By Phil Hecken
Last weekend, the Great White North, aka America’s Hat, played their equivalent of the USA’s Super Bowl, the “Grey Cup.” I used to love the CFL, but through circumstances not worth describing, I haven’t been able to watch much recently — but I did get to watch the 100th Edition of the Grey Cup last weekend (or at least, I watched up until the Giants crushed the Packers). I even watched the halftime show, but that’s only because it featured one of the greatest Canadian artists of all time, and no, I’m not talking about Bieber. But I digress…
Our guest writer today is a gentleman who resides in Calgary, and who has worked with me a couple of times on articles, and who I fondly referred to as “my buddy” even though we’d actually never met. Until the November 3rd Uni Watch Gathering, that is, when Mike Styczen (that’s him in this photo) and I met for the first time — Mike was in town for the NYC Marathon, which was cancelled at the last minute. I regret not spending more time chatting it up with Mike, but we did discuss plans for a post on the Grey Cup — and that’s what is in store for you today.
So kick back ladies and gents, while Mr. Styczen takes us through the…
Grey Cup 2012
By Mike Styczen
Of course the Grey Cup is now the championship of the Canadian Football League, but over the past 100 years it has been won by a variety of military teams, university teams, and assorted amateur teams.
This year’s game was played in the Rogers Centre. Although best known as an increasingly outdated baseball stadium, the road to getting a dome built started not with baseball but with the 1982 Grey Cup. That game was played 30 years in terrible freezing rain at old Exhibition Stadium. After thousands of fans watched that game from in a driving rainstorm, and a variety of politicians watched it from the uncovered stands, momentum built towards getting a modern dome built on the downtown waterfront, resulting in the construction of SkyDome
Anyway, onto the game.
The hometown Toronto Argonauts won their record 16th Grey Cup (out of 22 appearances), beating the Calgary Stampeders (who have now won 6 Grey Cups in 13 appearances. The final score was 35-22 in a game that wasn’t nearly that close or particularly memorable. As usual, in one of sports’ great traditions the Grey Cup was brought to the field near the end of the game by Mounties to be presented to the winners.
Halftime entertainment was provided by Canadian icon Gordon Lightfoot, two bands I’ve never heard of, and (I am not making this up) Justin Bieber, who was booed mercilessly. I could link to a picture of Bieber at the Grey Cup, but this one of him getting an award from the Prime Minister is funnier.
Uniforms: Reebok completely redesigned the CFL this year, and (as a Calgary fan this pains me to say), they got Toronto’s uniform just about perfect. Traditional pants striping, simple block numbers with no outlines or drop shadows, actual sleeve striping reminiscent of the early 1970s, perfect use of the iconic double-blue. Nothing goofy. Perfect. Toronto has experimented with some oddball looks in the past, and now they seem to have it gotten it just about right. If it were up to me I’d go back to the simple helmet logo as well but this one is just fine.
Calgary, on the other hand, is doing everything wrong these days. Once upon a time, they looked good, but with the first Reebok redesign five or six years ago, things started to go wrong, and the current look has just about everything wrong with it. Black road helmets (the home helmets are still red), a weird pointy number font, double outlined numbers, double outlined letters, a red shoulder yoke, a strange smudge of a shoulder logo. There’s not a redeeming thing about the current set other than the red home helmet (which is mercifully unchanged).
Though, I guess if there’s any consolation to be had, they didn’t screw Calgary’s road set up as badly as Edmonton’s.
Thanks, Mike. As I said above, I did watch most of the game, and of course, I agree with you about the Argo’s unis, except for the adverts. But as far as the shoulder and pants stripes, and the colo(u)rs, that’s a beaut, eh? Now…I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I don’t hate the Stamps’ look (aside from the uni adverts, of course). And, I’m not normally a fan of yokes, either. But the black and red worked well (aren’t they sorta the default colors of Canadian sports teams?), and I didn’t even mind the funky outlined number fonts (although I detest the black side panels on the home reds).
Best thing aboot Canadian football, however, is the fact that it’s pretty much totally unlike the version we play down in the lower 48. Three downs instead of four, like ten guys in motion (and I think there’s even about 12 or 13 per side on the field at a time), and there is even the rouge, where you can actually get a point for a missed field goal (or something like that). Fun to watch — lots of action and way different strategy. Wish they broadcast more games here (or I should say, I wish my cable system carried more games). Good time, eh?
And now, give a listen to one of the most underrated songs in the history of ever, what some might even consider the Canadian National Anthem…
50 Years Ago…This Weekend
Last year, Rick Pearson took us “back in time” to bring us his look at the featured television college football match-up from 50 years ago. (If you’re not familiar with it, this was the inaugural post of “50 Years Ago” from last year — after that, it became a recurring feature on UW for the remainder of the season). Last year, Rick looked at the 1961 season, and fortunately for us, he “uni tracked” the games from 1962 as well, documenting the game via his “kid cards”. Each week this fall, he’ll do the same, again.
All kinds of “uni specials” for this one…Navy added stirrups under their crews, NOB of jerseys, a Jolly Roger decal to the front of their helmets (a nod to quarterback Roger Staubach) and Chinese characters for “Beat Army” to the sides. The last was a counterpoint to Army coach Paul Dietzel’s “Chinese Bandits,” his defense specialists team. Dietzel also had a White Team, which played both ways, and a Go Team, which was the offensive specialists (this was first made famous earlier when Dietzel coached LSU during the Billy Cannon era)…Army added white stirrups and crews with a black band at the top (no, not a striped stirrup), white cleats and a small “BEAT NAVY” patch to the right sleeve. My color is a little off; the Cadets’ pants should be more Old Gold…Typical of Army-Navy players, neither Stewart nor Parcells went on to pro football, but Parcells’ brother did become a Giant Tuna.
Thanks Rick! Great job with that as always. And interesting to note that not only did the 1962 season start two weeks later than the 2012 season, it also “ended” a week sooner, with the final, traditional end-of-season Army/Navy game taking place a week before the current one will. Of course, it was also the last Army/Navy game JFK would watch, although no one knew it at the time. Update: Here’s a bit more on that Jolly Roger helmet.
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.
And so, lets begin:
First up is Christopher Wheeler with some Dirty Birds:
“Mizzou inspired Atlanta Falcons”
Home with default pants and Home with alt pants
Away with default pants and Away with alt pants
Alt with default pants and Alt with alt pants
The helmets would look more like this rather than the one in the pics above.
Next up is Coleman Mullins, who has an update to the tweak to WVU that appeared last weekend:
Hey guys, real late submission addition, but I couldn’t resist. This was the first version Tim E. sent me, which is pretty much exactly like the sketch I sent him. It wouldn’t fly too well with most traditionalists, so he tweaked it to the final one I sent you earlier. I just had to send this one in as well because I really do like it.
I’ve also attached my sketch, for giggles and what not.
And our last tweaker today is Jason V., with some new looks for the
With all the talk about a possible “tweak” for the Dolphins in 2013…I thought I’d take a crack at it.
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
“Benchies” first appeared at U-W in 2008, and has been a Saturday & Sunday feature here for the past two years.
Well, damn, way to be a Scrooge about it…
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.
Continuing with the special sets again, since Comrade Marshall has graciously offered the UW rup as a *weekly* prize in the Stirrup Fridays ensemble. So, let’s have a look at the selections this week, and at the end, the winner will be announced*:
I think these “M” stirrups are the ones Glen Perkins of the Twins needs to wear with that “M” hat. I should go to a Twins game and throw them to him in the bullpen. Creamsicle socks thrown in because you guys appreciate such things.
Phil & RPM:
I’ve been wearing stirrups on Fridays since April 1st, 2011. I had just recently purchased the ’62 Mets prototype stirrups from the club, and I decided to wear them on the Mets’ opening day. My goal was to wear a different pair or sani combination for an entire year. (I did it and tracked my progress with photos on Facebook.)
Four weeks into my year I was going to be in Jamaica on vacation. The Friday of the trip just happened to be Earth Day. I decided what better way to incorporate my vacation, Earth Day, and Stirrup Friday than to wear green ‘rups on the beach with no sanitaries. So I packed my green stirrups and brought them all the way to Jamaica with me.
I finally decided to send in a few stirrup pics. I love to wear some striped stirrups for any race I do, like last weeks Turkey Trot in my sweet Golden Gopher ‘rups, and in my summer kickball and softball leagues, sadly no pics. My family chides me on my stirrup fascination so I decided to take it to the max and make up some stirrup stockings for Christmas, Spartan green and Hoosier red for the season!
Chris LaBella, Jr.
Phil & Robert,
Hi attached is a picture of my son Chris Jr who is 9 wearing Mr. Marshall’s Cardinals stirrups. He played in the Half Hollow Hills NY fall 10u league for the Deer Park Destroyers. In this game he struck out 12 and gave up one hit in 4 2/3. He had to leave due to a 75 pitch count limit that is enforced by the league. All the kids loved the rups btw!!
Chris LaBella Sr.
Happy Stirrup Friday! These Tampa Smoker stirrups made for great Black Friday stirrups last week.
Thanks to being on vacation, I didn’t get a chance to send the picture.
I understand that I am ineligible for further prizes in the stirrup contest, and that’s all well and good.
Seized by a revolutionary fervor, however, I had a few additional thoughts on the subject, which I submit here for the entertainment and indoctrination of all.
Wearing the ’69 Seattle Pilots stirrups today. I have lived more years in the Northwest than I did as a kid growing up in Baltimore, so these are the ‘rups that I wear to Mariners games (unless the Orioles are in town). These also happens to be the colors of the local high school, and my older son wore them (with shorts) during spirit week last month, a photo of which made the front page of the (very) local paper. The revolution works in mysterious ways.
And yes, those are gore tex pants bloused for the photo.
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 (and sometimes Sunday too!).
* And who will be the winner of this week’s UW rup giveaway? Stay tuned. The winner will be revealed tomorrow. Why tomorrow? Because the leader of the revolution, Comrade Marshall, is on a well-deserved vacation in his beloved Ballmer (knocking back a few Natty Boh’s no doubt), so he’ll have his decision on this week’s winner on Sunday.
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 email@example.com.
So, comrades — why don’t you pick up a pair or three and show us your rups!
Back tomorrow with this week’s winner.
And that will do it for this fine first day of December. Not too much on the NCAA front today, but there are, of course, a few conference champeenships among the several. All roads lead to the Army/Navy game next weekend.
Thanks to Mike Styczen for that Grey Cup writeup, and all the concepters and members of Stirrup Nation (and of course, Ricko, for his seasonlong efforts on 50 Years Ago and Benchies). Catch you guys tomorrow.
“If you choose to believe that Uni Watch is part of some conspiratorial ‘war on Christmas,’ feel free to report me to Bill O’Reilly.”
–Paul, on why he tends to use “Christmas” when referring to the religious holiday and “Xmas” when referring to all the pop-cultural and non-religious stuff that’s an outgrowth of the holiday.