By Phil Hecken, with Chris Howell
With little fanfare, the UFL (United Football League) debuted it’s second season uniforms last week. You remember the UFL, right? That four-team football league of guys who couldn’t make the NFL, better known for having the world’s crappiest uniforms, all from the same template, and all having some kind of weird helmet stripe.
Yes, the UFL in 2009 featured four clubs: the New York Sentinels, the California Redwoods, the Florida Tuskers, and the Las Vegas Locos. The Sentinels and the Redwoods weren’t very good. They’re not back this year.
You remember the UFL? They were the ones who thought having four teams sharing four colors (teal?, lime, silver and black) was a good idea. Of course, this never led to confusion. I actually watched (I’ll admit it) a portion of that game. Silver jerseys versus white jerseys. Maybe the players could tell each other apart but even in HDTV it was difficult. Similarly, when you had matchups featuring different teams wearing the same colors (albeit different tops and bottoms from each other), it was similarly hard to watch.
This league thought it might be a good idea to use this ball, until some genius realized it looked a little too much like this ball. They eventually settled on this ball. Other “innovations” included dressing the officials in red and black, emulating the Sunday look of this professional. And, oh yeah, lest we forget, they thought it might be a good idea to neon green yardage markers. Not that it mattered, nobody saw the games anyway.
Sure, there were some interesting color vs. color matchups, but who ever thought this was a good color for a jersey? Oh right, these guys and these guys. But at least they were smart about proper NOBs.
Anyway, this little four-team league with all the above mentioned problems, who not too many folks thought might be back for a second season…is back for a second season. This time, they have a five team league, which will make for some interesting scheduling. And they dumped their two losingest teams from 2009, adding teams in three new cities this year. The Locos and Tuskers are back, joined by the Hartford Colonials, the Sacramento Mountain Lions, and the Omaha Nighthawks. And (drumroll)…they ditched the four-color template unis from last year and now each club (sorta) has it’s own identity.
So…let’s take a look-see. For this uniform rundown, I’m going to be joined by Chris Howell (an actual UFL fan), as we disect the 5 new sets of unis.
Hartford Colonials (Logo, Helmet): The Colonials sport a navy and gold jersey (with just an ever-so-slight touch of powder blue) & gold helmet, with gold pants with alternating blue-white-blue stripes. The home white jersey is essentially an inverse of the home (I’m assuming they’ll wear dark at home), with a pretty cool font (I guess, meant to be evocative of ‘colonial’ print). The wordmark on the jersey is a bit tough to read, but overall, I actually think this is a pretty nice looking uniform. They do have some jersey side piping, but considering where this league was with uniforms last year, I won’t complain.
Chris’ take: I like it because it’s different than anything in the NFL. They have a cool number font and I really like the logo on their helmet. The stripes on the sleeves and pants have the slightest touch of light blue that is awesome. The wordmark on the jersey is too bulky and the font makes it almost illegible.
Las Vegas Locos (Logo, Helmet): One of the two returning teams from 2009, the Las Vegas Locos (nee, “Locomotives”) are sporting a red and silver colorscheme, with a “raglan” sleeve pattern, that morphs into a silver and black side panel. Unfortunately, streaming down the pant leg is some godawful shape, resembling a fake sword or something. (Yes, I know it’s the graphic representation of a locomotive, and apes the helmet stripe.) And, maybe it’s the lighting, but those unis look mighty shiny. OK, it’s “Vegas,” so maybe sparkly is good. Not a huge fan of the modern numeral font (hey, haven’t we seen that crapola somewhere before?), and the wordmark, which resembles casino chips, looks pretty illegible on the uni.
Chris’ take: I like the jersey but it looks almost exactly like the UNLV jersey which is odd. I love the silver sleeves and how they go up to the neck. The italic numbers are a nice change. The back of the jersey reminds of a basketball jersey with the black piping along the sides.
Sacramento Mountain Lions –here’s the full template (Logo, Helmet): Looks like the Mountain Lions are seeking to combine old gold and vegas gold (along with standby black (more raglan sleeves), and a similar font to Las Vegas. Personally, I detest vegas gold, although there’s plenty of black on that uni. Unfortunately, when viewed straight on, there’s not much difference between the home and away unis. (Didn’t they learn their lesson last season?) The road uni is not too bad, although it’s kind of busy with the weird angular black panel tucked down the side of the jersey.
Chris’ take: Black and gold is alright. Nothing that really gets me excited. I like the number font because it’s different. One thing that bothers me is the helmet is a completely different shade than the jersey. The home jersey is a different style than the road jersey which I hate.
Florida Tuskers (Logo, Helmet): The Tuskers, the other survivor from 2009, have gone from this to this. That doesn’t look too bad right? Well, that’s because you didn’t see the up close view. Kinda looks like a dime store knockoff of the Panthers, no? The road uni even more so, right? Except for the black pants that is. It’s kind of sad that, as bad as last year’s uniform was, this one is worse. A five team league only needs one team wearing black. Unfortunately, as you’ll shortly see…there is another.
Chris’ take: They look terrible. When will teams realize that teal is not a good look. They have teal numbers but their helmet is almost royal blue, it’s not even close to matching. The all black looks like a made up video game team or the BFBS version of the Cougars from ESPN’s Playmakers. Easily the worst of the UFL.
Omaha Nighthawks (Logo, Helmet): The final UFL entry for 2010, the Omaha Nighthawks also sport an all-black uniform, only, unlike the Tuskers, they go with a black helmet and socks. I actually prefer this to the Florida entry. The road jersey is the white reciprocal of the home. Both have slight piping on the jersey and double outlined varsity block numbers. The home jersey is solid black while the white jersey has black side panels, and the pants are completely solid. Since their nickname comes from the Nighthawk stealth fighter, it’s understandible if the uni is pretty much solid black. And, since they’re a new team, we can’t accuse them of being BFBS.
Chris’ take: Awful, boring, bland, black. I think they should have followed Las Vegas’ lead and at least get some red in there so Nebraska fans have some connection. They look like Permian high school in Friday Night Lights. The only team I know that pulls off just black and just white well is the White Sox.
Well, there you have it. Your 2010 UFL. While certainly better than what they trotted out last year, that’s not really saying much. But at least they held true to their word that they’d be introducing new uniforms for year 2, and now each team can (sort of) claim it’s own colors.
In a somewhat bizarre bit of cross-marketing, the UFL will be “partnering with King Features Syndicate in a unique, co-branded licensing program that will result in the iconic Betty Boop character becoming the ‘Official Fantasy Cheerleader of the UFL’.” I’m not quite certain what demographic they’re targeting, and I don’t think I even want to know where they’re going with “fantasy cheerleader.” Just not going there.
UFL Access, which I guess is some kind of UFL blog, offered it’s own ‘instant analysis’ of the uniforms on the day they were released. I didn’t read it, but I’d assume it’s more favorable than Chris & my review.
I’d like to thank Chris for his assistance in preparing this post, and for pointing me in the direction of some of the first photos from the uni-unveil in Vegas. If you’re still interested, here are some videos of the uniforms for 2010.
What say you readers? Do you even care about the UFL, and if you do, how’d they do? Pass, fail, or somewhere in between? The floor is yours.
Bulwark Update: Ducktracker & #1 Seahawk fan Michael Princip is back with an update on his amazing helmet concept. Dig:
“I have added a few images to the Bulwark site with what I’m calling the Silverback. I’m trying to show the retrofit capabilities, and how a player can customize their helmet with many different shell forms, and specially formed exterior padding to comply with their style of play, or, further protect a recurring injury.
“Thanks Phil! Looking forward to your August Uniwatch postings.”
The latest installment of Paul’s “Fire Wayne Hagin Already!” blog is up (actually, there’s quite a few days worth on there).
Hopefully, webmaster John Ekdahl will be installing a widget on the sidebar announcing whenever Paul has an new FWHA! post up. But until then… UPDATE: Now available! Check out the sidebar, with all of Paul’s recent FWHA! blog pieces. (Thanks, Ek!)
In case you missed it, on Saturday evening the Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles played a Negro League throwback game. The Royals were throwing back to the Kansas City Monarchs, while the Charm City team was representing the Baltimore Elite Giants. Looks like the O’s nailed it pretty well (looked like late 40’s to early 50’s unis), while the Royals, sporting what appeared to be wearing a uniform of late ’40’s vintage. Indeed, checking the promo, it was indicated, ” both teams will don Negro Leagues uniforms provided by Sprint with the Royals wearing the 1949 Kansas City Monarchs home uniforms and the Orioles wearing the Baltimore Elite Giants road uniforms from the early 1950s.”
I didn’t see the game, but I did see highlights, and it looked as though all the players were properly hosed, although, surprisingly, the Royals wore their blue helmets. Now, I realize players back then didn’t wear helmets, but usually for throwback games, the home team (and sometimes even the road team), create a throwback helmet. Of course, sometimes they don’t, but usually the helmets’ colors don’t clash with the throwback. Still though, the game looked great, and the Monarchs cream unis versus the Elite Giants’ gray (which appeared to be a slightly darker shade than normal “gray” road unis) was a visual treat. Of course, the high-top “look at me” cleats in royal colorways kinda detracted from the sartorial beauty. Ah…but all ended well…the shaving cream in the face never gets old.
Uni Watch News Ticker: (partially compiled by Paul)…Must have been cold at the Women’s British Open, because some of the golfers were wearing earmuffs. ”¦ What’s with the football helmet? That’s Ron Galella, an infamous paparazzo in the ’70s. He’s trailing Marlon Brando and is wearing the helmet because Brando had previously punched him. ”¦ Sure enough, looks like all of the Yanks’ minor league affiliates are wearing the Big Stein patch, as you can see in this recent photo of Jorge Vasquez, who plays for the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees. ”¦ Maybe more people would follow NASCAR if it was always this entertaining. “That’s the famous fight between Cale Yarborough and the ‘Alabama Gang’ of Bobby and Donnie Allison and Neil Bonnet at the 1979 Daytona 500,” says Gerry Dincher. “Yarborough is on the right with his foot in Bobby Allison’s hand. Neil Bonnet is on the left with the ’stache and sideburns. I love the ‘Cale’ script on the helmet and Yarborough’s old-school Converse. The driver’s uniforms are pretty nice too.” ”¦ Mark Nunneker checked in with this: on Saturday, the Auburn Doubledays were giving out rather unique bobbleheads … Several readers immediately noticed that one of the newest Yankees, Lance Berkman, was outfitted with a jersey bearing the old Jerry Dior logo (the current jerseys boast midnight blue and silver) — photo courtesy of Matt Kaufhold … Eagle-eyed Cory Lewis not only noticed Berkman’s jersey, but also points out that Austin Kearns was also outfitted with the old logo … Chris Hilf and UW’s favorite Yinzer Doug Keklak both checked in with news that the Pittsburgh Steelers are now sporting ads on their practice jerseys. … Pacific Rim correspondent Jeremy Brahm heard this over this weekend on Fox Soccer Channel that Norwich City fans are now plagued by bugs; seems the new kit has a brighter, ‘more Brazilian’ color than the team’s usual yellow strip, and seems to act as a magnet for the bugs. … Many readers pointed out over the weekend what we all knew was going to happen when your team has two alternates that look alike: while the rest of the Brewers were wearing their “Milwaukee” alternates, Chris Capuano failed to read the memo and sported his “Brewers” home alternate (gracias to Paul for the screen grabs). … Straight from SCH, Kenn Tomasch caught this, “…spotted outside of Coors Field (Saturday) night, on a grown man.” … Rick Pearson thought maybe this is old news, but he didn’t realize SportsAuthority’s website is a source for the now hard-to-find American Needle Cooperstown Caps collection. The first 17 pages, in fact … Uni Watch Prexy Paul Lukas,
kicking it in a hammock with an adult beverage in hand dutifully notes, “While looking for something else, I came across this shot of a college softball pitcher wearing some serious armor. … Also from Paul, Aaron Heilman had the Pedro Porthole on Friday night. … On Friday night, Yogi Combs attended the Tulsa Shock game. Says Yogi, “Tonight, the new Tulsa Shock of the WNBA were showing off their Breast Cancer Awareness uniforms. Too bad that couldn’t get Nolan Richardson in a pink polka dot outfit. Got some good pictures, though.” … More Pink — reader Paul Krenek notes: “Wednesday, July 21st, the Round Rock Express (Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate) hosted the Susan G Komen Pink in the Park. Photos of the ceremonies and uniforms worn by the Express are shown in the attached link.” Paul’s mother-in-law, Martha Delgado, was celebrating one-year of being cancer free. Best wishes to Martha. … Not sure if we covered this one or not, but Chris Buttgen found that Florida has a beef with a tiny Arkansas school. … Patrick Woody was looking for footage of the last Atlanta Flames game on youtube and grabbed these screenshots of a Flames player in a full face cage. After a bit of research, Patrick is pretty sure the player in question is 1972 Team Canada hero Paul Henderson in his final NHL season. … UW Card Carrying Member Bobby Hill noticed this logo for the upcoming training camp for the Bears, showing that “you can sponsor out anything for money.” … Li’l Help? Paul Bielewicz sent this in to UW HQ: “Unfortunately I don’t have any screenshots, but I noted an interesting observation during last night’s Yankee game – a handful of Yankees had the interlocking NY ‘print’ logo on their helmets rather than the traditional interlocking NY ‘helmet’ logo. Among them were Cervelli, Granderson, and perhaps one or two others. I may be mistaken, but to my knowledge, this is the first time the ‘print’ logo has actually been used on any uniform element.” Can any of you Yankee fans confirm or post pics? … Great stuff from E. J. Gianforti, who recently started work in Human Resources at Revere Copper Products in Rome, NY. The company has been in existence in various forms since 1801, and was founded by Paul Revere (They no longer make pots and pans, though). A company with this much history has quite a few vintage and antique “goodies” tucked away in dusty office attics and forgotten rooms. He notes, “I was lucky enough to be shown our old Revere Athletic Association industrial league baseball uniforms, security guard uniforms, and band uniforms. Its amazing to me just how many activities were provided at one time through the employees’ club.” … Matt Schudel discovered a feature about the undefeated 1960 New Mexico State Aggies football team — there is a photo on page 64 that contains two interesting elements. Check out the Aggies’ uniforms (in white). Matt notes, “They have something like upside-down UCLA stripes, which stop halfway up the shoulder pads. The stripes continue under the shoulders all the way down to the pants. The pattern was continued on the Aggies’ dark home uniforms too, if you look closely at this team photo (and click on the “Larger” button). I’ve never seen that striping pattern on other uniforms of this era. Also, in the black-and-white photo, the Aggie players are wearing low-cut Adidas football shoes. This is the earliest use of Adidas shoes I have ever seen in American football.” … UPDATE on the Brewer jersey snafu: Jeff Ash checks in with this: “How did Chris Capuano end up wearing a different jersey from his teammates during his two-inning relief stint Saturday night, you ask? Equipment manager Tony Migliaccio explained that road uniforms are placed in each player’s bag prior to the start of a trip. This year, the Brewers have worn blue alternate road jerseys with “Milwaukee” on the front for the first time. Migliaccio said Capuano likes an extra jersey to change into at times and mistakenly added a blue alternate home jersey with “Brewers” on the front. ‘We didn’t see it until he was on the mound,’ said Migliaccio. ‘You can’t run out there in the middle of the game’.” From Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (last item in notebook). Also an update from Christopher Smith, who sends this along … John Hagenmaier writes, “Colts 2010 draft pick Ray Fisher from Indiana University tweeted this photo, which shows the usual Colts helmet next to one that is all blue. Earlier, this site reported the Colts were possibly going to have a “third jersey” or alternate uniform. Could this be a hint?” [Note: That’s the double horseshoes helmet from 1954 (read more about the Colts uni history here). … if you scroll down to “NFL News” in Paul’s old column, you’ll see a mention of the Colts possible third uniform.] … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: The Vikings are showing off apparel with their 50th Season patch/logo … Also reprinted from the weekend’s comments: the Atlanta Falcons unveiled their “secondary” logo. Here’s a better one.
One underutilized marketing approach has been the purveyance of high-quality football, something the United Football League hopes to offer when it debuts in October. — Sports Illustrated, when discussing the UFL last season. Still waiting…