By Phil Hecken
Back in the summer when I was pinch-hitting for Paul during the weekdays, I received numerous submissions for articles from you fine readers. I’ve gotten to most of them, but there are still a couple that I haven’t had a chance to run — today is one of those days I’m going to run one. And it’s a treat for historians, and a very obscure chapter in NFL history.
Today’s feature piece comes from Pittsburgher and uni historian Jerry Wolper, who I’ve worked with on several pieces and whose monumental work on the “BucTracker” (a detailing of the uniform combinations worn by the Pittsburgh Pirates during their “Bumblebee” period of 1977-1984) and whose efforts were detailed on this blog previously. Jerry offered up the following research piece on the long-forgotten “Federal” Division that the NFL briefly had prior to the merger with the AFL in 1970. Here’s Jerry with a look back at…
The NFL’s “Federal Division”
By Jerry Wolper
Is the NHL’s Metropolitan Division a bad idea for a name? Absolutely.
Would the NFL ever make that kind of mistake? Well…
When the NFL added their sixteenth franchise in New Orleans for the 1967 season, they decided to go to four four-team divisions. According to an article in the Dec. 1, 1966 Pittsburgh Press, the four divisions would be named Central, Coastal, Capitol, and Federal.
In the Dec. 11, 1966 Press, columnist Roy McHugh discussed the realignment and the naming:
“It’s the Federal Division – the one with Pittsburgh, Cleveland, St. Louis, and New York in it – because no one could think of a better name. This was the big problem when the club owners met in New York and split up the league into quarters – putting suitable labels on their handiwork.
“First they agreed to keep the Eastern and Western Conferences (previously referred to as divisions) intact. St. Louis and Dallas are in the East, Baltimore and Atlanta in the West, but this is the jet age.
“The Eastern group that includes Washington became the Capital Division. Philadelphia, Dallas and New Orleans accepting the name out of patriotism.
“Green Bay, Minnesota, Detroit and Chicago decided to call themselves the Central Division, which made sense geographically.
“The other group in the West – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Baltimore and Atlanta – will be the Coastal Division, but don’t ask what seabreezes blow all the way to Atlanta.
“‘We were the last ones to get a name,’ says the Steelers’ Dan Rooney.
“There were several unadopted suggestions, he reveals: Columbian, which fell flat; Liberty – which was favorably received until one owner pointed out that Philadelphia was in the Capital Division; Central, which made for duplication.
“The lateness of the hour and onset of hunger pangs may explain why Federal was so popular with everybody.”
On Feb. 22, 1967, the Press reported on NFL meetings in Honolulu. The report mentioned that “Incidentally, the division in which the Steelers will play has beeen[sic] changed from Federal to Century because the owners didn’t like Federal and all the others division begin with ‘C’.”
And so the short life of the NFL’s Federal Division ended. The not-much-better Century lasted until the 1970 merger, when the
American and National Conferences each went with Eastern, Central and Western Divisions.
Too Good For The Ticker…
Last weekend, I was pleased to bring you the incredible historical Vancouver Baseball images found and wonderfully edited by Bruce Menard. Yesterday I received an e-mail from Bruce, which stated,
Believe it or not, I somehow managed to miss a few panoramics that are on the Vancouver website…at least one of which I absolutely would have included last week.
So I just finished an edit on it, maybe you could run it this weekend. It’s from June 10, 1914 – Pennant Day. The Vancouver team is raising the ’13 Northwestern League Championship Pennant.
It’s very large and filled with some really great details (uniforms, signage, the band). I edited it down to @10,000 px wide. There’s even a few more panoramics from that day, but this one is really the best.
OH…and there’s an alternate shot of that 1915 Opening Game pic from last week. It’s a bit of a different camera angle…so I made an edit of that as well.
Not only did Bruce include those two, but he found a third photo, “a different view of that 1914 Pennant Day pano, taken from home plate looking outward…great angle.”
So, without further ado, here are those three beautiful photos (click on each one to enlarge):
Tremendous! Thanks, Bruce!
A Kerfuffle in Carolina
If you follow me on Twitter (and you know you should), I try to scour the Interwebs and Twittersphere for breaking uni news (some of which appears the next day right here on Uni Watch); on Thursday evening, I came across a story (click the link in the tweet) which contained the following photo:
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) November 1, 2013
Now, this being cyberspace, and with the ability of photoshoppers out there, no one was sure if this was real or a prank — if so, it would be the ultimate trolling by NC State by basically “stealing” ECU’s mid-field logo. The story gained legs, and sure enough, some intrepid soul snuck onto the field and confirmed that, indeed, the logo was real:
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) November 1, 2013
And so, apparently, someone climbed up the stadium yesterday and snapped this photo:
So today, the North Carolina Tar Heels take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack in both teams’ big rivalry game for 2013. And North Carolina will be greeted with what is essentially the East Carolina University Pirates’ mid-field logo. In Wolfpack colors. Unless it’s all just a really elaborate hoax. Or not.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Back with a new edition of “Colorize This!” today — it’s somewhat small, but it features colorizations by two UW stalwarts, and a request for a colorization from an old friend.
Click on each image to enlarge.
We begin today with Rick “Ricko” Pearson, who has a request for a colorization. It came as part of a separate e-mail, which I’ll share with you because there’s great history here:
Lennie Moore DID spat his shoes at Penn State. That would make him one of the very, very earliest to do so a matter of course. His senior season was 1955.
I never knew one way or the other because he already was with the Colts when I started looking at such things in football.
Moore apparently continued it immediately to the NFL because I also found what must be his first training camp PR photo, judging by the wearing of #36.
NOTE: Don Clark spatted at Ohio State a bit later. Played in 1958 Rose Bowl between Buckeyes and Oregon “Webfoots” (announcers call them that). Clark’s #18 and carries on, like, the second play.
Other early spatters I know of were Art Baker and John Mackey at Syracuse (time of Ernie Davis).
Very, very few were spatting in the 50s. By about 1961 it started to spread.
…for any colorizers’ benefit, those are royal blue kneehigh stirrups (with a version of NU stripes in white) under white crew socks.
Next up is George Chilvers who took up the cue from last weekend and colorized one of Bruce Menard’s wonderful Vancouver Baseball photographs. My God this is gorgeous:
Some pictures just call out to be colourised. This one was actually shouting to me :) As always when colourising little detail emerges – did you see the two ladies looking out the upstairs window before?
What an amazing set of pictures these from the City of Vancouver Archives are!
And we close today with one from Gary Chanko, who also went deep for six with this beautiful rendering of LSU player Billy Cannon:
As a football uni design element, UCLA stripes have all but disappeared in recent years. Lest we forget, this image of LSU 1959 Heisman Trophy winner, Billy Cannon shows how they should look.
View the original B&W here among a collection of old school college football photos.
That’s it for today. Big, big thanks to Ricko, George and Gary. Fantastic stuff this week!
Guess The Game…From The Scoreboard
I figured last weekend’s scoreboard might stump you guys, but you intrepid readers solved it in almost record time. I don’t have much higher hopes for today’s game, but you never know. There’s also a bonus scoreboard game (at the end of this section) that was sent in by reader David Firestone (it’s a bit out of focus, but it shouldn’t be too difficult).
If you solve it, as a courtesy to other readers, simply LINK (go to Baseball Reference) to the game and post that link in your comment — feel free to describe HOW you solved it, using any clues you may have gleaned from the Scoreboard.
OK? OK! Post your answer (in link form) in the comments section below. Good luck.
Last week’s scoreboard/answer: March 4, 2012.
U.W.F.F.L. Week 9 Update
By Rob Holecko
We’re starting to get into the stretch run here in the UWFFL – no gimmicks this week, just some good matchups. Home field advantage throughout the playoffs may be on the line as the Top 2 teams in the UWFFL when the 7-1 Minnesota Mustangs travel to New York and take on the 7-1 Sharks. Other big games: Detroit at Atlanta, San Francisco at San Diego.
There’s also a big game in the minors as the #2 Anchorage Orcas (8-1) take on the #3 Sacramento Scorpions (also 8-1). Also Carolina and Florida face off in the East, and Goldsmith Gulch vs. Las Vegas and Vancouver vs Portland in the Pacific look to be important games for those teams’ playoff hopes.
Be sure to check out all of this week’s action and vote for your favorite teams at uwfantasyfootballleague.com.
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 Alex Manjerovic, new idea for the Pitt Panthers:
I did a Pitt uniform concept which I attached to the email. I find the whole topic really interesting and was wondering that if you like the concept, maybe I could possibly do the whole ACC like Jeff Provo did with the Big Ten the other day. I sent the email to the Uni Watch email and your email that you have on twitter because i wasn’t not 100 sure how to contact you.
Thanks, Alex Manjerovic
Next up is Dan Johnson, with a bunch of NBA concepts:
Here are a few of my ideas, who knows, maybe someone would like them.
Thank you Sir!
We close today with Kiechel Valentine who has a Rockies ‘fauxback':
The San Diego Padres inspired fauback of the Rays is tremendous. Here is one for the Rockies inspired by the early 80’s White Sox uniforms.
Kiechel C. Valentine
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Hallowe’en may be over, but the spirit isn’t, especially ‘sports pumpkins.’ Coleman Mullins was at the CK (Ceredo and Kenova) Pumpkin house in West Virginia. By Halloween night they have over 3000 carved pumpkins. “I went on the 25th, so they only had about a third of them done.” … Stephen Gradinscak noticed on Sports Center that the Chicago Bulls are still using the New Jersey Nets logo on their locker room standings board. The Wizards might be the old colors as well but it’s hard to tell. … Special unis on tap for Michigan State today? According to this article, “Alternative uniforms are in the house, but until game day, you can’t be sure they will wear them.” And will they have a special new helmet too? … Today’s Florida/Georgia hook-up, known as “the World’s largest outdoor cocktail party,” just got “elitist” by adding an upscale, three-story club adjacent to EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. … Tonight, despite having black as an actual school color, Purdue will have a black out against THE Ohio State University. Purdue will have a new black helmet with a train track helmet stripe motif. … On Thursday, Paul highlighted Shane Victorino’s choice of cleats for Game 6 of the World Series, and now here’s an interview with the artist who created other customs for Victorino (thanks to Andy Pitt). … Here’s a pretty funny “poster” for todays Hokies/Eagles game (h/t Sully @Pal3327). Also from Sully, every UMass hockey player has an action picture above his stall. … Andrew Roman thought we might find this Michigan State helmet project interesting. “Recently I completed a custom paint job on a fire helmet I had laying around my house. I used green and white spray paint, also a clear coat. I taped off the stripe down the middle and used football helmet decals from eBay on the sides. … UMass hockey will wear military appreciation sweaters on November 9 (spotted by Josh Tremblay). … The Boston Red Sox now have an official World Champions patch (h/t @TheEmblemSource). … Interesting article from Notre Dame’s newspaper, The Observer, entitled, “Stadium grounds crew ‘take care of God’s field’,” (sent in by Robert Murphy). Says Robert, “Something I learned from it was the line design in the end zones at Notre Dame Stadium points towards the ND student section and the Main Building (aka the Golden Dome). This means that the designs in each end zone, though they look alike are more like mirror images.” … UMass will wear special “American Flag” motif helmets today in their game vs NIU. … Paul is quoted in this New York Times article, “Who Made That Referee Shirt?”. … “Just saw the comment from last week’s ticker about Colgate’s helmets,” writes Ryan Dowgin. “This is what they wore in 1994, so it could be worse. And for the record, I like the ‘gate on the sides. Although I wouldn’t mind a switch to uni numbers on the sides like they used to have.” Also from Ryan, “Since I didn’t realize that Mike Philbrick is a Holy Cross alum, let’s talk about the (non-matching) blue and white undershirts Holy Cross is wearing under their purple uniforms. Talk about ugly!” … Texas A&M will be all decked out in their patriotic best for Military Appreciation Day. Helmets too (h/t Jared Colville). … The Minor League baseball Rochester Red Wings have revealed new logos for 2014. … Robert Luongo debuted a new mask, and it makes him look like Johnny Canuck! How awesome is that (great find by David Hutchison). … Reader David Lassen writes, “A friend of mine who has coached American football in Europe sent it along. Apparently there’s a college football league starting in India.” It’s pretty cool — they’ve got uniforms and everything. Too bad they’re all from the same template. … Western Illinois will be sporting new helmets today (h/t Joshua Gleason). … Here’s a good look at Baylor’s “blackout” uniforms for next Thursday’s game against Oklahoma. … Boy, those were some orange Beavers in Corvallis last night. … And finally, looks like the Utah Utes will be joining the ‘Merica party for next weekend’s game against Arizona State.
And that will close the books on the first Saturday Uni Watch of November, 2013. Big day for some Uni Watchers, as the annual Uni Watch Brooklyn Gathering at the Sheep Station in beautiful downtown Brooklyn (2:30 pm till ?), a mere stone’s throw from the
Barclay’s Center place the Nets play. And you’re guaranteed to meet at least some of this crew:
Be sure to wear (or not) your finest jersey and a pair of ‘rups. I’ll see many of you later this afternoon. OK? OK!
Big thanks to Jerry and Bruce, and of course the concepters and colorizers too! Great job today everyone.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“The fact that the term has been used as a franchise name for 80 years really dilutes it’s ability to also stand as a racial slur. Eighty years of Redskins football means that the vast majority of people don’t view it in any kind of negative light. In a parallel universe, 80 years of the ‘Harlem Niggers’ franchise would have the same effect – most people not viewing it as a slur.”
–“The Jeff” Provo