105 responses

  1. The Jeff
    August 19, 2014

    If I recall correctly, the Charlotte Stars didn’t just have a Chicago Bears-like C, they used actual Bears decals.

    • KT
      August 19, 2014

      Because the story was that they were in Chicago when the “switch” happened, and they rang up the Bears’ equipment guy, who supplied them with some extra Cs.

      For a price.

      I believe this is recounted in Herb Gluck’s While the Gettin’s Good. (http://www.amazon.co...) Real expensive now, apparently. I have one.

  2. Gene sanny
    August 19, 2014

    Cool…. love the WFL unis so it was great to see an article…. and then I see 3 of my paintings made it into the article…. great way to start a day :)

    • Terry Proctor
      August 19, 2014

      Sand-Knit made the Technicolor uniforms for the Sun and the Storm. Philadelphia, Detroit, Houston/Shreveport and Florida also wore Sand which was then the Nike of the day with wacky designs and colors. I’ve got a ’75 Sand-Knit catalog. Magenta was called “Bright Red.” Lime Green was named “Bright Green.” Base team price for a Sandaire Warp-Knit Pro-Mesh jersey before decoration was $14.65. That’s around $65.50 today.

      Russell Athletic had a couple of teams with Birmingham (no surprise) and the Sharks. Wilson outfitted the hometown Chicago Fire.

      One observation on the whole WFL uniform look was that even though some teams used wild color schemes the designs were pretty basic stuff. As one who lived and worked through that era I miss those days when teams still looked like football teams.

      • Cort
        August 19, 2014

        Well said, Terry.

        My first thought, looking at those WFL photos, was “Gee, they look like football players, not spandexed nightmares!”

  3. Lose Rem
    August 19, 2014

    First OSU link has an extra letter in it.

    WFL article was great. Looking forward to the USFL one!

    • Phil Hecken
      August 19, 2014

      Got it. Thanks. Now fixed.

  4. Chris Holder
    August 19, 2014

    Really fun story today. The WFL had some great uniforms, no doubt. I love the variety of colors. If I had to pick a favorite, I think I’d go with Philadelphia. Those unis remind me of when the Pitt Panthers wore the royal blue/mustard combo. That’s a great color scheme that needs to be brought back.

    • walter
      August 19, 2014

      Big ups to the Hawaiians for 1. combining nickname and locale into one word, and 2. rocking the brown, orange & yellow eight years before the Padres picked up on those evocative colors. Pass the tacos!

      • Jim Vilk
        August 19, 2014

        And for 3) possibly inspiring the colors on TC’s chopper.

        Si, pass the tacos!

  5. ScottyM
    August 19, 2014

    Oh man, what a post. Let me be the first to nominate today’s entry for the “Post of the Year” award. :) Super job. Love WFL lore.

    • Connie DC
      August 19, 2014

      Great work, Phil.

    • walter
      August 19, 2014

      Extinct sports leagues are my bread and butter! The Internet was made for minutiae like this, and Uni Watch delivers every time. I anxiously anticipate the inevitable World League of American Football article to come in ten or fifteen years.

    • Vee63
      August 19, 2014

      Gotta agree, absolutely spectacular piece today Phil and Aaron.

    • Chris Cruz
      August 19, 2014

      +1. Really, really nice job by Phil and Aaron.

  6. Chris Holmes
    August 19, 2014

    Wow! Nice writeup and gallery, Phil! I don’t have much to add to the work you did, other than to shamelessly plug my ever-growing collection of WFL programs and media guides: http://www.grayflann...

    But just to show I’m not in it for personal glory, there are some GREAT WFL stories and images on Andy Crossley’s wonderful Fun While It Lasted blog: http://www.funwhilei...

    Oh, and I like the ASU uniforms. It’s a style that the Buccaneers should have emulated but totally failed to.

  7. Brendan Burke
    August 19, 2014

    Re: Gradient numbers

    The NCAA rule clearly states that numbers must be one solid color, banning both gradients and Pro Combat-style patterned numbers, and I fully expect an official ruling on the matter prior to Saturday.

    It wouldn’t be unprecedented to make an emergency rule patch on this kind of stuff, as the NCAA already had to patch the rules midseason a few years back when USC chose to go color-on-color against UCLA.

    • Aaron Newman
      August 19, 2014

      That was indeed the case last year, but the 2013-14 rule book now reads: “Clearly visible, permanent Arabic numerals on one jersey at least 8 and 10 inches in height front and back, respectively, of a color(s) in distinct contrast with the jersey.”

      • Aaron Newman
        August 19, 2014

        The previous post should actually have read as follows: “jersey must have clearly visible, permanent Arabic numerals measuring
        at least 8 and 10 inches in height front and back, respectively. The number must be of a color that itself is clearly in distinct contrast with the color of the jersey,
        irrespective of any border around the number.”

        The point remains that the language of the rule no longer includes the word “solid”.

  8. Padday
    August 19, 2014

    Apparently the concept of the sharpie hasn’t yet made its way to France yet. http://cf.broadsheet...

  9. James Gregg
    August 19, 2014

    I attended several Memphis Southmen games. Usually good crowds of ~20-25,000 at the games. Definitely a colorful league. The Southmen were originally to be in Toronto and called the Northmen. However, then PM Trudeau said no US football team would be allowed in Canada to compete with the CFL and the team ended up in Memphis and nickname changed to Southmen. Interesting there were 20 games in 74 and 13 in 75. I guess financially they couldn’t support a 20 game season.

    • walter
      August 19, 2014

      It didn’t escape my attention that the NBA team was the second club to go by the name of the Memphis Grizzlies. Both of the donor teams were Canadian transplants. I only later discovered the WFL Grizzlies was a nick-nickname, such as the Bronx Bombers.

    • KT
      August 19, 2014

      Well, the league itself folded halfway through the second season, which was not only planned for 20 games, but to have two “halves.”

  10. Mike
    August 19, 2014

    The Hawaiians had a QB named Sixkiller. Damn.

    • traxel
      August 19, 2014

      Was gonna say the same thing. He wasn’t listed in the team photo.

      Fun post. Someone please do the same for the ABA and WHA.

      • DenverGregg
        August 19, 2014

        I’ll see your WHA and raise you an IVA(International Volleyball Ass’n).

        I actually went to several IVA Denver Comets games and was quite disappointed when the league folded in the summer of ’80.

    • Lance Smith
      August 19, 2014

      Sonny Sixkiller. He was a star at the University of Washington. Made the cover of Sports Illustrated AND Boys’ Life. He’s a member of the Cherokee nation.

    • scottrj
      August 19, 2014

      Links to (1) Sixkiller’s SI cover, and (2) a bio. Not even the best Native American QB in his conference at the time.
      http://dailyaxe.com/...
      http://www.fofweb.co...

    • timdub70
      August 20, 2014

      For the Hawaiians, in one picture he was #6 and in another he was #11.

  11. MEANS
    August 19, 2014

    That Chicago Fire helmet logo sure would work well for a NY Fire, kinda creates a nice NY in the flames.

    • Mike Monaghan
      August 19, 2014

      I thought the exact same thing. As a matter of fact when I looked at the helmet I figured it was NY before seeing that they were Chicago. Good catch.

    • DenverGregg
      August 19, 2014

      I always thought that the Fire logo would have worked better against a black helmet rather than red. Hadn’t noticed the “NY”, but once you mentioned it . . .

    • Jim Vilk
      August 19, 2014

      Ah, I’m not the only one! When I was a kid I used to have a Pro Quarterback magazine with one of those Chicago photos, and before I read the caption I was thinking, Cool NY helmets! Who are they…oh, never mind, it’s a flame.

    • The Jeff
      August 19, 2014

      I must be weird, because I don’t see an NY at all.

      • MEANS
        August 19, 2014

        Look on the left side, the flame goes up then down, then back up (this creates the N) then from that point it goes back down then up again to create the Y. Or you are just weird.

    • DKHardee
      August 19, 2014

      First thing I noticed was the fire/flame design was kind of a NY.

  12. Jonathan Sluss
    August 19, 2014

    Kirk Cousins switched his number from 12 to 8 this year, that looks like his jersey from last year with his new number.

  13. Connie DC
    August 19, 2014

    ” Look at these 1950s high-tops from Keds. Still look like they’re in pretty good shape!”

    I wore ‘em. Not for everyday use, of course, because they needed to look extra sharp on game days when St Augustine’s would play other parochial schools in the cutthroat 7th-8th grade basketball league.

  14. Shane
    August 19, 2014

    I’d never seen most of these since the WFL was 12-13 years before my time, but DANG that Charlotte Hornets helmet is great.

  15. KC
    August 19, 2014

    “a boat sailing in the water”

    I guess technically that would be a boat steaming in the water.

    Those Portland colors are my fave of the WFL. Similar to the Atlanta Hawks early uni colors.

    • KC
      August 19, 2014

      I forgot to add after the second line:

      /possibly incorrect pedant

  16. Newton
    August 19, 2014

    Two WFL franchises mascot names made it to the NBA

    Charlotte Hornets and Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis had a team called the Southmen but according to wikipedia they were called the Grizzlies informally because of the grizzly decal on their helmets.

  17. Johnny O
    August 19, 2014

    Last night on Jimmy Fallon, Tiger and Rory debuted Nike’s new irons called “Vapor”. They come complete with Volt colored accents, and that is no accident. Evidently there is a new marketing team at Nike, and they are trying to focus on the younger demographic. Here is a really good article about the irons (and the marketing) from My Golf Spy:

    http://www.mygolfspy...

  18. Steve B.
    August 19, 2014

    Great WFL article today. Love it! I really, really love the Charlotte Hornots helmet. That logo is an all-time favorite of mine.

  19. Rob S
    August 19, 2014

    Department of Redundancy Department: the ASU item in the ticker covers the same exact uniform covered in today’s main post. Might want to at least update the ticker entry’s text along the lines of, “Here’s another take on the new ASU ‘Desert Fuel’ uniforms”.

    • Phil Hecken
      August 19, 2014

      Shit.

      I thought I removed that from the ticker last night. My bad. Now removed from the ticker.

      • Rob S
        August 19, 2014

        I’ll just chalk it up to “Mets camo hangover” – a temporary derangement caused by having to experience those ugly-ass uniforms in person. ;)

        All in all, an outstanding job today. It was particularly interesting for me to read about the Detroit Wheels (who were gone by the time I was born). For one thing, I didn’t know Mike Ilitch was one of the many investors.

  20. Mike
    August 19, 2014

    The picture of Frank Gore is not from this preseason. The helmet bumper is wrong (it’s the Niners logo not wordmark this year) and for the three plays that he was in on Sunday the Niners sideline was to his left not right.

  21. Lance Smith
    August 19, 2014

    Looking forward to the article on the proposed World Baseball League. All I can remember was that they were going to play with orange baseballs.

  22. Al
    August 19, 2014

    The New York Stars played in Downings stadium on Randels Island and the first ever game there was a night game on (WOR ch 9). And the lighting for the game was just bad

  23. Rod Richards
    August 19, 2014

    Mountain View High School in Vancouver, WA is the Thunder and uses the T from the Portland Thunder. as seen in this link https://www.google.c...(Washington)&ei=nl3zU_yuJcK0iwKvr4GwAw&bvm=bv.73231344,d.cGE&psig=AFQjCNE9W5QbU5RYy-3LFNxuNEW0aGDwYg&ust=1408544525071195

  24. DenverGregg
    August 19, 2014

    Surprised that ASU is using copper and gradient numbers. Didn’t anybody say ‘You know, we kind of look like we’re copying our rival down the road that did those things in the past couple years”?

    Pleasantly surprised to see how many folks like that Charlotte Hornets helmet. I very much like the Storm logo too.

    • KW
      August 19, 2014

      ASU has had copper planned since they unveiled the new pitchfork uniforms a few years ago, well before the school down south. Same with gradient numbers, which are still a part of ASU’s black jerseys since 2011 I beleive, again, before uofa. So, they’re not copying, if anything it is the other way around. That said, I don’t like gradient numbers at all.

  25. BvK1126
    August 19, 2014

    Great WFL piece, Phil and Aaron! Thanks for all the legwork this project must have taken. What a great reminder of how many memorable uniforms there were from that league.

    I vacillate between admiring the Southern California Sun’s uniforms for their boldness and originality and going through an entire bottle of Visine after looking at them for too long. I’m looking forward to seeing what the upcoming design contest will entail.

  26. Ferdinand Cesarano
    August 19, 2014

    Thanks for the great comprehensive post about the WFL!

    The only thing I can add is that the odd nickname “Southmen” came about because the team’s Canadian owner, John Bassett, intended it to be the Toronto Northmen. But the Canadian government threatened legislation to block any non-CFL team in a Canadian city. Because of the the possibility of this law (which was in fact never actually passed), Bassett decided at a late date to move the team to Memphis, and simply changed “Northmen” to “Southmen”.

    Bassett later owned the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL.

    Here is the radio broadcast of a game from Week 6 of the 1974 season between the Philadelphia Bell and the Chicago Fire. It took place at Soldier Field on Wednesday, August 14 (most of the league’s games were played midweek). It’s over Chicago station WJJD-FM; the play-by-play announcer is Eddie Doucette, with analyst Mike Pyle.

    https://archive.org/...

    • Ferdinand Cesarano
      August 19, 2014

      Oops! I see that James Gregg had already noted the history of the Toronto Northmen’s move to Memphis. Sorry to have missed that comment.

    • BirminghamProSports.com
      August 19, 2014

      Bassett also owned the Birmingham Bulls of the World Hockey Association, which was another Gary Davidson creation.

      • Cort
        August 19, 2014

        Which came first, the Birmingham Bulls or the Toronto Toros? I can’t remember if they followed the Northmen flight path, or moved from south to north.

      • BirminghamProSports.com
        August 19, 2014

        Actually, the Toronto Torros were the WHA’s Ottawa Nationals in 1972-73 and played in the first WHA game ever. In 1973, Bassett bought the team and moved them to Toronto where they played until they left for Birmingham in 1976.

  27. KerryP
    August 19, 2014

    Wow, I have to say that I’m surprised to see my alma mater mentioned today. But, the school is actually “Nicholls State”…I don’t care how much the AD there wants to try and drop the “State” from the name.

    In case anyone didn’t know what Nicholls State wore in the past: http://binaryapi.ap....
    It’s a silver shell with metallic specks, a gray facemask and older version of the logo with 3D beveling. Then they changed to a flat version of the logo sometime during the season last year. Then tweeted this pic showing the new shell, red facemask and old logo: http://uniformcritic...
    Looks like they FINALLY have the correct logo in place for the season.

  28. Douggo
    August 19, 2014

    I don’t often delve into the comments section, so apologies if this has been discussed before, but am I the only one who generally finds the helmets cool and the rest terrible in all these new and alternate college football unis? I mean, apart from the departure from school colors, which sucks, I think most of the helmets look pretty awesome, from the matte to the chrome. And then the jerseys and pants make me want to throw up.

  29. Gene sanny
    August 19, 2014

    The WFL logos were all designed to have a similar “corporate” feel. The uniforms were all laid out the same too, but Birmingham used a different company so they designed their own striping from what I understood. The coolest thing to me was the helmet striping…. way wide center stripe flanked by thinner stripes. And they put the WFL logo on the backs of the helmets. That was way before the NFL did…. the NFL also took the the WFL idea of having the goal posts back and out of the endzone. I remember reading about a team showing up to play Florida, and they were still cementing the goal posts in :)

    • BirminghamProSports.com
      August 19, 2014

      Hey, Gene. You are correct. The WFL had a “cookie cutter” approach to their uniforms. As you mentioned about the center helmet stripe, most of the jerseys had one large arm stripe, the pants had one large stripe down the sides and the socks had one large stripe at the top. I really liked that look and wish the Americans and Vulcans had stayed with the rest of the league on that.

  30. scottrj
    August 19, 2014

    Odd to me that the Chicago Winds’ media guide depicted a helmet with the squiggly “W” – which looks pretty cool – while in reality the helmet featured a simple (boring) block letter. Allegedly, though, they did wear the squiggly “W” helmet in the fifth (and last) game the franchise played before it folded, at least if this link is to be believed:
    http://www.myteamspi...

    • BirminghamProSports.com
      August 19, 2014

      Here’s the only game photo I know of that shows the Winds logo on their helmet…
      https://fbcdn-sphoto...

  31. Mike Cline Jr.
    August 19, 2014

    I remember those NFL glasses that mobile gave out. They actually discontinued them because the paint had lead in it. I remember my whole family stopped using them, except for my cousins, which explains a lot with them.

  32. tehuti
    August 19, 2014

    Oddly enough I only remembered the NY Stars, Philadelphia Bell and Jacksonville Sharks from the WFL. I don’t recall any of the other teams. Maybe those were the only ones that we got on TV in NYC. It was fun seeing a new pro football league. Even though the Stars played in that awful Downing Stadium.

  33. Anthony
    August 19, 2014

    Bill Bergey was drafted by the Cincy Bengals in 1969. He then signed a contract with the WFL which was described as a “futures contract,” which basically stated that once his NFL contract was up, he could make the move to the WFL.

    The Bengals sued Bergey, claiming that signing the future contract would hurt his motivation to perform under the current contract and asked the court in Ohio to cancel his contract. The court refused, stating that a contract taking place in the future had no effect on a contract currently in force.

    (Ok, not uniform related, but seeing the post reminded me of that case, which I had to study in sports law.)

    • Gusto4044
      August 19, 2014

      A number of NFL stars signed futures contracts with the WFL, including L.C. Greenwood and Kenny Stabler. Had the WFL survived, these stars would have helped the league obtain a major network deal.

      • Anthony
        August 19, 2014

        Yes, but only Bergey was sued by his own team/employer.

        (Of course, the WFL folded before the contracts could begin.)

  34. KT
    August 19, 2014

    Virgil Carter’s red Chicago Fire jersey used to (and may still, for all I know, it’s been seven years since I was there) hang in the Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in downtown Naperville, Illinois. If you’re ever there, check it out.

  35. Lee
    August 19, 2014

    Thanks for the coverage of the WFL. While I don’t remember the league while they were in actual existence, Pro Football Magazine did a little retrospective on them in about 1976 or so, and the article included all of the teams logos (rendered in black & white of course).
    Anyways, that spurred my imagination, and while I was already into logos and uniforms, it just further reinforced my love for them.

    It’s important to note that in 1974, the home WFL team wore white in almost all cases. I believe there were just 2 games where this was not the case.

    Thanks again.

    Lee

    • BirminghamProSports.com
      August 19, 2014

      True, and that used to drive me CRAZY as a kid! When I went to Americans/Vulcans games I wanted to see MY team’s colors!

    • Richie Franklin
      August 19, 2014

      I am not sure right off hand how many times this happened in 1974, but during the 1975 WFL season…the “Home” team wore their color “Road” jersey for the first “Home” game and then they went back to wearing their “Home” white the rest of the season.

    • timmy b
      August 19, 2014

      Do you recall what two games these were? I’m pretty sure one was a Week one game where the NY Stars wore their yellows at Florida, who wore their reds at home. What game would the other one have been?

      • Lee
        August 19, 2014

        Detroit at Chicago in Week 7 (1974). The Fire wore red, Detroit wore white.

        http://wfl.charlotte...

        By the way, that is by far the best website with WFL information in existence.

        Lee

  36. hugh c. mcbride
    August 19, 2014

    Will USF be the first squad to sport DAOB (Definite Article on Back)?

    More importantly, is this just a blatant move by the university to entice The Jeff to become a Bulls fan?

  37. Greg
    August 19, 2014

    Great article, very concise. Would have been nice to get an acknowledgement or mention since several of the photos are mine or came from my site, but you can’t always get it that way, I understand…Happy 40th to the WFL!

    • Richie Franklin
      August 19, 2014

      Aaron you did do a great job! Thanks for “Keeping the Spirit Alive!” Many of the photos came from my WFL sites as well. Thanks for giving Greg, Chris and I credit. I am posting this story on the WFL Facebook and WFL Club Yahoo! pages.

  38. bobby
    August 19, 2014

    The Charlotte Hornets helmet is just fantastic.

    • Richie Franklin
      August 19, 2014

      Visit the Charlotte Hornets Football Network to see many of the photos that are posted in this article.

      http://www.charlotte...

      Richie

  39. Casey Hart
    August 19, 2014

    Was just scrolling through the last few days of entries and saw a reference to “The EPL Handbook.” One can use whatever nonsensical abbreviations one wants, but to change the name of an actual publication, implying that it includes a nonsensical abbreviation that is not ever used by the organization responsible for the publication, is incorrect and ridiculous.

  40. Todd C
    August 19, 2014

    Pretty sure USF actually can’t wear that. Isn’t there a new rule stating only names?

    • Marcus
      August 19, 2014

      For civilian schools, yes. That’s why you won’t see “THE TEAM” on USF’s jerseys. In fact, they’ll be NNOB.

      http://www.tampabay....

  41. Johnny Carroll
    August 19, 2014

    Great piece today guys! Don’t forget UA released the Notre Dame unis today!

    • DenverGregg
      August 19, 2014

      . . . and Darren Rovell’s intern made a pretty funny goof: “The home blue jersey for the game features gold shoulders and an angled gold stripe above the knees.” Must be a rather long jersey. here

  42. Matthew G
    August 19, 2014

    As an ASU student and Arizona native, I have pretty mixed feelings about the new uniform. On the one hand, I think the helmet is awesome, and I don’t hate the grey, but wish that the pants were white. Also, that the number was a solid copper, not a gradient.
    As for the whole color issue, I’ve been expecting this since they unveiled their new pitchfork helmets a few years ago, so that has softened the blow for me, so it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, as long as they only where it once. I don’t want it to be a regular rotation uniform.
    Also, for what it’s worth, this is way better than the flame helmets from last season.

  43. BvK1126
    August 19, 2014

    Is it just me, or does the new Arizona State uniform look like a Maserati seat cover?

  44. Mike Chamernik
    August 19, 2014

    Really cool post, Phil and Aaron. Excellent work.

    I’m more than fine with the black-red-gold color scheme making a return. The Detroit Wheels and Jacksonville Express both looked really good.

  45. Ricko
    August 19, 2014

    Nice job on the WFL, Phil.

    Not uni related, but an equipment story from the USFL.
    Shreveport wideout Phil Eber, playing in damn near a monsoon (pretty sure it was IN Shreveport), taped thumbtacks to all ten of his fingertips.

    Was catching everything he touched. Game officials decided to take a close look and discovered his digital chicanery.

    • Richie Franklin
      August 19, 2014

      Rick Eber played for the Shreveport Steamer in the world Football League. It was played in Philadelphia in 1974 against the Bell before 750 fans…yes 750 in 90,000 seat JFK Stadium.

      • Ricko
        August 19, 2014

        Thanks, Richie.

        Just didn’t remember for certain where the game was played.

        And I’m sure the Bell claimed it was the storm that kept 89,750 fans away (I say that because they pretty much led the WFL in attendance-padding).

      • Ricko
        August 19, 2014

        Oops, 89,250 stayed away.

  46. Ricko
    August 19, 2014

    Also, the WFL’s first Sports Illustrated cover was to be a posed photo of WFL President Gary Davidson with Calvin Hill and Ted Kwalick, both of whom had signed future contracts with the league (such signings were mentioned earlier today).

    But the cover got bumped when Henry Aaron hit #715.

  47. David
    August 19, 2014

    That bacon on a stick looks far more appetizing than the chocolate covered bacon a stick we sell at the ipigs stadium….Ours like a skewered poop run over with a bicycle tire.

    • Phil Hecken
      August 19, 2014

      Like Paul said, it was good (I mean great, simply because it was bacon…but everything with bacon is “relative”). Was it awesome? Well, it was bacon, so yes, but was it the best thing ever? No.

      Very good, tasty, with a tiny bite of spice, but nothing overwhelming.

      I’d have it again, but it wasn’t as good as I was hoping or expecting.

      Kinda like everything the Mets touch.

  48. Phil Hecken
    August 19, 2014

    Hey everyone,

    Just wanted to say “Thanks” for all the kind words about today’s post.

    Aaron was the man behind all of the writeups, and I found the photos and links to a lot of what he wrote about — I knew much of the WFL, but not like he did and I’m glad this post FINALLY happened (told you it was over a year in the making!). It was a monumental task trying to gather photos, and apologies (but also great thanks) to the three guys (now credited at the end of the article) from whom I “borrowed” (all through a google search!) photos:

    Richie Franklin
    Greg Allred
    Chris Gmyrek

    You guys are aces!

    Had a lot of fun (despite easily 10 hours of photo searching and then another 3-4 just to code the post) doing this, and am very glad so many enjoyed it so much.

    But total tip of the cap to Aaron for his continued interest and pushing this to fruition!!!

    Now, don’t forget to check back on Thursday for the announcement of the contest!!!

    • BirminghamProSports.com
      August 19, 2014

      I’m glad you gave proper credit to those guys. They’ve spent a lot of time and money on finding those photos through the years.

  49. Eduardo
    August 19, 2014

    That WFL item really brings back memories. I recall watching televised games with Merle Harmon as the broadcaster. Anyone besides me remember the “dickerod” the league used that replaced the first down chains?

  50. Oakville Endive
    August 19, 2014

    Great post today.

    The Jacksonville Sharks look like Gretzky era Kings jerseys.

    Love the San Antonio Wings helmet.

    As a kid, I found the New York Stars jersey very appealing.

  51. Bruce Richards
    August 19, 2014

    Love the WFL piece. Very comprehensive, and great photos.

    I had read that one reason the Chicago Winds went with the Green and White color combo was that they were trying to get Joe Namath to sign, and felt he would be comfortable transitioning to the same colors of his first team, the New York Jets.

  52. Little Blue Bicycle
    August 19, 2014

    We joked in high school that if the WFL lasted one more year, we’d see the Chicago Earth.

  53. James Burke
    August 19, 2014

    Mike Ditka on Redskins nickname:
    http://ftw.usatoday....

    (Spoiler alert: He’s pro-Redskins.)

  54. Fran Fried
    August 20, 2014

    Hi Phil. The teenage uni geek of my teens (I was 13 when the WFL started) is SO glad you devoted a column to the WFL. There’s been so little in one place for so long, though that seems to be changing. It’s defnitely the most WFL photos I’ve ever seen in one place, and of all the teams. (Favorite unis: the Storm and the Fire, neck-and-neck, and the Sharks a close third.)

    I watched Wiffle Ball (as it was sometimes derisively called) that first season, as Hughes, I believe, carried a game of the week on a local channel. (I remember the intro with the cartoon stork delivering a baby to the voiceover: “It’s the new kid in town!” and have occasionally searched for it in vain on YouTube.) I remember seeing the opener, a win by the Sharks in Jacksonville (a month later, the family drove from Connecticut on vacation, and we passed the Gator Bowl, with the sign on the press box saying “WELCOME TO THE GATOR BOWL” and beneath, another sign: “HOME OF THE SHARKS”). Also remember seeing one Stars game on TV from Randall’s Island, and the lighting was godawful. I also remember, I think a Blazers game, that was interrupted so that they could cut away to Nixon’s resignation speech.

    Back in the summer of 1983, I wandered into a long-gone sporting goods store in North Haven, Ct., and saw four unusual jerseys on the pegs in my size (which was medium then — fat chance now, and I do mean that literally). They were $15 a pop. Within a week, I had all four. Four WFL replica jerseys, all by Medalist Sand-Knit, that I pegged back to 1975, since one of them was the Wings (except that, unlike the photos of actual game jerseys, this one was more of a vivid purple-to-lavender; the silver-on-white numbers were spot-on, though). I picked up the Wings, the Bell (in equally vivid blue), the Storm/Thunder (in that wonderful green) and the Stars/Hornets (in yellow). The main difference between the replicas and the game jerseys is the lack of TV numbers; there’s a league patch on one sleeve, and the striping is the same for all four, and the screening on both the numbers and stripes is extremely thick. (And still pliable after all these decades.) I make feeble attempts to sell them on eBay occasionally, but no luck.

    ESPN’s 30 for 30 has shown the USFL documentary occasionally in recent months, and yeah, like the USFL, the WFL has won the battle with the NFL, only it’s not around to see it. More vivid unis (I don’t mind the Seahawks’ snot green trim — a shot of light in the gray darkness of Seattle in the fall), Thursday-night games, no preseason (I think we’ll see a move from 16 to 18 games, with two fewer exhibitions, at some point), a move away from the PAT kick (will the Action Point come to the NFL at some point?) … All that’s missing is the Dickerod (the WFL’s unique first-down marker that did away with chains).

    But seriously, guys, a great look back!

  55. AJ
    August 20, 2014

    So did the team from “Any Given Sunday” give any credence to the WFL Jacksonville Sharks they blatantly used?

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