By Phil Hecken
OK, the NFL playoffs are upon us, so it’s time to determine the winners. Last year, I tried to do that Old School Style, and um…that didn’t work out so well. So, this year, I’m gonna do it the right way. What is the right way, you ask? It’s quite simple, I’m going to take the team with the best uniform in each contest. Now, that may be somewhat subjective (as we’ll see below), but it’s the way it’s going to work this year, based on my opinion of just which team is sporting the best uni in each contest.
Let’s take a look at our first round matchups: (Note, we’ll use the results ATS — Against The Spread — as they appear at the time of the matchup). I’m not picking my teams based on the spread, but if the team with the superior uniform is a decided dog, and the lose but keep it close (beating the spread), that will count as a CORRECT pick. If the team with the better uni is the decided favorite, they not only need to win, but they need to beat the spread. OK? OK!
Jets vs. Bengals.
Under any circumstances, this one is a no-brainer. Whether the J-E-T-S decide to go white over white (even though they’re wearing the wrong socks), or the less aesthetically-pleasing white over green, they’re still miles ahead of the Bengals. I would expect the Jets to come out in all white, but with Sexy Rexy, one never knows, do one?
The Cincinnati Bengals, with the worst uniform of all the teams in the playoffs, have several options from which to choose. Although their official home uniform is black over white, they have myriad options from which to choose: alternate orange over white, the dreaded black monochrome leotards, or even the rarely used orange over black. Their best look is the orange over white, but I’m not sure how the NFL treats alternates — I believe a team may petition the NFL to wear them in the playoffs, and if granted, they can be worn a maximum of one time.
Nevertheless, there is NO look the Bengals could sport that would look better than anything the Jets could wear (yeah…even that).
The Pick: Jets
Cowboys vs. Eagles.
Things start to get complicated here — a LOT more complicated, because these are two teams whose uniforms are both pretty evenly matched. Since the ‘boys are at home, there is no question that they will wear their standard white over bluish-silver standards. They’d likely be wearing this if they were in Philly as well (although Philly has been known to break out the “home whites” for games against Dallas.
The Eagles, on the other hand, will undoubtedly be dressed in their green over white combination. Highly unlikely the’d break out the black alternates, nor would they wear the monochrome green travesty.
So, we’re left with the Cowboys Whites versus the Eagles Greens. It’s a tough call for me, since both teams look very good and I’m very partial to green (particularly the ‘midnight’ green shade the Eagles wear), but I prefer the Eagles white over green to their green over white, and the Cowboys have been wearing their uniform, pretty much unchanged, since forever. There’s actually a LOT to hate about the Cowboys unis however, and they haven’t won a playoff game since Bill Clinton was in office.
The Pick: Eagles
Ravens v. Patriots.
This one is more difficult than you’d think. I love the Ravens home uniforms, but their roadies are going to be a crapshoot. That’s because, if they wear white over white, I pick them in a heartbeat. Great look. Unfortunately, they have a propensity for wearing the white over black look, which produces the dreaded leotard look. That would be the deal breaker here.
The New England Patriots, on the other hand, will assuredly wear their standard blue over silver look, of which I am not terribly fond. Were they to break out gorgeous throwbacks, this pick would be no contest. Despite the awesomeness of that possibility, I fear they’ll stick with the good luck Super Bowl unis. Er…GOOD luck SB unis.
Assuming the Pats don’t throwback and the Ravens go white over white, the pick is easy. Anything else is a roll of the dice. Still, I’ll hope the Ravens don’t blow it with the leotards.
The Pick: Ravens
Packers vs. Cardinals.
While the actual results may belie the pick here, this is an easy one. In fact, it’s almost as much of a “no contest” as the Jets vs. Bengals. The Pack will be sporting one of the best uniforms in the NFL. (I voted their home uni as the best in the NFL in the Best NFL Uniform poll.) I think I voted the roadies as the best too. So we need only give a cursory glance to their opponents, who happen to feature one of the worst uniforms in the game (although not necessarily the worst, at least according to you).
The Packers will be facing the defending NFC Champion and reigning Western Conference Champion Arizona Cardinals. If the Cardinals have some sense of decency, they’ll sport their bumper sticker-laden red over white look. If they really want to make me hate them, then they’ll break out the red ballet outfits. The only saving grace with these atrocities is the fact that they are matte in their sheen. Can you imagine if they had stuck with the shiny stuff when they “improved” their uniforms a few years back?
I was wrong last year in picking against the Cards, but I was using a different system then. I won’t be wrong again, will I?
The Pick: Packers
Well, there you have it. The picks for the first round of the playoffs. I’ll stick with this new way of choosing the winners again this year, and I’m sure I’ll have better results than last (when I went a sub-par 5 and 6). With the Colts and Bolts in the AFC still to play and the Saints and Vikes in the NFC still to come, the choices for the Divisional Round may be easier than this one. We’ll see.
What do you think? Like the picks? Disagree with the picks, but like the method? Or do you think I’m just talking out my… Let’s hear it.
Our “Special FINAL Edition Five Plus One” today brings us back to our man in the street, Jim Vilk, (seen preparing to go into full-time college basketball mode) who presents you with his “Top 5” Best and one WORST college football uni matchup from all the New Year’s Day and After Bowl Games:
5. International Bowl: South Florida/Northern Illinois — Would have looked better with a 55-yard line and 20-yard endzones, but this simple colorful matchup was still a winner.
4. Outback Bowl: Northwestern/Auburn — Crikey, that matchup was just right…and I’m not faking when I say that.
2. BCS Championship: Texas/Alabama — A great-looking finale to the season.
1. “I’m Still Calling It The Citrus Bowl”: Penn State/LSU — Lions and Tigers and mud – oh my!
And the WORST uni matchup — the Fiesta Bowl: Boise State/TCU — If they wore their normal unis, there was no question. With these, I had to wait for all the bowls to proclaim them the loser.
This has been a lot of fun. Thanks!
Thank you Jim. And thanks for all your 5 Plus 1 contributions for the entire college football season. I may not have always agreed with your choices, but you never failed to give us a laugh or show us your true colors.
The always topical Ricko is at it again…there are very few arenas he can’t have fun in…or with. Here’s the setup from Rick:
Mike’s gonna be traveling, and he has a firm grasp on the cultural differences one finds when one journeys to new places. Know what to pack, and what not to pack, too.
Enjoy your Saturday Benchies.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: This one is not “From The Ricko Files,” but it does come from Rick Pearson. A classic gridiron matchup — you can tell the two teams without a scorecard. But can you figure out when and where it was? Ready? Guess The Game From The Scoreboard. Date, location and final score, please, and be sure to link to your answer. And, as always, if you enjoy the game, please send me some new scoreboards! Drop me a line. Thanks!
In case you missed it on Thursday, Paul has announced a logo contest open to all UWers with a real monetary prize. And next weekend, I will have another contest with a very cool prize for the winner. Details on that follow the first contest, which I’ll let Paul explain:
I’m happy to announce a new logo design contest — and this time there’s a monetary prize for the winner, so hopefully we won’t be devaluing design too much.
Here’s the deal: Most of you probably know about the Cape Cod Baseball League, which is a summer league for college players. There’s a similar circuit in New York State — the New York Collegiate Baseball League — and this year they’ll have a new team: the Cooperstown Hawkeyes. The team name refers to a key character in The Last of the Mohicans, which was written by Cooperstown namesake James Fenimore Cooper.
The team is owned by Cooperstown attorney Tom Hickey, who has agreed to have a Uni Watch reader design the team’s logo. There’s an interview with him here, so you can learn more about him and what he has in mind for the team.
So here’s the contest:
• Design a primary team logo. No caps, no jerseys — just a logo.
• Deadline: Friday, January 29th. That’s three weeks from tomorrow.
• Prize: $300 for the winner.
• How to enter: You can e-mail your submissions to me at the usual Uni Watch address. One entry per person.
Obviously, there’s a lot to work with here — Cooperstown/baseball history, literary history, Native American history, etc. I’m expecting big things from you people, so get crackin’.
The next contest, which will be announced next weekend officially, will be of interest to everyone, particularly those of you who’ve been sending me your NFL “Uni Tweaks” over the past few months. UW reader Alain Nana-Sinkam, who also happens to run Classic Old School Gear, is teaming up with me on a very special contest — the details will be announced next weekend, but here’s Alain with the gist: “We could have a reader vote on the best UniTweak, and we could take a shot at making the design for the winner.” That’s right — I’ll be asking for you to submit your best “NFL redesign” and if your design is selected, Alain will MAKE it into a real jersey (and this will be top quality too). So stay tuned and the full contest rules and guidelines will be explained next weekend. Awesome, and a big thanks to Classic Old School Gear for coming up with the suggestion.
Now that we’ve entered the NFL’s second season, it’s time for another set of NFL uniform tweaks/revisions/concepts.
We begin with Michael Lipinski, with these minor tweaks for the Eagles:
As a lifelong Eagles fan I always loved the old Kelly green. However, this regime has an obsession with changing things that work so well. My tweak is to simple bring the Eagles back to their roots. I’ve kept midnight green as the primary color in the jersey and helmet. But the pants, which have been white with green/black striping or green with black/gray striping have got to go.
My tweak is replacing the previous two with silver pants (similar to the pants they wore from the 70’s-mid 90’s). I’ve also changed the socks to complement the green in the pants.
I’ve tweaked both jerseys as well.
On the home green, i have replaced the black collar and arm bands with white (although green would be more acceptable).
The road white jersey is now completely white. If it were up to me the black “alternate” jersey would be gone all together.
Next up is Ray DeBoer, who has changes for the entire NFC
Norris North Division:
Being a fan of the Bears, I get to see some of the better uniforms in all of sports, but I think that they and the rest of the NFC North could use some changes, so here they are:
Bears: Personally, I don’t think that they need many changes from what they wear, but I did make a few changes. First, the facemask needs to go back to grey. I also changed the standard away pants to the home set for the white on white look. The final change I made was making the collar and sleeve elastic navy, and after all of that, these are the home and away sets I came up with.
Packers: Again, the Packers don’t need many changes, but a few things do bug me. The first is how large their numbers are, so I thinned them down a bit. The sleeve stripes were also thinned to make them look less screen-printy. The away and home socks both received striping which matches the sleeve stripes on the respective tops. Finally, I changed the facemask to grey, and this is the end result.
Lions: Here’s where I started to make some major changes. The biggest thing I tried to do was eliminate black. However, I really like how the collar looks in black and how black accents the helmet logo, so I kept black in those areas. Places it was removed was the helmet striping, sleeve striping, number outlines, pant striping, and sock striping. Both shoulder stripes are now closer to the ‘traditional’ look of the Lions’ uniforms, and the home retained white/grey/white while the away now has grey/blue/grey. Additionally, the sock striping matches the shoulder striping. The numbering on the unis had the claw marks removed, and the neck striping was changed from black/white/black to black/grey/black. Finally, the facemask returned to blue, and this is what you get.
Vikings: Arguably the ugly duckling of the North, I tried to retain the modern feel of the uniforms while bringing in touches of the past. To start, the purple was changed back to the deep purple of the old helmet while the new-style logo stayed the same. This color transferred to the uniforms, and I then started to make some major changes. First to go was the scabbard look of the pant striping (with the white interrupting logo piece thingy that is near the hip), but I did keep the general stripe shape, and any yellow piping below the tip was removed. On the tops, the side striping was removed with the piping. Tackling the horn shoulder design, I opted to keep that look but alter it to a more USC style of stripe that is piped in yellow. The collars on both home and away jerseys now match the base color of the uniform, and the belt on the away pants was changed to the deep purple. After all of that, you get this.
I think that out of all of the changes, the Vikings uniforms came out the most improved. I don’t hate the current set they have, but this is much cleaner and much more tolerable I feel (and the purple is more tasteful). And that’s about that! Hope you enjoy the changes!
Next up is David VanCleve, a Seahawks fan with some changes for the sea birds:
Hey Uni Watch,
I am a huge Seahawks fan but have become tired of their current jerseys, so I went ahead and tweaked them. Most of the changes were a revert back to their original jerseys. Except, instead of the royal blue I used the new “Seahawk blue“. Also, instead of the “electric snot” green I also switched the green back to a more standard color. The pictures are attached. Let me know what you think!
-David Van Cleve
Moving right along, we have next up Anthony Rodriguez, with his concepts for the Panthers:
And our final concept today comes from Walker Carlson, who has taken on the Washington football squad:
On the attached file I’ve done some tweaks on the “Deadskins” uniforms. Sorry I’m sending these in so late, but I think that they are all right (for an MS Paint job that is).
First off, I darkened the burgundy slightly. In hindsight I kind of wish that I had darkened it even more than I did, but I still think its an improvement. On the main home and away uniforms I switched the indian head logo to the classic spear. Trust me, every Skins fan I know here in DC prefers the spear. I made it so that they wear the color uni at home and whites away (a change that seems obvious to make). Also, I’ve brought back the gold pants for both jerseys. (Ya gotta love those gold pants!). I just think that plain white pants are too dull. One of my favorite changes are the sock stripes I put in. I just think they go so well with the uniform.
I really don’t like the Alternate uniforms I did, though. I decided to keep the indian head logo on these ones because while I love that spear, the indian head is the logo I’ve known my whole life, and, not to mention, the logo they won all their super bowls with. And it is also my favorite feature of the redskins’ current uniforms. I was really just fooling around recklessly with these ones. As you can see, you have the gold jersey and white pants on the first and burgundy on burgundy on the second. Both have gold socks with burgundy and white stripes. Eh.
Another batch in the books. OK, folks, keep them coming. Feel free to send me your NFL tweaks, as well as NBA and NHL, which I will be getting to very shortly. You know what to do.
And on that note, we shall draw a close to this article. Great football today (and tomorrow too) with all four games too close to really call. If I were picking the games NOT based on the unis, I might slightly alter my picks (I’d probably go with the Cowboys and maybe the Pats), but I’ve made my uni bed, and now I shall lie in it.
Everyone have a great Saturday.