For the past two weeks, leaked images purported to be of the NBA All-Star jerseys have been circulating. The sheer multiplicity of images (there were several more in addition to the ones shown above) seemed to indicate that the leaks were legit, and yesterday Conrad Burry of SportsLogos.net, who’s been laser-focused on this topic, said he had confirmed that the leaks do in fact show the All-Star jerseys.
Now that we know the designs are for real, a few quick thoughts:
• There’s no more East vs. West format this year (they’re going with a draft-style system, with team captains choosing the rosters), so they’ve scrapped the old color system of red vs. blue. Okay, but man, black vs. white? Soooooo boring.
• Kinda hate the black-and-white treatment of the team logos on the chest. Makes the logos (and hence the jerseys) look cheap. Then again, maybe there’s some underlying “Athlete’s Icon Mindset Statement Edition” storytelling here that I’m overlooking.
• The outlined numbers on the back are going to be nearly illegible:
• People who care a lot more about corporate theater than I do are all worked up about the use of the Jordan logo, instead of the Nike logo, on these jerseys. Eh, six of one. As for why they’re going with the Jordan mark, reader Eric Fox tells me, “The entire spring 2018 Jordan line is centered around black/white and the theme ‘City of Flight.’ The jerseys fall in line with the brand theme.” Something-something, tail, dog, wag, something-something.
But hey, maybe the shorts will be really good.
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For all photos in this section, click to enlarge
Item! Non-loathsome reason to go to Times Square: Yes, that’s me in the foreground, with my back to the camera. No, I did not actually get doused in a sticky sports beverage that recently turned the name of a basketball league into a giant advertisement.
That scene took place yesterday afternoon, when I was part of a group of reporters who took a tour of the NFL Experience, an interactive attraction that opened in Times Square back in November. The guy who runs it, Danny Boockvar, described it to me as “Disneyland meets the Hall of Fame,” and that sounds about right. The virtual Gatorade bath (basically, you stand in front of a green screen and look up in mock dismay when the camera guy tells you to) is one of several bits that lean more toward the Disneyland side of that equation, but there’s also plenty of good stuff for the more serious fan. I enjoyed all of it — a fun, impressive place.
I shot a lot of photos and video, so I’ll do a full blog entry on the NFL Experience in a few weeks. For now, I’ll just share two more photos with you, beginning with this panoramic shot of a display that shows ticket stubs from every Super Bowl:
We also got a chance to meet Hall of Famer Mike Singletary, who led a 30-minute session in which he broke down the Xs and Os from some plays in Sunday’s conference championship games:
Singletary, incidentally, was quite entertaining and very poised. I can’t recall if he’s ever done TV studio work (I tend not to watch pregame, postgame, or halftime segments), but I think he’d be good at it.
Meanwhile, if you’re in NYC, I definitely recommend the NFL Experience, which is at the corner of Seventh Ave. and 47th St.
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Click to enlarge
Collector’s Corner By Brinke Guthrie
Here’s just the thing to set up in the living room for your Super Bowl party: This POP (point of purchase) display was shipped to the “Pittsburgh Hat & cap co.” to the attention of Mr. Sidney Rice in July of 1976, and #12 sure looks like Terry Bradshaw to me, judging from the facemask.
• Have mercy, check these out: One auction gets you three of these early 1970s NFL Helmet Kits. If you scroll through the photos you’ll see the Jets one is a little scuffed up, but otherwise they’re in darn good shape for their age.
• This sticker urges Washington Caps fans to “Stick It to ’Em!”
• Dance to “Phillies Fever” with this 1976 45-rpm record (kids, look it up) with several team stars “singing,” including Mike Schmidt.
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Click to enlarge
Collection connection: I have a small collection of bowling-instructional LPs, and that collection got a new addition when I recently scored this copy of 7 Days to Better Bowling (Audio-Dynamics, 1961). It looks great displayed with the other three LPs in my collection — Joe Wilman Shows You How to Bowl Your Best, Hear How to Be a Better Bowler (narrated by Hall of Famer Billy Golembiewski, don’tcha know), and Spares and Strikes Forever (with Don Carter and Chris Schenkel; click to enlarge):
I’m still searching for a copy of Strike! With Billy Welu, but maybe it’s just as well that I don’t have it, because it has a pretty brutal cover design and wouldn’t look good on display.
Naming Wrongs reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, some new Naming Wrongs designs are now available (including a bunch of color options for Cole Field House, like the one shown at right). Check them out here.
NFL News: The Titans will reportedly unveil their new uniform set in April (from Eric Wright). … Brian Speiss points out that the numbers on Tom Brady’s helmet are placed directly on top of a center ridge, instead of straddled on either side like on other teams. … With the Patriots headed to yet another Super Bowl, it’s worth checking in with this Bill Belichick hoodie database (from Brinke). … In addition to showing the worst play in every Super Bowl, this video offers a look into how Supe unis and field designs have changed over the years (from Dan Tarrant). … The NFL Shop in Europe is apparently having problems distinguishing between the Giants and 49ers (from Danny Thompson). … The Roots, the band hailing from Philadelphia, played at halftime of the Eagles/Vikings game on Sunday. Drummer Questlove used a bass drum with a throwback Eagles logo (from Jon Solomonson).
College Football News: Georgia Tech has reportedly selected the shade of gold it will use in its new Adidas football uniforms (from Douglas Ford and Michael Blake Raymer).
College and Youth League Hoops News: Colorado State is following in its football team’s footsteps. The basketball team will wear “State Pride” unis modeled after the Colorado state flag on Jan. 31 (from Rob Montoya and Matt Lesser). … West Virginia and TCU went color-on-color last night (from our own Kris Gross). … The Phi Slamma Jamma-era Houston Cougars had two players with the last name Williams. Instead of adding first initials to their NOBs, they simply wore their first names (from Cork Gaines). … Workers at a UNC bookstore found some old receipts in a used book that celebrated the Tar Heels’ 1993 National Championship (from James Gilbert). … A team of what appears to be elementary school-age girls in Oklahoma wears paw print-patterned uniforms that look like pajamas (from Chance Plett).
Soccer News: Mauro Icardi of Inter Milan suffered a jersey tear Sunday. Looks like it’s not just Nike’s NBA jerseys that are having issues (from Tim Wünderlich).
Grab Bag: Team USA’s opening ceremony outfits for next month’s Winter Olympics include a battery-powered heat system (from Phil). … Speaking of the Olympics, this gallery takes a look at some of the most unique skeleton helmets that will be worn (also from Phil). … Old Bridge Raceway Park in New Jersey recently announced they would no longer host drag racing, which means they’re going to need a new logo (from David Firestone).
The most significant uni-related detail in yesterday’s conference championship games was probably the bandage wrap on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s injured right hand. That hand ultimately helped save us from the ignominy of having to watch the Jaguars’ two-tone helmet in the Super Bowl. Phew!
A few other items from yesterday:
• With Eric Kendricks playing for the Vikings yesterday and his brother Mychal Kendricks playing for the Eagles, their family spread the love with this Franken-tee:
• Here’s a weird one: Yesterday morning the NFL posted a graphic to promote the two conference championship games. For some reason they depicted Eagles quarterback Nick Foles in a green jersey with black pants — a uni combo that the team has never worn:
• Vikings fans traveling to the NFC championship game in Philadelphia were warned by travel agents not to wear Vikings apparel in Philly.
• In another item pertaining to Eagles fans, officials greased the lamp poles in Philadelphia in order to keep people from climbing them as part of a postgame celebration or riot (reminds me of the old Paul Revere & the Raiders tune “Crisco Party”):
Okay, so we have the Pats and Iggles in the Supe. The AFC is the designated home team this year, so it’ll presumably be New England in blue vs. Philly in white (although some superstitious folks are already calling on the Pats to choose white, because 12 of the last 13 Supe winners wore white). If they do indeed go blue vs. white, it’ll be the opposite of what we had when these same two teams matched up in Super Bowl XXXIX) 13 years ago.
Want to take a deeper dive into this year’s Super Bowl uni matchup? Reader Jay Braiman does that every year, and the gun had barely sounded at the end of yesterday’s games when he checked in with his annual breakdown. Take it away, Jay:
The Patriots will likely wear blue. In nine prior Super Bowl appearances, they are 2-2 in blue, 3-1 in white (3-0 in the current design), and 0-1 in red.
The Eagles will likely wear white. They lost both of their prior Super Bowls, both while wearing green. If they decide to go with green pants in the Super Bowl, they will be the first team ever to do so. However, they wore white pants in four of the five games they played this season in white jerseys. If they wear white pants, they will be the 15th Super Bowl team to go white-over-white; such teams have a 6-8 record, including the Panthers’ loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
If the Eagles go with green pants, this will be the 11th time that both teams will wear same-colored helmets and pants.
This will be the seventh Super Bowl rematch. The Patriots will become the second team to play in Super Bowl rematches against two different teams (they previously had rematch against the Giants), the other being the Cowboys (Steelers, twice, and Bills).
In other Super Bowls with subsequent rematches, the team wearing white won the first game four of the five times (Dolphins/Redskins in Super Bowl VII, 49ers/Bengals in Super Bowl XVI, Cowboys/Bills in Super Bowl XXVII, and Giants/Patriots in Super Bowl XLII). Of those four, two (Cowboys and Giants) also wore white in the rematch (XXVIII and XLVI, respectively) and won. Of the other two, the Dolphins wore aqua in the rematch (XVII) and lost; the 49ers wore red in the rematch (XXIII) and won.
This is the fifth consecutive year that both teams have mirror-image helmet decals, and that neither team has letters of the alphabet in its helmet decals, each extending last year’s record. The Patriots are undefeated (5-0) in Super Bowls against teams without letters in their decals (Rams, Eagles, Panthers, Seahawks, Falcons) and winless (0-4) against teams with letters (Bears, Packers, Giants twice).
This is the second year in a row, and fifth time overall, that neither team’s helmet has center striping. It’s the first time that’s happened in consecutive years. The Patriots have been involved in four of those five. The only one they weren’t involved in was Super Bowl IV, Chiefs/Vikings.
This is the 12th Super Bowl — also the third involving the Eagles and the third involving the Patriots (and the second involving both) — between one team whose helmet decal is its primary logo, and one whose helmet decal is not its primary logo. The former have dominated the latter, winning 10 of the 11 games:
(*According to sportslogos.net, during the relevant time periods the Rams’, Eagles’, and Bengals’ helmet designs were the respective teams’ primary logos. However, this statistic refers to the decal, specifically, not the whole helmet. The statistic also does not count the Seahawks [1-2], whose primary logo and helmet decals differ only in execution, or the Giants [4-1], whose differ only in color.)
This will be the seventh Super Bowl in which both teams have three colors other than white in their color schemes.* The Patriots (red, blue, silver) have been involved in all but one of these games, including their previous matchup with the Eagles (green, black, silver) in Super Bowl XXXIX and both XLII and XLVI against the Giants (blue, red, grey), along with XXXVIII against the Panthers (silver, black, Carolina blue) and XLIX against the Seahawks (navy, neon green, grey). The other such games was Super Bowl XXXV, Ravens (black, purple, gold) vs. Giants.
(* Not counting the blue and red hypocycloids and grey outline on the Steelers’ helmet decals, the black outline on the 49ers’ decals, the yellow beak on the Cardinals’ decals, or the silver outline on the Falcons’ decals, all of which colors appear nowhere else on the respective teams’ uniforms. Counting these details would add four more games to the statistic: Super Bowl XL [Steelers/Seahawks], XLIII [Steelers/Cardinals], XLVII [Ravens/49ers], and LI [Patriots/Falcons]. The statistic also doesn’t count grey facemasks on teams that don’t otherwise use grey or silver, which would further add several games from the early years [I, IV, VII, VIII, IX, XIV].)
That, my friends, is the kind of info you won’t find anywhere else. Mega-thanks to Jay for his heroic number-crunching.
(My thanks to Andrew Franklin, Nick Janeway, Sam McKinley, and Phil for their contributions to this section.)
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Call for research assistance: I have a handful of names and addresses of people from the mid-1960s and am trying to track them down for an ESPN piece I’m working on (or, if they’re deceased, I’d like to track down a next of kin).
I’d normally handle this type of thing myself, but I’m super-busy with other work obligations this week and may not have time. If you have experience with this type of research and would like to help, please give me a shout. Thanks so much.
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NBA Uni Tracking By Collin Wright
For the first time in over a month, there were fewer than 10 color vs. color games this past week. With only eight games featuring both teams in a colored set, traditional matchups rebounded in a big way, with 25 games (51%) featuring the home team wear white — the most since the week of Nov. 13. Here’s our updated chart (click to enlarge):
Several observations from this week that jumped out at me:
• The Grizzlies wore their MLK-inspired alternate uniform. What stood out to me in that game, however, was that they paired it with black leggings. I think that makes sense given that the lettering on the uniforms is black, but I will be interested to see if any other teams introduce a new color into their “accessory” rotation that is specific to their alternate uniform design. Previously Memphis had only worn white or blue leggings.
• On Tuesday, for the first time since Nov. 10, Orlando won a game while wearing blue. They had lost nine straight games in that color.
• Miami wore their “regular” black uniform for the first time since October 28. They had worn their throwback black set 16 times since that date.
• The Raptors’ loss at Minnesota on Saturday was the first time they lost a game on the road while wearing their white uniform. They had previously been 7-0 in that set. They remain undefeated while wearing white at home.
• New Orleans continues to be the team most likely to wear contrasting tights and/or socks instead of the unitard look. New Orleans has worn mismatching accessories in 26 of 45 games (58%). No other team has done so in more than half of its games.
• The Spurs have donned their silver alternate for seven games. All seven have been color vs. color matchups.
• One late item from last week: On Jan. 13 we had our first game with one team in grey (San Antonio) and the other in yellow (Denver).
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Culinary Corner: Want to cook a perfect pork chop? It’s not hard: Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a very hot skillet and then sear the chop — two minutes on the first side, then one minute on the other side. Then reduce the heat to low-ish medium, partially cover the skillet, and continue to cook for three minutes per side (or four per side for particularly thick chops, like the ones I’m about to show you).
That’s the method I used the other night for two thick boneless chops that had been sitting in my freezer since last May. This was supermarket pork, which doesn’t have much flavor, so I treated the chops with a spice rub, which created a nice blackened effect in the skillet. The meat turned out a perfect rosy pink; meanwhile, the Tugboat Captain made a really nice arugula salad with apples and walnuts. So simple, so good (click pics to enlarge):
And yes, I have a pig-shaped cutting board. I don’t use it exclusively for pork products, but it’s particularly satisfying to use in situations like this one.
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Naming Wrongs update: It’s been well over a month since our last round of new Naming Wrongs designs, but Scott M.X. Turner and have been working on a new batch, which is now ready to go. One at a time:
Providence Civic Center: For all you Friars fans out there, this one is available in black and grey:
Cole Field House: Xfinity Center, my ass! This one’s available in red, black, gold, and grey:
The Convo: Arkansas State hoops fans, this one’s for you. Available in red, black, and grey:
We have one more design in the works, which I hope to share with you tomorrow.
All of these designs are now available in the Naming Wrongs shop. They’re also cross-listed in the Uni Watch shop, where card-carrying members can get 15% off. (If you’re a member and need the discount code, send me a note and I’ll hook you up.) My thanks, as always, for your consideration.
Football News: The Jaguars are the London’s de facto “home team,” so Wembley Stadium arch was lit up in Jags colors (well, teal-ish and gold) yesterday (from Mark Johnson). … In Canadian university football, the University of British Columbia will wear a new gold helmet, says Wade Heidt, who thinks this may be part of a new alternate uniform, as the Thunderbirds’ colors are usually royal blue with yellow, not gold.
Hockey News: Wisconsin added a memorial decal for former center Jim Johannson (from Jerry Nitzh). Johannson was a Whalers draft pick in 1982, but spent his entire career in the minor leagues. He played for the United States at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics and the 1992 World Championship and later worked for USA Hockey; he was the general manager of the current Olympic team. … Roger Krafve picked up a hat worn by the bus driver for the minor league Minneapolis Bruins ca. 1963-64. It was made by a company called Unitog, one of whose catalogs Paul once wrote about. … Cross-listed from the baseball section: The Ducks wore L.A. Angels-themed warmups yesterday (from Tyler Johnson).
Soccer News: Reader Omar Jalife was at the Football Museum in São Paulo and saw the shirt Pelé is purported to have worn when scoring in the 1970 World Cup final. Omar has documented for us in the past that that was the last World Cup finals game before logo creep set in in 1974. “It was fun to discover they had Umbro uniforms” from the shirt’s tag, he says. … The new NWSL No. 1 draft pick, Stanford midfielder Andi Sullivan, posed with last year’s Washington Spirit shirt, which she likely won’t actually wear next season. Ostensibly to avoid that situation, draft picks in both the NWSL and MLS usually pose with scarves instead. … Continuing in the NWSL, former Seattle Reign and USWNT goalie Hope Solo received a No. 200 shirt at yesterday’s national team friendly against Denmark. Solo reached 200 caps (i.e., appearances) for the USWNT during the 2016 Olympics. … Scottish League One (third tier) team Alloa Athletic changed at home from gold/black to dark blue in a Scottish Cup match, because opponents Dundee United’s mono-orange and mono-black kits would have both clashed with them.
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Photo by Mary Bakija; click to enlarge
What Paul did last night two nights ago: I’ve mentioned the awesome New York indie-rock band Scupper several times now. Saw them play again on Saturday night, at Muchmore’s, where the bandstand was so tiny that lead guitarist Noah Gordon had to have his foot up on a stage-adjacent chair for much of their set.
They deserve a bigger stage, and a bigger audience. You can help by checking out their tremendous new album, Some Gauls, which is embedded below. If you like it (and it’s hard to imagine anyone not liking it), do the right thing and pay for the download, or even order the physical vinyl LP.
Scupper’s next show is two Saturdays from now, Feb. 3, at the Cobra Club. You know what to do.
When the Oakland Raiders finally leave Oakland Alameda County Coliseum (2019? 2020?), it will mark the end of an era in the NFL. With that move, there will be no teams who play football in baseball (or multi-purpose) stadiums with natural grass, and it’s likely we’ll no longer see players running across dirt infields kicking up dust (or mud) for the foreseeable future. But there was once a time when not only was this a common occurrence, many NFL teams were tenants in baseball stadia, and since these edifices weren’t designed with a gridiron in mind, it made for some very interesting layouts (not necessarily very fan-friendly however).
I’ve been following an account on twitter for a while, @OTBaseballPhoto, or “Old Time Baseball Photos,” as it is fully known. Recently I’ve gotten to know the man behind the account, Ronnie Bolton, pretty well. As the name would indicate, the account is primarily a treasure trove of wonderful photos of baseball fields, players, stadiums and uniforms, from the past. But, as we’re entering the penultimate weekend of NFL football (The NFC and AFC Championship games are today, if you happen to be living in a cave, followed by the Supe in a couple weeks) I decided the time was right to introduce Ronnie and his twitter page (he’s a must follow) to Uni Watch — and I asked him if he could do a twist on his usual baseball postings — could he give us some nice historical perspective on football played in baseball stadiums. He obliged.
But first, a quick Q&A to get to know Ronnie a bit better.
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Uni Watch: Are you a Uni Watch reader and if so, how long have you been following?
Ronnie Bolton: I do and just about the time I joined twitter, but as we both found out the other night when I was totally unaware of the 1960 Boston Patriots helmet logo, I need to step that up!
UW: How old are you and where do you live?
RB: I’m 52 and I’m a Queens native but I moved to New Jersey when I was young and have been living in Sayreville for most of my life.
UW: Ah, so we’re the same age and you were born on LI too. Nice. Where and how do you find the photos you post? Are they all from google searches or is there a special site from which you mine them?
RB: A lot of great finds can be had by Google search, if you know the right keywords, but I also dig through digital libraries, if I came across any of them, you better believe I’m in there digging, finding a gem of a baseball photo that is hidden away and researching the details is a great thrill, and it’s even a greater thrill to be able to share the photo and its history with everyone. But I also get photos through friends like Don Stokes or Jay Gauthreaux. But mostly it’s digging on my own, and I love doing it.
UW: Do you own any of these photos or are they all just tracked down through meticulous searching?
RB: While the more I do this, I do get intrigued of acquiring photos, I just never been much of a collector of anything, including autographs, baseball cards, any kind of sports memorabilia. When I was young I brought baseball cards like most kids did, but I more interested in the stats on the back, because at that time there weren’t many outlets to get them from. Plus I got gum.
UW: Do you clean them up (edit them) or alter them in any way?
RB: I’m lucky enough to have a buddy like Don Stokes who is an old pro at cleaning up photos with Photoshop. But there are many photos I will personally work on, most of the time enlarging them without losing its clarity or working on panoramas. And I love panoramas prints, but truth is not many social media platforms are user-friendly towards them to be fully appreciated, especially on Facebook.
UW: How long have you been doing this? I see you have a large amount of twitter followers (especially since I started R/Ting you a lot ;)). Has that number increased steadily?
RB: With social media and old baseball photos, late 2013 I believe. My twitter account I started in October of 2014 and the growth of followers has always been steady since, but the last few months it’s really taken off and it was about the same time Twitter increased their characters from 140 to 280. I hate leaving characters on the table, and I will try to use them all to tell the story of a photo, so my tweets have had more content and I think it’s a sign that people just don’t enjoy the photos, but enjoy the history behind them. But if Twitter ever increases their tweets to characters to say a 1,000, I’m in big trouble.
UW: Do you have a website or blog or social media presence besides twitter?
UW: Peter Frampton would be proud. This is all strictly a hobby, correct? Do you have any plans to expand (or create a dedicated website)?
RB: Hobby for now but exploring maybe putting out an E-Book on the very subject you and me worked on here and me and Gary have talked about collaborating on something soon.
UW: Anything else you think our readers would like to know about you?
RB: I’m a very disgruntled Mets fan.
UW: Aren’t we all, though? How much research is involved in the posting?
RB: I do quite a bit of research on the photos, any time I come across something that I think our readers/followers would enjoy, I will find out as much as possible the details of the photo and tell its story. If a photo that has no details and content but has a scoreboard, that’s like a puzzle for me and well I’m happy as a pig in mud. And sometimes researching online or books doesn’t give you the answers you’re looking for, but I’m fortune enough to be able to check with MLB’s official historian John Thorn, who is kind enough to give me answer every time. Which is something I learned from him and try to do, I get plenty of questions – or even requests – and I try my best to answer each one or fulfill each request. And I have learned a great deal from Tom Shieber as well, he’s the Senior Curator at the National Baseball Hall of the Fame and one of the best baseball sleuths you’ll ever find, reading his blog you learn how to decipher photos in ways you never thought of. And Bee Smile[UW readers know him as Bruce Menard — PH], someone who knows about baseball photos as anyone I know, is always someone I can reach out to.
UW: What is the most satisfying thing about all this?
RB: My biggest satisfaction is being able to add more to a photo than its image, adding the history of that event at that moment. But maybe even more satisfying is when someone tells us that our work has piqued their interest in the history of the game, because that’s what it’s all about.
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I asked Ronnie if he could give us 8 football played in baseball stadia/fields historical lookbacks, and he did NOT disappoint.
For each of these – I’ve linked to the great Clem’s Baseball site, which shows how the football fields were laid out inside the baseball stadia. There are some that were wedged in pretty good!
The icy gridiron is ready for the 1956 NFL Championship between the Chicago Bears and New York Giants . It would be the first time in the title game for both teams since the Bears beat the Giants 24-14 in 1946. It’s also the Giants first season playing at Yankee Stadium.
And just like in the 1934 NFL Championship contest against the Bears, the Giants switched from cleats to sneakers to counter the slippery turf, a move that proved to be a major factor in the game’s outcome as the Giants won with ease 47-7 and captured their first NFL Championship since 1938.
The first ever Lions game at Tigers Stadium, then known as Briggs Stadium, takes place against Washington with 42,855 in attendance. But the Lions would fall short 7-5 thanks to a lifeless offense.
And while this was the first time the Lions played at Tiger Stadium, they weren’t the first, or even second, NFL team to do so. In 1920 the Detroit Tigers/Heralds of the APFA (renamed NFL in 1922) played in 1920 and 1921 there, but folded quickly. In 1925 the Detroit Panthers gave it a go but they too folded after just two years.
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New York Giants vs Pittsburgh Steelers, September 25, 1949, Forbes Field
Just 20,957 are on hand for the NFL season opener to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers drub the NY Giants 28-7, in part due to a second quarter that saw the Steelers score 21 unanswered points.
From 1922 to 1938, the Cardinals split time between Comiskey Park, Wrigley Field and Normal Field until they finally settled into Comiskey in 1939. There they stayed for the next 20 years before leaving for St Louis after the 1958 season.
A sparse crowd of just 6,700 got their moneys worth in a AFL contest that saw the Candlestick Park scoreboard get lit up with 77 points. The “home team” Oakland Raiders lost the lead in final two minutes when halfback Johnny Robinson’s 13-yard run and a two-point conversion gave his Dallas Texans (today’s Kansas City Chiefs) a 42-35 lead that would hold up.
In the Raiders first year in 1960, they shared Kezar Stadium with San Francisco 49ers, but conflicts between the two teams forced the Raiders to move to Candlestick for final three games of the season and all of 1961.
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Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears, November 16, 1963, Wrigley Field
The undefeated Green Bay Packers (5-0) and the winless Minnesota Vikings (0-5) meet on remarkable warm October 14th day as the highs would hit 75 degrees. And it would be the Packers dominant run game helping win the day by churning out 209 yards in a 48-21 romp. Green Bay’s All-World fullback Jim Taylor accounted for 164 of those rushing yards.
The Vikings called Metropolitan Stadium home in 1961, the same year the Twins (formerly Washington Senators) did after moving from the nations capital, and in 1982 both would move out together and into the newly built Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
This classic baseball cathedral has been home to five professional football teams, including its most recent football tenant, the Boston Patriots. This fourth-year AFL team played their first game in shadows of the Green Monster on September 9, 1963 when they beat the New York Jets 38-14, and their last game on December 1, 1968 losing to Cincinnati Bengals 33-14.
As far as the large photo, we also know it’s around 1963 because of the construction on the Prudential Building that opened in 1964, and look where the goal posts are located – on the goal line. So it rules out college football.
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Awesome stuff, Ronnie. Thanks so much for sharing and for the history lesson to boot.
We’ll be hearing more from Ronnie in the future on Uni Watch, but I hope today served as a nice intro and if you’re into baseball, history, and historical baseball photos, Ronnie is a must follow on the Twitter.
Uni Watch News Ticker By Phil
Baseball News: Check out this gorgeous oil on canvas portrait of Jackie Robinson (from artist Andy Brown). Here’s a “timelapse” of how he created it. … Friday was photo day for the Florida State Seminoles (from Christina Dodson). … High Point High School has a new white and purple jersey. … UGH. Let’s hope this isn’t a trend: “I’ve never seen a baseball team wear a camo jersey AND camo pants,” says David Murphy. “This is Jake Margolick from Highland Park High School in Illinois. Not sure if the uni is from high school or a travel team. I perused HPHS and saw pink jerseys, rainbow jerseys, maybe even a camo jersey – but no camo pants.” … CROSSOVER ALERT! The one-time president of the St. Louis Steamers (soccer) apparently also played baseball (from Jimmer Vilk). Also posted in soccer. … The Montgomery Biscuits will become the ‘Greenbow Biscuits’ on Forrest Gump tribute night June 1. … We all know (or should) that the Padres almost moved to Washington, D.C. for the 1974 season, but did you know that the San Francisco Giants almost moved to Toronto and would have been known as the Toronto Giants? (from Minor Leaguer). Toronto would get it’s own MLB team one year later. … Our pal Chris Creamer has a real nice thread on Twitter on the Toronto Giants and their proposed move up north. Make sure to read thru the whole thing! … Here’s a video still and some rare footage of the Red Sox from their “no-stripes” season, 1974 (from Retro Rob McGill). Marc Okkonen notes this as an alternate home uni (different cap and no stripes on the stirrups). … You’ve always wanted to see Denny McLain in HALF a White Sox uni, right? Bob Gassel notes, “Shortly after being signed by the White Sox, just out of high school, in 1962. Sort of anticipates their late ’70s look a bit!” … WHOA! Check out this time Lapse of Sharpie-ing Forbes Field (home of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1909-70). From Jeff Callahan.
Hockey News: Looks like Antti Niemi still has his Pittsburgh Penguins gloves in Montreal. Submitter TheGoalNet adds, “The front graphics have @ChameleonSports Pad Skinz on them to match @CanadiensMTL Unis.” … It was color vs color for St. Cloud and St. Cloud Cathedral high schools on Hockey Day Minnesota outdoors. Submitter Cody Wolfe adds, “These jerseys are beautiful.” … Speaking of Hockey Day in Minnesota, check out this AMAZING five-person custom sweater seen during the Minnesota-Duluth/St. Cloud State game (from Cody Wolfe). … Yesterday’s lede featured the fauxback Grand Rapids Griffins sweater designed by our own reader John Elbertson. Their opponent that night? The Cleveland Monsters. Well, guess who’s having own fauxback jersey night on February 2? And guess who their opponent is? (from Brad Foster). I don’t think John designed the Monsters fauxbacks. … CROSSOVER ALERT! CFL uniforms get the hockey treament: “The Tim Hodge jerseys shown at the start have been in the Uni Watch ticker before,” says Wade Heidt. “They are from April 2017. This is what is new. Another fan, Jason Ethier, has done up full hockey uniforms for all CFL teams. Here is the story from the CFL website which links to Jason’s tweets.” Also posted in football. … There was an outdoor game in Hershey last night. Wade Heidt notes “As part of the festivities before, the Hershey Bears Alumni played the Philadelphia Flyers Alumni Friday night. 1)The Bears Alumni uniform featured the club’s 80th Anniversary Season logo as the crest; 2) The teams switched sweaters halfway through. Bears changed from white to brown. Flyers from orange to white; and 3) Ray Bourque was in the game as an honourary Hershey Bears Alumni member for the evening.” Details and photos can all be found in this story. … Al Montoya has a digitally printed wrap while he waits for a new painted mask from Bishop Designs. Expect his MI Wolverine + NHL team mashup theme to continue (from TheGoalNet). … Check out these alternate uniform concepts for the Caps 2018 Stadium Series game. … Here’s some video from the Hershey Bears vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms outdoor game from last night. Here’s a closeup of the sweaters worn by Hershey and the all orange outfits worn by Lehigh Valley.
Readers will recall that during the month of August (when Paul takes his much-deserved sabbatical from the weekday duties) I had the honor and pleasure of again hosting a design contest sponsored by the Grand Rapids Griffins, the AHL affiliate of the Red Wings. This year, the Griffins sought Uni Watch reader submissions for a “fauxback” jersey, and the winner of this past year’s contest was John Elbertson, whose winning design was this:
As the Griffins did with last year’s winner Dan Kennedy, this year’s winner received a custom jersey based off of his design, and a special invitation to join with the team at the game where the fauxback jerseys were being worn. That game occurred the previous Friday (January 12, when the Griffins had their “80’s Fauxback Night”), and John was able to make the trip (from Pennsylvania all the way to Grand Rapids!) and document his experience for us.
I had a bunch of back-and-forthing with John via e-mail about his experience, so I’ll lay this out as if we’d have done a Q&A, since it will flow a bit better than just random cutting/pasting of our conversation. Suffice it to say it looks like he had a great time, and I’m thankful to the Griffins for again allowing me to host the contest which provided our winner with such a nice prize!
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Uni Watch: How old are you and where do you live? How long have you been reading/following Uni Watch?
John Elbertson: I’m 38 and live in Shippensburg, PA, about an hour or so south of the Hershey Bears. I’ve been reading/following Uni Watch since 2011, but have been a fan of sports logos and jerseys my whole life.
UW: Have you always been interested in jersey design? I know you’ve entered Uni Watch design contests before.
UW: What was the first contest you ever entered? Do you remember?
JE: The first design contest I entered was when I was 8 or 9, for Nintendo Power. It was a contest to design a boss robot for Mega Man 6 (details here). My entry was Nuke Man, a crudely-drawn, socially oblivious concept. There were roughly 200,000 entries, so needless to say I lost. Mind you, back then you had to buy a stamp and physically mail in your entry, so it was a lot of extra effort and who knows if it even got there :(.
UW: Besides these and the Griffins, any other uniform designs you would like to share?
UW: Can you walk me through your design process for the Griffins? I posted the contest on August 1st and received your entry on August 11th.
JE: August 4th, 2017 … My family and I had just returned from Florida, and I came back with a couple of concept ideas in mind. The first was a modified design for the Tampa Bay Lightning (font courtesy of the elevator at our hotel). The other idea I had was for a third jersey for San Diego State University, red with black sleeves, a chest stripe that carried over into the arms, and the Mayan Calendar graphics incorporated somehow.
However, when I heard about the Griffins competition being open, I decided to use my idea for that instead. I ditched the black sleeves almost instantly, despite the fact that it drew similarity to the Red Wings’ white jersey (my all-time favorite). I wanted to use all four colors in the team’s description, but the gold was so close to red/brown that I had to isolate it on white or black.
I had a major problem right from the start with designing an ’80s jersey. My guess was that the Griffins wanted a unique design, but ’80s hockey jerseys are pretty conservative. A lot of the elements in those jerseys can be found in the ’60s, modern times, and probably well into the future. So I googled ’80s jerseys and tried to find elements from any sports that were unique to that decade. I ended up a Phillies-style wordmark that seemed like a good fit, so I had a look at past winners of the competition and saw some of them had wordmark logos too, so I was all set there. In the vein of keeping it simple ’80s style, I kept the striping minimal and didn’t use cuffs, a hem stripe or a yoke.
The G-Wing logo was basically a way for me to get the Red Wings logo on the left side, where it would face front, as it looks to me anyway. I took the shading in the wheel and applied it to the G as a nod to the parent club. The wings were done as retro as I could make them, they almost look art-deco to me. The G-Wing was originally red with gold feathers (pictured above), but seemed inconsistent with the rest of the jersey that way. The font, Typographica, is one I used on my only other contest-winning jersey design, the Florida Flamingos of the IceHL (logos by Colin Magee).
I proofed each draft of the design on my phone to make sure little details weren’t getting lost. Sent it to a couple of friends for critique and everything came back positive. But once all of the designs were revealed, I thought for sure Will Sinnott was going to win. His entry is the benchmark of what proper research on a project looks like. I was just hoping maybe they were picking two winners, and even then things seemed very much up in the air. There were a lot of great designs to choose from.
UW: Wow. That’s impressive. So, take me from finding you won our contest through working with the Griffins on the design to the night your design was actually worn on the ice. Must have been a blast!
JE: August 25th, 2017 … Waiting with my kids at their bus stop. I check my phone and see the story has popped on Uni-Watch. I can barely look, peeking down and sideways. My son asks me what I’m doing, I tell him “just Daddy being a weirdo”. He’s not surprised, he knows I’m checking the contest. I squint and see my name, and I’m like “We won boys!” I give out some high-fives, but I still can’t believe it. For all the years I’ve been doing concepts, I never thought one would get made into a real jersey.
UW: That must have been a pretty surreal moment. OK, what next?
JE: Shortly after, Marissa Malson [the Griffins’ Director of Digital Marketing — PH] contacts me. She offered me tickets for the whole family, but my wife had a work commitment, so I went solo.
JE: Fast forward to January 12th, and I’m driving through Ohio just as the blizzard is starting to hit. Got really lucky I didn’t leave later. After a 10-hour trip, I pull into Grand Rapids and grab a couple of slices of pizza from Lucky Luciano’s. If you’re ever there, I highly recommend it.
Next thing I know, I’m going into the Van Andel Arena through the back like Goodfellas, and Marissa meets me and gives me my jersey. It looks awesome! I’ve always loved CCM jerseys. And the gold on the actual jersey looks lighter and really pops. We go out to center ice for pictures, and I manage not to fall on my face, thus conquering the stupidest legit fear I’ve ever had.
UW: Sweet. Looks a bit “snug.” Nah, it looks great. OK, what next?
JE: I get an arena tour (it’s NICE), then go out to the penalty box to watch warm-ups.
UW: OK, so the game starts and you’re watching all these guys playing in jerseys you designed. That’s gotta be amazing. Since it was a fauxback design and night, did the Griffins play it up as such?
JE: I take my seat and the game begins. I’m trying not to critique my design, and just enjoy myself. ’80s ads (including the Where’s the Beef lady) and shows are being played on the jumbo, and ’80s tunes are being played at every stoppage.
JE: The whole evening was really well put-together by the Griffins.
UW: How’d the game go?
JE: After two periods, the Griffins are playing well. One of the other 12 finalists, Jordan Santalucia [here’s his contest submission –PH], comes up to congratulate me, which blew my mind because I didn’t think anyone would be interested I was there. We ended up talking through the whole second intermission about concepts and such. He’s still in school, so I urged him to start working on a ton of concepts now, so he can learn the things I’m just learning now at 38, like how the vertical seam is supposed to stop at the hem stripe. And pay attention in figure drawing class. I still can’t draw a thumb right.
UW: How’d your design look on the ice?
JE: See for yourself!
UW: Damn, that looks good. What happened next?
JE: Before I knew it the game was over, with the Griffins pulling out a 4-2 victory over the Monsters. I stayed for the jersey auction, thinking these would go for a couple hundred bucks or so. But the guy next to me is confident they’ll go for more. The first jersey went for $1,100! There was some serious money being dished out for the Griffins Youth Foundation, which made me really happy. A husband and wife paid $1400 and $1300 for their jerseys, shortly after Svechnikov’s goes for $2000!!! Even the mascot’s goes for $500 to the aforementioned guy next to me. The decision to make the jersey red was also made in part due to the fact they didn’t have a red jersey, and maybe they could keep it as a third. I didn’t know at the time they were going to auction them off.
UW: That’s fantastic! A great night and a good cause too.
JE: I hated to leave, but I don’t think the Griffins were going to let me live at the arena for a few days, so I head back home. I couldn’t wait to get home and show everybody the jersey!
UW: Beautiful. Anything else?
JE: Yes. A couple videos. Check out this 80s style preview:
Here’s a video that they played on the jumbo LOL. “Griff Roll – Never Gonna Give You Up”
And finally, here’s some video of the unis in action!
UW: Awesome, John, truly awesome! Glad you enjoyed it. Any final thoughts?
JE: I don’t know if I’ll ever have an experience like that again, but I strongly urge all of the concept artists and hockey fans out there to go for it again and again. I’ve lost my fair share of design contests and I know it feels crummy, but when you finally pull it off, it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
Thanks again to the Griffins, Marissa Malson, Phil Hecken and Uni-Watch for making all of this possible. Can’t wait to see what the entries look like this summer!
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And there you have it. An experience of a lifetime — all made possible by Marissa, the Griffins, and their desire to work with me on their fauxback design contest all the way back in August. Thanks, John, for sharing this with the readership!
The Ticker By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: Here’s a look at the University of Cincinnati’s new pullover jerseys. Love those sleeve stripes! (from @markomlor). … Cameron Ilich sends along this awesome poster for a Fall Out Boy, Rise Against and MGK concert at Wrigley Field. … @BSmile tweeted this awesome mid-century Busch Stadium popcorn holder. Anyone ever see that pitching Cardinal logo before? … So this is new: a Wisconsin, Brewers-branded vanity license plate that has been personalized with “PADRES”. I wonder how many Brewers and Padres fans there are? (From Dylan Buell).
Soccer News: DC United launched their new home kits yesterday. It includes the coordinates for Buzzard’s Point, the neighborhood in Washington where DCU’s new stadium (and Nationals Park) is located. More photos here (thanks to Kim Kolb, Ed Kalas, John Muir and everyone else who sent this along). … Every year, MLS photographs every team’s manager wearing the team’s scarf. This year, all scarves are on the same template, except for the newest club LAFC (from @nordeckian). … I feel like we’ve covered this before, but just in case: The Carolina Dynamo of the Premier Development League uses a poorly-photoshopped version of the Nottingham Forest crest as their own (from Tyler Johnson).