By Phil Hecken
Next in line for Nike’s amateur pacifist costumes is THE Ohio State University (who’ll be playing B1G rival Wisconsin today), and like some of their recent offerings, this one is a fauxback. At first glance it’s not too bad. Unfortunately, first impressions can be deceiving.
The uniform is supposed to be throwing back to 1961, which is a fairly famous year in THE OSU’s storied history. It’s also the fiftieth anniversary of that team. Before we get into this uni, let’s take a brief glimpse at that team and the uniform it wore.
According to the jamdawg.com website:
1961 was one of the most Bizzare Seasons in the history of Ohio State Football. Imagine your school going through the season without a loss, invited to a really nice Bowl Game (…or even a BCS Bowl Game.) and the School’s Faculty Council REFUSES TO LET THE TEAM GO TO THE BOWL GAME? Well, that’s exactly what happened to the ’61 Buckeyes who went 8-0-1 that season. The Rose Bowl Agreement between The Big Ten and The Pac 8 (Now Pac 12.) had expired but still had “Handshake” or “Gentlemen’s” Agreements to have their Conference Champions play each other in The Rose Bowl. Jack Fullen, who was The Chairman of The Faculty Council (…and had an intense dislike of Woody Hayes.) took advantage of the fact that there was no formal contract and persuaded enough members of the Faculty Council to vote against The Rose Bowl Trip. The Columbus Dispatch in return printed the names, addresses and phone numbers of the Faculty Council Members who voted against The Rose Bowl Trip as well as the amount of University Money they spent on their trips.
Amazing. Can you believe the Faculty Council refused to let that team go to the Granddaddy of them All? Another nice website, coachfickell.com noted, “Scoring an average of more than thirty points per Big Ten game, the Buckeyes rolled to a tenth Big Ten Championship and fourth National Championship in 1961. Three running backs, Matt Snell, Bob Ferguson, and Paul Warfield led the way for the outstanding offense with Ferguson ending the season as a runner up for the Heisman Trophy. Ohio State finishes 8-0-1, defeating Michigan, 50-20, and won another Big Ten title.”
Perhaps creating this fauxback is Nike’s way of “we will always remember you.” Or, maybe the 50th Anniversary of that team was an easy choice for a new costume (remember, this is the third pro combat uniform for OSU, having worn this in 2009 and this last year). In theory, last year’s uni paid homage to the 1942 team, while the 2009 didn’t seem to be anything but a poorly done mashup.
The 1961 uniform was beautiful. Unfortunately, that uniform bears little resemblance to the one Nike has created. The 1961 uniform featured solid scarlet jersey, with slight gray piping at the ends of the sleeves and gray pants with two thin scarlet stripes.
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature, however, was the gray padded helmet with a thick red stripe, and block numerals on the sides. They would wear this helmet from 1960 through 1965, with the 1961 version having a *relatively* narrower stripe. As the years, progressed, more padding was added until the stripe became quite wide. Reproductions better approximate the difference in width between the early and later versions.
So, how did Nike do? Well, from the side the helmet looks OK — the TV numbers are too thick, however. Those helmets had white facemasks, while the Nike-inspired models have gray cages. Looked at straight on, the stripe looks good, but it appears closer to the 1965-width.
The jersey and pants don’t really jive with 1961 either. Seen straight on, the uniform looks pretty well done, but a side view shows the addition of gray stripes stretching from the neck to down the sleeves and all kinds of wrong for the pants — thick crimson stripes that neither start at the belt loops nor end symmetrically, wrapping around the back of the knee. Of course, the compression jerseys will feature some kind of space-age pattern which is replicated on the gloves.
Why, you may ask, doesn’t Nike give THE OSU some more “distinctive” gloves (as they do for their other teams? Well, they tried that last year, and the resulting display resulted in THE being hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Sigh. At least this year’s model probably won’t encourage the “Look At Me” display.
Was Nike successful with this one? Well, looking at this, using my “toy soldier yardstick” (grading solely as a uniform, discounting all historical context and school colors)…it’s still not a good looking uni. The fact that they’re not even really trying very hard to replicate an historical kit doesn’t help either. The helmet is pretty cool, and will certainly be unique looking, but the ridiculous shoulder stripes and those awful, awful pants stripes don’t make for a very attractive uniform. In fact, compared with the previous five pro combat uniforms already introduced (Oregon, Boise State, Georgia, Michigan State, and LSU) this one looks a LOT like Georgia, and I’d rank it just as low. Yup, sorry Larry B., I’m giving your Bucks a “C”.
Nike had a real opportunity to honor the 1961 squad, but unfortunately, poetic license got ahold of the designers instead of common sense. That 1961 uni was both beautiful, simple and distinctive. The concept Nike came up with just doesn’t measure up. Better luck next year, I’m sure Nike will come up with another costume for the 2012 team.
Interestingly enough, in our following feature, “50 Years Ago…” the ABC Game of the Week featured today’s combatants — Wisconsin and THE Ohio State University — let’s now see what Ricko thought of those uniforms (albeit OSU was the road team in 1961) all those years ago.
50 Years Ago…This Weekend
Back again with Rick Pearson who is here to bring us his look at the featured ABC television college football matchup from 50 years ago. As always, Rick documented the game via his “kid cards”. Here’s Rick to tell us about it:
Ohio State at Wisconsin: Ohio State’s homes were red with gray numbers and gray sleeve ends … Roads, though, added the multiple red shoulder striping, which wasn’t uncommon … Paul Warfield was a RB on those teams, the pros made him a WR (also not uncommon; Tommy McDonald, Bobby Mitchell, Lance Alworth and Charlie Taylor come to mind) … Buckeyes wore helmets with the exterior padding … Wisconsin? What’s not to like about the big ol’ W? Was on the back, too. … A note about Wisconsin’s socks, and it relates to a common mistake uni-watchers make when looking at old photos. That is NOT a white stripe on the red stirrups. The stirrups were solid, and there’s a red ring near the top of the white crew socks worn over them … The players? Bob Ferguson was drafted high, but never did much with either the Steelers (he’s at left) or Vikings. Richter had a solid career as a Redskins’ TE and went on to become Wisconsin’s AD.
Thank you Ricko. Awesome job, as always.
We have another new set of tweaks 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 at keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
And so, lets begin:
We start with Marcus Hall, who you may recall, made a shitload of pink logos for the NFL last time. He wasn’t finished…
Marcus from Baltimore again. I took the time to add pink to the AFC unis as well. Some are accents of pink, such as the eye patch in the Raiders logo or black outline of the Chief’s arrowhead. Others are a complete take over of one of the teams colors, such as the Bengals’ pink instead of orange. Fun times.
Next up is Kapil Prajapati, who has designed a soccer jersey for Qatar. No, really:
I always been amused at the aesthetics of soccer jerseys in Europe, they come in all forms and designs and I thought I create one for a team that is very popular at the moment, especially in the US. I chose Barcelona, the colors of the away strip are supposed to combine two of the previous colors that Barca has used for their away kits in the last 7 years.
Hope you enjoy!
And finally, what may be the most bizarre set of NFL uniform concepts I’ve ever seen (THE will love these)…I give you Mr. Design Junkie:
Wassup fam! Came across your site looking for something else, giving you major props on your site fam! Keep it up…
I’m sending over a few uniform designs I’ve been working on! They’ve garnered a huge following on my fanpage and elsewhere, check ’em out!!!
Here’s the slideshow.
And here’s the set.
Alrighty then…back with more tomorrow.
by Rick Pearson
Still requires a certain Ninja-like creeping, though…
And, of course, your full-size version.
Tracking The 2011 MLB Playoffs
Alex Rocklein is back…so let’s put ’em in the books!
Well, it didn’t quite have the excitement of game six, but last night your St. Louis Cardinals, resplendent in white, defeated the gray clad Texas Texases to claim their 11th World Series title. Good on them, and congrats to both teams for a thrilling, seven-game series. Did the rule that home field would go to the league of the All Star Game winner (instituted in 2003) play a part? Maybe — this was the first seven-game series since MLB instituted the rule, and the Cards were a Wild Card team — so by all rights, they never should have gotten the extra game.
This will be the final “Tracking the Playoffs” post for 2011. And I’d like to thank Alex for all his hard work in bringing these new and updated graphics to us each weekend. So, folks, you can now put this last one in the books.
Here is your 2011 Final MLB Playoff Tracker.
That’s gonna do it for today. Everyone have a great Saturday and I’ll catch ya tomorrow.
“Now that President Obama has finally fulfilled at least one of his campaign promises by bringing home the soldiers from the Middle East by Christmas…My question is in what direction are all of these camo-wearing teams going to go next with out the “support the troops” band wagon to jump on?” — ‘-DW’