By Phil Hecken
By now, you are all surely sick of hearing about the Maryland Terrapin football uniforms, in particular the bizarre flag costume they broke out last Monday evening on national television. Throughout the week, we’ve had record numbers of comments, Paul has been on several tv and radio shows, the twittersphere and other social media have made it the number-one trending topic, etc. etc. etc. And much of the commentary has been centered on an “either/or” attitude towards the uniform concept — either you love it or you hate it. But we were all talking about it.
And that’s exactly what the University of Maryland and UnderArmour founder Kevin Plank wanted. Clearly the phrase, “There is no such thing as bad publicity” applies here.
But what about the actual uniform. Yeah, we kind of get it — they tried to take the flag of Maryland and graphically represent it on the helmet and shoulders of the uniform.
It’s actually a pretty clever idea.
The problem is, they didn’t quite succeed. Since the flag has four quadrants, to truly represent the flag, the designers should have flipped the designs on the shoulders. Instead, what we saw was this. And unfortunately, that look is more clownish and garish than it should be.
Almost immediately after these uniforms were unleashed on the field of play, I got in touch with my graphic design buddy, Tim E. O’Brien, who was already at work crafting a fix. That would enable the uniform to more closely approximate the flag. See?
And since Maryland has already introduced just a few new uniform combinations for the 2011 season, I thought they could just scrap those and work off of the flag theme.
So, because my schedule is now pretty full, and I lack the talents of Tim E., I asked him to concept a few of my thoughts for how Maryland could continue to fix their uniform AND keep the flag motif.
I first said to Tim, “can you first create me a helmet with just ONE of the flag elements,” (like this or this), “and make both the shoulder elements the same and see how that would look?”
Tim obliged, creating several:
First, he took the black and gold element and used that for the helmet, pairing it with the red and white for the shoulders.
Next he swapped the two, using the red & white for the helmet and putting the black and gold on both shoulders.
Then I asked if he could pair the black and gold with the black and gold and vice versa:
All red and white elements
All black and gold elements.
Although neither of the last two quite accomplishes the idea of incorporating the flag into the uniform, they both look much better as a uniform (at least in my opinion). When Tim created the all black/gold version, I noticed the numbers kind of looked out of place (color-wise), so I asked him if he could fix that. He did. Believe it or not, I actually like that last concept a lot. It’s totally unnecessary, of course, but then again, having 3,245 combinations already is ridiculous. But at least that one is somewhat pleasing to the eye, not one apt to cause seizures.
The best fix, of course, was simply Tim’s original swapping of the flag pattern on the shoulders, so as to actually, ya know, approximate the flag. Fortunately (we hope), this uniform will never be worn again, so it’s now a moot point. But it just goes to show you how a slightly tweaked design element can make all the difference in the world.
Now…about those Winnipeg Jets…
The Hockey Wing Speaks…
Almost lost in all the talk about the Maryland uniform shenanigans this week was the fact that the Winnipeg Jets have also introduced new uniforms — if you missed that, look here. And almost as soon as the Jets introduced this new set, the Hockey Wing sprung into action. Here’s what they had to say about the new unis:
• Disappointed that the jerseys are more navy than light blue. Seriously, if your main jerseys look like silly alternates out of Florida and Columbus, you’re not getting an A+ from me; instead, you’re gonna get a very underwhelmed opinion.
• I do like the way the jerseys work with the Edge template, without totally selling out to it, i.e.: if the NHL were to revert to real hockey jerseys, you’d hardly know the difference. An example of a team totally selling out to the template would be the Calgary Flames.
• Fonts: good enough. Logos: surprisingly good. For some reason, the maple leaf looks less obtrusively noxious on the jerseys than in previous contexts.
• Final grades: Navy jersey gets a B+ for a solid effort. I cannot fault it at all, but I just can’t give it ultimate praise without drinking Kool-Aid. White jersey: much weaker. In general, hockey jersey arms should have a horizontal OR vertical component, never neither and almost never both. The Hawerchuk Jets had vertical arms, while the Tkachuk Jets had horizontal arms. Here, we get both, and the horizontals look like a panicked after-thought. Just not as good. A simple shoulder yoke would have been fine! I’ll call it a B-.
I like them for a few reasons.
• First, the jerseys aren’t light blue. I get that the RCAF was light blue by choice, but the only light blue team in the NHL should be the Quebec Nordiques. Severing that tie with Atlanta is a good choice as well.
• Second, the stripes on the arms are fine. I’m not overly excited that the shoulder yokes go all the way to the wrists, but the horizontal sleeve stripes actually break up stripes quite nicely. It looks a little odd at first, but I’m already getting used to it, and the “aviator blue” used for the light blue stripes really pops.
• Logos and fonts work nicely. They’re not overstated and they’re not gaudy, so they work well. The glimmer of the jet in the logo when Ladd was giving his thoughts in the sunlight looked awesome against the navy blue.
• Overall, I’m very happy with these uniforms. They had the opportunity to be horrendous, but the Jets kept it simple – and it works.
• As for comparing the old Jets to the new Jets, let’s just stop with that crap. The Jets never bought the rights to the old logos from the NHL, so they weren’t even up for discussion. Quite frankly, the old jerseys were synonymous with losing, so let’s head in a new direction. This accomplished that step with flying (excuse the pun) colors.
It looks like there’s some concensus:
• The blue home jersey is excellent. Nailed it.
• The white road jersey, the striping is wrong. Each element is nice, the sleeve stripes and the shoulder yoke extending to the wrists (looks like the 1980′s Jets or the 1980s Leafs), but I don’t think they work together very well. One or the other would have been perfect, but not both.
Jeff Barak: (also, be sure to check out Jeff’s Third String Goalie Blog)
• I certainly like the white jerseys with the stripes that run all the way down the arms better than the blue jerseys. The stripes running down the arms reminds me of the 1980’s Jets jerseys. While I’m not a big fan of the stripes running around the arms and crossing over the full length arm stripes, at least they go all the way around the arms, unlike the original Reebok Edge jerseys from Edmonton and Florida which only went halfway around the arms and drove me crazy.
• The blue jerseys are a very basic, safe look which I think would have been enhance greatly by a contrasting shoulder yoke of white trimmed in light blue.
• While I have always liked the combination of a dark blue and light blue, such as those from the University of Maine, I was hoping that the Jets would incorporate some red in the jersey to draw off of the use of red in the main crest (which I still feel would be a fine secondary logo but just doesn’t do it for me as the main crest).
• For me, by favorite and unexpected part was the italicized numbers on the back. There are currently only three teams using italicized numbers (Calgary, Carolina and Nashville) and I don’t understand why more teams don’t, as I think they add excitement to a jersey even when standing still. The rounded lettering is reminiscent of the original Phoenix Coyotes letters and ties in nicely with the numbers.
• Overall, the jersey set is fine, but it’s not the kind of think I long for in a new jersey when my first reaction is “I must own that!”.
Thank you gentlemen. Shortly after Mike Styczen wrote that, he contacted me with an idea:
I had an idea for some weekend content (one that I can’t carry through on).
Everybody seems to be saying that the road white uniform’s problem is the arm stripes – the yoke doesn’t work where it meets the sleeve stripes.
Maybe mock up 2 alternatives – one with just a yoke that goes to the sleeves, one with just sleeve stripes – to compare to what they selected and see if it works any better.
The one with just sleeve stripes, you could go without a yoke (similar to the home uniforms) or with a yoke that just covers the shoulders and stops (similar to the Canadiens road whites). If you go with a yoke like the Canadiens, the yoke will be a different colour than the arm stripes, which will also look dumb. So one or the other might have to change colour.
Anyway, might be interesting. It presents the opportunity to do three or four mockups of how the road uniform would look better. I say I can’t carry through because I don’t know how to use photoshop and nobody wants to see what this looks like rendered by MS Paint.
Excellent idea Mike. And what better person to conceptualize these than Tim E.? So…here’s what Tim came up with:
For comparison, here are the current home and current road uniforms.
When you look at them like that, I totally agree that the roads are so close to being pretty good, but the sleeves are just not quite working. Tim came up with four simple fixes, and all of them work better than what the Jets currently have:
Simply removing the light blue stripes on the forearms.
Creating a light blue yoke and keeping the stripes.
Changing the light blue yoke to a dark blue yoke and retaining the stripes.
Making the sweater all white (sort of the inverse of the home) and retaining the stripes.
I think any of these four solutions would improve the Jets roadie, and I’m grateful for the Hockey Wing feedback and Tim for turning their suggestions into concepts.
That’s it for the uniform fixes (until the tweaks section of course) — but it really does show you how just the slightest alteration of the Maryland uniform and some teensy modifications on the Jets new road jersey would really make a world of difference. What say you, readers?
New NCAA Rundown
This proved to be a neat little feature last weekend, and my man Terry Duroncelet is back with another quick rundown. (With a little help from a couple others.) Let’s see what we have:
• Oklahoma State wore mono-black with white lids against Arizona.
• Arizona State also wore their Charcoalman costumes against the white-clad Missouri Tigers. And it turns out that Brock Osweiler has a big grammar error on the tattoo on his left arm. We’ll let Brock (who is the tallest QB in college football at 6’8) live his life to IT’S fullest while we continue with the uni rundown.
• Florida International University wore their white super-stretchies in an upset win against Louisville. One of the FIU players’ NCAA conference patch was coming off slightly, and T.Y. Hilton was wearing a Nike Pro Combat Hyperstrong padded compression shirt (look at his armpits). Specifically, this one. I wonder how he got that under the Adidas radar?
• Not uni-related, but my fan-of-the-week award goes to Dick Coffee, who hasn’t missed a Bama game since 1946!
• Indiana wore white helmets against Virginia
• ECU still had the very-awesome Jolly Roger on their helmets in their game against Virginia Tech. Wish the Hokies would’ve broken out the orange pants.
• BC broke out the new striped helmet. This included the bandana sticker for former BC athlete Welles Crowther
More in the Red, White, and “Blech” club:
• Wyoming (brown shell w/ S&S helmet decal)
• Washington (white shell with S&S helmet decal)
• Northwestern (normal shell w/ S&S helmet decal)
• Arkansas (it was also on the field)
• USF (including the Lee Roy Selmon tribute)
• Notre Dame and Michigan wore throwback uniforms to mark the first ever night game at the Big House.
• The current #21 for UofM had a patch over the retro Adidas logo. Quote from reader Jeff A: “Musburger just explained Michigan’s plan to keep circulating numbers of legends rather than retiring them. So if the current no. 21 (already wearing a patch honoring Desmond Howard) keeps making big plays for Michigan, will a future no. 21 have to wear TWO patches?”
• It also turns out that Notre Dame was throwing back to three — maybe four — different eras. The helmet was from 1961, the jersey was from 1959, the white cleats were from the era that ND wore white shoes (not sure of the exact years) *Note Michigan’s block ‘M’ crew socks: nice*, and the socks were from… uhh… *ahem* My point being is that a throwback should focus on one era. I took the liberty of whipping up two different throwbacks to reflect what a proper look would’ve been for last night’s game, with the Adidas TechFit application. Not perfect by any means, especially since there are no TV numbers in either jersey (so much for accuracy e_e), but it’s better than what the Fighting Irish wore last night, IMO. Michigan actually looked pretty cool last night. I wouldn’t go as far as to say they should switch to a modern version of their throwback full-time, but some other team should go with that look ASAP.
Nice job again Terry!
Duck Tracking…and more
Last weekend I asked if there were any enterprising souls who wanted to follow in the footsteps of Mike Princip and continue with the wonderful Duck Tracker. Only two of you replied to express interest, and no one sent in any graphic samples. However…
Our buddy Rob Holecko over at the Gridiron Uniform Database (which is co-authored by Bill Schaefer and Timmy Bruila), has come up with something almost as neat. It’s an opportunity for trackers of any college teams (Penn State and Alabama fans need not apply) to track the various uniform machinations of their squads.
I’ll let Rob explain:
Hi LI Phil
About a week ago, you mentioned in Uni Watch that the Oregon Duck uniform tracker was unable to continue that project for this year. We at the Gridiron Uniform Database have decided to follow in the footsteps of the Duck Tracker and have created a website to track the notable college football uniforms being worn, both Oregon’s as well as any others. Announcing the College Football Uniform Tracker.
This site we hope will serve as a repository to track many of the various uniform combinations worn on the field these days. This is where the Uni Watchers come in. With The Gridiron Uniform Database taking up our free time, we will be continuing to expend our energies keeping that site up to date, and we don’t have the time to create a whole bunch of college football graphics, and that is not our intention with this project. We our merely offering to host the graphics that you Uni Watchers create on our site.
You’re not limited to the ten teams I have listed, we’ll use graphics for any colleges you want to send in, I just chose ten teams that have been in the “uniform news” lately, Maryland, Oklahoma State, etc. But if you send in any others, we’ll use them. We’re not seeking to track all 200+ NCAA FBS/FCS teams, just the ones you want to send in. And if you want to send in uniforms from past years/games, etc, send them in too, I’ll figure out a way to get them on the site. For now, everything is just one the one page, but as it grows, we’ll expand with sub-pages as necessary. If all you various Uni Watchers with the great graphical skills that I see in all the Uni Tweaks that you all submit will “adopt” your favorite NCAA team and submit their uniforms, we can build a great uni-tracker without one person having to do a whole lot of work, but many people doing a little work.
If we get more than one submission for a particular uniform, I will choose one to be in the gallery, but I will include all other variations as well somehow.
Also we’ve opened up a forum at the Gridiron Uniform Forums to discuss this project.
The only requirement is that we just ask in order to keep the graphics looking uniform (no pun intended), you only use Bill Schaefer’s template, which you can get by clicking any of the blank thumbnails on the page.
So how ’bout it guys? Let’s track those uniforms!
Send your uniform graphic submissions for this project to email@example.com.
Great stuff guys. What say you, Uni Watchers?
by Rick Pearson
Hey! It’s the First Day of the Rest of the Season…
And of course, your full-size.
We have another new set of tweaks today.
If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great at keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
And so, lets begin:
We start with Pat West, who begins our NFL Kickoff Weekend with some more NFL tweaks — this time the NFC:
Here are some tweaks of NFC teams.
Cardinals: Much more traditional look all the way around.
49ers: Moved the sleeve stripes up.
Seahawks: Sent this in for the contest. Got rid of the Navy. Brightened up the royal. Added Silver helmets and pants. Made some sleeve stripes from the recolored logo.
Vikings: Made alternate the primary. Went with a more traditional white uni. Added a yellow alternate. Kept the modern helmet.
Panthers: Made helmet black. Matched helmet and pant stripes to shoulder stripes. Gave them all black look at home like a panther should be.
Falcons: As modern unis go I actually like their design. I normally hate drop shadow but I left it here as well because it works with this uni. Brought back black as the primary and gave them a red helmet.
Cowboys: Matched the silver and blues.
Giants: White pants and added a hint blue to the away uni
Redskins: Matched yellow pant striping to the maroon and white pants. Made socks with same striping as pants as well.
And our second, and final tweak, comes from Bruce Genther, who has some concepts for the Miami Marlins:
UniWatch… A proposal for the 2012 Miami Marlins – new logo and new uniforms…enjoy!!
Bruce A. Genther
Thanks gents. Back next weekend with more.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
We welcome back a one-time colorizer with the first batch today, Ian Carr:
It’s been a while since I sent anything your way. Life, you know.
Anyway, I got a look at that photo of Gene Hackman in a baseball uni and had to take a shot.
Having just acquired a Wacom tablet, it has made the work so much easier.
Ian wasn’t done, however, as he sent along two more.
At it AGAIN. Feel free to spread these out as much as necessary. I’ve got a few more I’m thinking of doing and will be bombing your inbox as I get them done (since I tend to do a bunch of something, then get bored for a while.)
I found NOTHING at all about these gents’ uniforms, so I put them in blue. They’re from DC, so they’d either be blue or red (Skins notwithstanding). I thought the blue looked better than the red.
Original is here.
Here’s Bobby Hull really giving it to a ref, who’s tired of it.
Sometime in the 60-61 season, if my research is accurate (based on the placing of the Tomahawk C secondary patch on the Blackhawks’ jerseys)
Image Source Original blog post WAS here: not up as of time of emailing.
Moving along, another former colorizer has returned, my buddy, Larry Bodnovich:
I colorized a 1934 Canton McKinley football uniform picture
Not a great quality original. But at least gives an idea what that uniform looked like.
Next up is Gary Chanko, who is still in baseball-mode:
Although football season is getting into gear, baseball is still on my plate for a while. At least until the Phils’ capture another World Series title!
This photo is from the great Life Magazine collection, most of which were never published.
This week features Rich Asburn taking bunting practice during the Phillies 1950 Spring Training camp.
A terrific image of how MLB player’s used to practice basic skills.
And we close with George Chilvers, who has a theme for this week:
A theme to this week’s contributions.
I was asked by a guy in Venzuela if I could colourise some photos for him. He is obviously a great fan of the 1950s Hungarian soccer team – the “Golden Team” or “Aranycsapat”.
They were by far the best team of the age, and possibly one of the all-time great teams. They revolutionised tactics and were the first foreign team to beat England on home soil – and actually scored 6 goals in doing so. They were hot favourites for the 1954 World Cup but somehow lost the Final to West Germany.
I sent you a few months ago a picture of Ferenc Puskas from that team, and here are pictures of a couple of other members of the team, a squad picture, and a picture at the start of the 1953 game against England.
Originals can be found here, here, here, and here.
For you uni-watchers to note that the shirt that says “Hungaria” is a club shirt, not a strange spelling of Hungary. Hungaria are now called MTK.
Thanks everyone! Great to see a couple familiar names to go along with George & Gary. OK, you colorizers, show me what you got!
5 & 1
And now, the part of the post you’ve all been waiting for: The 5 & 1.
For those of you unfamiliar with the “5 & 1″ it’s pretty simple, really, much like Jim Vilk. He takes all of the NCAA games in a given weekend and examines them under the vilkescope to determine his best five, and one worst, matchup, as dictated by uniforms. There are few givens with the 5 & 1, because there is little rhyme or reason found inside the Vilk brain~pan. Large sums of money have been wagered, and lost, trying to figure out who’ll win the coveted “best” and “worst” #1s. And if you really want to know more, then be sure to read Being Jim Mothervilker…guaranteed to make your head explode. Now then, here’s Movi:
First, a moment of silence.
Honorable Mention to UC Davis/Montana State — Somewhere in Columbus, a young man is smiling.
Another Honorable Mention to Vietnam Vet and straight-on kicker Alan Moore. — Four years younger than Ricko!
5. Norfolk State/West Virginia — Because, like a 17-year-old, I’m attracted to bright objects.
4. Stanford/Duke — Would have looked better if they kept their helmets on tight…
3. Notre Dame/Michigan — You know…if Michigan traded the big M for regular numbers, both teams could keep this look.
2. Navy/Western Kentucky — Besides, the Midshipmen pull off Notre Dame’s look better than the Irish.
1. Alabama/Penn State — As much as I love messing with Phil’s head, I couldn’t do it this week (sorry, Larry).
And the bad one: Missouri/Arizona State — If you’re gonna go BFBS, don’t do it against a team with black as one of its colors.
Thanks, Movi. Ya know, I figured for sure you’d have put Paterno State & Phi Slamma Bama lower due a bunch of players wearing black socks. Which means I’ll never figure you out. And I’m (pleasantly) surprised you didn’t pick this matchup for the top 5, since I know how much you love brown and
And THAT, folks, is a wrap. Obviously, today marks the tenth anniversary of perhaps the most tragic, devastating day in United States’ history, at least for any of us not old enough to remember (or who were born before) Pearl Harbor. Everyone remembers where they were ten years ago day, and what happened in the immediate aftermath. I purposely avoided (except for some brief uni-related reviews of yesterday’s uniforms) turning today’s post into something more than it should be. I’ve said my piece about 9/11 in the past, and if you’d like to read that, here it is. However you choose to remember the events of ten years ago, please remember that today is not about expressing your patriotism or waving the flag or putting a ribbon or sticker on a uniform. It’s a day of solemn remembrance. I lost a lot on that day. So did we all.
Peace to all Uni Watchers.
“The kid is like the anti-Lukas. He wants to wear Nike and hates yellow and green. As someone who likes purple uniforms, I say kudos to him.” — Jonee