By Phil Hecken
I’m not much of a helmet guy, I’ll be the first to admit. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a Schutt and a Riddell. And frankly, I don’t want to know. But with all this talk of concussions, helmet-to-helmet hits and development of new technologies and such, helmets seem to be in the news a lot these days.
The helmet in football has a long and glorious history, and someday we’ll delve into that, but for now, lets just suffice it to say that was once merely a piece of safety equipment has morphed into a vital and integral part of the uniform. It’s become a canvas, much like a baseball cap has always been. In college, many teams have “alternate” helmets — hell, Oregon currently has four, and I’m not even sure if they retired the fifth, although they haven’t worn it in two years.
But, for whatever reason, in the NFL, teams are restricted to ONE official helmet (with the exception of throwback helmets). This really makes no sense. I’m sure it has to do with “official” merchandise and the like, but really — since they aren’t exactly doing a huge business in fan helmets, but they could increase the bottom line by having more than one “official mug” or “official snuggie” or whatever, you’d think the NFL would actually LOVE the idea.
Clearly, some teams would do it. Remember when the Seahawks had the fans vote for the blue or silver helmet back in 2002? And my memory may be failing me, but I believe the Texans also had fan voting to select the helmet they would wear. But because the NFL say “no second helmet for you,” teams wear what they wear. This isn’t usually a big problem, and for most teams, one helmet is fine.
Sometimes, however, a team’s official helmet makes no sense given their color scheme. Sure, some helmets kinda go, but I’m of the school that, with very few exceptions, a helmet should at least either match the pants or the jersey. When it matches neither it throws off my OCD.
In Friday’s comments, The Jeff mentioned, “I think the NFL has enough white helmets. If anything, the Jets should go back to green. The NFL has one green helmet (which is far too dark), and 6 white helmets (and an additional 3 worn as throwbacks). Enough with the freakin white.” (There are also 5 silver-helmeted teams). Now, I happen to like white helmets but it got me to thinking, rather than “eliminate” the teams with white helmets, why not just do what the NCAA already does and permit one additional helmet per team? Not every team needs one, of course, but might not some teams look better with a “second” option? I discussed this with The Jeff and he agreed (I know, you’re shocked). And between us, we came up with about half of the NFL as candidates for (although we would not advocate for) a second helmet option. The following are merely suggestions. Except for perhaps doing a color swap on a logo or stripe, we’ve left the original helmet in tact, except for the color.
Giants: The team probably the most in need of a second helmet is the New York Football Giants. Yes, we all understand that the current road uniform is basically a throwback, but that doesn’t mean they got it right back then. Let the G-men wear a red helmet on the road already.
Eagles: None needed
Redskins: Jeff might like to see them in a gold helmet. I’d like them to just get rid of their current one. The burgundy is fine.
Cowboys: They wear a white helmet with their throwback, but what’s more annoying is the helmet and pants are different shades. Simple solution. Get the two to match (thanks to The Jeff for the graphic).
Bears: None needed.
Packers: Definitely not needed. The Pack are perfect.
Lions: None needed.
Vikings: The helmet isn’t the problem. And when you see their uniforms today, you’ll agree. But what if they wore a gold helmet? (Blame The Jeff for that.)
Bucs: We’ll leave the only pewter helmet in the NFL alone.
Saints: Yeah, they could wear a black helmet, like the preseason 1969 job that the league outlawed. But their gold helmet is perfect. And, the only uniform with which the black helmet might look good is the all black nightmare, and that would just be lending a legitimacy to that sort of thing. Better the Saints just fix the pants stripe and match the golds.
Panthers: Another team that doesn’t match either jersey or pants with their helmet, so the Panthers are a prime candidate for a second lid. The “Panther Blue” would match the blue jersey and the pants stripe.
49ers: Nope. They’re finally approaching perfection (just gotta do something about those sleeve stripes). No second helmet needed. Of course, The Jeff would like a red facemask to return.
Seahawks: Well, they wanted a silver helmet back when they changed uniforms. But unless they want to wear silver pants, then a silver helmet doesn’t really make any sense. The current “drab” blue matches everything. But, how about a navy helmet when they break out the navy pants?
Rams: The Rams have problems, but their helmet is not one of them. No need for a second helmet.
Cardinals: Other than the Bills, and arguably, the Vikings, the Cardinals are the worst attired team in football. But for the most part, that white helmet is a classic. Really, they shouldn’t be wearing what they’re wearing underneath such beauty. But, as long as they are flushing tradition down the toilet, then they may as well have a second helmet. But it had better be red. (Thanks, Jeff)
New York Jets: I personally LOVE them in the white helmet, but The Jeff would like to see them back in green. I think it’s a mistake, but what do I know?
Miami Dolphins: The Fish have remained pretty much unchanged since they entered the AFL with that south Floridian white, but what if they had the option of an aqua lid? I didn’t think so. Sorry The Jeff, that’s one white helmet that has to stay.
Buffalo Bills: There is so much wrong with this train wreck of a uniform that adding a second helmet probably couldn’t do any more harm. Returning to white is out, but how about royal blue? Hey, that’s actually not too bad.
Bengals: Plenty wrong with their uniform, but the helmet is perfect.
Browns: After the brown pants debacle, you think they’d ever wear a brown helmet? I didn’t think so.
Colts: They threw back to a blue helmet in the preseason, but honestly, they’ve been wearing that white helmet since 1956. No need for two lids for the Colts.
Titans: This team has three tops and three pairs of pants, but only one helmet? Imagine what they could do with a second hat — OK, some of the combos would be awful, but some could work. It would be even nicer if they’d fix the striping to match the pants in the process.
Texans: Another team that could do with another helmet. Like the Titans, they too have three pairs of pants and three jerseys. Unlike the Titans, they don’t match when they wear the blue lid with the red. So, how about a red helmet for when they wear their “battle red”? No? Well, how about just a second white helmet then.
Jaguars The Jaguars may have actually solved the “one helmet per team” rule. Depending on how the light hits it, it’s either black or teal. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Broncos: Unfortunately, or fortunately, their current helmet is sufficient.
Raiders: Yeah, right.
So what do you think, Uni Watchers? Should the NFL permit teams to wear an alternate helmet (other than the already permitted throwback)? The rule against a second helmet seems not only pointless, but also goes against their philosophy of selling as much merchandise as possible. Sure, there’s no market (really) for fan helmets, but think about all the t-shirts, mugs, clothing, stationery, etc. they could move if you added another “helmet logo” to the list. And if the NFL were ever to adopt an NCAA-like policy of permitting multiple helmets, who would be your candidate(s)?
Catching up with the tweaks, but they keep coming in (which is good), so lots to get to today. If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
You guys have been pretty great keeping to the ~50 word limit per team tweak, and it’s greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Now, on to today’s tweaks:
Starting off the show is Joel Zimmerman, who has two NHL tweaks for us:
This is my 2nd Uni Tweaks post.
The first tweak does justice to the North Stars with an updated Dallas version of the 1979 North Stars home jersey. Had a tough time with the lettering, its kind of off centered and the N and O’s are messed up.
And the second one is a Nashville Predators tweak. Once Again I messed up on the lettering, but otherwise, I think it turned out well.
Next up is Terry Duroncelet, who has 2 baseball and 2 football tweaks for us:
First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for the kind words from my first submission (10/17/10) =). Now then, on to the tweaks.
Saints: My favorite football team. I standardized the helmet and pants stripes, made the cuffs match the collars, switched the home number color scheme, and gave them one shade of gold. I also threw in some classic socks.
Braves: My favorite baseball team. I got rid of the nameplates (reffer to Chris Creamer’s website rendering), brought back the two-tone cap for the road uniform, and brought back the Milwaukee-Era striped hosiery.
Rams: A return to old colors, and utilizing the Ricko Sleeves.
Indians: Made the current Fauxback the primary home, gave it an accompanying road set/with striped socks to give it life.
As always, thank you for your time.
And closing out the concepts today is Michael Zupon, with his “KUniform”:
I started from the basis that the “KU” on the helmet was dull, then realized that a blue Jayhawk on a blue helmet didn’t pop. Lost the grey pants, because they looked bland as well, and separated the red from the blue with white piping where needed to keep them from blending to purple. Okay for a first effort, I suppose.
Thanks to all the tweakers today. Back next weekend with more!
Tracking The Playoffs
Throughout the playoffs, Alex Rocklein kept track of the unis worn by each of the eight post-season combatants. It was pretty neat — he tracked playoff teams wins & losses, not only by their wins and losses, but also by uniform!
With the World Series now just a distant memory, and a =big= congrats to the Giants, Alex has sent me the final results of baseball’s second season.
Says Alex, “Giants were impressive in the road greys but even more so in the home creams going 5-1.” Indeed. Thanks for all your efforts.
Trackin’ the Ducks
UW #1 Seahawks Fan Michael Princip has been tracking the Oregon Ducks and all of their 2,456 possible uniform combinations this season. He’ll be updating it after each game.
The Ducks are definitely for real. But you knew that already. Yesterday, I took them despite a minus thirty-six point spread, and for a while, it was very dicey. They rewarded my faith in them, however, defeating Washington, ekeing out a 37-point victory. *Phew*. Anyway, the Ducks are now 9-0, (6-0 in the PAC-10) and have set their sights not on Pasadena, but on Glendale.
Mike has been busy with some tasty updates to the tracker, so without further ado, here is the man:
Well, they didn’t quite look like the Ninja Ducks last year, yet that was only because the game yesterday was a 1:30 PM start, and not as cold as the night game last season when they wore the full on Ninja suits against Arizona St. I have to say, I am not the biggest fan of this all black look, and even felt the Huskies out stylized them with their all whites and gold helmet. I was really hoping the Ducks would wear a throwback today, because of my special uniform flashback entry in the Duck Tracker today. Yet, they wore what they wore, the kids like ’em and they WON! The Ducks started off a little slow, yet kicked it in gear in the 2nd half, and came out with a 53-16 win against the Huskies. Big time milestone for the Ducks being that they are 9-0 for the first time in Ducks history. Simply awesome!
Speaking of awesome, Larry Bodnovich has discovered a nice set of vintage pics featuring the 1925 Oregon Ducks. Now, this is significant because it’s the first year the Ducks switched from the blue and yellow, to their official green and yellow colors. This week I’ve made a special entry with colorized pics. Interesting note, looks like the Ducks were sporting the Northwestern type stripes that year of 1925.
Awesome, Mike, as always.
Once again, here is your 2010 Duck Tracker.
Been a while since we had a “This and That”…but there’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t belong anywhere else.
• Yesterday, #5 ranked Utah wore their wounded warrior combat uniforms and got their asses kicked by #3 Texas Christian. Not everyday TCU looks better than an opponent. And no, you weren’t seeing things, UnderArmour added camouflage to Utah’s drum & feather logo.
• Got a note from Brian Shane, who had sent this to me (and it was featured in the tweaks section a while back): “No lie, I PhotoShopped this up myself, and on a crazy whim sent a copy of this in the mail to Nats management six months ago, with a quaint for-your-consideration note. Now Paul is saying that this design leaked in the last week or so. Coincidence? We will have to see what the real one looks like when it’s unveiled on Wednesday. Note the difference: My “N” is an upside-down and jury-rigged version of the team’s iconic curly W.”
Brian, I’ve seen the new design, and it’s safe to say it looks nothing like that. Funny how that “phony” design got such legs though. Maybe we all wanted it to look like that.
• Remember when the Minnesota Vikings had a uniform snafu and dressed like this? Unless your name is Ricko, you probably don’t, but you may remember when they thought it might be a good idea to reprise that look in 2007. Well, if you missed either of those gems, fear not, because they’ll be dressing like that again today. How the mighty have fallen — one Farve interception away from the Super Bowl and now they’ll be channeling Violet Beauregarde again. Ouch.
• Congrats JoePa. 400 wins. Those are Cy Young/Nolan Ryan/Cal Ripkin/Joe DiMaggio numbers.
• • And Finally — Attention All Colorizers: In case you missed it, yesterday I put out the call for a few good men to help Terry Proctor with some colorizations. Hopefully a couple of you can help out. Drop me a line if you’re interested. Here are the three photo’s Terry is looking to have colorized: Stan Smrke, Mike Nykoluk and Tommy Williams. See yesterday’s post for the color specs. THANKS!
5 & 1
And now, the part of the post you’ve all been waiting for: The 5 & 1. More than a few games in the running for the five open spots yesterday, but probably even more (thanks to the Wounded Warrior Project) in the hunt for the Mothervilker.
Lets see how Jim did:
5. Air Force/Army: Army’s “dress grays” are good, but those fabulous Thunderbirds unis are some powerful stuff.
4. Arizona/Stanford: Nice modern vs. classic matchup with good contrast.
3. Wisconsin/Purdue: Sometimes mono white vs, mono black works (hang on to that thought ’til the end) …
2. Alabama/LSU: Soooo close to #1, but not this week.
1. Nebraska/Iowa State: Cyclones have been hanging around, and finally made it bacl to the top after a couple of months.
And the worst one: Missouri/Texas Tech: …and sometimes it doesn’t work.
That’s it…last time I place my Mothervilker bets with Charlie Samuels.
OK, boys and girls, that’s all for this first Sunday in November. Everyone have a great rest of the weekend.
TCU and Utah are playing in one of biggest, most-watched games in both school’s respective histories ”“ and they both wear gimmick uniforms ”“ isn’t that a form of disrespect to their primary uniforms ”“ isn’t it the equivalent of the cadets at the Naval academy wearing football uniforms on graduation day. — “Oakville Endive”