By Phil Hecken
Happy Mother’s Day to all.
I had originally planned on just having an open thread for today, but as fate would have it, I was approached by various members of the Gridiron Uniform Database (GUD) during the past week — the main GUD guys are Timmy Brulia, Bill Schaefer, and Rob Holecko, and they’ve done incredible research on compiling the most comprehensive list of football uniforms worn throughout the history of the NFL (and other leagues). Their collective thirst for knowledge is insatiable. I was first contacted by Bill, who had uncovered a bit of “lost” NFL history, and that’s going to be our first segment today; subsequent to that, Bill, Tim & Rob (and others) had thought they uncovered a major bit of lost history, but in the end, it turned out just to be pretty interesting. That will make up the second segment. Bill will be talking about a research project for the first ever NFL game played outside on North America.
So before you call/visit/text/Skype mom later today, sit back and enjoy this bit of unearthed gridiron good…er GUDness:
The 1976 Mainichi Star Bowl
By Bill Schaefer
One of our GUD viewers sent us a link to an NFL Network show about the “Top 10 Quarterbacks of the 1970s.”
During the clips for the Cardinals’ Jim Hart, a portion showed Hart wearing an unusual patch on his right shoulder. Soon after the link to the Youtube video was posted in our Forum on GUD, another one of our viewers enlightened us that this was from a preseason game in 1976 in Japan.
I did some digging. This was the Mainichi Star Bowl between San Diego and St. Louis on August 16, 1976.
A newspaper article was not helpful in determining the nature of the patch. It was helpful, however, in showing that St. Louis also wore a patch on its left shoulder – clearly the typical Bicentennial patch worn by Cincinnati and Washington in the 1975 Hall of Fame Game as well as by Dallas and Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl at the conclusion of that same season in January, 1976.
I went ahead and tried to create a rough, digital version based on what I could make out from the newspaper photo and the TV grab. When I first looked at it, I was thinking it resembled a wooden-handled hammer on the orangish-yellow background. But the more I stare at it, and took into consideration the locale of the game, the image began to look like a crane or an ibis. Some kind of white/grey bird with a curved orange beak and brownish legs. Shrunk down to the required size to add to our images, I think it works pretty well, but I’d still like to get more specifics on it. I’m also including a peek at what the updated version of the 1976 Cardinals image will look like soon.
I cannot discern any writing on the patch however I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some. Also, who’s to say that, even if there were to be writing, that it’d be in English? Considering the Bicentennial patch on the left shoulder, it seems extremely likely to me that the second patch in question either represents some nationalistic Japanese logo or a corporate logo for either the Mainichi Newspaper Company or the Sports Nippon News Company – the co-sponsors of the game.
Two questions still remain:
A) What, exactly, was the second patch?
B) Did San Diego wear either, or both, as well?
It doesn’t seem logical that St. Louis would wear 2 patches for the game and San Diego wouldn’t wear any especially when you consider that, when looking at the ticket for the game, San Diego seems to have been the primary draw among fans in Japan. Why wouldn’t they have worn the patches? I tend to lean towards the option that they did wear the patches but in a more typical location on the front of the jersey – left and right of the collar’s bottom.
With this being the first ever NFL game played outside of North America, I figured, incorrectly, that getting information on it would be easier than it has been.
Any help the UW community can throw us would be appreciated. Please send any new information directly to Rob, Tim, or myself using the Contact Us emails available on GUD.
Thanks, Bill — readers? Can you help in any way?
Next is a collaborative article, which Rob has crafted into a short article for our edification, which gives a little insight into how those crazy GUD dudes get into their research:
Did the Browns wear brown pants in the early ’60′s
By Rob Holecko
Finally today, a behind the scene look at some possible GUD research that turned out not to be.
Friday afternoon our Bill Schaefer was watching the NFL Network and they aired a show called Top 10 Most Versatile and there was a segment on the Philadelphia Eagles’ Chuck Bednarik. They show some old clips of him running through what appears to be the Cleveland Browns defense, however it seems they are wearing brown pants.
You can see the footage in question from 26:55 to 26:59 of the video here at YouTube.
According to previous GUD research, the Browns only wore white pants until they debuted their orange pants in 1975, and they only wore brown pants for a handful of games in 2008 and 2009. Bill thought it possibly could have been a preseason game, but the Eagles didn’t play the Browns in the preseason during Bednarik’s career, so we determined it must have been a regular season game.
After discussion amongst Bill and myself and with Larry Schmitt and Brad Sullivan, we determined that due to the TV sleeve numbers it had to be from either the 1960, ’61 or ’62 seasons, and by process of elimination we determined that if that picture did in fact show the Browns wearing brown pants it must have been from the September 30, 1962 game between the two teams at Franklin Field. This would have been a major discovery in the Sports Uniform world — could the Cleveland Browns actually have wore brown pants in a game in 1962!?
But why had this never come up before? A quick Google search showed that there was absolutely no mention of this anywhere — was this solely a one game occurance and the whole world simply forgot that it ever happened? No something fishy was afoot.
And then our lead historian Tim Brulia chimed in with the answer that rendered our whole discussion moot and proved why he truly is our lead historian:
“Guys…SLOW DOWN!!! This was a clip from the 1960 Championship Game between the Packers and Eagles. Jim Taylor is the man carrying the ball. For whatever reason, the Packers yellow is showing up as abnormally dark. Look at the packed crowd at Franklin Field. I think Forrest Gregg (76) is in the clip, too.”
Just like that we were again reminded how precarious it can be trying to infer colors from black and white photographs. If you look at a B&W picture and get it in your head that those grays are a particular color, it can be hard convincing yourself otherwise. If we look again at that screenshot, but closer, it sure does looks like it is the Cleveland Browns wearing brown pants — the sleeve stripes, the plain helmet. But it truly is just the logoless Green Bay Packers in a yellow that is showing up darker than it should be.
And thus the GUD’s quest for truth and ongoing research continues…
And thank you Rob.
Well, dear readers, there you have it. A special research treat for your Mother’s Day. You have your homework assignment — you know what to do.
A Banner Day at
I’m pleased to present you a SECOND guest entry today, this one comes from our friend Shannon Shark, who runs the fantastic site, The Mets Police, a “fan advocacy blog for the followers of the New York Mets.” Shannon lives and dies with the exploits of the boys from Queens, much more so than Paul or I, so he’s always on top of their doings, and mostly mis-doings these days.
Yesterday was “Banner Day” at Shea, a practice the Mets had undertaken for decades (from 1963 until, I believe 1995 or 1996, when they just stopped doing it). Shannon was one of those who were instrumental in bringing back Banner Day for the Mets 50th Anniversary in 2012, and they continued the tradition by again holding it this year. I asked him, since he was at this game and taking lots of photos, if he’d do a review of the 2013 Banner Day for Uni Watch, and he happily obliged. So, without further ado, here’s @MetsPolice with his rundown:
I showed up at Banner Day at 9:30 and was a little worried about the turnout given the forecast.
When you line up you are given a sticker. I was given a sticker that will make it very easy to start campaigning for Banner Day 2014 although from what I am hearing I don’t think Banner Day is on any kind of bubble, and is now back for the foreseeable future.
I promised everyone it wouldn’t rain (I stuck to my “it never rains on Banner Day” guns and got away with it until the middle of the 9th, which was quite good enough.) The Mets served us coffee and donuts.
The line itself is a great hang. Mr. Met came by. I had a length conversation with a Mets Executive. I took lots of pictures.
Once you’re on the field it’s really cool. It’s hard to put to words but it’s just fun. And then you stand before the judges.
Banner Day is all about fathers and sons. As I am writing you this my son is standing next to me wondering what we can do for next year and asking if I have any ideas. Mission accomplished: he had a great day!
I reminded him that I barely had an idea for this year, but we did pretty well with Smurphy. Smurphy was mine, but at the last second it dawned on me that a cute kid might do better with the judges than a fat guy, so we swapped banners. Turns out both Josh Lewin (radio) and Kevin Burkhardt (TV) mentioned us on the broadcasts.
In the end, only 99 banners were part of the parade, down from around 300 last year. That’s disappointing, but I think this video will convince everyone it’s a great time and more folks should participate next year.
Thanks Shannon — Aside from his blog, which is great, Shannon tweets on behalf of many of the Mets faithful, and even if you’re not a Mets fan, he’s a great follow. So follow him @MetsPolice.
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 Coachie Ballgames, who decided he didn’t quite like the new Dolphins logo:
The new Miami logo is no fun. I made these two to keep the goofy spirit of the now-gone Dolphs logo alive.
Next up is Matt Cunningham, who decided he didn’t quite like the new Stan Musial patch:
I really like the Stan Musial memorial patch that the Cardinals are wearing this year. When you look at it though, you can not really make out his number 6 because his signature is covering much of the middle of the number.
I like the signature but I made it a bit smaller and then moved it lower on the number. Now you can see his famous 6 more clearly.
If I know the uni watchers, I bet I am not the only one who was bothered by this.
We close today with Scott Michael Nystrom who has an idea for what the Rams would look like if they were treated like an expansion franchise in St. Looie:
Consider the hypothetical that the Rams left their identity in LA when they moved, like the Sonics or Browns. This would require St. Louis to form its own, which I took from the 1934 franchise and this colorization on UW previously. I modernized it slightly with a helmet logo and pants stripes but kept the white/red look and white sleeves. I liked the result (more unique than football Cardinals and regional than Rams), but the color combination and triple-stripes from the 1934 look does make it feel like the classic Patriots—not that having someone wear white/red while NE sticks to navy/silver is wrong at all.
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.
Didn’t get to this yesterday, because, well, I was at the Mets game with Paul on Friday night — but — it gives me the chance to show off one of my own rare Stirrup Fridays entries, which is below.
Comrades Phil and Rob,
I’m sorry I’m getting it in this late, but I decided to take the revolution on the road. My friends and I left California for New York, and while there, I decided to tweak the Yankees crowd by supporting the visiting Red Sox. My bravery is unquestionable in the face of promoting the revolution on enemy territory.
It’s a few days late. But I will be wearing them again, this week.
My first purchase from Comrade Marshall arrived. Giants throwbacks. Looks great with my Friday orange Pedro Sandoval jersey.
btw, I love working for myself. You don’t have to explain things.
Here’s a couple ebay auctions for Stirrup Nation:
1959 Stan Musial Game Worn Stirrup (singular)
Vintage Red Stirrups.
Stirrup Friday – Mother’s Day Edition (with thanks to Commrade Robert).
Finally, a nice day to go cruisin’ with the little guy.
Or as close to it as I can get, since I am without means to purchase them from Comrade Marshall.
A pic of my stirrups and me getting ready to do PA duties on the final day of the Charleston Miracle League, as well as, a pic of my daughter and me on the same day! I’m wearing the ’55 Orioles to go with my ’76 jersey and cap.
Broke out the never issued Mets-prototype stirrups for Friday night’s Mets/Bucs game.
The rups were the best looking thing out there, unless of course, you are a Pirate fan. The Mets played ugly.
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.
• First and foremost, congratulations go out to one of our colorizer extraordinaires, George Chilvers, whose lifelong devotion to the Wigan Football club was finally rewarded after decades of futility, as that club pretty much pulled off the upset of the century yesterday. Good for you, George. Now you can die in peace!
• Next comes this pretty amazing photo from Douggie Keklak, who simply writes, “So much Johnstown goodness in this pic!!!!” I’m not so sure that’s a good thing, but that is a great old photo.
• And, finally, today is, of course, Mother’s Day. Which means it’s baseball’s turn to break out the pink accessories. Not a fan of that, of course, even if in theory (and possibly practice) it’s for a good cause. But whatever. Of course, no good cause should be without controversy. Which is why, according to ‘Yahoo Expert’ Jeff Passan, “the use of pink bats on Mother’s Day, has turned into another ugly example of corporate greed.”.
• In another new twist, apparently MLB will also be breaking out pink-stitched baseballs today. I’m not sure if they will be used ceremonially, or if they’ll be a part of the action for every pitch. I can’t imagine those will be as easy to pick up as a standard baseball (batters need to ‘see’ the rotation on the ball to determine what type of pitch is coming — or at least that is the theory). Be interesting to see if batters fare poorly today. Put me down as “not a fan” of this either. Good cause or not, I don’t know how safe it will be to have one of those balls headed for your eye socket at 95 mph. Lets hope we don’t find out.
And that’s going to do it for today, folks. Everyone have a wonderful day, a great Mother’s Day, and a fine week. I’ll catch you next weekend.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken
“Wigan was much the deserving team. City, as is so often the case in key matches, played like five were hung over, five had food poisoning, and one was just served with divorce papers. I’ve trained our youngest son to be a devoted City fan. When the time comes, I will not blame him if he puts me in a dangerously substandard retirement home.”