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Countdown to SBXLVI…Meet The Pats

Giants Patriots 1990

By Phil Hecken

The Big Weekend has finally arrived. As in years past, I’m privileged to have two outstanding guests who are here to bring us everything we ever wanted to know about the uniform history of the two teams involved in the Super Bowl…so huge and impressive are their efforts, in fact, that it will take both days of Super Bowl weekend to cover it all. Past Super Bowl coverage has featured Doug Keklak & Rick Pearson, Tim Brulia & Rick Pearson, and Chance Michaels & Rick Pearson. I’ve given Ricko the Super Bowl off this year (although I’m sure he would have helped had I asked him to).

Today, I’m joined by Rob Holecko, a major Uni Watch contributor, and one of the three founding members of the Gridiron Uniform Database (along with Bill Schaefer and Tim Brulia) — perhaps the best website out there detailing the uniform history of the National Football League. He’ll be covering the American Conference Champions, the New England Patriots. Tomorrow, I’ll be joined by Heather L. Scott, a reader and HUGE Giants fan who’ll be running down the uniform history of Big Blue, the Patriots’ opponent in Super Bowl XLVI.

So, without further ado, lets get right into the AFC rep:


Patriots Uniform History
By Rob Holecko

The first true “Patriots” to compete in Boston did so in the eighteenth century long before football came along. In 1862, the Oneida Football Club in Boston was the “first organized team to play any kind of football” in the United States. They played on the Boston Commons an important precursor of the sport of football known as “The Boston Game” which led to the first game of college football in 1869 between Rutgers and Princeton.

The first professional football team in Boston, was the Boston Braves, a 1932 NFL expansion team that took the same name as the National League baseball team in the city. A year later they changed their name to the Redskins, and in 1937 they moved to Washington. For the next twenty or so years, professional football did not have a major franchise in New England, and the football fans of the area would for the most part support the New York Giants.

In November 1959, Boston business executive Billy Sullivan was awarded the eighth and final AFL inaugural franchise. They would be named the Patriots. They reached the 1963 AFL Championship game where they lost to San Diego. In 1970, following the AFL-NFL merger, the Boston Patriots were placed in the AFC East, and the following year they moved into a new stadium outside of Boston, in Foxoborough, Massachusetts. They wanted to changed their name to the “Bay State Patriots” but the NFL would not allow the name, so instead they settled on the “New England Patriots”. They won only one AFC East title in the 1970s, in 1978, but in the next decade they became only the second wild card team ever to reach the Super Bowl after the 1985 season, where they lost to the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX. They won three more AFC East Division titles in 1986, 1996 and 1997, reaching Super Bowl XXXI after the 1996 season. They would next win the AFC East in 2001, and went on to win Super Bowl XXXVI against the St. Louis Rams, a win that would begin their decade of dominance in the 2000s: They won divisional titles in eight out of nine years from 2003 through 2011, including two more Super Bowl championships in XXXVIII and XXXIX. They fell short of the ultimate goal, however, of an 18-0 perfect season in 2007 when they lost Super Bowl XLII to the Giants. As they prepare to compete in Super Bowl XLVI, again against the Giants and look for redemption for that loss four years ago and claim their fourth Super Bowl title, we look back at the uniform history of this franchise:

1960 – The Patriots play in the first ever preseason game wearing helmets with the try-cornered Patriots hat. For the regular season they add the familiar shoulder stripes and player numbers to the helmet. They would wear only white pants, with primarily red uniforms at home and white on the road, and this would be the case from 1960 through 1978. The socks would be red on top, with a blue and a red stripe.

For the first three season the Patriots would play their games at Nickerson Field.

1961 – The Patriots debut the “Pat the Patriot” helmet logo. Also the socks would slightly change, with a primarily red sock with two blue stripes on a field of white, coupled with a blue and white stripe at the bottom.

1963 – The Boston Patriots begin playing their home games at Fenway Park.

1965 – A minor change to the socks, as they would now be red with two sets of white-blue-white stripe.

1967 – The Patriots would make a minor change to the sock stripes on their uniforms, going from a primarily red sock with blue and white stripes, to a white socks with varying red, white and blue stripes.

1969 – For the beginning of the 1969 regular season the Patriots would change to solid red socks, and removed the shoulder stripes.

1971 – After a season at Alumni Stadium and a season at Harvard Stadium, the Patriots leave Boston and become the New England Patriots and play at Foxboro Stadium, which would also go by the name Schaefer Stadium from 1971 through 1982 and Sullivan Stadium from 1983-89. The Patriots draft quarterback Jim Plunkett from Stanford with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft.

1973 – The now New England Patriots would add sleeve stripes to their uniforms.

1976 – The Patriots reach the playoffs for the first time in thirteen years.

1978 – The Patriots win their first AFC East title behind quarterback Steve Grogan.

1979 – In the first relatively “major” change of the overall Patriots uniform since the helmet change of 1961, the Patriots would don red pants for the first time with their white road uniforms, while continuing to wear white pants with their red home jerseys.

1981 – After only two seasons, they would scrap the red pants and only wear white pants, with both the red and white jerseys.

1984 – After three more years with just the white pants, they would again bring back the red pants for the road combo, and they would also return the shoulder stripes and replace the solid red socks with the stripes ones that they wore from 1967 through 1969. This was also their inaugural 25th anniversary season, so they would wear a commemorative patch to signify this.

1985 – The Patriots win their first AFC Championship and in Super Bowl XX face the Bears, wearing their red home uniforms in New Orleans.

1988 – They would again discard the red pants.

1990 – They would again bring them back.

1993 – The first really major redesign for the Patriots’ uniform. They debut the “Flying Elvis” logo, as it has been called. This logo is on a silver helmet, and on the sleeves of blue and white jersey, over silver/gray pants, with blue socks with a single red stripe at the bottom. The numbers on the jerseys are red, with blue and white trim, while there are white shoulder numbers on the blue jerseys and blue on the whites. The pants also have a wide vertical stripe that divides into three stripes, and the top half of it is blue and the bottom half red.

1994 – They modify slightly the numbers on the blue jersey, both main and shoulder numbers are not white with red trim. Also the vertical pants stripe has changed, replaced with a simple blue and red stripe. They also have a white-white throwback jersey for the NFL 75th Anniversary season, and all three uniform combos sport the NFL’s 75th Anniversary logo. Also the facemask is now red.

1995 – They modify the jerseys again, adding an unusual vertical striped field pattern to the jerseys, and the numbers are now italicized, red with blue shadow on the white jersey and white with red shadow on the blue jersey. Also the TV numbers move from the shoulder to the sleeve, and Flying Elvis moves to the shoulder. These uniforms would remain through the 1999 season.

1996 – They win their second AFC Championship and face the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI, again in New Orleans, wearing their white road jerseys.

2000 – Another redesign for the Patriots, they debut the uniforms that for the most part are what they are today. The blue is replaced by navy, and they wear navy with silver pants and navy socks primarily at home, and white jerseys with navy pants and white socks with three navy stripes primarily on the road. The Flying Elvis logo is smaller on the sleeve, and there is one large shoulder stripe, silver on the navy jersey, and navy on the white jersey. The TV numbers are still on the shoulder, but both them and the main uniform numbers are in a new original font.

2001 – Jerseys remain the same, but they the reach their third Super Bowl, facing the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, and they wear the Super Bowl game patch. They win their first Super Bowl Championship.

2002 – The Patriots debut their current red-white “Pat the Patriot” throwback ensemble on Thanksgiving against the Lions, and twice they wear a new mono-navy combo, pairing the navy jersey with the navy pants. The Patriots also move into their new stadium, Gillette Stadium.

2003 – The Patriots debut their silver-gray third jerseys (which some people derogatorily call “dishwater gray”), they wear these twice in 2003 and will wear them occasionally through the 2007 season. In Super Bowl XXXVIII, they again wear the Super Bowl game patch, and the defeat the Carolina Panthers, winning their second Vince Lombardi trophy.

2004 – In the week one kickoff game against Indianapolis they wear a patch commemorating their Super Bowl XXXVIII championship, and in Super Bowl XXXIX, they again wear the Super Bowl game patch, as they defeat the Philadelphia Eagles and win their third title in four years.

2005 – They again wear a championship commemorative patch in the opening week Thursday night game against Oakland.

2007 – This is the last year of the “dishwater gray” alt jerseys, they wore them September 23 against Buffalo. They also, of course, wore the Super Bowl game patch in Super Bowl XLII.

2008 – No alternate or third jersey worn this season, however like all teams they did wear the ‘Gene Upshaw’ memorial patch in Week 1, which was an unfortunate game for Patriots fans.

2009 – The Patriots wore a 50th anniversary patch all year long, and like all original AFL teams they had a red version that they wore at home in the snow against Tennessee the Houston Oilers and on the road in Miami, and a white road version that they wore at Denver. This ‘Pat the Patriot’ AFL legacy throwback, in both home-and-away red and white versions, featured red socks with the white and two blue stripes that were originally worn from 1961-1964. They also wore a special ‘International Series’ patch for their October 25 game against Tampa Bay in London.

2010 – The Patriots again wore the ‘Pat the Patriot’ throwbacks, only the red-over-white home version, but with the 1984-92 sock style like they wore in 2002, although they wore them against Minnesota on Halloween and on the road in Detroit on Thanksgiving.

2011 – Everything else was pretty much the same as in 2010, but the Patriots did add an ‘MHK’ memorial patch in honor of owner Bob Kraft’s wife who passed away before the season. They again wore the ‘Pat the Patriot’ throwback Week 5 against the Jets. The Patriots, like the Giants, of course will wear the Super Bowl game patch in Super Bowl XLVI tomorrow.


Fantastic job with that Rob! As you can see, the Pats have packed a lot of uniforms into their (relatively) short life span, although perhaps the best Patriots related uniform set (thanks, Rob) wasn’t even pictured. Tomorrow we’ll be back with Heather and her look back at the New York Football Giants. Stay tuned!



Tomorrow marks only the 11th ever meeting between these two teams (excluding the pre-season) and the teams are actually tied at five wins apiece in their overall series. The Giants won their first ever meeting, in 1970, shutting out the Patriots 16-0, and winning their most recent battle, this past season in Foxboro, 24-20. While there haven’t been many meetings, their most memorable occurred almost exactly 4 years ago, in Super Bowl XLII, and we all know that was a game for the ages. Let’s take a quick look back at the scores, and the uniforms, in those games:

Series tied 5-5

(Home Team in CAPS)

November 6, 2011 — Giants 24, PATRIOTS 20

February 3, 2008 — Giants 17, Patriots 14-x

December 29, 2007 — Patriots 38, GIANTS 35

October 12, 2003 — PATRIOTS 17, Giants 6

September 26, 1999 — PATRIOTS 16, Giants 14

December 21, 1996 — Patriots 23, GIANTS 22

December 30, 1990 — Giants 13, PATRIOTS 10

November 8, 1987 — GIANTS 17, Patriots 10

September 22, 1974 — Patriots 28, GIANTS 20-y

October 18, 1970 — Giants 16, PATRIOTS 0

x-Super Bowl

y-game played in New Haven, Connecticut (Yale Bowl)


Benchies Header


by Rick Pearson


Whoa, that’s gonna be curse…or maybe a blessing?…

2-4-12 d-Howie REV

And of course, your full-size.


all sport uni tweaks

Uni Tweaks Concepts

We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.

So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.

Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.

And so, lets begin:


We start with Tom Bierbaum, who graces us with a whole bunch of hand-drawn NFL concepts:


Here are some NFL concepts I came up with for some the teams that are switching uniforms next year or are rumored to be considering changes…

First is the Carolina Panthers. I didn’t illustrate the idea well, but their primary color in tan, trimmed in brown, with gold helmets, numbers and pants, home and away

Next is the St. Louis Rams (home and away), combining their 1960s design with the classic color scheme of the 1950s…

And then the Seattle Seahawks (home and away), promoting the touristy beauty of the Northwest with a pastel blue and pastel green…

More details about these concepts (including discussion of the opposing teams) are posted on my journal.

Also a couple extra teams…

The Buffalo Bills in what seems like a natural color for Buffalo, brown, in an old-school Michigan-type scheme (no road version on this one)…

And the Houston Texans (home and road) trying a traditional Lone Star color, Burnt Orange, trimmed in brown…

And finally, a couple I submitted earlier that haven’t run to date…

The Arizona Cardinals (home and road) in dark cardinal red combined with bright metallic candy-apple red and gold trim…

And the New York Jets (home and road) adding a metallic light green and gold to their traditional Kelly green…

These bonus teams are discussed in more detail here.


Tenz (Tom Bierbaum)


Next up is David Robertson, who also has some hand drawn uniform concepts:


Here’s some drawings I have done over the past few years. Most are finished, some aren’t. I played football at Wittenberg in Ohio and had some ideas for some different designs than what we were wearing at the time, which is a Wisconsin look. I also did some random Ohio State tweaks. I put a decent amount of time into these and I hope you enjoy!

Wittenberg One, Two, Three, Four

THE Ohio State University One, Two, Three, Four

-Dave Robertson


And finally, and I swear this was completely random, we have Brennan Keller, who also has some hand-drawn concepts:

Hey Phil!

I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now and I really enjoy it! After some thought, I decided to come up with a uniform design of my own. Although I am not a Syracuse fan, I definitely like their colors! I used the “orange-blue design pattern” found on their current uniforms and tried to give the jersey a retro feel to create a nice clean throwback jersey. Enjoy.

Thanks for the great website,

Brennan K.


Jim Vilk and Mike Engle approve of this set of uniform concepts. That’s all for today. Back with more tomorrow.


Screen shot 2012-02-02 at 3.23.39 PM.png

In Case You Missed It Yesterday: Paul posted this regarding the 2012 Curling Nationals, which segues into our next Uni Watch Gathering:

The 2012 USA Curling Nationals will take place later this month slightly outside of Philadelphia, and Phil and I have decided to head on down for the semi-finals and finals, which will take place on Feb. 17 and 18. Several people I know will be competing: Dean Gemmell, who gave me and Phil our first curling lessons, is part of the fifth-seeded team; Craig Brown, who was my skip two years ago when I participated in the House of Hearts bonspiel, is skipping the second-seeded team; and Tyler George, who invited me to come to House of Hearts in the first place, is skipping the top-seeded team. If they all make the semi-finals, I’m gonna have a hard time deciding who to root for. Anyway, if anyone wants to join us, tickets are very inexpensive.

After the finals, we’ll repair to the Devil’s Den for a Uni Watch gathering — hope all Philly-area readers will join us there on Feb. 18, 6:30pm.

Hope to see you there — the last time Paul & I roadtripped and he hosted a gathering (in Minnesota in 2010), we had a tremendous turnout. C’mon Philly, we’re counting on you!


OK, boys and girls — that will do it for today. I know all of you who aren’t football fans in general and Giants or Patriots fans in particular haven’t even bothered to read this far are all waiting with baited breath for tomorrow, the Puppy/Kitten Bowl, the Big Game, and the Madonna half-time jubilee…so be ready. Tomorrow’s post should be even bigger than today. Thanks again to Rob Holecko for all his work on the Pats uniform history. Have a great Saturday.


“Nice article about Super Bowl L. The 12 year old in me hopes they keep the Roman numerals, just so years from now I can read Paul’s article about ‘Super Bowl LIX balls’.” — Keith Adelsberger

Comments (105)

    I think we need to take the brown pencil away from Tom.

    I do like the Rams idea though, except of course that everyone else would complain about the yellow numbers.

    not sure if it’s just me, but most of the links in the pats section give me the frozen frog blocked login thing…

    That is curious because every now and then I’ll get a visitor to the Gridiron Uniform Database who will say the same thing. The links are all working right now, but I wasn’t online at 7:45 when you posted your comment, if it was down for everybody then, then imageshack’s whole site was probably just down (which happens time-to-time). If you are still getting that now at 8:45, then all I can think of is for some reason imageshack had blocked you or a domain you are visiting from.

    We had someone approach us from a gambling website (pokerlistings or something) who wanted to do some advertising, and he told us he couldn’t see our images, and it turned out his IP was apparently blocked by imageshack from seeing the images.

    well, i’m not in north america (or europe, for that matter) so maybe my IP address is being rejected because of that.. in fact, that’s probably what it is.

    may I ask where you are visiting from, because we get visitors from Europe, but I’m trying to pinpoint exactly where people are being blocked by imageshack from.

    The picture you have of the Pats wearing the throwbacks in “2002” was actually from last season. Aside from the fact that the pic clearly shows Tom Brady with his since-shorn Jesus look, the Pats throwbacks in 2002 didn’t have the truncated shoulder stripes, which, when they returned in 2009, did have truncated shoulder stripes.


    Coincidentally, 2002 happened to be the first year of the Colts truncated shoulder stripes. At least New England hasn’t completely butchered them like the Colts have.

    The Boston Bulldogs played in 1926. The Boston Braves, eventually Redskins, played from 1932 to 1936, going to Washington in 1937.

    From 1944 to 1948 there was an NFL team called the Boston Yanks. They were progenitors of the original Baltimore Colts.

    Ken Coleman’s broadcasts of Cleveland Browns games were pupular in the Boston area, but most fans ended up rooting for the Giants until the Patriots established themselves.

    Boston Yanks</i …and they’re shown on the database so Rob should know that and will probably be slapping his forehead when he reads your comment.

    …and that is such a horrible, horrible name when you take the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry into account.

    I don’t think the Yanks & Colts are related though. The original Colts were part of the AAFC along with the Browns & 49ers.

    I agree that “Yanks” seems bizarre nowadays, but the intensity of the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry is fairly recent. Yankee references in New England are quite common still.

    Regarding the Colts, I suggest looking them up in Wikipedia to see what I wrote about.

    I agree, they had a “rivalry” back in the days of DiMaggio & Williams, but I think it became a “heated” rivalry with Bucky F–in Dent.

    right, I put “major” professional franchise in because I wanted to make the article a little shorter… I started adding the Yanks, and then was looking at other short-term Boston teams, and realized it was starting to get too long… so I figured just mentioning the Redskins and the important thing was to get to 1960 and the Patriots…I didn’t want to belabor the article with too much history of other Boston teams.

    …and “major” is probably a poor word choice, plus the Redskins weren’t there that long either, so I probably should have taken them out, too., you’re right I overlooked 1926 Bulldogs, when I said that the Braves were the first professional team. (Maybe that’s where I needed the “major”)

    Don’t forget the Providence Steam Roller!
    1925-1931. 1928 NFL champions.
    (Providence is almost as close to Boston as Foxboro is.)

    I’m pretty sure the Pats have worn the alt grey jerseys after the 2007 season as stated in the column. Could be wrong but I don’t think so…

    No, I think we are 100% positive that that was the last time…since 2009 the throwback has been their third jersey and they didn’t wear them in 2008. Tim & Bill’s research is pretty complete in the recent years.

    “Jim Vilk and Mike Engle approve of this set of uniform concepts. That’s all for today. Back with more tomorrow.”

    Hell yes, I do! Yours Truly needs to dream up some new and awesome concepts to defend his King of Crayolas crown, and soon!
    (Whatever. I’m not in it for glory or for competition. But long live colored pencils!)

    And speaking of Crayolas, sorry for the self-promotion, but all my Crayola tweaks (19 so far) are now organized in a Facebook photo album. I chose not to reproduce my descriptive monologues, because I kind of wanted an excuse to post back to the original Uni Watch articles. But you can view all of my work here:
    I’d really love some informal feedback on these. My request: Flip through all of them. If you especially like one, please give it a “like” or a comment. Or, as I found out through Phil, you can “like” the whole album.

    Mike — When I hit your link I’m told the page is currently unavailable. (Could be an issue on my end, I’m not an experienced Facebook user.)

    His link works fine for me… I am currently logged into facebook in another tab though, I dunno if that makes a difference.

    Great, thanks, that second link worked for me. I really liked your uniforms and would be very happy to see just about any of them used in the real world. Favorites include the Canadiens and Canucks and the U.S. hockey team. Also really appreciated that you put the White Sox in white socks. On my computer the colors were kind of hard to see. If you’re working with pencils that have hard leads, it can be difficult to get really vivid colors. I always keep an eye out for soft colored pencils in hopes they’ll give me brighter, more intense colors.

    As a kid and a teenager, I drew incessantly with colored pencils, mostly drawing sports and super-heroes. In recent years I’ve tried to do work on computer programs and have struggled so far and find I can still do better going back to the colored pencils. My siblings saved the pencils we had as kids and passed them along to me a few years ago, so a few of the pencils I used in the uniforms posted today go back to the 1960s.

    I really enjoyed seeing the other hand-drawn entries today, there’s a different feel that you get with the hand-drawn that to me creates a connection between what younger people are doing today and what I did way back in the ’60s and ’70s. (I also love all the other uniform concepts, really a highlight each week to see what other people are dreaming up. Many kudos to Phil for all the hard work bringing them to us.)

    After looking at the picture for the Patriots in 2008 that is labeled as an “unfortunate game for Patriots fans,” it sure looks like Brady is wearing some sort of nail polish on his right hand. I looked for more pictures from that game to see if it is truly nail polish or if it’s just healthy nails. You can see his pointer finger on his left hand and the nail does not look nearly as obvious as on the right hand.

    I know that UniWatch has covered this phenomena in baseball with catchers, but am I seeing things or is this something that quarterbacks do as well (perhaps to make their hand gestures easier to see)?

    Did I hear correctly that the Jacksonville Jags will be abandoning the teal home uniforms entirely next year in favor of black?

    Er, what? Link?

    I think it’s probably just adding a black alternate in the current style. They had a black alt with the old uniform, so now that they’ve abandoned the one home/one road approach, why not bring back the alt? I don’t recall anything to indicate that the teal jerseys being eliminated. Would be a shame, really… maybe it’s a bit dated, but they are the only team wearing that color.


    A. WTF is a Shad Khan?
    B. That’s freakin lame if true.

    If any team should be going all-black it’s the Panthers or Ravens. Jaguars are not black cats. If anything the Jags should go to a matte gold/tan uniform and drop the teal.

    Yeah Phil, but they sued the team to kill the sorta-similar original logo, so that doesn’t count.

    Yeah, Black Jaguars = Panthers, therefore the Jacksonville team should stick to being regular Jaguars and not wear so much black.

    In retrospect, why the hell did the NFL admit 2 teams named after the same animal at the same time?

    A few minor missteps. The throwbacks worn in 2009 and 2010 are clearly different in a few more ways.
    2009: link – Two stripe helmet, blue/white/blue shoulders
    2010: link – five stripe helmet, white/blue/white shoulders, blue outline on numbers, thicker pants stripes

    Nice pick up…..the blue/white/blue shoulder stripes and the plain white numbers are in my mind the “classic” throwback look for the Pats. The other is a cheap imitation

    I love the picture of Jim Plunkett in what’s probably my all-time favorite of the Patriots uniforms (the 1969-1972 set), so I’m hoping you’ll leave it up, but Jim was actually traded prior to the ’76 season and Steve Grogan led the Pats during that remarkable playoff season — one that really could have and should have ended in the Super Bowl given how close they came to beating the eventual champ Raiders in the first round of the playoffs.

    Plunkett did lead the Pats to a magical season in his rookie year, 1971, helping to raise a team that had gone 2-12 the prior season to 6-8, including wins over the Raiders, Dolphins, Jets and Colts (the Plunkett photo is likely from that stunning upset win in Baltimore on the closing day of that season). Those ’71 Pats assembled their 6-8 record while playing HALF their schedule against playoff teams, plus the Raiders and Lions. By contrast, the following year’s perfect ’72 Dolphins played zero playoff teams during the regular season.

    The ’72 Dolphins are among the luckiest teams in history. The immaculately robbed Raiders would have destroyed them.

    The “Immaculate Reception” wasn’t immaculate. I think the ball hit Frenchy Fuqua before Franco caught it.

    Bill, you are correct. Bradshaw was trying to connect with Frenchy when he was knocked to the ground by Tatum and Franco, who was blocking, caught the ball and ran it in for the TD.

    , but Jim was actually traded prior to the ’76 season and Steve Grogan led the Pats during that remarkable playoff season How come every time I don’t look something up, I get it wrong? Sigh.

    It’s ok, no one really remembers Steve Grogan for anything other than being the Pats QB on Tecmo Super Bowl (where the Patriots are the worst team in the game)

    Except for those of us who actually remember the ’70s and ’80s. (So what do YOU have to be “retroactively bitter” about?)

    I’ll ask this question again, because no one’s every really answered it…

    Has the NY Giants organization in any circumstance ever officially referred to itself as “Big Blue”, or is that merely a fan/media phrase borrowed from the nickname for IBM? (I believe it first came into use during the LT/Phil Simms era).

    I ask because many times critics of the extensive use of red on the road unis back it with, “They are the Big Blue, after all.” And I think, “According to whom?”

    you’ll need to read Heather’s bit tomorrow…your question may be answered (or not, but you won’t know if you don’t read)


    Excellent history of the Patriots uniforms! It was interesting to see what years the red pants were and weren’t used. The fact they introduced them in 1979 and also had the fans vote on a possible new logo that year tells us the Pats were really thinking about changing the unis at the time.

    It was also interesting to find out when the UCLA stripes/shoulder loops were removed and then later reintroduced.

    And “Bay State Patriots”??? Never heard that before! I think they made the right choice with “New England”; naming your team after 6 states instead of just one gets you a lot more fans!

    Can anyone else think of a new uniform set in the four major sports that had as many revisions/modifications in the first three seasons after it was introduced as the Pats’ 1993 to 1995 uni’s?

    I was surprised that the change from gray to white facemasks in 1982 and the change from white to red in 1991 was not mentioned. But other than that, fantastic job, Rob!

    3 things… 1. The progenitors of the Original AAFC Baltimore Colts, that played in the NFL in 1950, were the Miami Seahawks. The progenitors of the modern Colts were the 1952 NFL Dallas Texans.

    2. The Jim Plunkett / Steve Grogan issue was already caught; but I might point out that from 1976 – 1978 at least, Grogan was a good QB, and had the Pats in contention for a division title for at least 3 years.

    3. The helmet evolution from 1961 – 1963 wasn’t quite captured. In 1962 and 1963 the helmet kept only the 2 red stripes and had Pat Patriot. The thin blue stripe in the middle wasn’t added until 1964. The 1963 throwbacks were what the Patriots were wearing for the AFL 50th anniversary celebration games.

    Well, according to Wikipedia, there’s this:

    “Following the [1951] season, the NFL awarded the remains of the Texans operation to a Baltimore-based group headed by Carroll Rosenbloom, who used it to start the Baltimore Colts. The NFL does not consider the Colts (now based in Indianapolis) to be a continuation of the Yanks/Bulldogs/Yankees/Texans franchise, or even the Dayton Triangles for that matter considering that franchise’s successor, the Brooklyn Dodgers/Tigers, merged with the Yanks in 1945. As a result, the Texans remain the last NFL team to permanently cease operations and not be included in the lineage of any current team.”


    Why did the NFL admit two teams named after the same animal at the same time?

    To be like the CFL, which has teams named Roughriders and Rough Riders in different cities, of course.

    I thought it was because they were so impressed with the NHL’s choice of Florida Panthers a couple years earlier.

    Indeed, I have referred those years as the pro sports “cat rut”.

    To me, it just seems the NFL has overestimated its fans ability to differentiate between two teams who in different conferences, with different helmets and jerseys, located around 380ish miles apart

    I have to give all the credit I can to those who assembled the Gridiron Uniform Database. Herculean effort. And I’m glad I was able to help a little.

    But (and TimmyB and I have discussed this) they still sure are befuddled by the concept of crew socks worn over stirrups…and that occasionally the crew socks had stripes or color bands of their own.

    It just confuses the snot out of them, apparently. ;)

    These, for example…
    These were red stirrups with rather wide white Northwestern stripes edged in royal…worn under white crew socks with one royal stripe and one red stripe.

    It does confuse things visually, that’s for sure, and the Pats were the team that most consistently “over-striped” by adding striped crews.

    Definitely the “pre-one-piece socks” era.

    And then there were teams the Saints, who wore white crews with multiple stripes over solid black stirrups…

    since stirrups were worn under the low whites, we tend to forget they were actually stirrups…

    granted, this is *not real* but here’s how they would have looked had they been worn like baseball rups back in the day

    this photo provides a good look at how the rups appeared UNDER the low whites

    (great grabs from chance’s packer board)…

    And I found this…
    Patriots, 1960, sans helmet numbers (and jersey shoulder loops, etc.) for exhibition game.
    (Photo shown today vs. Broncos actually is the first-ever AFL regular season game)

    I’ve always wondered, is there any logic as to why football wore the white sock on the outside, while baseball wore them inside? Just to be different?

    It’s the different way they evolved.

    Baseball “stirrups” as such were the result of “footless” leggings that often were team “identifiers” (Red Sox, etc) with the gray or white knickers common to the game. Among other things, these cutouts kept colored fabric away from places where their dyes could leech into blisters, etc. These leggings were worn over a thin, dye-free white “sanitary” sock. Over the years, players pulled the stirrups up higher and higher, of course, and more “sani” showed.

    In football, a few different element combined. Because high tops were the rule, neither the “stirrups” nor the white socks showed on teams that wore knee high colored leggings. Teams that chose not to wear high socks just went ahead and wore heavier white crews, with bare calves. The thickness of the “sweat socks” added padding (re: blisters, etc.) and the white was “sanitary”. Those socks showed, because they had to be long enough to not bunch up inside the shoes.

    Also (and don’t think this isn’t relevant), because those socks–both sanis and crews–were white they could be bleached and washed in hot water for cleanliness (athlete’s foot n’ all). Couldn’t wash those old-time dyes in hot water. Instant fading.

    Then later, when teams (chiefly the pro football teams) wanted the full color high socks, then wore them under the crews…largely because the white crew showing above the shoe had become the typical football “look.”

    Nature of the game contributed, too. If you had a sani slip down in baseball, there were built-in times when you fix it in the dugout. Football found the crews just plain more sensible (this was still the days of two-way players, remember), because it didn’t have such breaks. Don’t want to be standing in the huddle trying to dig into your cleats to get hold of a damn sock that had slipped down and a) uncomfortable and b) seriously likely to give you a helluva blister.

    Now, a lot of people will offer up a whole mess of “70 or 80 years after the fact” theories. Mostly, they are people who evidently never wore a flannel baseball uni with heavy wool stirrups that made them sweat like a sumbitch. Their theories typically have little to do with the simple, practical realities of those long-ago times with their different fabric technology, limited cleaning capabilities or the differing circumstances of partiuclar game being played.

    The evolution in basketball was similar to football’s.
    Lots of crews over stirrups in the early NBA, and into the ’70s.

    Damn, I wish the Lakers had never moved, but the city just wouldn’t come up with a home for them.
    Remember watching Elgin Baylor play at the Minneapolis Armory (where they’d have to play if the Auto Show or something was booked at the Convention Center).

    The older sister of a buddy of mine worked at a company that had courtside seats. He and I got to use ’em a few times.

    Lordy, that was a long time ago.

    We do know that Elgin Baylor got his first name from the watch his father was wearing at the hospital the day he was born, right?

    And Pro Keds (with the short trademark red and navy stripes on the sole) that look a whole like Adidas.

    I remember that Pro-Keds shoe cuz I almost bought a pair back then, but figured I’d go with the three-stripe real deal. Went with Adidas Superstars…

    Ricko, that SPORT magazine cover of Pistol you linked is one of the all time great magazine covers. What a photo, what a great uniform, socks, shoes. Man.

    I believe the Bills were another example of striped crews over a solid stirrup, blue in their case, starting in 1972 I think.

    Thanks for a couple great shot of Gino Cappelletti. I remember as a kid at that time wearing crew socks with the red and dark blue stripes and realizing the Patriots were wearing virtually identical socks to mine.

    Later, as the one-piece sock came into being, the Bills wore these striped high white babies, both home and road…

    I especially liked the stripe on the white sleeves to the red jersey — a stripe that recreates the white-jersey stripe Ohio State used in the 1960s-70s and was brought back for a few seasons about 10 years ago. That particular stripe is probably my single favorite feature of the Ohio State uniforms, or rather their former uniforms.

    In response to T’Challa’s comment yesterday. “Oh ok I just wasn’t sure what you meant with the BFBS crack, I’m with you on the marketing stunt thing as long as we both agree that veterans & memorial day sales and the like are just as stupid.”

    – – – –

    Of course, they’re all equally just about the stupidest marketing stunt ever. But for whatever reason I have come to expect them to do a yearly “honoring of the veterans” and the same dumb stunt on memorial day. Not sure why but the Black History Month thing caught me off guard, I have no idea if swooshie has done this in the past but if so it’s the first year I’m aware of it. Either way I would like to think that the likes of Martian Luther King and Malcolm X would be offended by this type of stuff. Black History Month is a great thing but in my opinion, but some of the various “gestures” don’t come anywhere close to honoring African Americans and the Civil Rights Movement, especially limited edition black sneakers with a swoosh on them.

    “I have no idea if swooshie has done this in the past but if so it’s the first year I’m aware of it.”

    They have. Here’s the Nike Kobe Zoom VI BHM-edition shoe from last year:


    just posted a pretty sweet pats/giants video i made over on facebook…which will run here tomorrow

    if you want to check it out now, friend me (Phil Hecken)… or not

    Nice job.
    Did I spy Russ Francis in there, the “All-World Tight End” (per Howard Cosell)?

    Giants earlier today put up a Super Bowl winners message. And the Lombardi trophy has the old NFL shield. Not sure which is the biggest fail.


    Not sure where the pic purported to be the 1987 NYG-NE game came from, in broad daylight, because that games was the first-ever ESPN Sunday Night Football broadcast:


    it’s from a pre-season game in 1987 —

    i couldn’t find ANY pics of the regular season anywhere on the interwebs…

    got it from getty, which isn’t all that great in labeling older pics:

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – CIRCA 1987: Running back Otis Anderson #24 of the New York Giants carries the ball against the New England Patriots during a pre-season NFL football game at Giant Stadium circa 1987 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Anderson played for the Cardinals from 1986-92. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

    if you can find a photo from that ESPN game, i’ll gladly post it in lieu of this one

    by the way…notice how getty not only misspells ottis’ name, they also identify him as having played for the cardinals from 1986-92

    the state of photo captioning has always been in the terlet

    Another detour down memory lane for this old man: Every time I see Jim Plunkett in a Pats uniform, I always think of his team mate, receiver Randy “The Rabbit” Vataha. Maybe I imagined this, but I was always under the impression that Plunkett demanded that Boston draft Vataha since he was his #1 receiver at Stanford. Was that true or just bullsh*t?

    BTW, I saw Vataha on some show recently and I think he’s doing front office work or something for some team….(?)

    Late to check in today.

    I still think the Pats’ look from Super Bowl XXXI was the best – I was really a fan of the subtle stripes, even if the flying Elvises on the shoulders didn’t quite work.



    I guess I’m a little surprised that nobody else has tried that look, with the striping pattern

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