My NFL season-preview column is now up on ESPN — here’s the link.
Meanwhile, let’s talk about the new NFL logo. By now you’ve all seen the new version, which will go into effect next year (and has already inspired several parodies). Let’s examine the changes and some of the league’s stated reasons for them:
• The old typeface was dated. Yeah, it probably was. It’s always felt very 1970s to me, and the curlicue on the end of the L has generally struck me as more kitschy than elegant. A modest tweak would have been fine by me.
That said, the new type treatment is a disaster. Remember how the Cardinals’ Turn Ahead the Clock insignia featured robotic birds? ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s how this type feels to me — a clunky, robotic take on the previous version. And as a few jillion people have already noted, the old lettering matched the contours of the shield, but the new version doesn’t even try. C’mon, people — even Larry Johnson’s tattoo does a better job of matching type to its surrounding environment than this new logo does.
• The 25 stars were too many for licensees to reproduce on a patch. Then maybe you should have your licensees talk to the people who make American flag patches. Fifty stars, easy as pie. And here’s a thought: Maybe you’d have more room to depict the stars if you didn’t devote so much of the neckline patch to the word Equipment.
• Yeah, but the eight stars represent the eight divisions — the old 25 stars didn’t stand for anything. Oh, please. The NFL didn’t even go to the eight-division format until 2002, so it’s not exactly a time-honored institution. In this era of expansion and relocation and reconfiguration, the lifespan of a given league format is about 15 years. Does anyone really doubt that they’ll be tinkering with the division structure again before long? And what will they do then — change the league logo again? (As an aside, do the stars in the NFC and AFC logos “stand for anything”? Quick, redesign those with four stars each, one for each division, before someone notices!)
My favorite thing about the outgoing logo is how the football is positioned over the stars, partially obscuring some of them. It creates a sense of lots of stars, almost like a waving flag — very spangle-y, almost glittery, like fireworks. But the new football just sits in between the two quartets of stars, and you can almost feel the dull thud that resulted when they put it there. Again, it feels robotically club-footed compared to the previous version.
• The new football is more realistic, plus it evokes the Lombardi Trophy. Oh really? The actual Lombardi Trophy shows eight laces on the ball — same as on a real football. The ball in the old logo also has eight laces. But the new logo shows a ball with five laces, which means it’s not true to the trophy or to a real-life football. Minor point? Maybe, but it speaks to the heavy-handedness and lack of fine detail in this new design.
So let’s ask the standard Uni Watch question: Is it good or is it stupid? I think it’s clear where I’m coming down on that one.
And please, I don’t want to hear anyone saying how I’m resistant to chnage, how I hate anything new, blah-blah-blah. Like I said, I’ve never been in love with the old logo’s typography and definitely think it offers room for improvement. But this ain’t it.
OK? Good. Now get off my lawn.
O Canada: Anyone else getting exhausted by all these NHL unveilings? Just when you think you’ve caught up, they throw a few more at you. I’m tempted to call it Sisyphean (in part because it’s true, but mainly because I just like saying, “Sisyphean”).
Quickly, then: The Canadiens have gotten it right. My only two concerns: (1) The white jersey’s hemline stripes look a bit thinner than before. (2) As someone astutely noted in yesterday’s comments, the Habs created the illusion of a straight hemline by positioning the new jerseys on a flat surface, thereby hiding Reebok’s new shirttail-style hem, which continues to be the problematic. (Additional pics are here, and additional info is here.)
The Flames have gotten it wrong. Seriously, what the hell is this? And this? And while I’m generally in favor of flags on uniforms, the Alberta flag‘s color scheme looks awful on the home jersey. What a mess. They did get one thing right, however: I think the rounded shirttail hem is better suited for stripes that are flush against the edge, instead of floating a few inches above the hemline.
Mail Call: Several people have mentioned to me that they’re no longer receiving e-mail notifications when a new ESPN column goes up, even though they’re on the mailing list. Of course, the blog itself functions as a notification system, since I always link to new ESPN columns from this site, but still, I want the mailing list to function properly. If you’re on the list and haven’t been getting notices lately (or if you’re not on the list but want to join), let me know and I’ll make sure you’re signed up.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Contrary to some rumors that were floating around last week, the 49ers will not be wearing their Montana-era throwbacks for the entire season. They’ll still wear them for their first game, as has been the plan all along, but that’s it. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Burger King is giving away mini-jerseys. … That Nike commercial featuring LaDainian Tomlinson running wild on the Bears’ defense wasn’t received very well in Chicago. … Kris McInnis sent along three excellent Auburn pics: this shot of the school’s infamous orange jersey, which was worn one time apiece in 1978 (against Georgia), ’79 (Miss. State), and ’80 (Georgia again); this shot of Shug Jordan in an Alabama Poly. Tech. practice jersey with painted on letters and numbers, taken two years before the school officially changed its name to Auburn; and this shot of a tearaway jersey from 1980, plus a rare glimpse of Auburn using merit decals. … According to this article in the Charlotte Business Journal, the Bobcats’ navy uniform will be worn 20 time this season (up from 12 in 2006-07) and will eventually become the team’s primary design, and the franchise emphasizes blue and reduces the role of orange. … You have got to be kidding me (blame Vince). … Ethan Rowley and his wife were recently at a Nebraska volleyball game, where Mrs. Ethan noted that many of the ’Huskers had their shorts tags sticking out. Upon going home and doing a bit of investigative work, Team Rowley discovered that this had happened before — several times, in fact. And other schools do it too! Could some volleyball-savvy reader please fill us in on this highly disturbing trend? … Speaking of volleyball, let’s go out on a high note: Cory Wright reports that the girls’ volleyball team at Sullivan Central High in Blountville, Tennessee, has been wearing some completely amazing socks.