By Phil Hecken
With the recent “scare” a few weeks ago with the “fake” Nike Pro Combat templates that went viral on the Interwebs, everyone began to fear the worst once Nike actually takes over the NFL clothing contract in 2012. And why not, some of those over the top designs were really awful — although admittedly very creative.
I actually think Nike’s taking over for Reebok can be a very good thing, so long as the teams themselves retain appropriate control over their own branding and designs. The compression sleeve element introduced over the past two years can be very effectively used to replace the vestigial sleeves that uniforms are now sporting. You folks likely remember Ricko’s compression sleeve idea was first showcased on UW over a year ago, and since then, Nike has outfitted many of their *select* schools with “pro combat” (a concept many of us, including yours truly, have derisively chided — but not for the idea…for the way they have “foisted” it upon their stable of universities).
But what if the pro combat concept were used for good, not evil? It could, if properly introduced, and if the creative forces in the NFL basically dictate the uniform protocol to Nike, instead of the other way around, actually make every team look better. Teams with their current classic looks wouldn’t need to change their specs at all, while those teams who seem to have gotten carried away with BFBS, and crappy trendiness and bad fonts, can fix their uniforms for the better, going forward. For a look at the NFC, circa 2012, here is what I propose (I will just give a short summary of the unis below — for a more detailed description, you can go here):
Atlanta Falcons: Home & Road. Another team whose uniforms were once outstanding — just look at how gorgeous their throwbacks are — this set allows them to be a bit loud, but without the bumperstickers.
Dallas Cowboys: Home & Road. One of the most annoying things about the Cowboys are their little uni quirks — this set standardizes their blues and silvers, but still keeps a unique look for the ‘pokes. Cowboy fans may hate it, but I think it’s quite a sensible solution, going forward.
Detroit Lions: Home & Road. The honolulu blue and silver have gone from great to awful to still pretty bad in the past few years. This set changes all that. It harkens back to the Barry Sanders days. Enough said.
Green Bay Packers: Home & Road. Like the Bears, the Pack’s current uni is “untouchable” so all this does is allow the Packers to return to the full glory-days of proper sleeve stripes and corresponding socks. This is what the pro combat was made for.
Minnesota Vikings: Home and Road. The current Vikings uniform set, like so many who have strayed from all that is good, will potentially benefit more from the pro combat than almost any other team. This will allow them to return to their Fran Tarkenton look, which is pretty much what they are throwing back to these days anyway. Damn these look good.
New Orleans Saints: Home & Road. The Saints have always had a pretty great look, but recently, they have fallen in love with the black pants, which must go. This set fixes the problems they have matching their golds and puts the proper striping back on the pants.
New York Giants: Home, Road 1, & Road 2. The current Giants uniform set is pretty close to perfect, but, despite the historical accuracy, I’ve never been a fan of the gray pants. They did have a period where they wore white pants with the old school unis, so this brings them back. Even though I’ve never been a huge fan of the red-dominant road jersey, I included that and a blue one, just to keep the ‘purists’ happy.
San Francisco 49ers: Home & Road. The current ‘Niner uniform is pretty close to perfect. The pro combat fixes the one current problem with what they are wearing today — the sleeve stripes. Pro combat to the rescue.
Seattle Seahawks: Home & Road. I’m not alone in hating the current Seahawks unis — this fauxback set brings back the beautiful royal they dumped in 2002 and returns the silver helmet and pants, but keeps the current angry bird with the neon eye. Just so all that neon gear the fans wear still works on Sunday.
St. Louis Rams: Home & Road. The athletic gold home & white pants harkens back to Crazy Legs Hirsch, while the road is more like what they wore before they went to the current navy & vegas gold. A modernization that also harkens back to the past.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Home, Road 1, & Road 2. There may not have been a more iconic look in football, albeit one that was usually associated with losing, than the creamsicle Bucco Bruce Tampa Bay teams. But it’s such a classic Florida uniform, and it just needs an updating to become classic once again.
Washington Redskins: Home & Road. The Redskins finally got it right this year, bringing back the gold pants — but unfortunately, none of their striping patterns matched up. While the pro combat doesn’t make everything exactly equal, it brings us back to the Sonny Jurgensen era. I debated giving them burgundy road pants as well, but with the burgundy helmet, comp sleeves and socks, the gold pants work fine.
Well, there you have it. I’m sure many of you will disagree with my “suggestions,” but I think we can all agree that with a new uniform supplier, particularly if they decide to provide the NFL with their “pro combat” cut, we have a real potential to head into the 2012 season with a fantastic set of uniforms. If only we can be sure the template is used for good, not evil.
5 & 1, Bowl Edition
And now, the part of the post you’ve all been waiting for: The 5 & 1.
Even though we’ve gotten through the lion’s share of the bowl games thus far, Jim will have two “best of the bowl” 5 & 1 — the first comprising the first 18 games, and the second covering the next 17. Today we take a look at the first best 5, and worst 1, of the bowl season. I’ve got a hunch at what Jim will pick, but he never ceases to surprise.
5. Independence Bowl: Air Force/Georgia Tech — Tech would like to thank Air Force’s upgrade and SMU’s downgrade for getting them on the good side of this list.
4. Poinsettia Bowl: Navy/San Diego State — C’mon, Phil…the Aztecs don’t look that bad.
3. New Orleans Bowl: Ohio/Troy — Not your typical “boys from Ohio vs. the Trojans” bowl, but it still looks good.
2. Music City Bowl: North Carolina/Tennessee — Bet you thought this was my #1.
And the bad one: Humanitarian Bowl: Northern Illinois/Fresno State The humanitarian thing would have been to not play this game.
I’m a bit surprised at the order of the top 5, Jim, but I think you probably got ’em all correct. Well, all except the Navy/SDS game. And you had a few to pick for the “worst” one, but I won’t argue with the final call.
Lots and lots of tweaks keep pouring in, so obviously this is a popular feature. A bunch new to get to today. If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great a keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
Got a big set of tweaks today…so lets get right into it.
Now, on to today’s tweaks:
Starting off the show is Hiatt Werling, who has some interesting ideas for a few NFL teams:
Dear Mr. Hecken,
Hi, my name’s Hiatt Werling, and tonight I made a few football tweaks. It started when I was looking at this picture. I really like that picture, mainly for the story it tells, but I also really like the colors in it. Specifically, I really like the colors and design of the Mayflower truck. Anyway, I imagined what it would look like if the Colts changed their uniforms to incorporate those colors I love, and then I made it for fun. That led to me making a couple other tweaks that would involve teams going against their color scheme. These are all pretty goofy and out there, and would never and perhaps should never be used as real uniforms, but they were fun to make, and hopefully you and maybe other would get a kick out of seeing them. Anyway, if you choose to use them on the website, here they are, with short descriptions:
“Today I came up with a few football uni concepts that are based on something in the team’s logo or stadium or city or history that all involve drastically going against the teams’ established color schemes. Obviously these are all pretty crazy and out there and would never be used, and probably violate a lot of the rules of what makes a good uniform, but I just made them for fun. Here they are:
Steelers – Steelmark Set: I’ve always liked the primary colors in the Steelers’ logo and wanted to create a uniform set that incorporated those colors a little more.
Bengals – Jungle Set: I like the idea of the Bengals’ stadium being “The Jungle”, and I like the green they have on the walls around the field, and I wanted to see what a uniform set based around that green would look like.
Saints – Mardi Gras Set: I really like the Mardi Gras-themed uniforms the Hornets have, and I wanted to use those colors with the Saints’ uniforms.
Colts – Mayflower Set: This is the craziest set of the four. Those of us familiar with football lore know of the Baltimore Colts fleeing to Indianapolis in a Mayflower truck in the dead of night. I’ve always really liked the colors of those Mayflower trucks, and I wanted to see what it would look like if the Colts for some reason wanted to pay tribute to the shadowiest part of their history by changing their color scheme to that of the Mayflower trucks. Obviously there’s no conceivable reason to ever use these (unless the Colts were playing the Ravens in Baltimore and really wanted to piss the citizens of Baltimore off for some reason), but I kind of like them, and just thought it was an interesting idea.”
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Next up is Sean F. who has some more NFL ideas:
Today I put together some tweaks I have done over the past few days. I just saw Peter Saunders did a Patriots throwback uni in current colors, which I also did, though its a little different. Basic color swap, making the pants and helmets silver/grey and the top of the socks and jersey navy blue.
I noticed the Chiefs helmets are red/white/black while the jerseys are red/white/yellow, so I tried to add some yellow to the helmet to make it go a little better. The facemask was changed from white to yellow and a yellow outline around the arrowhead was also added.
I also added a lot more yellow by changing the helmet and pants, although it looks a little to McDonalds to me, and the yellow pants look a little too similar to the Redskins.
I know many people don’t care for the monotone pants and socks on this site, so I took a few uniforms and changed that. First is the Ravens, I just changed the socks to purple and I think it looks a lot better than the black.
Also, I changed the navy blue socks on the titans to the sky blue to make them stand out more from the pants.
Thanks for your time,
That will be all for today’s tweak show. Check back next week for more.
OK, let’s put this one in the books. Hope everyone is all recovered from New Year’s Eve, six bowl games, and a moist Winter Classic over in the NHL. We enter the final weekend of the league where they play for pay today, and there are actually only a couple spots up for grabs for the post season. Here’s hoping the Bears can do the G-men a favor (assuming the Giants can actually defeat the ‘Skins), so I’ll have at least one more weekend to watch the G-men with my pop. I know he’s not reading this, but I’ll give him an early shout for a Happy 83rd Birthday this Tuesday. Love ya Dad!
Every bowl game is just a random matchup of two losers. Usually one team is prepared to win and one team is there enjoying themselves. There is no meaning behind them or any purpose. — Phillip Wilson