Redshirt junior Jason Bitsko was found dead in his dorm room this week from what the police are calling “an undetermined medical issue.” Kent State will honor his passing this year with a helmet sticker bearing his uniform number.
A day after the tragic death of starting center Jason Bitsko, Kent State players have already come up with a way to honor their fallen teammate.
Head coach Paul Haynes said Thursday that Bitsko’s teammates will wear his No. 54 on the side of their helmets through the season.
These data repositories are all phenomena made possible by the power of graphic design programs and the collaborative possibilities of the internet. Before the widespread adoption of the internet in the late 1990s, and availability of access to news and photo archives, much of the uniform specific research resided with those companies producing historically accurate authentic caps, jerseys, and jackets.
Many readers of this site still have their 1980s and 1990s Ebbets Field Flannels and Cooperstown Ball Cap catalogs. Mitchell & Ness would issue two subsequent catalogs in the 1990s, one in 1995 with Rabbit Maranville on the cover, and another in 1998 with Hank Aaron.
The 1990 Mitchell & Ness catalog came out in a wave of early enthusiasm for historic uniforms. It’s fun to remember the context in which it was produced and issued in 1990.
Mitchell & Ness had been a long time Philadelphia sporting goods company when its owner, Peter Capolino, came into the business of reproducing historic baseball flannels in 1985.
The shiny gleam and infatuation with 1970s multipurpose AstroTurf stadiums, and the double-knit’s first generation pullovers and elastic waistbands, had begun to wear off by the late 1980s. This met the nostalgia of the post WWII generation who had grown up watching Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, and Willie Mays, and who in the 1980s were in their 40s and 50s and 60s.
At this time, the Roman Pro Cap Company began to offer authentic fitted caps in styles which had not been available in decades. One could buy and wear the classic 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, and 1951 New York Giants cap, and short lived gems like the 1961 Los Angeles Angels with its embroidered silver halo. At age 14 I read Jim Bouton’s Ball Four and bought myself a 1969 Pilots cap.
Chance Michaels has a great post on this site where he traces the historiography of the Brooklyn Dodgers through the licensed apparel made available again in the 1980s.
The shift back to a 1950s and 1960s uniform aesthetic gained serious momentum with the 1987 season as many teams revived classic uniform elements. The Chicago White Sox went button front with athletic script. The Seattle Mariners put S on their caps and went button front in clean blue and yellow. The Oakland Athletics married post-1963 gold and green, button fronts, and the 1955 to 1960 Athletics lettering in one of my favorite contemporary classic uniform sets. The Braves revived and updated the club’s 1946 to 1962 uniforms, with Atlanta on the road. The Twins returned to pinstripes and were so bold as to drop their NOBs.
Mitchell & Ness grew through the late 1980s. A Sports Illustrated article on the company came in 1987, and in 1989, Sports Illustrated’s Baseball preview issue featured Marc Okkonen’s work on the Chicago White Sox which brought more awareness to uniform history as a topic unto itself. Major League Baseball created the Cooperstown Collection in 1988. This licensing label remains today the umbrella label for all licensed MLB historic logos and marks.
In addition to Mitchell & Ness in Philadelphia which produced the authentic reproductions of MLB jerseys, jackets, and pennants, Jerry Cohen at Ebbets Field Flannels in Seattle did the same for Minor League Baseball, Negro League jerseys and jackets. The idiosyncratic Cooperstown Ball Cap made gorgeous hand made MLB, Negro League, Minor League, and well… just about every real and fictional professional and semi-professional baseball club they could track down or imagine.
On the most basic level, the purpose of the 1990 catalog was to sell jerseys and jackets. By virtue of the absence at the time of any other publication illustrating and tracing the specific history of the game’s jerseys, and patches, the catalog served as a sort of reference document, summarizing and publishing for the first time much of the research completed in those first years.
To build Mitchell & Ness as a company, Peter gathered a small crew that included Paul Pogharian who went to libraries and took out microfilm, and combined through old sports magazines. Mitchell & Ness happened to share a physical building with Reedmore Books, a used magazine and periodical shop rub Mr. and Mrs. Bagelman, who also owned the building at 1229 Walnut. Reedmore had complete sets of Sports Illustrated, Sport, and other vintage sports magazines with pages of color photos. (It was how research was done in the olden days before the Library of Congress, Getty, and everyone digitized their photo archives in a gluttony of pleasure for those who get it.)
The catalog was the result of this research. To present the material, Mitchell & Ness had designed a publication that itself was wonderful tactile object, sharp in its presentation even twenty four years later, with its alternating pages of 10 by 10 glossy color, with 7 by 10 two-color inserts.
Rather than give away their catalog as most companies did, Mitchell & Ness sold it for $5 (the equivalent of $9 in 2014 spending power). The jerseys and jackets were premium, and so too was the catalog itself. This also served to contribute to its feeling of being as much a book as a retail marketing tool.
Inside a 10-inch by 10-inch square brown paper envelope, Mitchell & Ness mailed the catalog together with the current price list (printed on cardstock) and a swatch of soft Mitchell & Ness jersey flannel. It put in your hand the feel of the jerseys displayed in the catalog’s pages. The narrative assured you that the company knew its history.
Mitchell & Ness today, and especially prior to its purchase by Adidas and increased focus on fashion apparel, served as a unique kind of for-profit business. It served as a central clearing house, community center, and resource for historic uniform research.
In the spirit of a history book, Mitchell & Ness presented its 1990 catalog chronologically. It opens to How It Began: A History, tracing the Mitchell & Ness company’s roots to Philadelphia’s industrial immigrant past in 1904, and carries the narrative through the 1940s when Mitchell & Ness began to outfit the Philadelphia Phillies and then the Athletics.
By virtue of its license with Major League Baseball, Mitchell & Ness was not able to use player names in any of its marketing copy. The absence of player names meant that a subtext is a vision of team histories transcending any one player.
In addition to Mitchel & Ness’ jerseys and historic memorabilia, we find in the catalog examples of the other companies producing historic items. The pennants in the pictures were (and continue to be at M&N) the work of Roanoke, Virginia manufacturer Collegiate Pacific. The 1925 Phillies cap is Cooperstown Ball Cap and New York Giants an 8-panel Roman Pro cap.
Interest in historic uniforms continued to grow.
Later in the 1990 season, with the White Sox playing their final season at Comiskey Park, the team played the first turn back the clock game. They wore their 1917 uniforms, the year of the team’s last World Series win. The following year, in 1991, the Phillies hosted a turn back the clock game, as did the Baltimore Orioles, and Reds, and the trend grew from there.
Such was the strength of this aesthetic shift back to 1950s and 1960s styling that by the 1993 season, all twenty eights clubs wore button front jerseys; not one team wore powder blue on the road; two clubs had resurrected the jersey vest unseen since the 1970 Pirates; and only three teams had dark color alternate tops. Most games that season were white home versus gray road.
Update on Bill Henderson and the 2015 Game Worn Jersey Guide
Bill Henderson has had a robust response to his call for assistance for the 2015 edition of his Game Worn Jersey Guide. He can still use more volunteers to do web research to find for game photos. He will provide a list of games for which he is looking for photos, and a guide on “how to do it”. He also needs spring training photos of players wearing BPs in 2013 and 2014. Please write Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UWFFL Developmental League – Weekday Edition By Rob Holecko
We have finally reached the Championship Game of the inaugural season of the UWFFL Developmental League. Two South Carolina teams, the Greenville Pointers and the Charleston Navigators, will face off for the title. These two teams both came out of Group B, Greenville running the table with an 8-0 regular season mark and playoff victories over Missouri and St. John’s, enter this game at 10-0.
Charleston went 7-1, their only loss a 9-5 decision to the Pointers on March 29. After winning a play-in game over Staten Island to get into the playoffs as a Wild Card, they’ve had impressive victories over undefeated teams Yellowknife and Little Rock and they enter the Championship with a mark of 10-1. Last week, both teams looked impressive in their semifinal victories:
. . .
It should be an exciting Championship rematch for these two teams who are fast becoming rivals as they both will compete in the Metro South Conference this fall.
In case you missed it, I’m hosting a WFL Design Contest. All the rules and instrux are in the link…
…but if you don’t want to click there it’s pretty basic: If the World Football League hadn’t folded in 1975, and the League were still active today, what would the teams’ uniforms look like in 2014? Click the link for more details. Deadline is September 1, and you can send all your submissions to me: Phil.Hecken@gmail.com.
Should be a fun contest, so if you are a concepter or designer, give it a whirl!
Click to enlarge
And now a few words from Paul: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column is about a bunch of previously unseen prototype designs that Reebok prepared for the Vikings about a decade ago (including the one shown above). Check it out here.
And as long as I have you here:
• My annual college football season preview will be up on ESPN next Monday.
• The annual NFL preview will follow two days after that.
• My thanks to the many of you who’ve ordered Uni Watch 15th-anniversary patches. If you want to get in on that action, look here.
And now I’m off to Chicago, where I’ll be attending Comrade Robert Marshall’s wedding tomorrow. Everyone have a great weekend!
College Football News: With a week to go before their first game against Miami (OH), here’s the Marshall equipment staff decaling up the helmets (h/t @HerdEquipment). … Eastern Michigan has gray field turf. Yes, gray. That sound you just heard was THE Jeff poking himself in the eye with a sharp stick. More details here. … Utah football will wear Ute tribal seal on helmets for 11/22 game vs. Arizona as part of “Ute Proud” campaign (thanks, Paul). … New uniforms for the SMU Mustangs. Here’s video of the reveal (h/t Patrick Engel). Here’s what all three (red, white & blue) unis look like. … Marshall Football will be giving out jersey towels, 3,000 of which will be passed out at the Ohio Game. Submitter Brice Wallace says, “it’s funny that the ‘jersey towels’ have numerals with green at the bottom, which would apparently violate the gradient-numbers rule calling for contrast between the numerals and jersey color. The new butt-ugly unis have white at the bottom of the numerals.” … New uni for Sam Houston State University. Says submitter Chris Mycoskie “SHSU plays Eastern Washington in the first college football game of the year, Saturday at 3:30, for the Inaugural FCS Kickoff.” … Also bringing the SHSU tease to my attention was Victor Quintana, who had this wonderful quip: “SHSU spent the last 2 years with a uni set from Nike that included an OK jersey and a GOD AWFUL pair of pants dubbed by fans and critics like as the “diaper” pants. Along with this switch in brands is also a minor switch in the helmet. The decal logo on the helmet will remain the same, but the helmets are now a matte orange instead of a glossy finish they were in previous years. An example of both the diaper pants and glossy finish helmet can be seen here for comparison.
Basketball News: Looks like the new basketball shirts this year will still have sublimation. Here’s a look at the back of the new Arizona Wildcats hoops jersey, with sublimated cactus and desert scene (thanks to J.D. Thomas).
Soccer News: International soccer is big business. Here’s a good article outlining how each Premier League side fares financially against one another, as well as the deals that top European and international teams have carved (from Michael Richardson). … Bayern Munich get new team bus and do a “reveal” in spectacular fashion (thanks to George Chilvers). Also from George, for English football fans, a “very difficult” quiz (lol) to identify shirt sponsors.
Grab Bag: Nice find from Graham Clayton who writes, “Back in 1973, Glenelg (SANFL) and Richmond (VFL) both had identical primary jerseys (black with diagonal yellow sash) when they played each other in the unofficial end of season “Australian Championship”. A coin toss was used to determine which team would keep their primary jersey. Glenelg lost, and had to play wearing all-yellow jerseys.” … What happens to football players when their careers are over? Well, some of them open art studios (thanks to Jerry Wolper). … SI’s Extra Mustard has compiled a list of the worst bootleg team merchandise available on the Internet (Thanks, Brinke). … This is pretty cool: some really smart people have attempted to come up with anti-shark swimsuits, for those who, you know, like to swim where man eating sharks tend to also swim (from Roger Faso). … The fourth section of this article states that the #48 Lowes Chevy of Jimmie Johnson will be switching from white to blue as a good luck charm after a series of sub-par finishes (thanks to David Firestone).
And that’s going to do it for this fine, penultimate Friday in August. Big thanks (again), to Morris Levin for another great segment of Fridays with Morris. Always a highlight of the summer. Speaking of which…
I’d like to offer my own best wishes to Comrade Robert Marshall and his lovely bride-to-be Kate — sure would liked to have been there, but alas, someone’s got to mind the UW store, right? Yeah, that’s it. Anyway, Happy Trails Wreck & Pineapple!
Everyone have a great weekend — the blog will be ably handled by our webmaster Johnny Ekdahl, and I’ll be back for one last week (of weekdays) on Monday — don’t forget to check back then because that’s the day Paul releases his eagerly anticipated NCAA Football Preview — always one of the best columns of the year!
“Next stop on the Europhile express appears to be Columbus. If we’re lucky it’ll just be an “FC” stuck onto the backside of the existing name like a Victorian bustle. If we’re unlucky… Borussia Columbusgladbach?”
This will be a SHORT lede today (yay), since Paul has a great ESPN column. Link here.
But I wanted to announce the next UW uni design contest — one that dovetails with Tuesday’s lookback at the WFL. If you happened to miss that, please click here. In that post, tremendously researched by Aaron Johnson, we reviewed the uniforms of the World Football League, which came into existence 40 years ago, and disappeared almost as quickly.
But what if the WFL had caught on? What if it were still in existence today? What would the uniforms of the teams who played look like? That’s your next uniform design challenge.
If you look at today’s splash photo, it’s a modern interpretation of a WFL Houston Texans uniform (click to enlarge):
I found that image on this site while simply googling for WFL uniforms. This would be an example of what we’re looking for.
Aaron and I decided on the uniform contest before we even planned the WFL post — we’re going to make it very open-ended.
Simply design a modern interpretation (2014) of any of the WFL teams from 1974-1975.
Here’s Aaron with the parameters:
“Now that we’ve gone over the different uniforms of the World Football League we’d like to have a design contest (No prize, just bragging rights). If the WFL was still around today, 40 years later, what do you think the uniform would look like? You have free reign to do what you want. You can keep the teams same color scheme, you can tweak them, or completely revamp them. You can come up with a new ‘pants plan’ if you’d like as well. It’s all up to you. Each of the designs submitted will be posted to both Uni Watch and WFL Nation. Best of luck!”
You’re not restricted to simply coming up with a 2014 uniform — if you so choose, you could submit a series of uniforms tracing the “lineage” of a current team, as they progressed through the years and decades until today. In other words, you could begin with say, the 1974 Southern California Sun, imagining their uniform through a series of redesigns (say they redesigned in 1982, 1996 and 2006, and then again in 2014 — you could submit a progression of uniform designs). The only requirement is to have a uniform design for 2014.
So now that we’ve set it up — you know what to do. We’ll set the deadline for the contest submissions for September 1, 2014. If you submit, please also give a SHORT (50-100 words max) description of the uniform and how you arrived at it. You can submit for multiple teams, and multiple years within a team (a progression). You’re really only limited by your imagination. This can be a very fun contest, as I know there are many designers who have submitted fantastic designs before — and newcomers are more than welcome as well! Once all the designs are in, I’ll begin posting them on the weekends.
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today — a rare weekday appearance!.
If you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way. The number of concept submissions has been way down recently — so readers — if you do have a concept you’d like featured, please begin (again) sending them in!
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.
Click on any to enlarge:
First up today is Cole Hammers, who has a concept for the Dallas Stars:
Two things really bugged me about the Stars’ new(ish) unis. They ditched the yellow (although they pretty much already had) and they went bevel-crazy on the logo. My redesign re-introduces the yellow, ditches the black, and introduces a sheriff-star motif. Sorry if it’s a little low-res.
. . .
And we close today with Mitch Barbee with some Colorado Rockies concepts, a la Jim Vilk:
Fairly straightforward. Basically an update of their current set, with the addition of light blue and the removal of black. I felt that the light blue added a sky like effect and as I was going through photos of the Rocky Mountains, the blue sky seemed to always have a place. The light blue vest would replace the current black vest, and would be used SPARINGLY. Probably no more than ten games. The purple alt can be worn at home and on the road. I’ll post a clearer view of the workmarks along with the logo.
The BP Jersey. This is going to be a hit and (most likely) a miss. I was inspired by David’s combination of eras here who created a similar cap. The blue would be like the sky I mentioned previously. The jersey is off of the TATC jersey, and would be using the current BP template (which is why there are the armpit colors) I was also inspired from the Nuggets current alt, which is why the number is placed at the top of the jersey.
. . .
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time. Let’s get back on the concept wagon, folks, ok? OK!
Question(s) of the Week
Every Thursday Intern Mike Chamernik poses a uniform-related question to the readership. Here’s today’s:
. . .
A few weeks ago I came across a photo of legendary Knicks guard Walt Frazier in a Cavaliers jersey. It was so weird. Frazier won two titles in New York and became the toast of the town, so everyone remembers his as a Knick and not as a guy in the twilight of his career with the Cavs. To see him in that uni was especially freaky.
I thought it was the oddest “oh yeah, he played in that uni” photo, until I saw this.
What’s your favorite, or least favorite, example of this?
Also, unrelated: Does anyone other than me watch Fox Sports 1 on a regular basis?
. . . . . . . . . .
Great question Mike! I’ll start the show this week…
Click to enlarge
Uni Watch News Ticker
Today’s ticker was written and compiled by Mike Chamernik
Baseball News: The 1963 Houston Colt .45s had a sweet cartoon program cover (from Jonathan Daniel). … Boston.com used an incorrect logo for its Astros-Red Sox coverage last Friday (from Mike Delia). … Great name and logo for a new series of Padres podcasts (from Brady Phelps). … Here’s what it would look like if MLB teams wore hockey jerseys (from Phil). … Great example of an apostrophe catastrophe in this Aroldis Chapman graphic (from Phil). … Check out Yasiel Puig’s reflexes after he threw his helmet Tuesday night. … The Blue Jays have filed an opposition with the US Patent and Trademark office over Creighton’s new blue jay logo. … To that, here’s a look at some of the logos Creighton used throughout its history (from Phil). … Casey Stengel wore a cap and jersey with the logos of the teams he managed and played for at Old Timers Days in 1974 and 1975. … The Fort Wayne TinCaps wore Stand Up To Cancer unis. … Awesome Tigers-themed jersey for Detroit native Eminem. … “So I was stalking checking up on a friend of mine on Tumblr,” says Terry Duroncelet, “and I found this post on her blog of the cast of Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan in English) wearing Yomiuri Giants uniforms. For those curious, the show’s about the human race’s struggle against these mammoth humanoid beings called Titans, who eat humans.” … Will Scheibler passes along a great shot of the Fort William Canucks, a Canadian pro team, from 1914. … When John Lackey joined the Cardinals after the trade deadline, he traded a signed Babe Ruth baseball to Pat Neshek for the uniform No. 41.
NFL & CFL News: The Bucs presented Dickie V with his own framed jersey. Personally, I don’t think the Bucs’ new jerseys would be that bad if they toned down the wackiness by roughly 30 percent (from Phil). … The Calgary Stampeders have introduced their new helmet. Um. Well, at least it’s better than the Jags’ 2-tone topper.
College Football News: Rutgers will wear all-black unis against Michigan in October (from Phil). … The Citadel will wear “Duty,” “Honor” and “Respect” as NOBs this year (from Phil). … Justin Eller thoroughly broke down Virginia’s 2013 uniforms. … “It is expected that Vanderbilt will unveil a new uniform for their opener, August 28,” says Jerry Lawless III. “I decided to design a Maryland-pride-esque helmet based off the design of the Tennessee state flag I’ve had the idea for the design for a while now, and it was a lot of fun to make (but hard considering I used a touchscreen tablet).” … New unis for Eastern Washington (from Phil). … Another list of the best NCAA uniforms, with a unconventional number one choice. … New pants for Fresno State (from Jared Buccola).
Hockey News: In the late ’60s, Penguins forward Ab McDonald was traded to St. Louis, so O-Pee-Chee did an inadvertently hilarious airbrush job on his trading card (from Daniel Estabrooks). … Tim Brulia found an intriguing photo from November 1977 yesterday: “I have never seen this before, a reverse nameplate on the Canucks white jerseys as worn by Cesare Maniago,” he says. “Is this a fluke, or did the Canucks really go with reverse NOB’s for a little while (maybe the start of the season), or did the Canucks do this for the whole of 1977-78 at home in the Pacific Coliseum?
Soccer News: New crest for the Australian A-League’s Brisbane Roar (from Leo Strawn, Jr.). … The Columbus Crew will unveil a new brand and logo on Oct. 8, a few weeks before the end of the MLS season. “I don’t think it’s likely that they’ll use whatever it is they come out with this season, but who knows,” says Adam Schechter. “Be a shame if they wiped out the yellow-black colors, though.”
And that’ll tie a bow on things today. Nice and tidy. Make sure you check back to see when Paul’s ESPN piece is live — I haven’t seen it, but I’ve seen the photos, and trust me, you will not want to miss it.
For those of you who’ve been reading Uni Watch over the years — please join me in wishing a very happy birthday to Rick “Ricko” Pearson, whose special day is today. Thinkin’ about ya buddy.
OK — uni designers — time to get your ’74-’14 schwerve on — the WFL 40 years later awaits. Thanks to Mike for the ticker (and don’t forget his QsOTW), as well as the concepters for their submissions. You guys have a great Thursday.
“My father (King Corcoran) said man, those are the wildest uniforms I have ever seen! he looked at me and said, what do you think Jimbo? I said I liked them and he said ‘Yea, the King digs them too’ this was 1974 and the King spoke in true 70′s lingo.”
I’m back with my CFL partner today, Mike Styczen, who you’ll recall penned an article earlier this summer on the CFL — we warned you at the time the league would be introducing new third (alternate) uniforms throughout the course of the season, and halfway through, they’re halfway through introducing the new threads. (There are nine teams in the CFL now, with the Ottawa Redblacks being added this year — but eight total unveilings, because the BC Lions, in the gunmetal gray, introduced their third jersey last season.)
Thus far, four new uniforms have been released, but only two have seen the field of play, which you’ll see below. The remaining four will be introduced over the next few weeks, and we’ll be back with a “part 2″ of the new looks once the remainder are revealed. (Special thanks to Lucas Barrett for his assistance with this piece!).
Here’s Mike to give you his rundown of the new duds:
CFL Third Uniforms, Part I By Mike Styczen
Back on June 28th, I previewed this season’s CFL uniforms. At that time, I mentioned that there wasn’t really anything new in the CFL this year at that time, but that the commissioner of the league had promised “stunning new third uniforms” for 2014.
Well, four teams have now unveiled those “stunning new third uniforms” and they are . . . something.
According to the league, the new “Signature Uniforms” are bold, exciting, innovative … “Each one tells a story about its team, what that team stands for, and the fans who stand with it.” The league says that the new sets will be worn twice this year, and into next year.
One thing that’s interesting about the signature jerseys is that of the four released so far this year, three have VERY large logos front and centre (Saskatchewan being the exception) – reminiscent of hockey jerseys.
Football jerseys are an interesting piece of fan merchandise: I can go out and buy a hockey jersey off the rack and not get it customized and it looks just fine. But football jerseys look stupid off the rack without customization. In the CFL in particular, the rosters are very transient, there aren’t a lot of big stars, fans are reluctant to customize jerseys – and the result is that not a lot of jerseys get sold. By putting a big team logo on the front, my guess is that Reebok is trying to produce a jersey that looks good without customization and that can be worn anywhere in order to sell jerseys to more than just the hardcore fans.
On to the actual product (click any image to enlarge):
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have been known as the Green Riders for as long as I can remember, long after the need to distinguish them from their eastern cousins went away. This design sure takes the green to the next level.
“Fast, bold and exciting, this new jersey captures the spirit and energy of this great province and its fans. The new design uses traditional Rider green as its core but highlights that iconic colour with a new blitz green!”
This set has everything, including a new flavour of green called “blitz green”. Good grief. I can’t even list the things this set has other than in point form (and I might have missed some):
Its almost impossible to critically review this set. Any one feature might be interesting on its own – the gradient on the facemask is innovative and looks OK, the helmet on its own is not terrible, but was it necessary to load in every design feature they could think of? Did nobody at the table (for Reebok, the league or the team) say “no, that’s too much”.
If you like the current Seattle Seahawks set but said “not enough going on”, this is the set for you.
The team wore the new set in their win over Montreal this weekend.
I don’t love the “pull together” slogan inside the collar. The saying apparently harkens back to their founding as a rowing club, but I’ve never heard anyone connected with the team use those words before. Just like you can’t give yourself a nickname, you can’t give yourself a slogan and expect anyone to take it seriously.
The only real complaint is the weird gradient stripe that encompasses the whole of the jersey top-to-bottom. If it were a single colour it wouldn’t bother me, but gradient just keeps drawing my eye up and down and distracting me from some of the really nice features on this set. There’s a similar stripe on the pants that doesn’t bother me as much.
The Argos wore these in their loss to B.C. this weekend.
As mentioned, the Lions wore these last year and wore them again this weekend to beat the Lions.
We have a thing in Canada called the Kenora Dinner Jacket. I used to live near Kenora, I’ve owned a couple in my life, they can be warm and comfortable and I have worn mine to dinner on occasion. But I have never said to myself “hey, this would make a great template for a football uniform”.
Well, whoever designed the REDBLACKS (that appears to be their actual name) signature jersey came to the opposite conclusion, using the plaid look for the sleeves and the helmet. It also looks like there’s some plaid on the sides of the jersey and the pants. The design of the plaid itself incorporates the team’s “sawtooth” motif into the edges of the stripes.
Like the green Riders, either you buy into this idea or you don’t, and nothing I can say will make any difference. Bonus marks for innovation, especially for a new team without much of an identity following in the footsteps of two failed teams. If they adopt lumberjack plaid as their brand, they might have a better chance at winning over a city that’s justifiably skeptical of another CFL team.
These haven’t been worn on the field yet. They’ll wear them on Sunday when they host Calgary.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Blue Bombers released their new look on Tuesday afternoon. The team had previously unveiled the helmet, so the primary look of this set was not a surprise.
Unlike the other teams that have unveiled so far, there’s nothing about this set that says “Winnipeg”. There’s no gold! The other sets look at least somewhat like the primary sets. The Argos, Roughriders, REDBLACKS still look like those teams – the Bombers could be any high school anywhere.
2. I’m reminded of the Jeff Reinebold era (1995ish) in Winnipeg. A new coach came in and changed the uniform, got rid of the old logo, got rid of most of the gold (including the gold helmets) without realizing that even though the team is called the Blue Bombers, the gold is much more iconic for this team, and most fans feel a much stronger connection to the gold. I don’t expect this one to do very well.
[Phil here -- the Bombers new helmets were revealed Monday, and if you check out the video, you can see they're less than thrilled.]
OK, that concludes our first look at the new 3rds for the league up north. As mentioned above, we’ll be back once the final four uniforms and helmets are revealed. Until then, let’s discuss.
Notre Dame Unveils New Uniforms
Yesterday, the Golden Domers Fighting Irish of Notre Dame released their new uniforms (as well as their special one-offs) for the 2014 season, their first under UnderArmour. Many traditionalists were expecting the “worst,” but as you’ll see, the new uniforms look very much like the old ones.
UW’s Notre Dame guy, Warren Junium had the best shots of the new uni. Also, at the end of this section, I have a slideshow of photos Warren took at the unveiling (plus the obligatory link to the album), AND his take on the new unis. Make sure you check those out as well!
Notre Dame’s new duds are navy blue (home) or white (road) jerseys with gold pants. They look almost identical to what the team has been wearing — and that’s a pretty fine look. Not really much to say (except *whew*).
OK — here’s Mr. Junium’s take:
“For a company well known for its extreme uniforms, Under Armour showed incredible restraint and respect for the Notre Dame football uniform tradition with their 2014 home and away designs. The blue of the home jersey is a rich navy, while the gold of the pant doesn’t sparkle like those of the Holtz years, it doesn’t come close to the brown gold made famous by Adidas. The ND Monogram on the sleeves is well proportioned and along with the numerals, appears to be constructed of a thick, printed material sewn to the jersey. Same material is used for the Monogram on the pants. The belt on the pants is interesting, plastic clasp. (Is this a new design?). Overall, great first effort by UA. Go Irish!”
Here’s the slideshow of Warren’s photos from yesterday:
If can’t see the slideshow (or just want to view the album), click here.
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Now, yesterday, UA and ND also released the “Shamrock Series” uniforms. They’re a bit more, shall we say, less traditional.
A few things of interest here. First off, they’ll be wearing a mono-blue uniform. The blue pants will have a slightly horizontal gold stripe just above the knee, with the left leg bearing the words “Notre Dame” on it. The sleeves will have gold shoulder insets with the interlocking “ND” logo, and the collar will have gold trim.
There is also (the obligatory) new helmet for the game. The new helmet seems to have more of a matte finish than the current (very shiny) dome, features the interlocking “ND” (for the first time ever on a helmet), a blue stripe & facemask, and has a slight cross-hatch pattern:
I’m a big fan of the “new” (old) uniforms, and I don’t particularly mind the new Shamrock Series unis — although I don’t like the monoblue look. But compared to what they could have introduced, I’d say UA’s new partnership with Notre Dame is off to a pretty good start.
Readers? What say you?
for the Ticker
Two items for “TGFTT” today. The first is an e-mail from Jonathan Dies, who writes:
I was at a charity event this weekend and I ran into a guy who was trying to make a movie about the Akron Vulcans. They were a team in the Continental Football League, some kind of start up league in the 60′s. His dad was a player and he had his uniform and helmet. Attached are the pics I could get.
Here are Jon’s photos (click to enlarge):
Next is just a note, in follow-up to yesterday’s post on the WFL. It’s too good not to share, and it comes from Jimmy Corcoran
I saw your WFL story today, brings back a lot of memories. I saw every WFL team play in person except the Americans because they didn’t come to Philadelphia. My father was the QB for the Bell and Steve Sabol featured me in his Lost Treasures film the WFL
Everybody always talks about how wild the Sun uniforms were, I thought I would share this story with you. The Sun came to play the Bell in 1974 and since the Bell wore white at home the Sun would be wearing their magenta jersey’s with the orange pants, until this day we had only seen them in the game programs.
My father and some of his teammates were warming in in their jerseys and pants with no shoulder pads when the Sun came out to warm up, the uniforms were actually more vibrant in person. The Bell players actually stopped warming up to stare at the Sun players coming out. My father (King Corcoran) said man, those are the wildest uniforms I have ever seen! he looked at me and said, what do you think Jimbo? I said I liked them and he said “Yea, the King digs them too” this was 1974 and the King spoke in true 70′s lingo.
NFL News: “Noticed the other night watching the Titans-Saints preseason game that Jake Locker has switched the type of jersey he wears from really tight on the arm, to loose like many QBs do,” says Eric Wright. Here’s a picture from last year (tight), and one from this year. Nice spot!
NBA & NCAA News: This is kinda cool/odd. Brent Hatfield writes, “Interesting find here, one of the other concepts you featured in your ESPN column has apparently been put into production by the Chinese bootleggers. Check it out!” … Northern Illinois has a new basketball court design (thanks to Jake [@c_r_fap]).
Hockey News:Did the Tampa Bay Lightning leak their new third? According to Hockey Bay, “3rd Jersey Leak? Rumor has it the team will reintroduce a black jersey into their repertoire with a new alternate jersey. This is welcome news to fans who criticized the rebrand’s lack of black.” Apparently it’s all a fake. A photoshop. And a bad one at that. Too bad, because it didn’t look awful.
Soccer News: Rare case of BNFBS? Laurence Holland writes, “In Champions League action Tuesday, Turkish team Besiktas went all-black in memory of their former chairman Süleyman Seba, who passed away this week. (Here’s their first-choice kit for comparison.) Arsenal wore their traditional red and white, but with black armbands. I wonder if they decided not to wear their garish “cup kit” out of respect.”
And that’s going to do it for this fine Wednesday. Another tiny post in the books. Thanks to Mike Styczen for his help with the CFL thirds, Warren Junium for all the great Notre Dame photos, and all you fine submitters and readers. You guys have a great Wednesday.
TOMORROW will be a pretty big day, as we’ll be announcing the new WFL uniform design contest and Paul will have a pretty sweet new ESPN column, among other things. So be sure to check back then. OK? OK!
“Not uni related, but an equipment story from the (W)FL. Shreveport wideout Phil Eber, playing in damn near a monsoon … 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.”