By Phil Hecken, with Pollster James Huening
Ah, memories. I grew up during the halcyon days of the NHL when the Flyers, Islanders and Canadiens (and later, the Oilers) were the kings of hockey. In fact, from 1972 through 1990, other than those four teams, only the Calgary Flames (in 1989) won a Stanley Cup. Despite my feigned disdain for the sport of hockey nowadays, the fact is I was a huge fan of the game growing up. An back then (and up until the 2003-04 season) everyone wore a white sweater at home.
My fondest memories of the white jersey, of course, came while I was following the New York Islanders, a team who played (and still plays) in the Nassau Coliseum, a scant few minutes from my home. Back then, before cable television reached my neighborhood, local games were subject to a “home blackout,” meaning, the only Islander games I could ever see, unless they were somehow on national TV, were road games. Thus, the white sweater took on an even greater prominence — it was special. I had to GO to a game to see my team wearing their home white jerseys. Back then, since I was actually good friends with the son of the team’s dentist, I did go to quite a few games (and of course, had the best seats in the house). All sports, except for the NFL, had the home team wearing white. Ya know, the good guys. And when I’d go to those games, all the teams who came into the Nassau Coliseum wore a different color uniform, and that was cool too.
Now…you go to a game (or watch one on TV) and the road team (for the most part) always wears white. Of course, the “dark at home” can be traced directly to the sales of the dreaded alternate jersey (and yes, I know that prior to prior to 1969-70 the home team wore dark — ever wonder why the Rangers were always called the “Blue Shirts”?). But when I grew up, the home white jersey was king.
So, when it was mentioned a few days ago in the comments that “such and such” is a better white jersey than “so and so’s”, it got me to thinking that we should put this all to a poll. There are quite a few of the white jerseys in the league that I prefer to the alternate or dark jersey wears — and I bet I’m not alone. But, how do they stack up against each other? And would anyone besides me like to see the NHL return to “white at home”?
Today I’m teamed up with Uni Watch Pollster, and my suitemate for the Deep Freeze, James Huening, who’s assisting me with today’s column. Since I’ll be departing Minnesota today (and missing all or at least part of both NFL playoff games), I didn’t want to leave you guys with a *snow day* — so you’re getting this column (and all that follows) instead. And with that, here’s James with the setup:
Oh, yeah, white at home in the NHL… I think only the youngest readers here wouldn’t remember that.
For me, as a Blackhawks fan, it was a little bit different. For starters, there were no championships and the home blackouts had nothing to do with not having cable TV. They had everything to do with “Dollar” Bill Wirtz and his supposed promise to his father Arthur as he lay dying that home games would never be televised as long as he owned the team. So, if I was watching the Hawks on TV, they were on the road.
No white sweaters.
No Barton organ.
No anthem. (OK, that one was actually on TV, but I was at the game.)
Hell, no Stadium at all.
So, yes, it was a special treat to get to see them wearing white.
But I digress. We’re not just here to reminisce about the good ol’ days. We want to know what you think of the current crop of NHL road unis. You know, the ones with the white jerseys.
So please, take a few minutes to complete our survey. Here are some pictures you can use as reference material. They’re broken up into groups of six and organized alphabetically:
Big thanks to Andrew M. Greenstein and his invaluable website, The Hockey Uniform Database, for those images.
Thanks for the setup, James. Now, it’s up to you to decide. If you haven’t yet clicked on the poll, there is the survey and a few quick questions. Please let us know what YOU think of the jerseys, in a simple rating system (like we did with the NFL jerseys). We’ll be back with the results in a couple of weeks, so vote early (and often).
After a good 3-1 week (although all the teams I wanted to win did) picking “by the better uniform” (Colts, Saints & Jets won — only the Cowboys let me down), we head into the NFL Conference Championships with a 5-3 record. One of the games today is an easy choice — the other, much more difficult. We’ll tackle the difficult one first because, well — its the first game of the day. So here goes:
AFC Championship: Jets @ Colts 3:00 EST (CBS)
Fun factoid: Two teams with ONLY two colors in their uniform, and one of them is white. We haven’t seen that in a big game in a long time. And one thing is for certain: we know what both teams will be wearing in this game. Peyton and the Colts will be wearing their blue over white, a uniform that has existed, basically unchanged, for over 50 years. One of my personal all time favorite uniforms, it’s really the best one left in the playoffs…or is it? Due to the weird way some players wear their jerseys (because of how they tape the jersey to the pads, resulting in odd shapes for the stripes) — or the new Reebok jersey almost completely truncates the stripes — will this slight breach of jersey etiquette be enough to make me NOT pick the Colts? Were they playing any other team, the answer would be an absolute “NO.”
However, the Colts are playing the J-E-T-S…Jets! Jets! Jets!, who have a gorgeous uniform in their own right. The only problem, and it’s not a small one, is the damn Jets continue to wear the wrong socks. With the white pants, they need GREEN top socks, like they wear with the green jerseys. The only other problem I have with the Jets uniform, like the Colts, is the new cuts make their once beautiful sleeves look more like epaullettes.
The Pick: Colts
NFC Championship: Vikings @ Saints 6:40 EST (FOX)
Although that photo is from a 2008 game in New Orleans, don’t expect the Saints to wear white today. Nope, they’ll be decked in their official home black over gold, which is a good looking uniform, despite messing up my OCD with their 3 different shades of gold.
The Vikings, unfortunately, have the worst uniform of the remaining teams in the playoffs. Yeah, that’s not a good look, what with the bumper stickers and the non-linear striping with the ‘broken’ pattern. If the Vikings could have dialed it back to something like this, we might have a closer contest.
Unfortunately, it’s not even close. The Black and Gold will leave the modern uniform in the dust…or the artificial carpet fibre flakes.
The Pick: Saints
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: Fitting that today’s scoreboard comes from the “Deep Freeze” host, Ricko, who lends me this old one from The Ricko Files. At least one of the teams pictured is playing today, wearing basically the same uniform as they wore back then. That’s awesome. 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!
With most of the UW contingent departing the Twin Cities today, many of us missing one or both of the NFL games, at least we can rest serene in the knowledge that we were at the Deep Freeze. All except Mike, that is. Here’s Rick:
Life’s ups and downs come to us all. Inconveniences, dsiappointments. Y’know, like how you were unable to make it the Uni Watch Deep Freeze.
And with that, here’s your “color” Sunday Benchies.
Our next round of Uniform Tweaks, Concepts and Revisions is upon us again. We’ll be examining all sports now. So, if you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
We begin today with Jed L. Herrera who’s bringing us some basketball concepts:
Hi, gotta to say that I love the uniwatch site and this is the first time I have come across your reader uniform submissions. Well that grabbed my attention. I did NBA uniform tweaks in the past and now I can come back to them again.
Anyway here are some:
Redux Kings: Mixing The Old And The New
If/When The NBA Puts Ads On Jerseys, kudos if you can guess what the sponsor in the pic makes. *Hint: What LeBron Does Every Game.
Updated The Suns Jersey Since I Hate The Current Style Where It Looks Like 2 Jerseys Were Sewn Together
Modern Retro Of The Minny Pups. Loved The Old Design.
Thanks for the opportunity and keep up the great work on the site.
-Jed L. Herrera
Next up is a man who simply goes by “Tony,” and Tony has some ideas for the Denver Broncos:
Hey, love the blog!
For my first ever tweak I decided to update the Broncos uni. Elway may not have won his first Super Bowl until the old blaze orange beauties were retired, but the overly futuristic current issues Denver are sporting have way too much nonsense going on and have got to go. For this back to basics update I didn’t do much to mess with the old uni’s formula, I just strove to make a more modern, streamlined version of the Bronco’s iconic old threads. I got my main inspiration for this remake from what is quite possibly, in my humble opinion, the greatest uni ever created: that of the Netherlands National Soccer Team. (Try to give soccer some love on Uni Watch this summer during the World Cup!)
Thanks for checking out my tweak and keep it up!
Our next submitter is Masao Okazaki, who has some VERY intersting concepts for the Bills, Bengals and Falcons:
Here are some uni tweaks I drew. I used to draw football uniforms when I was a kid in the 60s and 70s, but hadn’t drawn any since then until I became a member of Uniwatch last year.
I decided to start with the Bills, since everyone agrees their uniform is
the league’s worst. Anything I came up with couldn’t be any worse, right? I never liked their helmet emblem, so got rid of it. And because I’m a life-long Vikings fan, I decided to give the helmet some buffalo horns. With the horns alone, the helmet looked look a bit sparse, so I added a Rollerball-inspired blue to the bottom and back. Because the main crime of the current Bill’s uniform is fussiness, I decided to use large blocks of color for the sleeves and body of the jersey, a unicolor pants stripe, and solid color hose. I brought back the early helmet emblem for the sleeve. Finally, I chose a font for the numbers and NOB which looked similar to the Bills’ wordmark. The home and road uniforms are similar, with the blue and white reversed.
I’ve always like the Bengals helmets but always thought their jerseys
never went far enough with tiger stripe motif. The trouble, though, are
the stripes are too narrow and might be hard to distinguish at a distance. I decided, therefore, to widen the stripes on the helmet and continue them onto the backs of the jersey only, as on a real tiger. The home uniform has black stripes on an orange field. I switched to orange stripes for the road uniform, since black stripes are more associated with zebras.
Finally, the Falcons. I hate piping and feel it adds very little to a uniform. Instead, I’ve been experimenting with using large blocks of color, in this case, on the jersey and on the helmet. The home jersey is red and black, and the road jersey is red and white.
Closing down the show today is Jeff Shirley, who’s been just pumping them out — he’s back today with two NFL (Jags & Ravens) and one NBA (Sac Kings) for us:
Thanks for including me again. Here are some more NFL and NBA submissions for teams I believe need the most help. For the Jaguars, I combined elements from their old jerseys and their disastrous new jerseys and I felt the results came out pretty favorable. The Ravens were next, as I combined a classic stripe pattern to their sleeves and pants to give them a more old school look. My next submission is for the Sacramento Kings, (who’s uniforms have gotten progressively worse over the years) so I integrated elements from their glory days of the Chris Webber era to their current set.
Thanks again for all you do.
That’s all for today. Don’t forget about the Official NFL Jersey Tweaks Contest too, which is separate from the normal uniform tweaks section. Keep them coming, and if you have a uniform or set of uniforms you have concepted, send them my way.
Everyone, enjoy the games today — and to everyone who was at the Deep Freeze, get home safely!
Have an excellent Sunday.