Monday Morning Uni Watch

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First some quick housekeeping: We had some technical problems on the site on Saturday night and Sunday morning. They’re mostly fixed now, but one lingering issue is that you should look closely at your name and e-mail address when commenting, because some browsers are auto-filling other people’s names and addresses. I think this problem has now been solved, but be careful, just in case.

Now then, some uni-notable details from the weekend’s NFL playoff action:

• The Packers don’t wear captaincy patches during the regular season, because they rotate their captains each game. But they always name a set of postseason captains and added the patches for the playoffs.

• I was very surprised that the Packers didn’t wear any kind of memorial for coach Joe Philbin’s son. I’m not saying they should have worn something — just saying I thought they’d do so.

• What’s worse than a team with the leotard look? Two teams with the leotard look. Just another indication of the dysfunction in contemporary NFL hosiery. Gimme some contrast between the pant and sock, please!

• Ray Lewis and Arian Foster, taking a page from the world of soccer, exchanged jerseys after the Ravens/Texans game.

• In the 49ers/Saints game, I noticed that Justin Smith of the Niners is another player who goes bare-handed and finger-taped. (And yes, as several readers noted, Smith — a Missouri native and Mizzou grad — also has an Anheuser-Busch tattoo. We’ve discussed that here on the site before.)

• Frank Gore apparently made some hosiery adjustments at halftime. Not sure if he changed from Capri-length red tights to leg-warmers, or if he was wearing leg-warmers all along and they simply slipped down. Either way, not good. Meanwhile, in the photo on the right, look at fullback Bruce Miller in front of Gore — biker shorts, but no exposed skin, even with that big-ass knee brace! Much better.

• The Niners went with red end zones for the playoffs, something they’ve been doing for postseason games since the 1981-82 season.

• It’s a little hard to see, but they also added red outlining to the yard-marker numbers. Is that also a postseason tradition at Candlestick? If so, I hadn’t been aware of it until now.

• The Sky Sports studio set had the wrong Niners helmet. That’s the one they used from 1996-2008.

(My thanks to Jason Goede, Derek Linn, and Aaron McHargue for their contributions.)

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Aussie Open Preview

By Brinke Guthrie

The Australian Open starts today, bringing with it a flurry of new looks for the players on both sides of the draw. Among the top men, galactic No. 1 Nola Djokovic rolls out a new look from Sergio Tacchini. Details on Roger Federer’s and Rafael Nadal’s Nike looks are here. Rafa has also switched to a heavier Babolat frame, and here’s the obligatory shot of Federer’s shoes, complete with the requesite number of Aussie Open trophy icons.

Federer also seems to be sporting a new PJ. Never heard of the term “PJ?” A common practice is for a player to paint an older model frame with current cosmetics, hence the term “PJ” for “paint job.” (The definitive article on this questionable marketing practice is here.)

Andy Murray will be sporting tangerine togs from Adidas. Speaking of Adidas, this seems to be a popular players-only shirt Down Under.

Current U.S. Open women’s champ Sam Stosur, who’s Australian, is sure to be a heavy crowd favorite in Melbourne, and has switched from Lacoste to Asics shoes/clothing, so see ya later, gator.Yes, I know Lacoste’s logo is a crocodile, not an alligator, but gator rhymes. While we’re at it, did you know “Asics” is an acronym? It’s Latin for “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano,” which means “A sound mind in a sound body.”

Speaking of Aussies, Lleyton Hewitt has had an across-the-board Yonex deal (shoes, clothing, racquets) but has been practicing in Adidas sneakers. Uncommon, but not unprecedented, as there have been occasions in the past where shoe companies let their endorser wear another brand, depending on the surface of the event.

Serb Jelena Jankovic has moved from the relatively unknown Chinese line Anta to Fila for clothing and shoes. (There appears to be some kind of corporate connection between the two.) She also appears to be using a blacked-out Wilson after years with Prince. Russian Vera Zvonareva also moves to Fila, from K-Swiss.

A closer look at Wozzy’s Adidas line is here, and look at these Stella McCartney signature sneakers: $200 a pop! It seems she’s been with Adidas for a long time.

Can’t talk about women’s tennis attire without mentioning American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who always brings a rather, um, unconventional style to her game. And Maria Sharapova’s Nike outfit, as well as the Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki Adidas lines, can be found here.

Finally, there’s Serena. That photo is from a practice session yesterday. Would she wear kinesio tape in a real match? Sure, she’s done it before. The only surprise is that she hasn’t color-coordinated it to her outfit. Yet.

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But would his NOB include “Jr.”?: Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I don’t know about you, but I always found King a confusing figure when I was a little boy, mainly because of his name, which was a mouthful: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

First there was that whole “Reverend Doctor” thing — I didn’t know what that meant. Was he, like, a medical doctor? Was it even possible to be a minister and a doctor at the same time? Then there were his first and middle names, Martin Luther. I didn’t know anything about the Protestant Reformation, but I vaguely recognized that Martin Luther had been an important historical figure. Was King somehow related to him? That was confusing, since King was black and I intuitively assumed that Martin Luther had been white, so how could a white and black man be related? (Yes, there were all sorts of mistaken assumptions embodied in that line of thought, but I was only eight or whatever.)

And what about that surname, King — it sounded like an honorific, sort of like Esquire or Ph.D. So was he, like, a super-duper Martin Luther? Martin Luther King? Or maybe he was somehow connected to royalty? And then he had the Jr. at the end, just to add one last bit of complexity. It took a long time (well, probably a year or two, but everything seems like a long time when you’re a kid) before I realized that his name was simply Martin King and that all the other stuff was basically window dressing.

By any name, he remains the greatest American of my lifetime (or, arguably, anyone’s), and we’ll probably never see his likes again. Happy birthday, Martin.

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Photo call for kids in uniform: Looks like I’m going to put together an ESPN slideshow consisting of readers’ childhood photos of themselves in uniform, similar to (and in some cases repeating) the images we’ve recently run here on the blog. If you have good images of yourself as a uni-clad kid, let’s have a look-see. And if you’ve already submitted photos for use on the blog but don’t want them used on ESPN, speak now or forever etc. Thanks.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: A few small MLB developments: (1) In addition to the new “SF” alternate road jersey, the Giants have also added a headspoon to their primary road jersey. Disappointing. (2) Although the new pinstripe-free Rockies road jersey hasn’t been officially unveiled, it has leaked on various retail sites. (3) Another leak: the Braves’ new retro home alternate. Not bad, but also unnecessary. And that crossed-tomahawks sleeve patch is waaaay too Blackhawks-esque. … Latest example of comic book marketing: At a time when practically everyone involved with football is trying to get players to stop using the helmet as a weapon, Schutt has come out with a new helmet model called the Vengeance, which it is promoting with the line, “NFL and college-level football players will soon have the opportunity to face their foes head-on with Vengeance.” I’d love to point out all the things wrong with this, but someone else has already done a very good job of that. Recommended reading (big thanks to Rocky Lum). … Nike has taken a major step in Japan, becoming the official outfitter for the Pacific (baseball) League. “And so it begins,” says C. Trent Rosecrans. “It should be noted, though, that the two Japanese baseball leagues operate much more independently than the National and American Leagues do. The Central League has more of the traditional teams, including the Yomiuri Giants, by far the most popular team in the country and comparable to the Yankees. I know they, like the Yankees, had a deal with Adidas at one time. Not sure if they still do.” … Someone had a clever take on Ohio State’s merit decals (from Brig Slaughter). … “I believe this is the first photo we’ve seen of Union’s new kit,” says Enrico Campitelli Jr.. … New logo for Stephen F. Austin (from Chris Mycoskie). … “Marc Vandermeer, ‘Voice of the Houston Texans,’ appeared on a Kansas City sports radio show this morning,” says Brady Graham. “He was asked if he likes the team’s red-on-red uniform. He stated he prefers red-on-white and offered that his favorite is blue-on-blue.” … The Rockets will reportedly bring back their pinstriped uniforms as throwbacks next season. … Good video clip of the Lambeau turf being painted for Sunday’s playoff game (from Geoff Poole). … After reports of a locker room split regarding who should be the Penguins’ captain, the players all wore Cs for practice the other day. But if you look at the photo you’ll see that Evgeni Malkin actually wore a K, as is customary in Russia. … Hmmm, this isn’t interesting: a Saints helmet with a gold fleur de lis. It appeared on Ellen Degeneres’s show the other day (as spotted by Ari Cohen). … Check it out: BFBS hits the world of tobacco products. … Nebaska A.D. Tom Osbourne prefers traditional uniforms. Key quote (emphases mine): “‘I think many of these clothing companies would appreciate it if you would do something unusual or bizarre or change up because it calls attention — I guess — to their brand,’ Osborne said. ‘Personally, I don’t see where it adds a lot of value if people think the uniforms are really outlandish. Apparently there is a value to the companies. But we’ve always been fairly traditional here.'” Leaving aside the question of whether you like or dislike Nebraska’s uniforms, the important thing here is that Osbourne has nailed the truth of the situation, which is that the Nikes of the world care little about the schools except as vehicles for their own branding agendas (from Gil Neumann). … Alan Kreit pointed me toward a page filled with awesome old NY Rangers pics. Of particular interest: Ching Johnson with some makeshift headgear; Bert Gardiner with the old-style cup extension on his chest protector; Jean Ratelle gunning for a hair tonic endorsement contract; and a great shot of the old MSG. To see the full set of photos, look here. … “My son is in the Hanover (N.H.) Youth Hockey Association’s ‘Learn to Play’ program,” says Tris Wykes. “One of his fellow players wore knitted hockey socks today. His mom thought I was insane when I became all excited and took that photo.” … At a Cubbie convention over the weekend, Tony Campana still had last year’s Ron Santo patch but Starlin Castro didn’t (from Bryan Redemske). … Harvard and Union wore retro hockey uniforms for Friday’s Frozen Fenway game (from Seth Horowitz and Casey Hart). … Here’s a good illustrated timeline of Formula 1 race suit evolution (from Jeremy Brahm). … Also from Jeremy: “The soccer team Shimizu S-Pulse are celebrating their 20th anniversary season this year and their uniform is a bit of a throwback to their first uniform. This page shows the different uniforms the team has worn, from a globe, to leaves, to a normal look, and back to the globe.” … Gotta love this: a suitcase full of stirrups! (Nice find by Eric Stangel.) … Here’s a good time-lapse video of the Prudential Center being turned over from Devils mode to Nets mode to Seton Hall mode (from Will McGillis). … If you’re into industrial decay, as I am, here’s the mother of all abandoned building explorations: the former Soviet space shuttle launch site (mega-thanks to Robert Tusso). … Here’s a very informative rundown of NFL facemask styles. … A single-gloved MLBer I’d forgotten about: Junior Griffey went single-gloved for a single plate appearance in 2009, as a tribute to Michael Jackson (from Steve DuHamel). … Whoa, here’s something really interesting: a Ford Motorcraft tequila sunrise jersey! … Please Kill Me Now Dept.: During Saturday night’s Miss America pageant, Miss Oregon introduced herself by saying, “From the home state of Nike, I’m here to just do it.” John Muir thinks the swooshkateers paid her to say it, but nobody watches the Miss America pageant anymore (except, apparently, John Muir), so the price couldn’t have been too steep. … John also points out that the Islanders wore white at home on Saturday for Pat Flatley Night, so we’ll cut him some slack. … Here’s a head-scratcher: Seth Horowitz is currently staying at a hotel where the TV in the bathroom is, for some reason, NBA-branded. That would be weird enough, but the punch line is that this hotel is is Taichung, Taiwan! … The inventor of the flak jacket has died. “He also invented the prefabricated tennis court (a bust), inflatable running shoes (he successfully sued Reebok over the Pump shoe), and stadium seats with solar panels,” notes Jeff Ash. “Check out the last graf of the obit for the only piece of protective gear he wouldn’t make … or test.” … “This is my friend Charlie Biando wearing a vintage Falcons sweater he picked up recently at a thrift store in Chattanooga,” writes Morris Levin. “There is no tagging — size, manufacturer, or otherwise. But so cool.” Indeed. … Bruce Menard sent along a scan of the Dodgers’ 1955 Christmas card, which featured preliminary art showing their championship ring design. … Here’s a really nice 1918 college football uniform catalog with a killer cover illustration. It’s similar to a 1924 catalog that I already have, so I’m gonna pass. … NFL.com posted a photo gallery from the 1982 NFL championship game (i.e., the game with The Catch). While clicking through the pics, a few things stood out for me: I love the two Niners fans at lower-right in this shot (and yes, they’re mocking Cowboys QB Danny White in effigy); you can really see how ridiculously oversized the 49ers pants stripes were in this shot; pretty rare to see the starting QB serving as the holder for placekicks; look at that panopoly of sock stripeage! … New football uniforms in the works for Texas-San Antonio (from Fred Goodwin). … A fan at the recent Pens/Lightning game had a rather unusual NOB (from Timothy Burke). … The Ontario Warriors, who will be playing in the American Indoor Football league, are sponsoring a logo design contest. Short notice, as submissions must be sent by Jan. 20 (from Hugh McBride). … “While I was walking to my gate at Honolulu International last Friday, I couldn’t help but notice the display case of items commemorating the career of ‘Hawaii’s Two-Sport Superstar,’ Wally Yonomine,” says Claude Jacques. “All kinds of uni-related goodness.” … Here’s an eBay seller offering a treasure trove of old CFL programs. … How cool would it be if Kansas State went back to this helmet logo? (Nice find by Jeff Flynn, Jr.) … “Krish Joseph of the Syracuse basketball team is really into sneakers,” Glynn McGehee. “He wore Christmas-colored shoes earlier this season and explains why in this video clip.” … Also from Glynn: The Ramblin’ Wreck accompanies the Yellow Jackets everywhere — apparently even on the ice at hockey games.

Old Time Hockey

Bill Durnan

By Phil Hecken

In yesterday’s comments section, long-time reader Jet, who we will hear from shortly, posted an amazing video along with this comment:

WOW! A 1947 film on hockey in Montreal, shows kid hockey all the way up to the pros!

Some notable scenes – closeup of the Montreal goalie in the dressing room – with two catching gloves! No “waffle” blocker glove! Also game footage against Toronto shows both teams in dark jerseys! And every time there’s a scrum, sticks are WAY high in the air!

However, before I even read Jet’s comments, I clicked on the film, and it was amazing. Check it out, and after the jump, we’ll hear from Jet:

How great is that? Now, for those of you who read the comments section, you’ll know that Jet is a HUGE hockey fan, so I contacted him and asked him if he’d like to describe the amazing uni-goodness (and there is so much) that is contained in that film.

Turns out that “Jet” does have a name, (It’s Pete M.) — and I’m almost positive he goes by that monicker in honor of the Golden Jet — if you need to look that one up, then maybe hockey’s not your cuppa. Anyway, here’s Jet describing the film we just saw:

“Iced Lightning is a 10-minute film from 1947 highlighting the hockey experience in Montreal, from youth pickup games up to the NHL Canadiens. For a more archeological review of the film, I refer you to this blog.

“As always, we will focus on the more uni-related aspects of the film. Being in the signs/lettering profession, I was loving the hand-lettered opening title screens, replete with flashy illustration. The opening sequence shows players from McGill University taking the ice for a practice on an outdoor rink, and they’re wearing white and dark jerseys with numbers. From there we see young boys playing pickup on a snow-covered street, and a few have Toronto Maple Leaf jerseys replete with crests. Anyone who’s played as a child will relate to the scene of the boy deftly demonstrating how to stuff a schoolbook inside his striped hockey sock for padding.

“Next we see pee-wee teams on an outdoor rink, and they’re wearing light and dark jerseys with numbers. The boards are wooden and snow is piled so high beyond the boards that spectators and players are standing at a height greater than the skaters on the ice! There are dozens of boys with sticks on the sidelines and I don’t know if they’re extra players for the teams on the ice, or waiting for the next game to begin. After that is a short segment on women’s hockey with the McGill team playing in skirts and numbered sweaters, and a fascinating look at an all-black team from the Canadian Legion, a subject which merits further investigation when time allows. Their jerseys have a contrasting shoulder bar so broad that the number on the back encroaches onto it.

“Finally, we see the NHL Canadiens enter the dressing room in suit/tie/suspenders as their jerseys hang invitingly on the wall, numbers showing. No individual cubicles! Most fascinating is the close-up of goalie Bill Durnan’s gloves – he uses two catching gloves; no blocker! He’s apparently ambidextrous as the practice sequence that follows shows him holding the stick with either hand – imagine a goalie attempting that today! On to game action against the Leafs, and both teams are in their dark jerseys, yet the narrator points out that Toronto “is in the dark jerseys”. Since this was prior to televised games, is it possible that the teams were requested to both wear dark for the purpose of the film, or was there no hard rule on light vs. dark jersey usage? Also, in every scrum in the brief game footage, all of the players’ sticks are in the air and waving around, and sometimes they come down with a chop! No helmets, minimal padding, and sticks waving above shoulder level – anyone doubt the toughness of ‘old time hockey?'”

Great job with that! I have to say, after watching that film, I actually surfed around the tee-vee set and found an NHL game — the first one (other than the Winter Classic) I watched all year — and began to remember why I used to love hockey so much. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the game was the Blackhawks at the Red Wings, two teams which feature some of the best uniforms in the game today. It was a spirited matchup, with the Wings taking a 2-0 lead, only to have the Hawks come back to tie it at 2 in the final minute and send it to overtime. New school hockey…old time hockey.

Thanks again Jet.

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colorize thisColorize This!

Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.

While we have only three colorizers this week (I’ll give you a guess at two of the), they have been busy. Very busy. And the third has completed a master work.

So, lets get right into today’s G&G show.

Up first is Gary Chanko:

In 1946, Alfred Eisenstaedt photographed Howard University students for a LIFE magazine photo essay. Among the photos appearing in the November 18, 1946, issue was this image of sophomore Bill Toles (center) and other members of the Howard University football team. You can view the original B&W picture (scroll to page 114) and the entire magazine here: LIFE Magazine, Nov 18, 1946 issue.

For the colorized version I found little reference material concerning the football team. The team colors today are blue, white, and red. So for the colorization blue was selected as the primary color. Hopefully Uni-Watch readers may know something more about this team and can identify the other players in the picture.

Eisenstaedt took several other photos of the football team, none of which were incorporated in the photo essay. They can be found, however, in the Life photo archive hosted by Google.

If you not familiar with the legendary photo journalist Alfred Eisenstaedt, you might recognize his work, notably the iconic photo VJ Day Kiss among others.

Gary

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A few weeks ago you posted an image submitted by a friend, Douggie Keklak, the Beaverdale [High] Beavers of 1923. I thought the image, with the great fog shrouded background, was a good candidate for colorization after some clean up and repair of the original scan. The colorization was a bit tedious (unless you like colorizing twenty-five Waldos)!, but I believe the final product turned out well.

For background research I was dependent on the information link you provided to establish the primary uniform color, red. The balance of the colorization was educated guess work. One oddity in the players’ uniforms is location of the “B” on the jersey front. All the players appear to have the B positioned on the left side, except for one where it’s centered. There are also a few variations in the sock design. This is the type of minutia that evolves during these colorizations!

So now that the image is complete, I’ve become curious about a few things. Perhaps friend Douggie can help with answers:

• Is this actually the High School team? The background information notes the Beaverdale school class size was only three for the year 1920! Three years later the school grew large enough to field an entire football team. Several of the players look too old for high school age, but maybe I’m just deceived by the image.

• What is the source of the image and what, if any, importance does it hold for Douggie.

• Names of any of the individuals in the photo?

• Plans for the completed colorization

Gary

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And finally, a great ending(?) for a colorized photo:

Thought I’d share this with fellow colonizers wondering what to do with their work.

Some weeks ago (Nov 13th 2011 edition Uni Watch) I completed a colorization of Sonny Jurgensen during his college days. It turned out well and made a great print. So I sent copies to Mr. Jurgensen; one he promptly autographed for me.

Gary

How awesome is that? Great stuff Gary!

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The other half of the G&G boys is, of course, George Chilvers who was also busy busy busy…

Hi Phil

This one, for next week, is a proof-of-concept following my ice skater Xmas message.

One of the earliest cinematographic records of Manchester United is from this 1902 short — in a game against Burnley.

I have taken a frame from this and colourised it. Obviously it is nothing like a standard colourisation, due to the very poor quality of the original, so has had to be a bit more ethereal and Impressionist – best viewed at a bit of a distance. A difficult one to do actually.

I’d be very interested to know if UW readers think it works or not.

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Hi Phil (again)

Here’s another one for next week. A fairly standard portrait, this time it’s Dennis Hodgetts who played for Aston Villa, this picture dating from 1886.

I like this picture for two reasons: one is that the colours are good with the club badge. In fact it’s no longer the team badge but as was common at the time the arms of the city of Birmingham.

Secondly, I just think it’s a good portrait, considering it’s 125 years old. Dennis, if he was alive now, would be 148 years old. A very modern looking picture I think.

Best wishes,

George

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George also had an “admonishment” for would-be colourizers:

Not one of mine ;)

I came across this picture of the British 4000 metre cycle pursuit team from the 1932 Olympics in LA.

It has clearly been colourised – either tinted at the time or maybe colourised since. But I see the colouriser has fallen for the “pale tone must be red and the dark tone blue” trap. Because look at the Union Jack!!

Best wishes,

George

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and finally,

War Risk Insurance Basketball team 1919. Not bad for 110-year-olds :)

Original is here.

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I don’t want to give the impression that these are easy to do and can be churned out on a production line, but this little guy from Friday’s Wire Service yelled out to me across a hundred years to be colourised, so I’ve spent the last few hours just working on this. And doesn’t he look as though he will go home to his iPhone and computer games and microwave meal?

George

(Sorry for sendimg so many this week!)

George, please don’t be silly — I love all your work!

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And finally, we have our Colgate colorizer, Ryan Dowgin, who has finished the work he showed 2 weeks ago:

Hey Phil,

Finished the picture of the Colgate ‘Scrimmage Machine’. At least I think I hit everything. Hope everyone enjoys it.

Ryan

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Great work Gary, George and Ryan! Back next time with more colorizations. If you have a picture you think would make for a good colorization, or want to send me one of your own, drop me a line.

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all sport uni tweaksUni Tweaks Concepts

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.

And so, lets begin:

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We start with Clint Richardson, who has some Ole Miss concepts:

I was watching the LSU-Ole Miss game, and realized how blah and boring Ole Miss’s uni’s are. So I changed that. Added a stripe outline, a number outline, and even a third stripe on one of the jerseys, to match the grey alternate. Also created some new helmet, including the retro light blue Archie Manning helmet.

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Next up is Paul Diker, who wants to fix the just fixed Jays:

Hello Phil,

I’m a fan of the site, and check it often. This is my first submission.

Like many, I love the new Jays set – with a couple of disclaimers.

1.) The Maple Leaf is too big
2.) In the main mark, the stem of the leaf should line up with the outline of the baseball
3.) Was never a fan of the logo on the front of the jersey (I much prefer numbers there)

So, with that, I have tweaked the logo to include the above revisions, and provided a new uniform set (based on a Jose Bautista template I created).
As you can see, I switched out the logo for numbers, and placed the main mark on the sleeve. I think it classes it up a bit, and makes a great set even better. This is the Blue Jays as I’ve always wanted to see them, hope you like…

Feel free to run it if you choose…

Thanks,
Paul

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And concluding the show today is Bill Schaefer with a new hue for the Lions:

How much bettter…

…would the Lions look if they used the same blue of their field logo and end zone script?

This is a quick mock-up done on spur of the moment using dark blue like the Lions used back in late 60s and into the 70s.

Bill

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That’s is for this week. Back next time with more.

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Benchies HeaderBenchies

by Rick Pearson

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“Yeah, well…you’re wearing parquet shorts”…

1-15-12 s-bird ALT

And, as always, the full-size.

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That’s all for today — sorry for the delayed opening, but we’re back in business now. Not sure why we can’t access (or at least I can’t) yesterday’s comments, but we’ll get that worked out. So, no final quote from a reader for today. Instead…

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“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” — Billy Wilder

Sorry for the Glitch

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As many of you have already discovered, we had some infrastructure problems here on the site, beginning late last night and extending through this morning. The issues have been resolved, and we’re back in business. Phil will have his usual Sunday content shortly (figure by 2pm Eastern at the latest, and probably sooner than that), and everything should be back to normal after that. Thanks for your patience. — Paul

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A little more info: Rackspace (the company that hosts our site) had a planned datacenter migration scheduled for last night. The downtime was only supposed to last a few hours. For some reason, a fresh WordPress install was appearing after the migration instead of the Uni Watch site. It took a few hours to sort out the issue this morning. Sorry for the delay. — John

When the NHL was Fab

Nordiques_Logo_2

By Phil Hecken, with Tim E. O’Brien

A few weeks back, I ran a nice set of NHL uniform concepts from one of our more talented graphic artists, Tim E. O’Brien. That was just a small portion of the NHL makeover Tim has planned, and we’ll be taking a look at the rest of the NHL concepts a little on down the road. But before we do that, one of the things Tim had discussed doing, almost off-handedly, was redoing some of the uniforms from defunct NHL teams. In fact, in the comments that day, just such a suggestion arose, and that was all the prodding Tim needed. So today, I’m pleased bring you more of Tim (yay!) and his concepts for teams who no longer call those uniforms or cities home. Here’s Tim:

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While I wasn’t quite finished tweaking NHL teams, commenter Mike D (whom I have to assume is the Mike D from the Beastie Boys) gave me the idea to take a crack at teams of yesteryear.

With such a great idea, I immediately got to work and found four teams ripe for an update. So what follows is first, a new look for four former franchises.

“The Defunct Series”

California Seals: LOGO | CREST | HOME | ROAD | THIRD

The Seals – in their California incarnation in particular – had great colors and unis, but the logo reminded me more of a bird with a fish head than a seal. So I tried to remedy that with an updated logo and script.

The unis are basically just updates of previous unis. Though I had considered making the yellow jerseys the road uni and coming up with a different third, I figured this might go against NHL uni-policy.

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Hartford Whalers: CREST | LOGO | HOME | ROAD | THIRD

This is the first team in the Defunct Series which I didn’t feel the need to edit their crest. I did edit the whale logo a bit and I considered moving the whale tail up a bit higher off of the W but decided against it.

The uniforms are fairly straightforward updates of classic Whaler unis, but it was hard to keep the bold striping patterns of the old team on the new edge cuts. I’m not thrilled with my third. I tried a gray alt but that looked forced and the blue alt – to me – starts to encroach A LOT on the Canucks’ identity (though, they seem to have just stolen a lot of good design ideas from the Whalers). If you have any better ideas for a third, let me hear ‘em.

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Minnesota North Stars: CREST | LOGO | HOME | ROAD | THIRD

With the North Stars, the first thing I tried to do was fix their logo. To me, a team named the North Stars should have a logo that points north (up), not northeast-ish (up and to the right). After that, these home and road are actually pretty similar to my Dallas Stars set (with notable and significant differences), which makes sense since those were partially based on old North Stars unis, but I give these unis their own flare (like the arrow and star on the pants).

I love the Third jersey here, which is a fauxback, and even considered making the home and road based off of this pattern, but decided to go with the more modern feel for the regular unis.

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Quebec Nordiques: CREST | HOME | ROAD | THIRD

I think the old Nordiques logo is a train-wreck. Now, I understand that, design aside, people love the ‘Diques logo, so – just like the Seals – I tried to update the logo while improving the design.

From what I gather, the old logo was a mashup of an N, an igloo and a hockey stick and puck. First, I rid the logo of the hockey equipment (we know you play hockey) and I give the logo a much more balanced overall shape. The door to the igloo is framed by an N for Nordiques and also appears as an entrance to a stereotypical igloo.

I even flirted with a wordmark alternate logo, but decided that might be a bit much.

The home and road unis are pretty much just updates but the third is an homage to the flag of Quebec.

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“The American Classic”:

North Stars vs. Seals: Who ever said fantasy has to be realistic? In my world, the NHL would add more outdoor “classics” and this particular one would take place in Oakland California.

Pitting the Minnesota North Stars vs the California Seals, both teams would wear throwbacks to 1975-76 with their current (Tim E.-created) logos and slightly altered pants stripes.

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“The Heritage Classic”:

Whalers vs. Nordiques: The second classic I would add would be a return of the Heritage Classic – the Canadian team version of the Winter Classic.

Quebec would host this Canadian outdoor game and face an old WHA rival, the Hartford Whalers.

Once again, both teams would be wearing throwbacks to 1975-76 but this time the unis would be dead on replications of the ’70s originals.

Well, that’s it for now, until next time, happy tweaking.

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Thanks Tim! Man, I wish most of those teams not only never left their original homes, but would have kept a variation of their old unis in their new arenas. Great job.

OK readers. What say you?

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NFL PlayoffsPickin’ The Playoffs, By Uni

Every year when the NFL playoffs roll around, I play a little game with myself where I pick the NFL playoffs by the spread, choosing the better uniform as my guide. Having tried this in the past with college ball, I realize it doesn’t work so well — but the pros? Different story.

Two years ago I went 7-4 (or was it 6-5) and last year I went 7-3-1, so clearly there is something to this. Now, I didn’t have a weekend post last weekend (wait, what?)…so I didn’t get to offer my choices — but trust me when I tell you I would have gone 2-2. Here’s how:

• Houston -4 v. Cincinnati: Clearly the Bengals (even wearing their least noxious all-whites) have the worst uniform in the league (at least IMHO), so there was no question I’d have simply selected Houston by process of elimination. Final score? Texans 31 – Bengals 10. Easily would have covered the 4 I would have given with Houston. W (1-0)

• New Orleans -10.5 v. Detroit: A little tougher, since the Saints have a propensity to wear all black leotards. I would have said, “If they go black-monotard, I’m picking the Lions.” Well, they did, and still cruised 45-28 (for a 17 point win). Getting 13.5 wouldn’t have covered that spread, so that would have been a loss. (1-1) [On a side note, I would have taken the Saints if they wore their gold pants, since that’s a pretty kick-ass uni, and would have been better than the Lions. But they didn’t, so my pick was Detroit]

• New York Giants -3 vs. Atlanta: Another easy one — the Giants home blues are one of the top 10 unis, and Atlanta, no matter what iteration they’re in, are always one of the worst. The final score was G-men 24, Falcons 2. Easy cover. (2-1)

• Pittsburgh -7.5 vs. Denver: Another easy pick, unfortunately Jesus Tebow proved up to another challenge, guiding the Broncos to an overtime win. Those mono-blues are awful (even though they wore white pants), and while I’m not as big a fan of the Stillers roads, I surely would have picked them. So that would have been loss #2. (2-2)

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So now we’re up to this week and it’s time to pick this weekend’s games:

New Orleans -3.5 at San Francisco: Outdoors, on the grass at I’m Still Calling It Candlestick…and the Niners in one of the games nicest unis. No matter what pants the Saints wear, gold or black (which looks particularly heinous), I’d take the Niners. Getting 3 and a half? It’s always risky taking the home dog, but I’m gonna do it. Gimme the Niners and 3.5.

New England -13.5 vs. Denver: I’m not particularly a fan of the Pats unis, but their homes are certainly better than their roads, and the Broncos are still caught in a time-warp with their once-trendy swooshified uni-set. Their white roads aren’t as bad as those awful mono-blue things they’ve been wearing recently, but still, no outfit is better than the Pats. So, I’ll give up almost 2 TDs in this one. Gimme the Pats minus 13.5.

Baltimore -7.5 vs. Houston: It’s highly unlikely the Ravens will go purple over black, and I actually quite like their normal home uni (they definitely won’t have their black tops, since the no-alts-in-the-playoffs rule applies). The Texans usually go white over blue, but occasionally will break out the white trou. Still, I prefer the Ravens Purple over white, so that’s who I’m takin’. Gimme the Ravens and take the seven-point-five.

Green Bay -7.5 vs. New York: While the Giants’ homes are pretty sweet, their roads, especially with the super-stretchies, are not. Plus, they’re going up against possibly the best-looking uniform in the game. While I hate to pick against the G-men, the uni dictates otherwise. Gimme the Pack and give up 7.5 points.

Well…there ya have it. Gotta improve on that 2-2 opening week to take at least three of four. How about you guys? If you’re *betting* men and women, how to you pick your games?

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all sport uni tweaksUni Tweaks Concepts

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.

And so, lets begin:

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We start with Jonathan Nisula, with some Iggles concepts:

I modernized the old “Randall Cunningham” era uniforms on DeSean Jackson. I eliminated most of the black trim and went with silver pants, along with tweaking the shade of green. Enjoy!

I sent you the away version yesterday, and now I will send you the home version

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Next up is Bryan Brunsell, a yinzer with some Panther ideas:

I stumbled across your website in my own “design-related sports interests” – great job!

I’m a designer as well, 20 years in the biz and I love sports. I’m from Pittsburgh and obviously surrounded by the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins all the time, which is great. But I’m writing to you about Pitt Panther College Football… in particularly their uniforms.

Just like you, I am very sensitive to uniform design, etc… and in 2009 i submitted a proposal to the Detroit Lions to update their logo, uniform, etc… Well, my recent obsession is to update the Pitt Panther uniforms back to their Pitt “Script” logo and brighter color.

See my Flickr images

and my Facebook page:

I have stats and numbers to back up my claim to switch back – this info is listed on the Dedicated Facebook page. Is there any chance to write an article on your page about this or “Guest Blog?” Or can you write about what I’m doing? I’m trying to gain momentum online to pressure Peterson into the change and get local support. The fan base wants it….

Let me know!

All the best
Bryan

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And we close with Adam Triesler, who has several NFL concepts for us:

Phil,

Chargers: Whenever I play Madden I always get a little out of hand with uniform combinations I use in games. I played recently as the chargers and paired the current helmet with the throwback powder blue jersey and old gold pants. I thought it was a very interesting but pleasing combination, so I ran with it.

Rams: I’m not a big fan of the Rams current color scheme, possibly because they seem to have a different combination for every game, but most likely because it will never compare to the royal blue and yellow. I chose to hark back to the short period when the Rams had neither gold or yellow, and used white for the horns. I love the old combo but I think using the navy helps it pop a little bit more.

Eagles: I have never understood why Philly strayed from using kelly green and gray, and I also have never understood why they chose to pair dark green with black. The colors are too similar and it just doesn’t work. I like the details and trim of the current uniform, but wanted to bring back a lighter green, and a set of gray pants.

Falcons: In my opinion, the Falcons have one of the best uniform histories of any NFL teams… until 2003. I think the new logo is great, but the uniforms just need so much work. I remember seeing a white prototype helmet from a few decades ago and always wished I could’ve seen it on the field. I love the old red and black helmets, and would be thrilled if they came back full time, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see a uniform with the white

Titans: I was devastated when the Oilers moved, as they had my favorite uniform ever. I don’t think the red trim would fit in with the Titans, so navy is fine, I just don’t like it as a main color. Also, the shoulder seems way too big, I think yokes are more for hockey sweaters than football jerseys.

Broncos: As all readers of this site know, the 1962 Broncos logo is a regular topic of discussion, and frequently a topic of arguments. I wanted to have a little fun with that idea, and this fauxback should put it all to rest: one side brown, one side blue. This would make for an interesting game to watch on tv, as the quarter changes, so does the color.

Thanks for viewing,
Adam Triesler

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That’s it for today. Back with more next time.

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Benchies HeaderBenchies

by Rick Pearson

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How does that “impact/velocity/distance thing” work again?…

1-14-12 d-overhand

And of course, the full-size.

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That’s it for today everyone. Two great NFL games today, and then another two tomorrow. Hope everyone has a super Saturday.

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“Press release boilerplate is obnoxious, but never more so than when they try to fellate the potential season-ticket buyers.” — Walter