By Phil Hecken
And now…the AFL.
You fine readers will recall that colorizer-extraordinaire Gary Chanko is also a supreme talent, who blessed us with two sets of vectorized NFL Logos and “Badges” (Volume I) and (Volume II). Reader feedback was tremendously positive, and many readers requested Gary undertake a set of AFL logos to complete the bookends. He’s done so, and they are all below.
Mere words cannot do justice to what follows, so I will let the work (and Gary) speak for it/himself. So now, here is Gary with his …
American Football League Logos – Heritage Collection
By Gary Chanko
After finishing the vectorized set of vintage NFL logos there was a nagging sense things were incomplete without that other pro football league. After some gentle prompting I decided to complete a matching set of American Football League logos.
The AFL Heritage Collection comprises all the original 1960 league franchises, plus the two expansion teams Miami and Cincinnati added to the league before the 1970 merger with the NFL. The logos represent the team identities for the AFL’s first season. So you’ll see the Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas Texans, Boston Patriots, and New York Titans.
I used the same resources for graphics and team color schemes that were helpful for the previous NFL set. Additionally these AFL specific sites were useful to sort out inconsistencies in logo design and usage:
Now to those AFL logos.
Boston Patriots (1960-92)
The tricorne revolutionary war era hat is scarcely noted as the Patriots initial season logo although it did appear on the team’s helmets. The more familiar Pat Patriot logo was in use in 1960 as shown on this dated copy of an ownership stock certificate. So which is the original logo?
I decided to go with crazed eyes version of Pat Patriot. (His facial character was changed a bit in later years, I suppose Pat’s medication eventually wore off.) Pat managed to hang on as the primary logo design for the next thirty plus years before giving way to Flying Elvis. (Read about the conversion in this Paul Lukas ESPN.com article.)
Buffalo Bills (1960-61)
The Bills first franchise owner, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., was a Detroit native and preceding his involvement in the AFL, a minority owner of the NFL Lions. Ah ha!
Let’s compare the Lions logo and color scheme from the same period with the Bills initial effort:
• Team mascot (Lion or Buffalo) with football player … Check
• Player’s jersey number 31, 34 … Check
(Wilson seemingly had an unusual fascination with these numbers. “31” appeared on the Lions logo as well.)
• Blue and silver color scheme … Check
Okay I suspect we broke the code on Ralph’s logo fetishes. He reciprocated by breaking my bones as I tried to interpret his goofy logo into a vector graphic.
Cincinnati Bengals (1968-69)
Cincinnati was the last AFL expansion team preceding the league’s 1970 merger with the NFL. The team’s first logo, a cartoonish Bengal Tiger, lasted the two years until the merger.
Of historical note, the Bengals had an earlier life as a Cincinnati pro franchise (unrelated to the current team) in several leagues during the short period 1937 – 41. Logos and team colors remain a mystery, but this bus pass may serve as a clue.
Dallas Texans (1960-62)
The names of the illustrators that created the NFL and AFL logos during this era have never surfaced until I started to research the Texans logo. Finally I found a name, Bob Taylor, a cartoonist for the now-defunct Dallas Times-Herald. Bob also created the Chiefs first logo after the Texans departed Dallas after the 1962 season. It’s easy to see the similarities in logo style; mascot overlay on the team’s geographical background.
The other discovery was the Texans first logo before Bob’s update for start of the 1960 season.
Denver Broncos (1960-61)
Is that a toothpick in the bronco buster’s hand? In retrospect I think a football would have been a better choice for this logo. Luckily the Broncos dumped the brown and gold color scheme after a couple of years and rolled out another logo. This time the bronco rider has a football. Thanks for that.
Houston Oilers (1960-?)
Examples of this logo version (player wearing a cowboy hat) are difficult to find. Officially the design may have been used only briefly or perhaps not at all.
You are more likely to see this Oilers logo as the version with the player in a hard hat as illustrated on the Oilers 1960 media guide. Here’s some comparative logo examples from the 1960 issue of Fleer football stickers. Maybe the team used both logos during their initial year.
Los Angeles Chargers (1960)
The Chargers lasted only one season in Los Angeles before heading south to San Diego. Stories about the origin of the team name and the logo design vary as noted here. The bolt still survives, but the horse galloped away in the early 70s. I never understood the equine connection anyway.
Miami Dolphins (1966-73)
The Dolphins logo design concept hasn’t changed much since he team became an AFL expansion franchise in 1966. Subtle graphic and color changes over the years keep the logo updated, but as the team’s 50-year anniversary nears, perhaps it’s time for a radical overhaul. Maybe just a meaner, angrier dolphin is all that’s needed.
New York Titans (1960-62)
What’s larger than a Giant, a New York Giant? A New York Titan of course. Certainly that was the plan for the Titans original owners. Unfortunately this under funded team franchise and their uninspired logo only lasted two years before morphing into the Jets.
Señors Raiders (1960-62)
There’s an unusually interesting backstory to the Raider’s logo origins. The tale includes a third place finish in the name-the-team contest and a film star known for his tall-in-the-saddle Western hero roles. Read the rest of the story here.
BONUS! JUST ADDED: New York Jets Logo and Badges:
Awesome job, with that Gary. You can view the entire set here.
Great effort on those logos (and history too!). Readers, please give Gary one more round of virtual applause for another fantastic/tremendous/stupendous undertaking. And readers, what say you?
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:
We begin today with Cecil Dunston, who has an NFL & an NBA tweak:
I’m a big fan of uni-watch; read it everyday.. I got tweaks for the pats away uni and a (less shitty) alt for the thunder.
First off, the pats
Their home set is classy and shouldn’t be messed with.. On their current away, the double-outlined numbers/sock stripes create unnecessary noise.. almost negating the succinctness of the home uni. I also think that the collar pattern doesn’t work with the white like it does with the home set, thus warranting the nike treatment. I think that the side paneling deal would look much more put together if it were reflected in the socks, which Is why I changed them. This, in my opinion, complements the home even more (despite the differences in collar) than the current one.
I think their current alt frankly sucks… there’s no precedent for it. The side paneling has diagonal stripes and the yellow borders make everything pop. I think it too complements the home set very well. I chose not to use okc out of personal preference, although It makes a lot of sense to use it as well.
Thanks for letting me share!
Next up is Will McGillis, with a tweak of the Rocks:
I came up with a possible future home uniform or home alt for the Rockies.
And we close today with Bert Ayers who has a set of unis for the Bengals:
Mr. Hecken :
Let me be the 10,000th person to send in a Cincinnati Bengals concept, I couldn’t help myself.
The striped helmet, which I do like, is gone in favor of a solid black one. I’m going with the Bengals head logo for the helmets and their ‘B’ for the shirt sleeves. I didn’t want to completely eliminate the stripes, which is why I used the ‘B’ logo, but I have banished them from everywhere else on the uniform. Overall a simple design, I think the people of Cincinnati have suffered enough.
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
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.
It was another slow week (and I was remiss in not photographing anyone in hose in Washington, although I know several readers were packin’ stirrups). So, the set for this week is on the smallish side, but… Here we go:
Here’s I am, ready for another Stirrup Friday at work at the library, in my official Uni Watch stirrups, courtesy of Paul and his reader-appreciation raffle. Thanks, Paul!
[Phil, thanks for doing such a great job with the site on the weekends and in Paul's absence.]
Today’s stirrrups are the 1948 Senators. No special reasion.
Wearing the ’48 Phillies today. My son was on the Phillies in little league last year and for games I alternated between these and a pair of Liberty Bell stirrups that I found on ebay. Neither was better or worse as far as win/loss goes. These are especially appropriate today because our town’s little league tryouts are tomorrow — Although friends and family back in New England will be in a very different mindset these next few days with a blizzard rolling through.
Now I’m ready for the blizzard.
It’s Shamrock Shake season.
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!). Be sure to visit Robert’s House of Hose for news on rups.
It was an interesting week for Uni Watch — with some of the highest highs paired with the lowest of lows. Paul and I went down to Washington, D.C. (separately — he took Amtrak and I drove) for the “Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports” symposium (which took place Thursday at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian), and the night before, Paul hosted a Uni Watch Gathering in Hamilton’s. Both were fantastic (and I’ll have some thoughts on both of those tomorrow, plus some pics — but I promised Paul I wouldn’t ‘scoop’ him on the Native American thing, which he’ll be detailing in-depth on ESPN this coming week). Sandwiched between these highs, sadly, was the news that UW stalwart, Mike Hersh, had passed away suddenly on Tuesday morning. Paul delivered a beautiful web-eulogy yesterday. If you didn’t get a chance to read that, please do so, and maybe leave your sentiments in the comments. I never met Mike, but like many of you, I felt I “knew” him and his contributions to Uni Watch were second to none. He was taken from us too early, and he’ll be sorely missed.
Thanks to Gary for the tremendous AFL logo project, and of course the concepters and stirrupers. Hopefully our Nor’East Coast readers didn’t fare too badly in yesterday’s blizzard (as I write this, there are about 5″ on the ground with more than a foot expected). Everyone be safe, have a good Saturday, and I will catch you tomorrow. Today’s “one for the road” photo is one of my own — took it Thursday at the Smithsonian during a break — we were just down the road from the Capitol. Wish I could have spent more time in D.C. It was great to get back, even if only for a couple of days.
“One of the best things about the internet is the communities that form. Hearing about Mike is a reminder that we’re all real people. So, in addition to expressing my condolences to the Hershes, I’d like to express my appreciation to all the members of the Uni Watch community for your contributions. It’s too easy to take everyone for granted.”