, it ended with a request that if anyone had the skills to create such a website to get in touch with Tim and Bill, I at first hesitated.
I thought someone more qualified than I would step forward and work with the guys. I knew some basic HTML and web design and played around with designing some websites before, but nothing too big. I am interested in this subject and would have loved to work with them on this, but I certainly thought they would already be working with somebody by the time I emailed them.
About a month ago, I started a website of my own chronicling all of the occasions of throwback uniforms being worn in the major sports, so working on this site with Tim & Bill was right up my alley. ThrowbackReport.com was just something I threw together. I had found that there was no real resource on the web showing the games with throwback uniforms, so I decided to create my own. ThrowbackReport.com currently has pictures from over a hundred MLB games that teams wore throwbacks in, and although it does include NFL, NHL, NBA and others, the focus of that site right now is MLB games.
So after seeing Throwback Report, Tim and Bill agreed to work with me, and the three of us have spent the last three weeks e-mailing back and forth, much as Bill and Tim have been doing for the last two years in getting the details of the images just right. We have discussed everything from layout and design and site interface, to how to make the website easy to use and informative, and how to present the information in the best way possible.
At first the website was just going to be a database of the images, much like “Football Uniforms Past and Present” was. I used to visit that site, as well. It is a shame that it has not been maintained. We were first just going to try to replicate Craig’s site, but with Tim & Bill’s graphics. But as we were making corrections and additions to things, I suggested to the guys that they should have a blog. With on-going debate and discussion about changes to the database, a blog is a perfect way to illustrate those changes on a daily basis.
After adding the blog Tim, Bill and I decided that The Gridiron Uniform Database would also need a forum. A forum is a necessity for a website of our nature. Say someone visits the site and sees a possible error. Perhaps the stripes on the socks of the 1938 Bears should be a different color. They can visit the forum and start a thread about it.
I have been writing the blog daily since May 29, however in the future all three of us will contribute. We each plan on having regular features. Right at the beginning here, our focus has been on primarily adding content to the website, and keeping a daily update going on what has been added. As we go forward, you can be sure that Tim and Bill will be contributing quite a bit as well. With the blog format, we can continue to update website visitors on what is going on at the database. This isn’t an overnight process, this website will never be ‘complete’, however we can certainly make it the best we can. With the blog and the forum, we hope to really build a community (presumably predominately Uni Watchers) to discuss and comment on changes to the database and NFL Uniforms in general.
At the present the website has the images that every NFL (and AFL and AAFC) team has worn since 1933. It currently also has all of the head-to-head matchups from the 2010 season, and previous seasons will be added sequentially. The guys are all the way back to the mid-80s on creating the head-to-head match-ups. The limiting factor on getting them in is really how fast I can put them in. In the future we will be adding pages which will show all of the historical head-to-head matchups between two teams.
The hardest part is completed. Putting all this together, getting the team pages and the yearly pages done has pretty much taken the most of the last three weeks. Now comes the fun part, as we “open up for business.” I hope that everyone who visits the website will find it informative, but also enjoyable.
But is there enough content for a daily blog about simply NFL Uniforms? Uni Watch is a great ‘niche’ website, in that it focuses on the entire field of “Athletic Aesthetics” — well the goal of our blog at The Gridiron Uniform Project is to sort of be a ‘sub-niche’ – focusing on one aspect of the Uni Watch “universe.” Whereas Uni Watch is a daily must-read for me, I hope that our website will maintain a level of quality that members of the Uni Watch community will feel they want to visit it daily as well.
There are literally hundreds of stories to be told about NFL uniforms of the past, and between Bill and Tim and myself we will bring them to you. Already in the past two weeks, we’ve talked about the Steelers’ lack of preseason helmet numbers, the two-toned material of the 49ers uniform pants of the 1960s, and a discovery that the Redskins actually wore blue in a game in 1942.
This week we’ll be looking at the 1941 Eagles’ uniforms and whether they wore black-and-silver that year or green-and-silver. I hope that our website can devote more time and coverage to these historical football uniform stories on a more in-depth basis than Uni Watch has the time and space to do. We’ve only scratched the surface, as long as there are corrections and adjustments to be made to the database, there will always be more to be done.
I hope to keep the blog fresh, funny and informative. But the real star of this whole project is Tim & Bill’s graphics. When I saw the examples of their work on Uni Watch, I felt it would be a shame if they weren’t showcased somewhere on the internet. Realizing that I was in a position to help them, I felt it was my duty to do so.
Thanks, Rob. Just a tremendous effort all around. I want to wish you guys all the success in the world, and I’m sure there’ll be many a Uni Watcher who heads over to your board to say “Hello” and to begin using the database for all kinds of research. Great, great job Tim, Bill & Rob!
Michigan & Notre Dame gear up for the big game…
The Michigan Wolverines and Notre Dame Fighting Irish both released new uniforms which will be worn in the special, first-ever, nighttime game to be held in the Big House later this season. Paul will have all the details and a full article on this tomorrow, so I’ll save any commentary until that time, but you can check out some photos and graphics now.
It’s an interesting look (for both teams), who are not coincidentally both adorned by the three stripes. Stay tuned for Paul’s full review on these new looks tomorrow.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Interest in this seems to have been revived since Gary did his fantastic tutorials. That’s a very good thing. But this week the submissions were less. That’s not good.
Let’s get started.
OK — just to show that there is always a counterpoint to a point…got an interesting E-mail from Paul Stave, who is NOT a fan of colorizations. In the interest of “equal time” (or some such quaint journalistic notion), here’s what Paul has to say:
Hi dudes. I read this blog every day and am usually in agreement with your thoughts on Douchebaggery, stirrups, Pro Combat, old school unis, slight alterations of unis, etc. The obsession with unis was stuff I thought about years ago before finding your site and realizing others thought the same as me. Cool!
One thing I respectfully disagree with is the Colorize This posts. It reminds me of Ted Turner’s lame attempts to colorize the MGM classics 20-25 years ago. To me its like putting the arms back on the Venus de Milo, to see what it would have looked like. Okay maybe thats a stretch….but I love the B/W photos.
You guys do great work, it’s very much appreciated! Just thought I would share an opinion.
Thank you so much
On that note, lets move on. Up first is the one and only George Chilvers, who begins with this:
What an excellent response to this week’s Colorize This. Hopefully we’ll get some more regular contributors.
This is one I’ve been working on this week as well as Bruce’s Dad, but my monitor died last weekend and until I bought a new one I was without my PC! It felt like my right arm had been chopped off :(
Now this is potentially an interesting one for your readers, but I need to be diplomatic. You see, outside of your borders, in the main people don’t know who won the Superbowl this year (and even I as a regular reader wasn’t completely sure), and (how can I put this) think the concept of a World Series only competed for by teams from the US of A to be, well, quaint.
But ironically there is one representative USA team that is widely known throughout the world, but which I suspect is fairly unknown within the States.
The year was 1950. The World Cup had been inaugurated in 1930, and in the three tournaments before World War II England, founding nation of the modern game, held themselves aloof. Why should we enter? We knew we were the best team in the world.
But in the first post-War tournament in 1950 in Brazil they entered, and were drawn against USA. Then even less a soccer-conscious country than they are now, if possible. England were expected to rack up a “cricket score” (an English expression). On 29 June 1950 in Belo Horizonte the match was played and, you guessed it, the USA won 1-0. There was only one American reporter at the game from the St Louis Post-Despatch who could not get the paper to pay for his trip, and took holiday time to report. Very few English papers reported the game, and those that did assumed the scoreline was a typo, and reported that England had won 10-0 or 10-1.
Possibly the most famous American sporting team in the world, and yet one your readers may not even be aware of. I wonder if anyone could name any of the players without Googling or Wikipedia’ing. It’s a funny old world :)
Turns out that was sent to me about two weeks ago, and as sometimes happens, I neglected to put it in last weekend’s post. My bad. But since the pickings are slim this week, it will stand out more, right? Anyway, George sent me another one with a gentle reminder this week:
Now – don’t forget this one!!
Some colourisations just work well throughout, and I must say I’m rather pleased with this one. It shows how important a good quality starting image is – this one is over 50 years old, but the characters in it seem as though the picture was taken yesterday. There’s enough going on in the background too to keep the interest.
The subject may appear obscure. It’s the 1960 league champions of Mozambique, Sporting Lourenco Marques. Mozambique was still a Portuguese colony at the time (well, officially an overseas province of Portugal), but one of these players became a world star very soon after. I wonder if anyone can spot him?
(If not I’ll give the answer fairly quickly).
Just to make sure there’s not a problem in sending messages could you just hit “reply” to let me know you’ve got it.
Thanks George — I also have great news to report on the personal front for Mr. Chilvers — this week he became a first-time grandfather! He’s officially been given the rest of the weekend off so that he may enjoy (and spoil) his first grandchild! Cheers, George.
Next up is Keith Kreindler, who has, well, something else:
Next is, of course, Gary Chanko, who has a rather timely photo today:
Yesterday’s Uni Watch Stirrups Club Update featured this Washington Senators pitcher that needed colorization. Not the best B&W original quality, but does show the Comrade’s favorite look.
And finally, we have Larry Bodnovich, who helped me on the very first entry I ever did on the art of colorization. Well, he’s here with his first new submission, using some of the new techniques he’s learned:
I just got Adobe Photoshop Elements 9. For 35 bucks with rebate from Buy.com. I just got it the other day and messing around with it. Pretty daunting but many great editing tools to fix up or clean up older photos.
My dad was Michael Bodnovich. This studio picture was in Republic, Pa in SW Pa.
The original is here
I always look forward to the weekend colorizations I still need to learn the layers from those tutorials.
Keep up the good work.
Great job Larry.
OK, that’s all for this week. May or may not take a one week hiatus on “Colorize This!” for next weekend. It will depend on a couple of things, including how many submissions I receive this week. As always, send me your colorizations or your suggestions for same. Cool? Cool!
by Rick Pearson
Maybe if he weren’t only slightly taller than a fire hydrant…
And your beautiful, Sunday full-size Benchies.
We have another new set of tweaks 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 at keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
And so, lets begin:
We start with Rafael Ortiz-Torres, who is taking on a team perhaps most sorely in need of new unis:
Hey Mr. Hecken
This is my Toronto Blue Jays concept. I basically took the current incarnation of the blue jay head, and gave it the dark blue-light blue-red treatment reminicent of the retro blue jay everyone recognizes and loves. I also created an alternate utilizing the Red Maple Leaf. Uniform wise, there are six combinations; one, which is my personal favorite, is the powder blue that uses matching pants with the jersey.
Thanks in advance for posting
Next up is Andrew Hall, who, like yesterday’s tweakers, redesigned the Washington basketball team:
These are some potential alternates I’ve created for the Washington Wizards. They feature the “DC” logo and one is inspired by Marvel Comics character “U.S Agent.” I wanted to use the “DC” logo for the alternates because the words “DC” have yet to appear on the chest of an Wizards uniforms. The “US AGENT” alternate looks like something John F. Walker would wear to fight crime.
And the last tweak today comes from Nick Tippens, who uses a Tim E. template to cool the Heat:
Hi Phil I got in touch with you a couple weeks back about Tim O’Brien’s NBA tweaks, and after emailing back and forth with him, ended up deciding to try my hand at it. I’ve ended up really enjoying it. Attached is my first project, a Golden Yellow Alternate Uni for the Miami Heat. This Golden Yellow color is used as an accent in almost all of their uni combinations, so I thought it would be cool to see it as the featured color. I think it turned out alright. Just thought I would share it with you.
OK everyone. That’s all for this week. Thanks to all the customizers.
Partying like it’s 1936….
The Padres and Nationals threw back to 1936 last night. Nice lead up to the game (with some historical anecdotes) can be found here. As far as the uniforms themselves…
Count me as a fan. Now, the Padres had worn these throwbacks before, so I expected they’d look good and they did not disappoint. Good job by Majestic, and…in a wonderful (and unexpected) turn, not only did the Padres show sock, they wore sanis and stirrups! Well done.
Not to be outdone, however, were the Nationals, who, despite the typically plain front, sported an absolutely gorgeous uniform (which was plenty colorful), including the best part: drop dead gorgeous stirrups, also with period appropriate white sanis. Comrade Marshall, who is offering the 1935 Nationals for this year’s 4th of July ‘rup, needs to offer the 1936 stirrup next. But wait…(in my opinion) it gets even better — check out the red sanitaries on Ian Desmond (and after seeing highlights of this game, he wasn’t the only one)!!! I know many, if not most, of you don’t like that look, but I rather fancy that look. Just sayin.
Really though, stellar effort by both teams to get things right, despite the Majestic makers marks and the MOTB on the undershirts, it was a fun looking game. OK, so some of the guys need a lesson in pants blousing, but we can work on that.
And in Milwaukee, the Brewers had Spanish (Hispanic?) heritage night, and they broke out the “Cerveceros” jerseys, but with a new twist. These were gold, or, I guess more appropriately, beer colored. Kinda cool, I guess, for a one-shot. And the Cardinals played along, wearing Cardenales tops, in gray. Looks pretty good, and they seem to have actually used a spanish noun rather than lazily slapping a “Los” in front of Cardinals as so many teams are wont to do.
That’s going to do it for this fine Sunday. Everyone have a good one. Big thanks to Rob Holecko (and of course Tim & Bill) and all the colorizers & tweakers (and Ricko too). Peace yo.
The Dallas Stars: Standing Up for Unoriginality in Uniforms Since 1993. — Lloyd Davis