By Phil Hecken
With the NCAA Football season now underway and the NFL kicking off this week with a Wednesday night game in the
MetLife new Meadowlands, and with Paul’s TREMENDOUS NCAA Preview up on ESPN, it’s time to shift gears away from the summer of baseball, the Olympics, golf, tennis and soccer … and get down to the pigskin. Lots to get to today (and lots of stuff saved up from the summer that will just have to wait). But, like I said in my last post before turning the weekdays back to Paul, lots of favorites are returning for the fall: Duck Tracking, the 5 & 1, Sunday Morning Uni Watch (coming tomorrow!), Colorizations, Concepts, Benchies, 50 Years Ago, and “Stirrup Fridays.” Don’t worry, they won’t all be running today.
I’ll keep my intro short, since we have some big news from our friends over at the Gridiron Uniform Database, plus some new news about their other ventures (the Diamond & Basketball Uniform Databases). Rob Holecko will fill you in on the GUD, DUD & BUD, and then Tim Brulia has an special update on his and Bill Schaefer’s newest addition – the Pro Bowl. So, I’ll now turn the rest of this lede over to Rob & Tim. Gentlemen:
What’s New at the GUD (DUD & BUD)
By Rob Holecko
As we are on the eve of a new football season, it is time once again to update the Uni Watch crowd on the goings-on at The Gridiron Uniform Database. Just this week we have completed adding the 1920-1932 seasons to the database, and in a moment our Tim Brulia will be telling you about another exciting new section we have added to our site. But first we want to give a quick rundown of our other projects. The Diamond Uniform Database has been rolling along this season, with David Taub continuing to keep track of what every MLB team has worn this season. His tracking, however, has remained merely text-based as we continue to search for a full-time graphics person to bring the uniforms to life. We have had a couple people express an interest in working with us on this, but we haven’t found the right person yet. If you think you are or know that person, let us know.
At The Basketball Uniform Database, we are in our first off-season getting ready for tip off in a couple months and Tim O’Brien, Matt Beahan, possibly Jim Vilk and the rest of the crew will be helping us to track the 2012-13 NBA season when it starts, and research into past seasons is a huge undertaking that we have only begun to scratch the surface of. It will be awhile before the basketball research is anywhere near what Tim Brulia & Bill Schaefer have accomplished with the GUD.
Now to tell you about a new project. We are looking to create a college football version of the GUD. We haven’t exactly defined the scope of the project, whether we are going to eventually tackle every single season of every single Division 1-A/FBS team possible all the way back to the first intercollegiate game in 1869 between Rutgers and Princeton is yet to be determined. We have a long way to go before we even are able to say we intend on having every current FBS team for the current season. We may first roll out simply the Top 5, and then Top 25, and then just the major conferences before expanding. We are beginning by simply expanding upon the teams already covered in the College Football Uni-Tracker.
We started the College Football Uni-Tracker last season and it will continue in that form for the time being. We had some wonderful submissions last year, (the Virginia Tech graphic in the splash photo was done by Ashley Wilkes, and he was one of a handful of intrepid trackers who sent us graphics in last season) and we hope to continue featuring the work of some of the best unitrackers from around the internet. A week or so ago here in Uni Watch, Tim O’Brien mentioned that he would be tracking Indiana and Northwestern as well as taking over the Oregon duck tracker for this season. He also mentioned his blog article where he invited you to participate and set up your own blog and track your favorite college team. For 2012, in order to encourage greater participation, the College Football Uni-Tracker has decided to remove the requirement that you use only Bill Schaefer’s GUD template, so we will be proud to feature your uni-tracking in your blog on our site, no matter what graphics you use. While removing this requirement means that some graphics won’t look like others, in the end we hope it will lead to more trackers participating. Therefore if you are joining Tim’s “movement” and starting your own uni-tracking blog, let us know in the comments below or with an email to RobHolecko@gmail.com, and we’ll be glad to feature your tracking graphics on our site. Or if you’d like to do as those did last year and just send your graphics directly to us, that will continue to work as well. Many of last year’s trackers are returning, but there are still many teams without a tracker.
Hopefully a year from now at this time we’ll be launching a full-fledged college version of the GUD, but in the meantime let’s continue to see how many teams we can track individually.
Now let’s hear from Tim Brulia about the new section that we’ve added to the GUD:
The Gridiron Uniform Database Welcomes The Pro Bowl
by Tim Brulia
It is our pleasure at the Gridiron Uniform Database to bring you the graphical history of the Pro Bowl. Ably detailed by our graphic engineer Bill Schaefer, we would like to take this time to walk you through the history of the Pro Bowl uniforms, as well as the AFL All-Star Game.
We start with the very first NFL Pro All-Star Game between the New York Giants and the NFL All-Stars (with help from some players from non-NFL west coast teams) played at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles on January 15, 1939. The Giants wore their standard red jersey, while the All-Stars wore a rather generic uniform of white helmet, plain blue jerseys, white pants and blue socks. For the next two Pro Star games (both played in L.A.), the NFL Champs (the Packers and Bears respectively) wore their normal garments, while the All-Stars wore outfits that featured a red jersey with a white shoulder insert with a blue star on each shoulder. After the 1941 and 1942 seasons, the Pro Star Game was played in the colder climes of New York and then Philadelphia. Uniform wise, these games resembled their baseball counterpart as the Champions wore their own unis against the All-Stars, who wore their normal team outfits, making for a colorful – if helter-skelter – look for the brave fans in the stands.
After an eight year hiatus, the Pro All-Star Game was resurrected by the Los Angeles Newspaper Charities Associaiton and played at the Memorial Coliseum. The format was the best of the American Conference playing the best of the National Conference. The uniforms were exact duplicates of each other, with one team in red helmets and jerseys, the other side in blue helmets and jerseys. In the 1952 season game, the Pro Bowl rectified the confusing scenario by permanently outfitting the American (soon to be Eastern) Conference in red helmets and jerseys and the National (soon to be Western) Conference in blue helmets, but with white jerseys.
The East and West would retain the jersey colors right through 1969. The only real changes to these duds would be: 1957 season when both team would apply white rounded helmet numbers, 1958 season when the helmet numbers were dropped, but TV numbers would be added to the sleeves of both jerseys, and a thick red shoulder stripe would be added to the East’s red jerseys, 1965 season when the generic helmets would be repainted gold for both squads, with a red/white/red stripe pattern for the East and a blue/white/blue stripe pattern was given to the West. And for 1969 season, both sides wore the commemorative patch for the NFL’s 50th season on their left shoulders.
Before we hit the Pro Bowl chronology since the 1970 merger, let’s take a quick rundown of the AFL All-Star Game’s uni history. The AFL didn’t start playing an All-Star Game until year 2, after the 1961 season. The East wore a white jersey with blue shoulders bedecked in white stars while the West players wore red jerseys with white shoulders and a bevy of red stars. The unique feature was that the players wore their regular team helmets in the fray, making the game a little more colorful. The Divisions would switch uni colors every now and then through the years. One game (played after the 1965 season) featured the Champion vs. All-Stars format (similar to what the National Hockey League was doing with their All-Star Game at the time), with the Buffalo Bills wearing their normal white uniform against the All-Star clad in red. Changes to the unis came in the last two years the AFL ASG was played (1968 and 1969 seasons). The East would have all players wearing a plain white helmet and the West featured the players in solid blue helmets. The next year, the AFL, perhaps sensing history, bedecked both teams with the AFL logo on the helmets and the jerseys. The ASG game played on January 17, 1970, was the very last the American Football League game ever played. One twist of irony in the AFL All-Star Game…one of the innovations of the AFL, names on the backs of the jerseys, was never worn on any of the AFL All-Star jerseys!
Now back to the post-merger NFL. The Pro Bowl was now referred to as the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, and the uniforms reflected the new NFL. The best of the AFC would wear a red helmet with a large white “A” trimmed in blue, with a white/blue/white stripe combo, a white jersey with “AMERICAN” on the front in red with red numbers and finally, names on the back, red pants and white socks. The NFC’s finest would sport a white helmet with a medium sized blue “N” outlined in red, with a blue/red/blue stripe pattern, blue jerseys with “NATIONAL” on the front in white with white numbers also with names on the back, white pants and blue socks. With the exception of some tweaking (or in case after the ’73 season, the removal) of the stripes, these unis would be untouched through the 1977 season ending Pro Bowl.
In the 1978 season game, the NFL decided to allow the players to wear the same team logo helmets they wore during the season. This look would last right through the 1987 season ender.
Starting with the 1988 season finale, the NFL began the tricking up phase of PB uniforms. For the first time, stars became a part of the look, going down the sides of the pants, as well as the PB logo on the jerseys. Also for the first time in 1988, the maker’s mark (Wilson) was affixed to the uni. This revision lasted through the 1993 season ender.
By the 1994 season, the Pro Bowl unis entered their current phase, with uniforms changing design every two or three years. Such zany items as fading colors, sublimated logos, team wordmarks, PB logos below the back numbers, ankle length pants (the 2010 season edition), etc. come to mind.
But two things have remained constant in spite of the free-form design era: 1) Players wearing their own teams’ helmets and 2) The base color for the AFC has always been red and the NFC’s has always been blue. That goes back to the 1970 merger.
Oops! I almost forgot! We even added the lone AAFC All-Star Game, the Shamrock Bowl that was played after the AAFC’s 1949 season!
I like to thank the website mmbolding.com in particular for their detailed history of the Pro Bowl. Also we courtesy the database of the Los Angeles Times, gettyimages.com, google news archive and newspaperarchive.com for much of the information that you see here. Again, without the artistic talents of our own graphic engineer, Bill Schaefer, the GUD would not be able to make this valuable addition to the database. Whatever you may think of the Pro Bowl today, the game has been an integral part of the NFL’s history and to not include it would be a disservice to the mission of the GUD.
With the recent completion of adding the 1920-1932 uniforms and this inclusion of the Pro Bowl’s uniform history, the GUD has completed its task of bringing you the complete history of Pro Football Uniforms from the beginning…or have we? Stay with us for the coming season to find out!
Thanks Tim & Rob! Great stuff and looks like you guys have some great plans and additions for this year. Looking forward to this season.
“Benchies” first appeared at U-W in 2008, and has been a Saturday & Sunday feature here for the past two years.
Sometimes it’s fun just to let him talk and see what happens…
Click to enlarge
Because we love the stirrup here at Uni Watch, this section is devoted to those of us who sport the beautiful hose on Fridays — a trend popularized many years ago by Robert P. Marshall, III. For many of us, it’s become a bit of an obsession, but a harmless one — a reflection of our times. Where we once had Friday ties, which has been replaced by Casual Friday — we now have Stirrup Fridays. It’s an endearingly simple concept — no matter where you work (or even if you don’t) — break out a fresh pair of rups to compliment (or clash with) your Friday attire.
Lets talk a look at who participated in Stirrup Fridays recently (click on all photos for a larger view):
Wild Card contention stirrups:
“I rode my bike over to The Yard, biking in stirrups makes sense. I got an Os chant from a passing car. Usually when people yell from cars, it’s not positive, so that was particularly nice. I got a few versions of, “Nice socks, dude.” Sometimes I make the correction.”
“Today’s stirrups are 1945 Phillies, and are for my alma mater LA Tech (start of football season).
The colors & stripe match perfectly.”
“Never daunted, we cannot falter…
Yep. College football season is underway and we’re still undefeated!”
“Classic-era Orioles today, in support of their relevance this late in the season for the first time in too long.”
And that ends today’s look at Stirrup Friday — all of you who participate, send me your pics and a brief (~50 words) description of their relevance, and I’ll run ’em here on Saturday.
If you’re not a member of Stirrup Nation and want to join, just visit Comrade Marshall’s house of hose (and you can see the available selections here) or if you have any questions about the availability of stirrups, drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
to each according to their strype”
MLB Uni Tracking – The 2012 As and Nats
Today’s featured Uni Tracker is Stephen Coulter and he’s been tracking both the Athletics and the Nationals this season.
Here’s his up-to-date report:
I am enjoying all the content you guys have been putting out in Paul’s absence. Great work, its a really appreciated break from my otherwise mundane work day.
I was just curious if you were going to do any Uni Tracking pieces for this years MLB season. I have been tracking the Nats and the A’s and its been quite interesting to me, but maybe not to others :)
Anyways, I was just curious….thanks again.
Thanks Stephen — and to answer your question — I’ve only posted one tracker so far, but if there are any others out there (and I know there are), I’m asking you to send them in to me and I’ll run them over the weekend. If you guys didn’t click on Stephen’s links — they’re worth checking out — he’s done a really nice job with this!
Keep them coming, trackers!
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.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
It’s been a while (but not too many of you sent in during my weekday run — time to start sending in the concepts again, OK?)
And so, lets begin:
First up is Walter Helfer, with a “what if” set of unis for the Miama Heat:
Here are a pair of Miami Heat uniforms, if their history went back as far as 1972-ish.
And closing down the show today is Jay Goodwin, who has a concept for the 2013 Charlotte Hornets:
My name is Jay Goodwin. First of all, I am a big fan of your website because I am also somewhat of a uni/logo geek (lol). I love to design and draw logos (as probably most of the people who send you emails also say) but I’m also a big fan of bringing the Hornets name back to its rightful home: Charlotte, North Carolina. With the recent news that the New Orleans Hornets owner wants to drop the name for a more NO related name, it only makes sense to return the Hornets name back to the place where it would be a “NC related name”. So I’ve made up a concept that I want to share with you and get your opinion on. Keep up the good work with your website and articles. I hope to hear from you soon.
That’s it for today — Back with more next time.
Lots and lots of great college football today, starting off with the Irish & Middies playing early (9:00 am EDT) in Ireland, in the “Emerald Isle Classic.” We know Notre Dame will have a special uni for this one, and who knows if Navy will as well — so if you are reading this early — make sure to tune in the game (CBS will carry the early morning broadcast, and Verne Lundquist will have the call). Even Jim Vilk, who long ago swore off watching college football, may have to tune in. Terry Duroncelet will surely have this, and the entire rundown of all the first Saturday of college football tomorrow.
And that’s going to be it for this fine first Saturday in September (wow–it’s September already?) — where did the summer go…
Thanks to Rob & Tim, Ricko, all the stirrup wearing crazies, the concepters and the tracker…you guys keep all those coming. Tomorrow kicks off the first “Sunday Morning Uni Watch” of the season featuring Terry D, the brand new “Duck Tracker” as envisioned by Tim E. O’Brien, and a very special “5&1” with Jim Vilk AND his
replacement protégé, Catherine Ryan, plus more good stuff — so make sure you check back for all of that.
Have a great Saturday folks!
“Monuments to Confederate military figures are all over the South, and Jefferson Davis’s Birthday is still an official state holiday in most southern states. That doesn’t offend me as a northerner; it offends me as an American.”