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Next UW Contest: Design a Fantasy Team


By Phil Hecken, with Rob Holecko

I got a very interesting e-mail from Rob Holecko (He of the GUD/BUD/DUD uniform database fame) this week — the results of a very long back-and-forth of which Rob will describe below. But here’s the gist: we’re having a new design-a-uniform *contest* on Uni Watch, but not one the likes of which we’ve ever had before. Once the concepts are submitted, there could be much more that can be done. Confused?

Before I go any further, I want to explain that today we’re calling on all the concepters and designers to come up with a whole mess of uniforms for a non-existent league — there are a few parameters, but most of what we’re asking for will be original design concepts — so it’s a chance for everyone who loves to participate in Uni Watch design contests to really show off their chops. At this point, I’ll let Rob describe our plan so far, and I’ll be back with some final thoughts and deadlines after that. Here’s Rob:

. . .

Calling All Designers — It’s Uniform Design Time Again

I’ve been working with Phil recently to setup a new project which I hope will possibly grow beyond this initial contest into an exciting recurring weekend feature here at Uni Watch. First off we are announcing the latest Uni Watch Design Contest. Below I will being introducing twelve fictional football franchises that once upon a time competed in a real fantasy football league, which I realize is an oxymoron.

All that we have for these teams is a name, a helmet and maybe a few other brief details. For the purposes of this contest we are asking you to design a complete look for these teams. Full uniform sets — home, away, and alts — as well as wordmarks, a full graphical identity. Pretend that you are presenting a portfolio trying to get hired as the graphical designer for one (or all twelve) of these teams. Submit your concepts and Phil will put them into Flickr sets and we’ll let the UW faithful vote on their favorites. You can enter concepts for as many of these teams you want, just one or all twelve.

You can read more about the twelve teams here.

Now the second, more on-going part of this is project is where the real fun can come in. It’s up to you guys to decide what we’ll do with these concepts. We’ll revist it this after we have winners chosen, and we’ll discuss it more in-depth after we gauge the interest of everybody.

We have a couple ideas in mind. Perhaps we’ll take the twelve winning concepts and let you set up an actual fantasy football league with them. Once upon a time I was interested in following the box scores and keeping up with who the Tennessee Titans’ third string wide receiver was, and possibly there are twelve uniwatchers who would like to set up a draft and run their own league with teams wearing Uni Watch-contest winning uniforms. If so, we’ll follow along with the results and cheer on the teams here in Uni Watch. It’ll be the best dressed fantasy football league ever.

I, however, had something a little more radical in mind: We could take the twelve winning concepts and play “fantasy” football, but Uni Watch style. Instead of the teams drafting NFL players and scoring points based off of their real-life football performance, the teams would “compete” with each other by you Uni Watchers voting for the combos head-to-head each week. The teams will have wins and losses based on the voting results, and the winning teams will go on to the playoffs and compete for the Uni Watch Uniform Design Championship Trophy. The teams that are voted the worst and finish in last place will be in danger of being replaced in the league by new concepts and expansion teams that you all will have the opportunity to create down the road.

Tell us in the comments what you think of either of these ideas. Or maybe you have an even a better idea of what we could do with these teams and the winning uniforms — if so tell us. If we gauge enough interest we’ll undertake one of these as an on-going Uni Watch feature. Let us know what you think.

In the mean time, get to work on your concepts for these twelve fictional franchises, and Phil will set up Flickr sets and in a few weeks we’ll votes on the entries and choose the twelve winning concepts.

You can email submissions to Phil to be considered.

Good luck, and happy concepting!

. . .

Everyone got that? For now, everyone who wants to design one (or all twelve) of those franchises — the whole kit and kaboodle (helmet, home, road & alt unis, socks, etc.) — just adopt the name of one of those franchises Rob posted above. Then send your submission(s) to me, using the subject line: “Fantasy Football Uniform Design Contest”. Those can be in any format (except photoshop .psd — if you design your uniforms in photoshop, please send them to me as a .jpg or .png or similar). You can also send them as Adobe .pdf files. One team at a time or all twelve — that’s your choice. Depending upon the number of entries, I’ll keep this contest open until we have at least 12 separate teams covered — if there are multiple submissions for the same franchise, we’ll put those to a vote. The main thing is just to get cracking.

Once we’ve created the fantasy teams, as Rob mentioned, we can explore interest in taking this further. This should be a really fun one, so designers, sharpen your pencils and fire up the Macs — let your imagination run wild! You basically have a blank palette and canvas — so show us what you can do!

If anyone has any additional suggestions or concerns, you can contact me (or Rob Holecko) directly, or post your thoughts in the comments down below — either way — we want to hear from you!


Michigan Ripped Jersey

Rip, Rip, Rip, for the Home Team…

A rather interesting development occurred during yesterday’s Michigan/VCU basketball game. Glenn Robinson, III suffered a severe jersey malfunction.

Now, that’s not normally big news (nor unprecedented), and shortly after that, Robinson returned to the game wearing a new blank jersey. What is interesting is that this is not the first jersey malfunction Michigan has suffered this season.

In fact, back in January, FOUR players ripped jerseys in a game against Minnesota. Reader Gordon Fall noted that after today’s jersey malfunction: “Rachel Nichols reported that Michigan’s regular blue jerseys were severely ripped up in a game against Wisconsin, to the point that Michigan will be wearing ‘last year’s’ blue jerseys for the rest of the tournament. Considering that Michigan is a #4 seed, odds are that Michigan will be wearing blue from here on out.”

Yes, assuming Kansas takes care of business today against #8 UNC (not necessarily a given), then Michigan’s next game would have them in blue. Last year’s blue. Otherwise, they’d be wearing white again next weekend.

[Thanks to reader Britton Thomas for the screen grabs]


Ray WIlliams2

RIP Sugar Ray

Bit of sad news came out of the NBA world yesterday, as we learned of the passing of Ray Williams, who captained the Knicks a couple decades ago (and played on the Celtics and Nets, plus bounced around a couple other teams, and was a Golden Gopher in college). It was the tragic end to a sad story, as Williams might be more popularly remembered (particularly by you younger guys and gals) as guy who became homeless and was living out of 1992 Buick. But in his prime, he was great.

There was a very good story written a couple years back on Williams’ plight. Take a moment to read that; it will give you some perspective. Williams was 58 when he passed, having succumbed to colon cancer.

RIP Sugar Ray. We hardly knew ye.

. . .

Jim Vilk remembers…

One of the things keeping Mr. 5 & 1 himself, Jim Vilk, from UW, has been his interest in other things. One of those things is DIY Lego projects — like this one. If that appears a little fuzzy, it’s not you. But one of those figures (it’s an NBA set) is this guy — Ray Williams. Jim had made him part of a set of NBA greats. I’m not quite sure why he’s wearing a Nets jersey (although Sugar did drop 52 on the Pistons back in the day, so maybe that’s why). We’ll have more on Jim’s DIY down the line too.


colorize this

Colorize This!

Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.

Back today with a smaller (but no less impressive) set from two of our regulars, Pete Woychick (with one) and George Chilvers, who has a pair.

Click on each image to enlarge.

. . .

We begin today with Pete who has a colorization, and as always, a great back story:

08.24.40_splinter_after - Pete Woychick

Hi Phil””

Maybe everyone already knew this, but once I learned the back story of this photo, I had to colorize it. Pardon me while I geek out:

Saturday, August 24, 1940. Detroit at Boston for a double-header. Trailing 11”“1 after seven innings and needing to save a few arms for the second game, the Red Sox turned to their lanky left-fielder for mop-up duty. That’s right””Teddy (Bleepin’) Ballgame! Williams pitched respectably, allowing 3 hits and a run in two innings of relief. It was the only pitching appearance of his major league career. Williams’ battery-mate that day, Joe Glenn, was also the man who caught Babe Ruth’s final pitching appearance””a complete game win on the final day of the 1933 regular season!

DET 12, BOS 1 (8/24/40)
Box score

NYY 6, BOS 5 (10/1/33)
Box score

How cool is that? And on top of that, how cool is it that there’s photo evidence?



. . .

And George is up with the next two:

England v Scotland Goodison 1911 colour - George Chilvers

Hi Phil

This picture dates back to 1 April 1911, and shows England scoring a goal against the “Auld Enemy”, Scotland at Goodison Park in Liverpool, the home of Everton.

I really like this picture seeing the enthusiasm of the fans celebrating England’s goal. The game ended a 1-1 draw.

One Uni-notable point is that the English Football Association at the time provided shirts for the players, but they had to provide their own shorts and socks. Most wore their club socks, which explains why they do not all have the same socks.


. . .

Arsenal v Fulham 1914 colour - George Chilvers


Mind the gap as you step from George’s Amazing Colourising Time Traveller. You have landed in 1914 and a view of the almost new Highbury as Woolwich Arsenal in the red shirts (resurrected a few seasons ago for an anniversary as “redcurrant”) host a, for them rare, Second Division fixture against Fulham.

The stand hasn’t yet had the club name written on it, and you will note with wonder how high the roof is above the stand which is open to the elements from both front and back. Only a few tarpaulin signs protect the paying patrons’ backs.

Another trip will be organised soon. Book now.


… .. …

That’s it for today. Thanks to Pete and George for their superior, as always, efforts. Lets keep those colorizations coming Uni Watchers!


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.

Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.

And so, lets begin:


We begin today with Walter Helfer, who brings forth an excellent new name/logo for UND:

NorthDakota -  Walter Helfer

Dear Phil,

This is an identity I created for the University of North Dakota. While I’m sympathetic to an aggrieved people not wanting to be some school’s mascot, I wanted to use a piece of Indian design that’s been important to me. The triangle motif at the bottom incorporates symbol of the thunderbird footprint.


. . .

Next up is Noah H., with a new uni & name for the Seattle hoops club:

Seattle Reign - Noah Habenstreit

Hi Phil,

I know that Seattle is planning on going back to the SuperSonics name when the Kings move, but I thought this pun was too good to pass up. It keeps the royalty motif in the franchise while making the name distinctively Seattle. The jersey is not very good; I had no advanced software to create it. I kept the crown from the Kings logo as the dot for the ‘I’ in ‘Reign’.

Noah H.

. . .

We close today with Mark Lilley with some Broncos tweaks:

Broncos - Mark Lilley


The Broncos have gone back to using Orange as their Home jersey, but their road jerseys are sorely lacking in carrying over the predominantly Orange color. I’ve done a quick rendering of how I think they should remedy this. (You can see the current road jerseys in the background players.) The current road uniforms with the predominant blue made sense when the home jerseys were blue, but now they don’t make any sense. Broncos fans on the road wear orange to support, but the team doesn’t on the field. This is brand disconnect.

Mark Lilley
Family season ticket holder since 1962

. . .

And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.


Bizkit's First Birthday

Happy 13th Bizkit!

That adorable little guy you see in the photo to your right is my son, “Bizkit.”

He’s turning 13 years old today (that’s a photo from his first birthday in 2001). Last year I wished him a happy 12th, and some of you may have noticed occasional “Get Well Soon Bizkit” missives from Paul at the end of a weekday post.

That’s because, in addition to contracting diabetes over a year ago — in fact, every morning and every evening, with the assistance of my Aunt, he gets injected with insulin (despite his small size, it’s a two-person job) — he suffered two strokes within the past few months. Besides his advanced age and complications (like glaucoma) brought on by the diabetes, he’s now permanently blind in one eye and walks with a slight, but detectable limp.

Honestly, I never thought he’d make it to see his lucky thirteenth. But he’s a fighter like I’ve never seen, and he continues to make improvements even after suffering from several debilitating maladies. Even though he never reads Uni Watch, he’s never complained about it either. But he’s my “little guy” and truly an inspiration. (And, just to show you how tiny he is…here’s yours truly and Bizkit — in better days for him).

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIZKIT. Keep on fighting little buddy — you’re an inspiration.


And that’s going to do it for today. Hope everyone is enjoying the NCAA tourney — fear not, pretty much everyone’s bracket is busted at this point. Thanks to the colorizers, concepters and Rob for his inspiration for the latest contest. And everyone join me in wishing an early birthday (it’s tomorrow) to one of Uni Watch’s most persistent commenters, THE Jeff Provo. Happy b-day, oh tormentor of us all ;).

Everyone have a great Sunday and a good week — spring is here, and one week from today, baseball starts — and all will be right with the world again.



Zona Fan

One For The Road

.. … ..

“Phil couldn’t be wronger about the youniform cap. That is, without a doubt, the best mascot logo cap I’ve ever seen an an MLB team wear.”
–R. Scott Rogers

Comments (61)

    Could the fantasy uniform competition be done with other sports as well? Would be awesome to have a Football, Baseball, Basketball and Hockey fantasy uniform league!!

    Those could certainly follow if this one is successful.

    Or do you mean this one league could have a combination of uniforms from different sports competing with each other? Hmmmm. Hadn’t thought of that, but we’re not ruling anything out at this point.

    Would have been more interesting with a fantasy baseball league, since the regular football season is 5 months away.

    Well it takes time to have a contest — considering baseball opening day in next Sunday, I doubt there’s time to have uniform submissions, vote on those, choose finalists, votes on the winners, set up a league and then start it in one week.

    But maybe by next baseball season.

    Those Brewers uniforms are better that the entire current uniform set they wear.

    Barrel Man hat…not so much. Sleeve patch OK, but not on the hat.

    Um, is there a deadline on this contest thing?

    Also, do we have to use the team colors that are listed? Because, seriously, there’s no way in hell that the San Diego Storm should be wearing teal.

    Well, the colors and helmet listed is what they wore in 2000-2003, so if you want to submit a concept that includes a uniform change in the last ten years, then go for it. And when I say teal, I am just calling the color of that helmet “teal” — maybe it’s actually dark seafoam or turquoise or whatever you want to call it.

    Hopefully eventually the winners will retroactively create the uniforms they’ve worn through the years, so if you win with a different concept, we’ll see when the uniform change took place.

    Most important thing is to create the best concept to win the contest, and if a different color can make the best entry, then go for it.

    …oops, technically the Storm were a 2002 expansion team, so they wore the teal and charcoal for 2002-03 at least (not from year 2000 obviously) but my answer still stands, if you want to go with a different color scheme for your entry, go for it.

    There is no hard deadline, since I don’t know how many submissions will be received — ideally, at the end, we’d love 12 different concepts from 12 different designers, or even more than that. Basically, it’s a fluid situation at the moment — as far as the colors: I think Rob’s idea was for the evolution of a team from 2000/02 to today — so if you wanted to change everything (but the name), the way say the Patriots jettisoned Pat Patriot and segued into Flying Elvis, you could pretty much change everything. I don’t think you’re locked into teal for SD.

    Some of the best contest submissions we’ve received have been hand drawn. In fact, many would argue it takes more talent to design with pad and paper than computer.

    All submissions in any format (except .psd) are welcome.

    I do want to mention that if we choose to do the fantasy league with people voting on uniform matchups week to week, we will need to translate the submissions into the Bill Schaefer 400 x 500 (or 1280 x 1600 HD) template.

    But for the purposes of the contest any template or hand-drawn entries are certainly welcomed.

    Sorry to hear about Ray Williams, who Bob Ryan once described as “the ultimate trick or treat player”. link mentions that his brother Gus, who started for the Sonics’ championship team, also had financial problems.

    In the late ‘1970’s the Gophers basketball team at one time featured Kevin McHale, Mychal Thompson, Mark Olberding and Ray Williams, who was just a dynamic, tough guard–thrilling to watch. Because of sanctions (due to the behaviour of the previous Musselman regime) they couldn’t compete in the tournament.

    I have fond memories of watching Ray Williams play for the Gophers. It seems that his life, thanks to the support from some former teammates, found some redemption at its end.


    I was a big Knick fan in the days of Ray Williams…went to games and snuck down to the good seats. After the games we would take the game transcripts off the scorer’s tables. Ray was not really a great player…had plenty of talent, but was out of control a lot, as was his backcourt partner Michael Ray Richardson…it was Michael whose nickname was Sugar, BTW, not Ray Williams.

    I think both were known as Sugar Ray with the Knicks, although Michael Richardson was probably more popularly known by that nickname.

    Of course, the *real* Sugar Ray’s were of boxing fame: Leonard, and prior to him, Robinson.

    I think for a time in the 70s-80s anyone with the first (or middle) name of Ray was nicknamed “Sugar”

    One thing I am certain of…Michael Ray Richardson was Sugar…here is a link He was called Sugar. When Ray Williams teamed with him, there were not two Sugars.

    Agreed that Michael Ray was definitely Sugar. And he was definitely “sugar” when they were together — it was, if memory serves, “Sugar” and “Ray” then. But I still am pretty sure that Williams was called Sugar too. (As were, it seemed, a few guys named Ray).

    Agreed, The Jeff – details on time would be quite helpful! ;-)
    Hodges – I’ve submitted hand drawn renderings in the past with moderate success… Go for it!

    That’s up to Phil and the amount of entries we get. I expect Phil will want to follow up in a few weeks and we’ll let people know how the submissions are coming and lay down some deadlines, etc. If we get a lot of entries for some franchises and less for others, we may set a deadline for certain teams and let people vote for finalists, etc. for some teams and keep others open a little longer.

    It all depends how many submissions we get.

    One from me too, thought that’s what it was the second I saw the pic, nice work by George, as always.

    I was listening to the White Sox play the Dodgers last night and Pat Farmer mentioned that the red number on the front of the Dodgers jersey started when they were first put on tv in order to stand out on black and white sets. He also stated that it didn’t work. Anyone else ever hear about this?

    Could possibly be true as the monochrome photographic processes used many years ago showed up red as a dark colour. We have actually discussed this in the past.

    TV “shading” uses a different technology and is different, and so red appears paler than mid-grey. It may well be that someone had heard that red appeared dark – but it wasn’t.

    It would probably be easier for a thunderbird to go through the eye of a needle, than for Ralph Engelstad to gain tribal support from both Sioux nations in North Dakota to keep the Sioux nickname.

    It’s a solid concept, but my understanding is the thunderbird imagery is more of a pacific NW iconography.

    At least I don’t think it would connect well in the Midwest.

    Thunderbirds are common across American Indian people’s, including the Lakota. The Lakota name for the thunderbird is Wakį́yÄ…, from wakhÄ…, meaning “sacred”, and kįyÄ…, meaning “winged”.

    Would “Wakiyas” be a good name?

    Only if Lakota makes plurals by adding an S like English. If the team name is deliberately in a non-English language, then I say it should be pluralized as that language normally would. So if the University of Hawaii changed from Warriors to a Hawaiian equivalent (there are several, and I’m not sure which would be the best), they should be the Na Koa or Na PÅ«’ali, not Koas or PÅ«’alis.

    (This is as opposed to when a non-English word is used in English as itself, as in Padres or whatnot.)

    And to The Jeff as well. And since I didn’t read during the week, to Paul, too. Happy Birthday to all three of you!

    Mornin’ weekend Uni-Watchers. I recently got a “grab bag” of t-shirts from and its Field flannels and there are 2 that just ain’t my style but I’d like to find them a new, loving home. If anyone is interested in a medium sized link or link t-shirt at cost, send me an email (same name @ gmail.)

    Mark Lilley: I’d pitch your tweak to university of Illinois. That white with orange numbers/stripes would work will with the matte navy with orange “I” helmet they sported last year.

    Am I the only one who remembers the Seattle Reign of the ABL, the “other” womens’ pro hoops league from the late ’90s?

    After shows like “Necessary Roughness” or “Playmakers” made the uni-geek in me wonder “who designs the uniforms for the opponents of The Team?”, the idea of “fantasy” uniform football is a natural. Mad props for coming up with it.

    Am I the only one who remembers the Seattle Reign of the ABL, the “other” womens’ pro hoops league from the late ’90s?

    Was that the women’s league that the other day Creamer said the website he hotlinked photos from had replaced the images with pornographic pics?

    After shows like “Necessary Roughness” or “Playmakers” made the uni-geek in me wonder “who designs the uniforms for the opponents of The Team?”, the idea of “fantasy” uniform football is a natural. Mad props for coming up with it.

    Thanks, I hope enough uniwatchers agree that we can make a go of this!

    Nope. I used to follow the ABL quite a bit when it started out (helped that we had a team in Hartford). I think Seattle was Jennifer Azzi’s squad IIRC.

    All the jerseys in the ABL were Reebok designs, and as such had their Benguiat Narrow number style. Only my hometown Blizzard did something creative with them: on top of the numbers was a small pile of snow!

    If I ever sign up for a membership, I’m getting that for my card design.

    @Rob HWas that the women’s league that the other day Creamer said the website he hotlinked photos from had replaced the images with pornographic pics?

    I missed that one (and gratefully, I guess), so I do fall out of the loop.

    @Chris: I guess the animosity between Portland and Seattle footie fans will transfer seamlessly over from MLS to the womens’ teams. Huzzah!

    @Ryan B: Hey, I still have my ticket stubs, and whenever footage of Jen Rizzotti comes on TV, my wife is impressed by my knowing the difference between the old Cleveland Rockers and the NE Blizzard uniforms at a glance.

    Michigan could just wear any of their gold uniforms for the road. They did that this year against Indiana.


    Did St. Cloud State take the Canadiens’ C or is there an agreement between the two. St. Cloud State’s take ain’t too bad especially on a baseball cap. link

    Happy Birthday, Bizkit! Too handsome a dog to suffer the way he has recently.

    Happy pre-Birthday, The!

    Great colorizations today! Love the soccer ones.

    Late post for here by me.

    Thanks again to the colorizers. My favorite part of UW.

    I had no idea of Ted Williams pitching.

    George it is amazing that you give each fan in the crowd a colorized face.

    I applaud how you and John do the crowd shots. Seems so hard and time consuming to me.

    Keep them coming.

    And Phil I thank you for continually updating your Flickr stream of the most recent colorized pics. I try and save them all in a folder but it is great you keep adding the newer ones to Flickr.

    Duke’s basketball uniforms have a sweat back, an ACC emblem and an Americsn flag decal. Otherwise,they are Creighton’s basketball uniforms with the colors inverted. Did anyone else notice that watching the game tonight?

Comments are closed.