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Of White Whales, Blue Horses, and Red Herrings


My annual college football season-preview column is now available on ESPN. Ordinarily that would mean a short main entry here, but today we have big news that can’t wait.

It’s been several months since we’ve had an update on the mystery of the Broncos’ early-1962 helmet decal. But now the case appears to have been cracked at last. And who was the sleuth who ferreted out the elusive info — a Uni Watch reader? A helmet historian? A longtime Broncos fan?

Nope. It was Broncos corporate communications VP Jim Saccomano, engaging in an all-too-rare bit of in-house team research. (I don’t mean rare for him; I mean rare for most teams in general.) Although Saccomano didn’t find a smoking gun — a color photo or a news account from 1962 — he did consult with three very credible primary sources: former Denver Post sports editor Chuck Garrity, former Denver PR guru Al King, former Broncos assistant equipment manager Ronnie Bill. Saccomano asked all of them whether the horse was brown or blue, and their answer was unanimous: as blue as an azure sky of deepest summer.


It’s a lengthy piece that Saccomano’s written, and I suggest that you take a few minutes to read all of it. But the gist is that the Broncos wanted to purge every last vestige of their two pitiful brown-and-gold seasons, so there was no way even a trace of those two colors was going to be found on the 1962 uni. Which is exactly — exactly — what Ricko Pearson has been maintaining here all along. Ricko deserves a lot of credit for keeping this case open by basically playing the role of the gadfly, by refusing to accept the party line that the horse had been brown. Even when all the standard reference sources said otherwise, he refused to give up on his white whale. Take a bow, Rick — you’ve earned it.

But the biggest kudos go to Saccomano, who spent weeks poring over microfilm and game video, and who used his knowledge and connections in the service of uniform history and documentation. After his piece was posted yesterday, I sent him a note of thanks and congratulations, to which he responded:

At first I did not think it was so [i.e., that the horse was blue]. Thought I knew everything. But with the extra time due to lockout, I was able to do some research. No question this is the answer. The concept of the brown horse frankly made no sense anyway ”¦ but still, I needed proof. The stories I read, six months’ worth, and the people I spoke with, irrefutable. I cannot believe I did not think of asking Chuck and Al before, both friends of more than 30 years.

I suppose some folks still may not be convinced. Last night Trevor Williams — by far the best researcher in the Uni Watch readership, at least based on the assistance he’s given me on a number of projects — sent me this note: “Too bad Saccomano didn’t get any hard evidence. For all his ‘research,’ he just has more hearsay. Now we have one group that includes that Jack Faulkner, Gene Mingo, Frank Tripuka, and Jerry Strum that says it was brown and now Saccomano’s group that says it was blue.”

I think that’s too strong. I agree a smoking gun would have been better (and I hope one eventually shows up), but I find the cumulative power of three independent primary sources, each of whom cites the same reason for his response, to be very persuasive. Also, as Saccomano mentioned in his note to me, his own bias when beginning his research was against the blue horse, yet that’s the conclusion he reached nonetheless — again, convincing. As for the Falkner/Mingo/Tripuka camp, two of those guys were players, and we know players’ memories are very poor when it comes to this stuff (see my recent ESPN column about the Columbus Yankees’ Confederate flag patch, for example). Moreover, as Ricko noted in this piece, those guys were asked about the horse color in a very leading way. Again, a smoking gun would be better, but I think Saccomano’s findings amount to much more than mere hearsay, and I find them highly convincing.

Meanwhile, there’s another nugget lurking at the end of Saccomano’s essay: Hall of Fame wide receiver Lionel Taylor had an odd superstition regarding his helmet decals. Here’s the relevant passage:

Taylor did not like to have a horse’s tail on his helmet, whether blue or white.

“I don’t know why I had such a phobia about that tail, but I just did,” Taylor said recently. And so every week Ronnie Bill [the equipment man] would affix new logos to Taylor’s helmet, and every Sunday morning Lionel Taylor carefully peeled back the logos just enough to cut off the tails.

Upon reading this, Robert Jones and Ricko immediately came up with several photos of a tail-less Taylor. And for good measure, Ricko also found a few photos showing that Taylor sometimes did wear the tail . Just goes to show that things are rarely as black and white — or blue and blue — as we’d like to think.

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As you may have noticed, we have a new toolbar at the bottom of the browser page, which is part of our partnership with the Big Lead. It just went live on Monday, and I’m still deciding what I think about it. But if you dislike it — and I can think of several reasons why you might — there’s a toggle switch in the lower-right corner that lets you hide the toolbar. Feel free to use it.

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Let’s try this again: My new meat/butchery blog, The Butcher’s Case, produced in partnership with the acclaimed butcher shop Fleisher’s, debuted last Wednesday and then was promptly shut down by Blogger’s ’bots, which mistakenly thought the site was a spam operation. I immediately applied to have the site reinstated, and they were supposed to get us up and running again within two days (i.e., by Friday), but it hasn’t happened yet. Grrrrr.

Yesterday I got tired of waiting and said, “Fuck it — let’s just start over.” So now I’ve re-created the site with the same design, the same name, and a new URL. We went live this morning, and I’m hoping we’ll be trouble-free this time around. New posts coming tomorrow and Friday, woot-woot. My thanks to everyone who’s expressed interest and enthusiasm

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Here are some more sports logos made from soda displays, plus one more (from Jon Solomonson and Britton Thomas, respectively). ”¦ Nice video clip about a PNC Park vendor who wears always wears a baseball uni (thanks, RyCo). ”¦ Remember the baseball-themed My Morning Jacket poster? Erik Shmukler reports that everyone attending the band’s recent show was given this baseball card. Very cool. ”¦ Belated congrats to Teebz, who was recently featured on Yahoo’s “Puck Daddy” blog. ”¦ This is great: a really detailed — like really detailed — examination of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper uniforms (big thanks to Don Montgomery). ”¦ Oooh, check out the new red line for the Canadiens (big thanks to Mike Engle and Jonathan Deery). ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comment: The Dolphins have apparently changed their shoe color from (mostly) black to (mostly) white. Anyone else notice any other NFL shoe color switcheroos this preseason? ”¦ I got a ton of e-mails yesterday bemoaning these NHL jerseys. Honestly, I don’t understand the fuss — it’s just another stupid retail/fashion concept, so who cares? When I said as much to one outraged correspondent, he responded, “You don’t understand, the jersey is sacrosanct to hockey fans!” If that’s the case, then hockey fans won’t buy these jerseys and they’ll go away, problem solved. Or maybe they’ll buy tons of them, who knows. Either way, a Habs/Blackhawks game is still gonna look fine, so who really gives a shit about nonsense product like this? ”¦ Here’s something I didn’t know until it came up yesterday on the SABR listserv: The phrase “before you can say Jack Robinson” has nothing to do with Jackie Robinson the ballplayer. Its origins can be traced back to the 1700s. If you don’t believe that, check out this 1914 newspaper item. Fascinating! ”¦ New basketball shorts for Marquette (from Joey Serge). ”¦ Behold, the human hat rack. That’s Tigers farmhand Zach Maxwell (photo by Tom Hagerty, as contributed by Wayne Koehler). ”¦ Here’s a video of the Preds’ new boards being installed. “The thing that caught my eye was the strip at the top of the boards being yellow instead of red (as it has been at the arena since the team’s inception) or blue,” says Paul Richard Cook. “I didn’t think there were many teams that used a non-standard color, but a quick survey of NHL photo galleries turned up Dallas (green), Los Angeles (off-white?), San Jose (yellow), and Boston (black). I’m not sure how long teams have been doing this — maybe I’ve been oblivious all these years? But now I’m curious – are there any other slight modifications that teams have made to ‘personalize’ what would otherwise be standard hardware?”

Comments (191)

    Did you happen to hear about the University of Rhode Island’s new football uniforms? Local coverage here, which included a photo of the away kit with the home in the background, and only a description of the helmet. (Think LA Rams in powder blue over navy instead of white, I suppose.)

    Thanks! I enjoy your stuff!

    Now they look like UNH and Maine though the helmets should look good. I’m going to miss the Rams in CAA football!

    ricko always says folks think no one was watching unis back then the way we do now…but someone was — ricko — and given the limited access of things back in the day, he had things down pretty damn well…

    so if he says something was so, there’s probably a 95% chance you can take it to the bank…if he’s wrong it’s largely because he just didn’t have access the info we have today… and he’s always willing to be corrected, because that means he learned something he couldn’t know back then…

    great job rick

    Paul…what are you doing setting up blogs on Blogger? Especially since you have such an awesome Word Press site already with UW? I run all of my local news operations with WP and it takes about 15 minutes to get a basic (pretty like what you have with Blogger) site up and running. I’d offer to help (I have a server and offer hosting), but I know you have a bunch of other folks who can help you with that.

    Aw this was fun while it lasted. I guess we have to go back to bashing Nike and Under Armour. Unless someone can invent a new white whale that’ll have us on another wild goose chase!

    “I guess we have to go back to bashing Nike and Under Armour Adidas.”


    That stretchy shit from today’s ESPN column (excellent coining of the phrase “The Hydra Effect”, BTW) is just wrong. Without pads, those jersey tops are full-on basketball jerseys.

    To me, it never was a mystery.

    It was an example of how if something’s on the Internet people will think it must be true. And of other people fabricating ridiculous backstories to validate their mistake.

    I doubt we will ever see a color game photo taken by a professional. Virtually no one was shooting color. For instance, in 50+ years I have yet to see a color game action photo from any game during the first three seasons of the AFL in New York, Oakland, Houston or Buffalo. I’ve seen one from a Broncos home game, and it’s a shot of the team the huddle, obviously taken by an amateur using unsophisticated equipment. Also there are frame grabs from color film footage apparently shot by a fan in the stands at Bronco game.

    What do have (now, finally) is the testimony of three people—one of whom applied the horse decals himself—any of whom would have remembered how odd it would have been, given the situation in Denver, for the Broncos to retain any brown. They all say the horse was blue.

    In court, eyewitness testimony is enough to convict. If UW were a court of law, evidently no one would be convicted unless someone caught the crime on video.

    Want a new white whale? Find quality color photos action shot by a professional shooter for a Titans, Raiders, Oilers or Bills home game from 1960, 1961 or 1962. Portraits for football cards, we’ll find. Game action color, not so much.

    In court, eyewitness testimony is enough to convict.

    Careful, Rick. That standard is notoriously unreliable, as the courts are finally acknowledging:

    Not trying to reopen brown vs. blue; just saying you shouldn’t overstate your case.

    Eyewitness testimony still pretty compelling, though. Especially when three people are talking about an inanimate object, not identifying a person or recounting an act.

    If three witnesses say the hit and run vehicle was bright yellow, it’s a pretty good bet it was bright yellow.

    Eyewitness testimony is unreliable, but when the guy who affixed the pony to the helmet says it was one color, and all the other evidence and logic support his statement, you have made your case beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Of course, people still grasp for their own facts and reality. No, they can say, it can’t be, because it doesn’t conform to what I want to believe. See, e.g., total disregard of birth announcements in two Honolulu daily newspapers in 1961.

    If three witnesses say the hit and run vehicle was bright yellow, it’s a pretty good bet it was bright yellow.

    But if 73,128 witnesses say the Packers were wearing link, are the pants still gold? [Kidding!]

    In court, eyewitness testimony is enough to convict. If UW were a court of law, evidently no one would be convicted unless someone caught the crime on video.

    First off, almost every false conviction of an innocent person in American history has been the result of eyewitness testimony. Personally, I wouldn’t want to hang my hat on the perfect reliability of human perception and memory.

    But more importantly, this latest account is not more eyewitness testimony. It’s the first actually valuable eyewitness testimony so far entered into the record. Previously, the best evidence for blue was one guy’s twenty-year-old memory of another guy’s twenty-year-old memory. I trust Ricko as far as I trust any area expert on any subject, but his best evidence on this question still wasn’t a whole lot more valuable than the proverbial “my brother-in-law’s barber told him …” story. Here we have primary accounts by contemporaneous participants who agree on important details. Ricko’s evidence was worth maybe 60. These accounts are worth maybe 90. Together, they pin the needle at maybe 95 percent certainty, which is about as good as possible without physical evidence.

    To go back to Ricko’s court metaphor, this new evidence takes us from a preponderance of evidence in favor of blue, which is enough to win a civil trial, to proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is sufficient to win a criminal prosecution. Case closed.


    i am pretty sure ricko’s been saying the damn pony was blue since 1962, not 1991…it was somewhere around 20 years ago that he got the confirmation from someone other than himself that it was blue

    you can still score 60% in the ricko column in you want, but this wasn’t something he just stumbled upon in a conversation with a co-worker (or friend, or whatever it was) after the fact…

    he’s believed it blue since day one

    I trust Ricko as far as I trust any area expert on any subject, but his best evidence on this question still wasn’t a whole lot more valuable than the proverbial “my brother-in-law’s barber told him …” story.

    Flat out NOT true.
    See my comment farther below.

    I thought the same myself. But in the previous extended discussion of this, my recollection is that Ricko said that he did not personally see the helmets in color at the time. I respect the hell out of Ricko, but if he didn’t actually see the helmets in color at the time, then I can’t credit his opinion that they must have been blue with any dispositive weight at all. Doesn’t matter whether he formed the opinion in 1962 or 1982; if it’s not based on some form of observation, then it’s just an opinion. Good enough for me to have bet on the outcome, since I trust Ricko’s opinions, but not enough to consider the question any closer to proven.

    But I’m also a highly skeptical curmudgeon; I generally don’t regard my own memories or opinions as proof of anything either. In fact, if Ricko said he remembered something about a team differently than I do, I would tend to assume Ricko must be right, and mutter to myself, “But I could have sworn …”

    And, as always, there’s this. Find something from 1962 that essentially says, “The Broncos are, however, keeping some brown by using a brown horse decal on the new orange helmet.”

    Given the attitude toward brown and gold in Denver at the time, how could that little tidbit possibly have gone unmentioned?

    Indeed. Some things are a wild goose chase. So you go with with you do have.

    Was kinda my point. :)

    Perhaps a frame-by-frame viewing of “Full Color Football,” the AFL documentary that Showtime/HBO had a few years ago? Probably on DVD.

    Full Color Football didn’t show anything. I’ve watched it multiple times.

    I even grabbed an official Broncos history dvd which proceeded to skip from the burning of the striped socks to showing footage from ’66.

    I’ve actually taken an afternoon at the Denver (main) library to view microfilm of newspapers from the era. Nothing.

    What makes this so interesting, is that there is no black and white proof (to this point).

    I’ve mentioned it to several folks that have been lifelong season ticket holders, and they either couldn’t remember or weren’t sure.

    I also think the current color scheme seems to jade one’s memory (either that, or all they can really remember from the past is the bright blue helmets and orange jersey…or the recent throwback unis).

    I’ll go with Saccomano since he seems to have access to the most relative eyewitnesses.

    We have tons of black and white proof. The problem is we have no color proof!

    All kidding aside, if the guy who applied the decals says they were blue, I, for one, am going to trust him. It makes no sense why that decal ever would have been brown.

    By the way, the link for the “sacrosanct” NHL jerseys is showing up with nothing. Maybe they took ’em down already?


    These. (if that link works)

    They’re dark gray on black jerseys with only a tiny bit of team colored trim. Kinda like a hockey version of the Ducks pro combat uniforms.

    Outlines on the nameplates? Fail!

    Overall these are a big fail. I’d much rather have one of the Starter black fashion jerseys from the 90s than one of these.

    Also, while Paul doesn’t want to care because they’re just fashion jerseys…

    One should probably remember that NFL fans had black and other different colored fashion jerseys available before the NFL started allowing teams to use alts. It’s quite possible that the popularity of one lead to the other.

    The Yankees are not an average team. They’re one of a small minority who actually haven’t changed or experimented over the years. Most teams don’t look the same now as they did 50 years ago. Some have stayed closer than others, but very few are completely unchanged (not counting material/manufacturing changes, of course).

    I also saw them in the pro shop at the then Qwest Field when I went up there for a US National Soccer Team game. I looked up the date and that would have been on the 4th of July 2009. It would have been before I started frequenting this site on a regular basis but that was the first time I had seen them. When I was up there recently for a Seahawks preseason game I saw a ton of fans wearing away white versions of the neon green uni with the neon green taking the place of the blue.

    Here’s what I don’t get… The site said the jersey features “screenprinted twill appliqué.” If it’s screenprinted, it’s not twill appliqué, correct? I’m guessing it’s that horrible raised, screenprinted pseudo-stitching, which I can’t stand.

    It means that details have been screenprinted onto the twill itself, rather than being embroidered like genuine crests.

    In other words, total crap.

    By the way… f**k Reebok’s “polyester piqué 2-way stretch mesh”. Give me classic air-knit mesh any dang day!

    The bottom of the boards in the NHL is required to be yellow but the top can be whatever teams want.

    Although yellow now, the bottom of Montreal’s boards were light blue for many years.

    In response to My Morning Jacket’s baseball card, the Mann Center in Philadelphia does that. I have one from a Deathcab for Cutie show a few weeks ago. I think it was done as a partnership with an artist. Mine has a similar look, still baseball, but different stats.

    It says at the bottom of the card that it’s a joint promotion by the Mann Center for its shows produced by AEG.

    Yes, but what hue of blue? Royal like in the photo always used here to illustrate, which would have matched the unis but which is so ugly it’s hard to believe it was ever even considered by a pro team? Or a darker or less saturated blue, that would not have matched the rest of the unis but which would have looked reasonably good against the orange helmet?

    It was probably the same color as a Colts horseshoe or Cowboys star at the time. Helmet decals (and helmets themselves) tended to be a bit darker than the jerseys they went with. They still are for some teams.

    As with most helmet decals (especially royal blue) it probably leaned toward navy, same as the Colts horseshoe or the original Cowboys star on the white helmet…and a whole mess of others. In the news conference photo we can see the horse was pretty dark.

    That’s almost a given, examined (as it should be) in a 1962 context.

    Jeez, if I hadn’t stopped to let the dog out before hitting “submit” The Jeff and I would have sounded like the Everly Brothers.

    Nah, two slightly different takes on the subject were helpful. I’m adjusting my mental image to match. If it really was the same blue as the Colts’ decals, then we’re back to white being an improvement.

    An improvement is what white was. The guy said that: The blue looked like a blotch, which is almost exactly what MY source (Denver Post sports editor at the time who covered the team) said in 1971, nine years after the fact (not 20 or 30), that it “looked like a big ink blot.”

    Two people, describing it in virtually the same terms, one less than a decade after it was worn.

    And true royal blue would have been worse. It would have “danced/vibrated/blurred” like crazy against the orange bkgd of similar color value.

    As to the passage of time. How vividly do we remember our favorite team’s unis from 2002? Or is that so long ago that our recollections would have to be considered suspect?

    One time you told me I was crazy for describing orange and blue as having a similar color value.

    You sure it was me?

    And if it was, what was the context?
    Was the subject navy & orange or royal & orange?
    HUGE difference in color value between royal and navy.

    Navy and orange can work together in circumstances where royal and orange wouldn’t have a prayer…Bears’ navy throwback jerseys and orange numerals being a prime example.

    Wasn’t thinking of the Mets hats at all.
    More the Bears throwback jersey if it were royal with orange numbers. So much expanse of both colors they’d be fighting with each others.

    Sometimes balance ends up creating visual conflict. A great expanse of one color and just a bit of the other minimizes the conflict, such as the Mets hat. The orange is so small it doesn’t fight for attention. Rather it gains it by being the one bit of the second color in the huge mass of the other. Make sense?

    Imagine a bowl of Cheerios. Half of them have been colored royal, the rest orange. Would make your eyes hurt. Now imagine a bowl of royal Cheerios and one orange one.

    The Premier Black Ice NHL jerseys aren’t on anymore. I was able to view them by Googling “premier black ice jersey” and clicking cache instead of the link itself. Odd.

    Hiding the toolbar doesn’t help. The new “functionality” still prevents me from highlighting and copying text, makes editing within a comment all but impossible, and triggers random page reloads and browser-back jumping. Even when the toolbar is hidden.

    Hiding the toolbar doesn’t help.

    I just highlighted and copied/pasted the italic sentence above from your comment, and I’ve had none of the other problems you describe. Nobody else has mentioned any similar problems to me.

    Suggestion: Try a different browser.

    Using chrome, I am having the EXACT same problem with highlighting text. When I try to, “share by meebo” pops up and prevents me from deleting or copying.

    Yeah, I have Firefox and even when I didn’t hide the toolbar I didn’t have problems. Of course, it’s far less annoying now that I’ve hidden it.

    For Opera users, you can block link and the toolbar along with all of its additional “features” will be blocked on any site that has it.

    Since Paul has been following the restoration efforts, does anyone have any information on Hinchliffe Stadium? Paterson is just devistated with flooding right now and I was wondering, in the hopes of any good news there, if the ball field had been spared.

    While we’re at it: How is Paul’s Bar & Bowling, an even more important Paterson cultural institution than Hinchliffe?

    And how is Rutt’s Hut, just a few miles away in Clifton?

    Does it make me a bad person if (even as a ‘Hawks fan) I like the “premier black ice” jerseys.

    I mean, just from a, “this is a jersey but not an authentic jersey,” perspective, I think they look kool. I would never want to see them on the ice, but I would consider buying one for the right price (read: nowhere near the $150 for an authentic jersey).

    Timmo is Irish, and likely raised as Irish Catholic. In that tribe, all pleasures are guilty unless they’re shameful.

    I’m a Hawks fan who’s not really digging that jersey, but then again I actually liked the Georgia pro combat uni so to each his own. What hit me, though, is your comment about the price. I have to wonder why Reebok bothers with the proliferation of knockoffs. Go to a game at the United Center and you’ll see tons of knockoff Winter Classic jerseys, tons of knockoff St. Patrick’s Day green jerseys (which I REALLY can’t stand) and even a handful of knockoff Toews UND Fighting Sioux jerseys. My guess is if this takes off at all, the counterfeiters will jump in and produce 95% of what you actually see people wear–and ironically they’ll probably actually stitch the name and number as opposed to the screenprinting Reebok uses. It seriously boggles my mind that Reebok sell enough of these at $150 a pop to make it worth their while.

    Nope, nothing wrong with liking those jerseys, coming from another Hawks fan…the only question I have is why there is no red outline on the chest, in contrast to other teams?

    (Belated) congrats on launching the meat blog. As a devoted omnivore (believe it or not, I enjoy vegetables, though rarely in raw form), meat is definitely in my diet, and I look forward to learning a lot from your well-written blog. Thanks Paul!

    Didn’t yellow gold become the new standard color for the Pred’s and blue became the secondary?

    Case in point: why would your color jersey be your secondary color?

    Joke? What do you mean joke? The yellow/gold thing is serious business, and I will win eventually.

    I made that mistake too the first time I tried to do strikethrough. I put an ‘s’ in the tags, but I looked it up and it said you tag is with ‘del’.

    Don’t worry, I’m not playing today. It’s a blue/brown day. You can’t have blue/brown and yellow/gold on the same day.

    Unlike NHL rinks, which have a standard kickplate color, NCAA rinks can have custom colors on the tops of the boards and the kickplates.

    At Notre Dame’s new hockey arena, the boards will have navy tops and metallic gold kickplates:


    I’ve even seen a white kickplate, at Michigan State (with a green stripe painted above the plate for the necessary contrast).

    Thanks for the belated congrats, Paul, but I’m just happy to play a small part in my corner of the sports world.

    Speaking of playing a part, any word on the white whale I sent to you? If you like, I can prepare a much better write-up for it.

    Sorry not to have gotten to it sooner, Teebz — combination of me being busy with other stuff and breaking news on other uni fronts (Mets BP jerseys, Broncos helmet, etc.). Soon!

    No rush whatsoever, Paul. Just wanted to know if you wanted a better write-up. You might want to check with Mr. Ullman as well – it was his idea that spawned the research. ;o)

    Where’s that old picture of rpm’s hypothetical tribute t-shirt? With the brown horse on the orange helmet asking “What Would Ricko Say?” Looks like we can make an updated version of that one now. Maybe change the text to “Myth: Busted” or “Horseshit” or “If you believe this, then the MLB batter is Killer.”

    Hey Phil, just wondering, are you an ultimate pack rat who saves every picture that comes to Uni Watch? Or is that a duty as Bench Coach?

    no mike, and that’s actually from moose’s flickr account…i just know where to find shit

    Oooh, I like the “Horseshit” option with the brown mule. If I were really clever, I’d try to think of something that would with with that image that would mirror the “Don’t Tread on Me” of the visually similar Gadsen Flag. (“Don’t Tread on Ricko”?)

    “Nice video clip about a PNC Park vendor who wears always wears a baseball uni”

    Agreed. Although, is he really a vendor since he doesn’t take money? He’s more of a hospitality guy. Of course, as much as those club seats cost, the food had *better* be included. Anyway, it doesn’t take away from the cool factor.

    Wish I could have worn something like that, since link was what I wore in my final days as a vendor. We never should have changed from link

    The state of College football is getting more depressing by the day. in the terlet.


    My favorite column of the year. Thanks, Paul.

    One very minor thing that wasn’t mentioned, but I know Alabama plans to have a helmet decal for April’s tornado victims. If I were a betting man, I’d say it will resemble link. I haven’t been able to find any actual photos of the helmets, however.

    Great column! Boy, college football uniforms continue their devolution into clown suits with every yearly change. Some of those were so bad I actually chuckled.

    That said, a couple of highlights:

    -The Houston throwbacks are really nice.
    -Virginia Tech has majorly upgraded their look.
    -Western Kentucky looks much, much better
    -Louisville keeps quietly getting better
    -I just realized Colorado has some of the nicest uni’s in football

    “Huzzah!” to:
    Southern Miss (so far)
    Temple (although the old helmet was equally fantastic in its own way)
    WKU (welcome to 5&1 eligibility!)

    Partial “huzzah.” to
    Wyoming (they need to lose the side piping on the brown jersey still)
    FIU (their game against Akron might not be the worst uni matchup of the year after all…)
    La. Lafayette (je t’aime, les fleurs de lis!)

    “Boo!” to:
    Anyone with the palm salute gloves
    OSU (Cowboys, but probably the Bucks, too)
    Atlanta Falcons Texas Tech
    Bowling Green
    Oregon (BFS)
    Fresno State

    Partial “boo.” to:

    Every one else seems to have made a lateral move…yes, even Maryland.

    Amazing survey of the state of football uniforms, Paul. (And generally depressing.)

    Thank god for Penn State. I love that they eliminated the white borders.

    About this all grey…. thing….


    ….Really? I, I….I just…….really?

    Actually, lose the charcoal and get rid of the pointy number font and that’s a decent uni. The Jeff’s right – the Bucks ought to use that shade of gray.

    Agree that the pants are stupid, but all-grey used as an away uniform would be fine, I think, as long as the home team has a bright color. Now, if Wazzou plans to use that as a home uni, with the opponent in white… yikes. That’ll be a drab game to watch.

    I’m with you on the all gray thing. My parents happened to be visiting during the NCAA hoops tourney last spring and I was watching tOSU sporting their grays. My mother walked by and asked “Which team is that? They look like a bunch of janitors.”

    Gray is fine as an accent color (e.g., Giants, tOSU, Wazzu, etc.), but should only be used as a primary color in baseball, and even then the gray polys are a poor visual substitute for the gray flannels.

    Syracuse players will wear “88” decals on their helmets in memory of former Orange star and Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey who died in July.

    Paul, forgot to mention that this morning’s graphic (whale meat as Ken-L-Ration) is appallingly wonderful. My desk job is marine conservation, partly, and I’m sending out the picture to the sub-set ListServ of ocean enviros with ironclad stomachs.

    Where did you hear Georgia Tech would have 2 white jerseys again? and is the away one going to be the 2009 jersey/uniform or is it going to be last year’s?

    Also I imagine Tech will be using the Gold jersey if they are forced to do so, though I’m pretty sure this year’s schedule is douche-free.

    So apparently a team that likes to wear white at home and doesn’t want to change for some other team to come into their house is a douche. Whats that make Georgia Tech?

    Tech has a tradition of wearing white at home, just like LSU. There are a only a few years where it wasn’t mandatory that the home team wear a colored jersey that Tech has worn a colored jersey (early 70s – the throwback uniforms from 2006) and most of Chan Gailey’s time (he took over in ’02 but they wore gold at home from 2003-2007).

    Most teams don’t crap on tradition (even our rivals UGA and Clemson accept our request to wear white at home), and neither Miami or NC State have ever had issues with us wearing white at home until last season. In fact Tom O’Brien pulled the same crap in 1998 when he was coaching BC and they came to Atlanta. Wake Forest is notorious for forcing Tech to wear their colored jerseys too (the one time we wore gold in 2009).

    Maybe I’m being a little harsh, well I’m definitely being too harsh because I actually like seeing the gold jerseys every once in awhile. I know my dad hates it (he grew up with the Gold jerseys in the late 60s/70s where we only had 1 good season – I think he enjoyed the 2006 game with them, but he wasn’t too psyched going into the game about seeing something he associated with losing, he still does associate the gold jerseys with failure). There’s just something wrong with denying a team their tradition when said team’s own rivals oblige every time the question is asked (if our rival in a series called “clean old-fashioned hate” doesn’t get in the way of tradition why the hell should Wake Forest?).

    White Whales, Blue Horses, and Red Herrings…

    … what about Green Clovers, Yellow Moons, and Purple Horseshoes?

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    Just noticed the order of colors in the headline. Where have I seen link before?

    Had Comrade Lukas placed “Red Herrings” first he’d have an all-American headline. But nooooooo…

    TFPIC, Paul. ;)

    NHL rink modifications

    The stantions between the glass at washington capitals games is painted RED. I think Tampa Bay uses Blue for there stations ~ Since I’m at work I can’t do any more research.

    I actually like the Black Ice jerseys. Now if I can find one for the Penguins…

    As far as the Broncos are concerned, I liked how they said that they later put blue on the shoulders–I can recall, even when John Elway wore those throwbacks in 1994, that the blue was on still-legit sleeves. Yeah, they might’ve started shortening the sleeves in the late 1980’s, but they were still long enough to be considered sleeves. I’m sure if the Broncos were to wear them today, they would be similar to the Jets unis. But still, the 1960’s still had those elbow-length sleeves, and they were referring to the blue as being on the shoulders. Wow, I guess people forget about the days NFL uniforms actually had sleeves.

    Oh, and Lionel Taylor hiding the bronco’s tail would be a BIG no-no in today’s NFL. He’d be getting fined more than James Harrison over that.

    When I used to be a big Star Wars fan before the prequels ruined it for me, there was a debate of whether Han Solo’s jacket on the ice planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back was blue or brown. Hasbro decided to two make versions of the action figure to settle the “dispute.”


    It doesn’t help that link, and I always thought of it as blue.

    Then again, the “Bespin Outfit” Han figure from the original line had a dark blue jacket, and I always thought the jacket in the film was supposed to be black, like his vest in the other two movies.

    I always found it amusing that Kenner referred to Han and Luke’s Empire figures (the non-Hoth ones) as being in “Bespin” outfits, even though the characters wore those outfits way before Bespin’s even mentioned in the movie. I’m sure my paying attention to that level of detail contributed to my present uni-geekiness.

    Just was skimming through Paul’s ESPN column, and you know, if Colorado can finally get their helmet to match the pants, is there any reason why the San Francisco 49ers can’t seem to get the shade on their pants right?

    The damn Niners are doing the mismatched shit intentionally. It’s “retro” (and stupid). Their ’98 – ’08 golds matched just fine.

    Well, they did have matte gold pants for a long time… I’m not sure, but I don’t think they ever adopted shiny gold pants until 1998, when they retired the white pants from the 1996 redesign (which was influenced by the 1994 throwbacks).

    That’d be the link for the article regarding the UCLA game… (forgot there were multiple links in the USC paragraph)

    Note for non-Washington State fans: Gray is actually a school color (along with crimson). WSU’s new “all-gray” alternate uniform may or may not turn out to be a good look, but they deserve credit for eschewing BFBS. Note also that WSU has gone back to a true gray (and actually two shades of gray on the all-gray set), rather than metallic silver, which is not a school color.

    I always look forward to the college football column every fall, and i’m always disappointed…not in the work, but that MIZZOU is never in it for changing from ridiculous to classic, along with a quote such as “and the best upgrade this year in uni-watch’s opinion”. Great work.

    That “TroJanS” mark on Troy looks like a bad MMA or pro wrestling show logo.

    I’m not going to say “Who cares about the color of the Bronco?” because, obviously, that stuff is the raison d’etre of the site. That’s a given.

    But who’d be enough of a hardass about it that, when presented with new, credible evidence, and IN THE ABSENCE OF A SMOKING GUN, would not only denigrate the new findings, but the person who spent the time to uncover it? Holy cow, that’s a whole new level of small.

    I seem to remember him stating at one point that the Kings were the one team where purple was an appropriate color.

    With solid white numerals, that Houston thowback would be among the best.

    I’d change all the white on Colorado’s uniform to silver (the official school colors are gold and silver) and that would be a uniform than never needs changing, except maybe putting those bison horns on the helmet.

    PSU’s new jerseys look no different than your local high school’s practice jersey, plain Navy jersey with white numbers. Why are they so highly regard though?

    Similarly, the UNT jersey is “too simple?” At least it can be attributed to a specific team.

    My high school modeled their uniforms after PSU for years. From pics of the first game last week, it appears we kept the white collar. So I guess we now have a visually more interesting uniform than PSU.

    Still, I think it’s easy to see why they are highly regarded. In a sea of schools trying to do something “different”, PSU is one that isn’t. There needs to be balance. I’m not completely against schools trying new uniforms… as long as there are a few historical programs that cling to their traditions. With 120 DI schools, there’s room for a few Penn States.

    There’s something to be said for keeping a particular look across generations. PSU fans and alums of ANY age can look at the team on the field this year and identify easily with it because their era’s teams looked almost exactly the same.

    Great column on the NCAA changes today. Holy moly, is that a lot of research.

    Two thoughts:

    1. I know the logo was introduced last year, but this is the first year for the PAC-12, so I guess its the first time the logo is going to be showing up everywhere?

    2. The column mentions that Boise State is banned from wearing blue at home, the article states that the ban is for conference games only.

    Wow… Paul McCartney wore an Ontario Provincial Police patch on his Sgt. Pepper jacket. I did not know that.

    Also interesting that John Lennon borrowed WWII medals from Pete Best’s family.

    Good article find today.

    I guess I should say congrats to Don Montgomery for the find…

    … so, congrats, Don!

    Back in the day when “Paul is Dead” was the rumour, the story was that the patch read “OPD” for Officially Pronounced Dead.

    Which was stupid, of course. I lived in Ontario and I knew it was stupid. But you couldn’t debunk a rumour in five minutes with google then.

    In other Winnipeg Jets news, the police are now in on the seizing of fake jerseys:


    “RCMP advise the public to purchase team products through authorized dealers.”

    I’m not in favour of fake jerseys or anything, but its nice to have the police enforcing your licence agreements for you.

    Well, it has been ridiculous seeing online ads for Jets jerseys that haven’t been officially released yet…

    Congrats Paul! My morning internet routine consists of going to ESPN and then coming over here to Uni Watch. If you have a column up over there I usually have to link from here to find it, but your college football preview was the very first thing that pops on their home page.

    The new Mountain West logo has a striking resemblance to my favorite television shows:

    Mountain West:

    Doctor Who:

    I believe that was mentioned before when it debuted a while back, but yeah.

    Then again, I always preferred link for our favorite Time Lord anyway.

    I love how the guys in Morning Jacket are posing on that baseball card a la the 60’s style cards of “Buc Belters”, “Sox Sluggers”, “Cards Clubbers”, “Tribe Thumpers” et al…

    Great stuff.


    You said that Wyoming’s uniforms are unchanged, is that white jersey not a new addition? I know they wore the Gold jersey at least once last year (along with the gold accented helmet), but I’m pretty sure the white jersey is a new option. At the very least its new to being the primary away jersey (even if it was worn last year it was not the normal away jersey).

    I think the white jersey is new. Last year both the white
    and the brown
    had that annoying side piping. The new whites, while not great, are an improvement.

    Hard to believe that not a single person at any time took a color picture of the Broncos helmets. Maybe they did and are just not Uniwatch fans or helmet buffs.

    Still the findings do make sense.

    Kind of makes me think about guess about the old friction strips on old football uniforms. I think most of the early strips were brown for all teams. Then at some time in the 20’s did teams use team colors for those friction strips on the fronts of old jerseys.

    I have stated that Ohio State in the Chic Harley era 1916-1919 had brown strips.The Heritage arts posters gave it brown also and then 1928 said gray which I agree with.

    This site has gone over the filters used at that time so educated guessing is not always reliable.

    Ok, this is undeniably cool:

    This – link – is a set of photos showing some of the Chicago Blackhawks players (and team ambassador Denis Savard) helped paint the indian head on the ice this year.

    #4 is Niklas Hjalmarsson
    #25 is Viktor Stalberg
    and the third player might be #5, Steve Montador

    Stalberg and Hjalmarsson are Swedish, so maybe the third player is Marcus Kruger since he’s the only other Swede on the team, but it doesn’t look like #16 on the jersey…

    I think it is Kruger.


    That photo shows the player in question bending over exposing a number that could only be 5, 6, 8, 9 or 0 (he’s 16…) and the letters “UGE” (I think). Kruger is the only ‘Hawk with that letter combo in his name.

    An all Swede get together is very possible.

    I’m glad to see Kentucky is bringing the white helmets back. Now, if only they’d replace the interlocking logo with the old Power K from back in the day…

    Never though a post would get me in the ticker, thanks for the shout out and post about the dolphins shoes change paul! Also congrats on your espn blog getting on the front page, as always you do a terrific job!

    I did not know they had a secondary logo (other than the ones involving the script)… also I forgot that there was a team in San Fran (I remember the Demons though).

    I had an XFL ball, it was the size below the one used for High School, it was awesome, despite being red and black (the color of the enemy). It was even cooler back when I was 10 (whenever we played a game of football my friends always wanted to play with it).

    I know there is a lot of haters out there, but I love my ducks. I love the unis. I love the fact that their tradition is to be against the tradition. I love my ducks!


    I think the real answer is that Oregon is winning because of what pays for all those uniforms, not so much the uniforms themselves. (And also possibly because they have been getting away with recruiting violations.)

    Homestar Runner would probably like those new Hawaii pants… just because the back stripes would accentuate his twees while performing his patented buttdance.


    I’m assuming your talking about the “I Love My Ducks” videos Tim E. My comp is off and I’m just on my iPhone so it doesn’t show me who’s commented on what it just lists them by oldest to most recent posts. I don’t see what’s so gross about them. Clever, funny, catchy maybe but not gross. I didn’t know you were a Duck hater like Paul and Vilk. If you are a hater good luck getting that tune out of your head. “I love my Ducks! I love my Ducks, I love my Ducks. It’s going down.”

    Point of clarification – I hate Bellotti Bold, the old diamondplate unis and BFBS. The Ducks as a team or as a school…I’m neutral. I actually enjoyed the ’02-’03 unis when they played in the Sun Bowl against Minnesota.

    And just skimming those videos…they look like fun. Gotta check out the rest later.

    Fellow Uni Watchers,

    While I understand that no one has yet to find a color photo of the Broncos’ helmet in question, I think it’s almost inconceivable that somewhere, someplace, one does not exist. Some of you know my background in finding unique color images, both video and still. For those of you who don’t, the never before seen images that we found were turned into documentaries, including the When It Was A Game series for HBO. No one thought that color footage existed before we found it.

    If anyone wants to embark on the project, here are my suggestions. Think of yourself as a detective. Get the names of every player on the Broncos’ roster for the years in question. Call them and see what they, or their family members, have kept over the years. You’ll be surprised. Scrapbooks, home movies, color photos and slides. Someone is bound to have something.

    Get the names of every Denver Post photographer. Track them down. Many of them still have negatives.

    Ask the Broncos for the list of their oldest season ticket holders. Track them down. They too are likely to have some movies or photos.

    Who knows where it all leads. It’s like a giant puzzle and sometimes you get very lucky.

    I’d do it, but we are busy working on our next show.

    Happy hunting.

    just want to throw something out there… i have been researchign this since we had started as well i found something interesting today…


    thats is the logo from 62-67′ as it states on the creamer logo site. i have done other searches as well and all the versions are the same. now the complete removal of brown from the color scheme is noted. so my question is if there is no brown in the scheme why would it be on the helmet? or on any part of the uniform for that matter?

    Now if you look closesly at the helmet there is a blue stripe above the ear hole. i believe it is to represent the horse on the side of the helmt because the design would be to small to put on there. So for me atleast this confirms that the horse was blue on the helmet.

    i know this wont be enough evidence for most all of you but i think it warrants a look in too that avenue.

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