By Phil Hecken, with Brinke Guthrie
Today, as we sit back and enjoy one of the greatest sports days (the NFL Conference Championship Games), it’s a John Facenda kind of day. Four teams left — two of whom will go on to the ultimate game — the Super Bowl. And while there have been some truly super Super Bowls, the best day for football is today —
no not too much glitz and glamor, just enough hype, and no truly awful half-time shows, this is the real deal. And I love it.
Today’s early game is the AFC Championship game, featuring the Baltimore Ravens at the New England Patriots. A big game, to be sure, and one that could be very close or a blowout … a big time defense against a big time offense. Four rings exist between these two teams. And this just may be both teams’ last great shot at glory. It won’t be the uni-delight of the second game, as the Patriots and Ravens don’t rank among the greats, or classics in the uni department. Both teams fall squarely in the lower end of the uni scale. In fact, about the only question there will be is whether the Ravens will wear white pants (which look pretty good) or their black tights, which do not. They went purple over black last weekend, so my guess is we’ll see the black pants again today.
That brings us to the second game — the true beaut. And for that, I’m joined by my doubles partner Brinke Guthrie, who’ll take a look at the Giants/49ers matchup, today and through the years — they’ve got quite a playoff history — and this one should be a classic. Here’s Brinke:
(First, put yourself in a John Fascenda mindset. Then read along.)
A foggy mist envelopes the creaky old stadium. It was on its last legs years ago, and a shiny new arena beckons in the near future. A drenching rain has turned the once plush emerald field into a quagmire, and two old-school NFL titans tee it up for the right to represent their conference in the NFL championship game. But that game will be played under climate-controlled conditions on an artificial field, with fans breathing artificial air. This…is the real deal. Outdoors, the way Lom-bah-di intended it. Warriors hunkered down in the muck, focused on delivering the pigskin to the promised land……the other team’s end zone.)
A classic uni-matchup today in the NFC, as the Giants head west to play in San Francisco. While that sentence might be historically more accurate for the late 1950s, it’s also a big deal by the Bay, as the Niners attempt to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since early 1995, while Big Blue tries to get back to the big show following their 2008 win over New England. Let the record show that between the two teams, there’s a total of eight Lombardi trophies between them- three on the East Coast, and five on the West.
The Niners will be decked out in their classic red jerseys with gold pants. I’ll grade this look an A- for two reasons. One, the truncated sleeve stripes. No, no, no. Two, the helmet’s SF logo still has a black outline. Lose it- there’s no black anywhere in their scheme anymore. Change it to red, and there’s a winner. I’d also like to see all-white shoes- because that’s the way Joe Cool wore them.
As far as the Giants go, they’re coming in with their old school white tops/red trim and the gray pants. Nice clean retro look, but I’ve always thought a wordmark would look better than the NY, and would fit better under the NFL shield.
The Niners lead the all-time series against the Giants, 18-17..with seven of those meetings occurring in the post-season, and the Niners hold a 4-3 edge there. The wildest and most recent of those playoff match-ups occurred January 5th, 2003, with the Niners pulling it out late 39-38. Niners were wearing the usual home cardinal red/gold with the (clunky) drop-shadow and the logo on the sleeve stripes- always thought that to be overkill. Like the look of the red numbers/blue trim on the Giants white jersey.
Tough game for Joe Montana in January of 1991- Leonard Marshall of the Giants just flattens him, and the Giants go on to win the NFC 15-13. Is Joe wearing “L.A. Gear” cleats? Sure is, and looks like a tape job with a markered logo in that clip. That was a nail-biter, but there have been some true blowouts, too. January 15, 1993- Niners win 44-3. January 4, 1987, the Giants roll 49-3.
Back in 1985, the Niners had their classic look going, and the Giants slipped by Joe & Co, 17-3. Click here for a great Pat Summeral intro.
Oh, and there’s another game today, too—the uh, Ravens play the Patriots.
Thanks Brinke! And if you know either of us, you’ll know we’re on opposite sides of the rooting spectrum today. Who’s Brinke pulling for? Guess. He and other 49er fans are certainly in good company. And of course, I’ll be pulling for Big Blue. Should be a good one.
Are you ready for some football?
by Rick Pearson
Taking into account certain socio-economic cultural landmarks…
And of course, the full-size.
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
And so, lets begin:
We start with Blake Pass, who has some new ideas for the Braves:
Here are a couple of submissions for the Atlanta Braves. The first is a new alternate that could be used for both home and away. They always seem to be too conservative to me when it comes to alternate uniforms. Both current home and away alts have a version of the standard uniform wordmark…so, I decided to change that up a little.
The second is just a replacement for the current home cap. I’ve always been an “outline guy”, so I’ve always thought that the white “A” on the cap needed a couple of outlines…navy and then red to help tie it in with the rest of the cap.
Next up is Clint Richardson, with some Ramblin’ Wreck ideas:
We all know Georgia Tech has the worst unis in all of football. I thought I’d try my hand at changing that. Being an Auburn fan, I’m a sucker for the triple stripes on the sholders and pants. I hate the idea of white at home, white on the road. With these three concepts, GT would be wearing blue at home, white on the road, and a gold alternate. Three new helmets exist, a blue one with a single gold striple, a gold helmet with a blue-white-blue stripe, and a white helmet with a blue-gold-blue stripe. Helmets, pants, and jerseys are all interchangeable.
I personally like the mono-white look myself.
(Ignore the UnderArmour logos, it was just on the template)
And finally we have Andrew Bushway, who has new thoughts on Mizzou:
I recently saw your post about Mizzou getting new football uniforms, and decided to get a little creative. With the recent switch to the SEC, I felt like the Tigers needed something more traditional to match the rest of the conference. I stole the stripe idea from the current helmet, and applied it to a few different combinations. First, we have the home (black), then the away (white), a 1st alternate (black and yellow), and then a slightly modified Pro Combat uniform.
Thanks for your time,
Back next time with more.
OK, peeps, that’s all for today. I spent yesterday visiting an uncle who lives a couple hundred miles away (and hadn’t seen since my father’s passing), so I didn’t have time to get to the colorizations — we’ll get to those next week. Everyone have a great Sunday, and enjoy the Conference Championship Games. Are you ready?
“No background knowledge. Limited research. Present something lame and call it forward-thinking. Employ copious quantities of hyperbole and pseudo-esoterica. — Nike reminds me of the time-honored tradition of bullshitting your way through an essay test.” — Rick Pearson