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The Best-Laid Plans of Mice, Men, and Self-Aggrandizing Corporations…


Well, that was a pretty bizarre afternoon. Here’s a blow-by-blow of how it played out here at Uni Watch HQ:

First came the Jags unveiling, which started at 1:30pm and took about half an hour. As soon as it was over, I summarized my thoughts in this ESPN piece. I don’t particularly like having to write super-fast assessments like that, but that’s how the media world works now, so that’s what I did. So far, so good.

That ESPN piece included a link to this slideshow of photos, which had been taken at Nike HQ by a Jacksonville TV station a few weeks before the unveiling. The station posted the slideshow once the uniforms were revealed. As you can see, it has 89 photos; yesterday it was even longer, with over 100 photos (I’ll explain why it got shorter in a sec). So I didn’t have time to click through the entire thing before writing my ESPN piece. After I submitted my piece to my editor, however, I began clicking through it.

As I was doing that, I got an email from reader Preston Feiler. He had apparently been clicking through that exact same photo gallery from the Jacksonville TV station, and he’d spotted a photo I hadn’t yet gotten to — a photo that showed the new Dolphins uniforms, which were supposed to be unveiled on Thursday evening. So I emailed my ESPN editor, told him I had a confirmed leak of the new Miami uni, and said I’d write a new piece for him in a few minutes. Which is what I did.

About 30 seconds after I sent in the piece about the new Dolphins leak, I got another email from Preston Feiler, who’d spotted another leak in that photo gallery from the Jacksonville TV station. This time it was a photo that showed the new Jags, Dolphins, and Vikings designs (the Vikes, like the Dolphins, weren’t supposed to unveil until Thursday). So I called my ESPN editor and told him not to run the Dolphins piece after all because I was going to write a new piece that included a mention of the Vikings. Which is what I did.

Then I did something I’ve only done once or twice before: I posted a second blog entry in a single day. The events seemed to warrant it.

Then I got a beer, watched the whole thing blow up on Twitter, and answered the barrage of emails and phone calls that started coming in.

At some point along the line, about 15 photos disappeared from that Jacksonville TV station’s slideshow. I haven’t had time to check, but I’m assuming the two leak photos are among those that were excised. Too late now, of course — you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

So that’s the backstory. What about the uniforms? Here are some thoughts:

Jags: Not great but could’ve been worse. Some of the worst-sounding stuff I’d been told last week (player names on the front, a side-panel design extending down into the pants, Falcons-style sleeves) turned out to be wrong. And while I certainly wouldn’t call this a great uniform, it’s probably better than what they were already wearing. Well, except for the helmet. Maybe we can just clone Thurman Thomas 53 times and use that as the roster? Also: I like these shoelaces. Yes, the shoelaces! (Again, I had more expansive thoughts on this uni yesterday on ESPN. Also, there’s an interview with Nike exec Todd Van Horne, who talks about the design process behind this uni set, here.)

Dolphins: Pretty much what we were expecting — the new logo, the white facemask, etc. Pants striping and helmet striping both seem like subtle downgrades, although the average fan won’t even notice. Orange swoosh looks good, especially on the white jersey (not as good as it would look if it didn’t exist at all, but still…). Disappointing to not to see any aqua pants in the mix, but maybe they’ll show up at the unveiling tomorrow.

Vikes: Normal pants design = Hooray! Lack of jersey side panels = Hooray! Number font = Nuh-uh. Leotard effect of purple pants with purple-topped socks = Blow me. (Also: If you look closely at the photo, it appears that the “2” on purple jersey may not have the extraneous serifs like the “2” on the white jersey, although it’s hard to be sure. Hmmmm.)

The funny thing about all this is that just yesterday I had written about how it would be good for leagues to do all their unveilings in a designated week. But I didn’t ask for three of them in one day. That was kinda frantic.

Meanwhile, so much for Minnesota’s and Miami’s carefully orchestrated unveilings, eh? Not sure how they’ll respond to the leaks, if at all, although I’m assuming they’ll just carry on with their unveilings tomorrow evening as originally planned. But they’ve lost the element of surprise and the sense of drama. Maybe that means they’ll dispense with the over-dramatic music and overheated verbiage that usually characterize these types of events. Hope so — but I doubt it.

+ + + + +

Uni Watch News Ticker: Still more Beantown gestures: Red Sox pitcher Felix Doubront is wearing Boston’s area code, 617, on his cap; the Flyers added a Boston ribbon patch for last night’s game against the Bruins; and a bat manufacturer has made “Boston Strong” bats (from Andy Chalifour, Chris Flinn, and Kurt Esposito, respectively). … The AHL’s Connecticut Whale are changing their name back to the Hartford Wolf Pack. Apparently there’s some rule that prevents them from using a team name that ends in “s” (from Brian Williams). … It’s standard for catchers to use a special glove when a knuckleballer is on the mound. But here’s something different: When Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright came into last night’s game, he brought a special catcher’s glove with him for Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The bullpen catcher must have been using that glove while Wright was warming up (from Andy Chalifour and Rob Holecko). ”¦ Interesting move by NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya, whose car will be sponsored by Depends (from Chris Cruz). ”¦ With the temperatures at Coors Field in the md-20s last night, some Braves coaches resorted to wearing MLB parkas (from Matthew Hiett). ”¦ Yesterday afternoon was super-hectic (see above) and I was busy emceeing an event in the evening, all of which makes for a very short Ticker today. Sorry ’bout that, but I trust you’ll find a way to persevere.

Comments (201)

    As a Dolphins fan I’m glad they didn’t go over the top with the jerseys (see Seahawks & Jags). I like the new colors (I know we’ve seen them for a while) and think that is the big upgrade. Would have loved some sleeve/sock stripes, but since the NFL seems to have eliminated sleeves I’m not surprised. But where are the Aqua pants? How about a third jersey?

    Really like the Dolphins uniforms. Wish the orange was still more prominent in the helmet and pant stripe, but it doesn’t look bad. LOVE that they dropped the drop-shadows on the numbers. I’m also a fan of white pants all the time. I’m hoping alternate will be orange jersey with white pants.

    Am I the only person here who actually likes each team getting its own custom number fonts? As long as they’re readable, what’s the problem?

    Nope. I like the idea, but not that some of the fonts (Boston would be exhibit A) are goat-crap.

    I think it’s another sneaky attempt by NIKE to (literally) own a trademarked team element so that when the NFL someday signs a new contract with someone else, NIKE can say they can’t use any element of a teams look because it’s trademarked and owned by them.

    Think I’m joking? The University of Michigan had NIKE as their official uniform designer before Adidas. Today Michigan can’t use their actual color maize because NIKE actually owns the rights to it. It’s the reason why Michigan now has “highlighter yellow” as the color maize today.

    So, sure, create new number and letter fonts and watch how NIKE will charge out the wazoo for using them down the road.

    Then why didn’t they do that with any elements of the Nike-designed Broncos 1997 set when NFL went to Reebok?

    I don’t know. That smells of an urban legend, especially since most of the stories can be traced to one opinion piece in the student paper.

    Especially since, as noted, Nike didn’t try to stop any of its design elements (including the Packers’ sleeve stripes) from being used by Reebok.

    Yeah, I don’t buy the “Nike trademarked ‘maize’!” thing either. There are cases where corporations have trademarked use of certain colors in specific cases (i.e. Owens Corning and pink insulation), but a quick trademark search brings up nothing.

    Plus, UM still holds the trademark on “Maize Rage”: link

    So yeah, I call bullshit too.

    Even if you throw out the Maize thing, you can still point to Mississippi State’s interlocking MSU logo.

    They celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the snowbowl this year but they couldn’t use the logo they had back then for the helmet designs, because it was owned by Nike.

    My guess is that Nike doesn’t get to own designs or fonts when it comes to the NFL. I’m sure it was part of a deal, or that the various team’s are already on top of that possibility.

    As for Nike having control over simple designs like the Packer’s sleeve stripes (which they had before Nike was the official supplier), they’d find it extremely difficult to lay claim to any of those.

    Fonts on the other hand can be traced back to their design teams in certain situations. It’s clear that VT didn’t get sole rights to the Blacksburg font, as Nike has since used them for other schools (Buffalo) and we’ve seen the design plenty of times at the high school level. So just because Nike wasn’t trying to lock up design elements back when the Broncos made the mandatory switch over the Reebok doesn’t mean they are’t trying to do so today.

    Chance and terriblehuman are right. Nike does not “own” the color maize and never has. There is no record on the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website of Nike ever owning (or applying for) a trademark on the color “maize.”

    Even if Nike had applied for a federal trademark on “maize,” there is no question that it would have been rejected. It’s pretty rare for trademark protection to be granted for colors, and only when the color is closely identified with the provider of particular goods or services. (Such as brown with UPS’s package delivery services or orange with The Home Depot’s retail goods and services in the hardware and home improvement industry.)

    Nike doesn’t use the color maize as an identifying mark for the goods and services it provides, nor does the public associate that color with Nike. If anything, people associate it with the University of Michigan’s varsity athletic teams. If Michigan wanted to trademark the color maize, they might have a basis to do so. But not Nike.

    You can trademark a color for a specific use, like Taylor Made copper on golf clubs, Tiffany blue on jewelry or Bianchi celeste on bicycles, but you can’t outright own a color. What likely happened is Nike developed a custom color to give to its contractors to match. Obviously, this would be something developed and supplied by Nike, and thus a new licensee would not be able to use it and/or its contractors probably wouldn’t have it, so a new color was approved by the school and used for apparel.

    If Nike did develop a custom “maize” color for Michigan’s uniforms, what it would own would be the process it used to apply that color to fabrics. That process might even be protectable by patent. Nike would be under no obligation to share its process with anyone else.

    But because Nike does not own that specific shade of maize, it would still be fair game for anyone else to use in making Michigan uniforms and apparel. That is, so long as they could come up with their own processes to replicate it. That’s probably why Adidas uses a different shade of yellow for Michigan’s uniforms – it has been unable or unwilling to duplicate the precise shade of yellow that Nike used, and instead has gone with a color that it already had the capacity to produce.

    It seems nothing is sacred then, logos, stripes, fonts, colors. If your team is coming up for revision then good luck.

    Things I don’t like: Miami – the stripe, the old one was really classic and being a part of the pants, helmet, sleeves and socks as it used to be I find quite a big cut.
    – facemask, too much white now, teal made a good contrast, even orange would be better IMO.
    – too much white, the white/white outfit has only small flashes of anything else – a teal belt, facemask, collar would have helped a lot to break it up.

    Jackonville – font – no thanks, look at the middle of the 3, its so sharp you might cut yourself.
    Arms – why make them a different color? The lack of them means lack of uniformity is obvious unless suitable colored undershirt is worn
    Belts and pants- mix them up already, white jersey, black pants white belt. Black jersey, white pants, black belt. not all white or all black, its far too college.

    Teal jersey, should have white numerals and be worn with white pants and black belt.
    Socks, could do with some teal or gold to break them up a bit, same with all the teams though, where are the sock stripes these days?

    Minnesota – helmet, its matte again me no-likey looks like arena football.
    Font – again nope, this is one of the things I think has gone downhill in the NFL, some teams have always had their own font (Bears) and they have made it their own thing, everyone else is fine with the basic fonts – try with nice outlines etc but don’t make them all angular and rakish.

    At least they kept the purple pants and are wearing them in the right combinations!

    I mean its a personal gripe but I would have thought that it wasn’t just jerseys that needed to be differentiated on the field, why not pants too? How can one team wear white/black and the other team wear black/black? If the ref wants to call a tripping penalty in a melee it might cause issues no? Personally I would like to see the colored/white and white/colored combinations enforced as a NFL rule using this justification.

    Paul , this article sums up the Vikings response nicely. link. Jeff Anderson, their PR guy also sent out some tweets @andersonj.

    So contra Paul’s hopes, the leak means that the Vikings will make their unveiling even more about the “technology and design”. Oy.

    The Miami uniform just needs a bit more orange I feel. Maybe in the trim work? Down the center of the helmet stripe? Not sure where but personally I was expecting something far worse.

    The Jags new helmet maybe the worst in league history. Just terrible.

    “The Jags new helmet maybe the worst in league history. Just terrible.”

    Couldn’t agree more. Dumbest look since Zubaz.

    The helmet is definitely terrible, but I also don’t find much I like about the set in general. I miss the teal. There’s just far too much black in the uni now. Oh, and did I mention how bad the helmet is?

    A follow-up from a post I made yesterday about last night’s “30 For 30: Elway To Marino” documentary on the 1983 NFL Draft. Looked like lots of logo/uni goodness, including a full re-creation of the ’83 Draft room at the New York Sheraton with old helmet signs and helmet phones (not all phones were from 1983: the Falcons (especially), Chargers, Jets & Patriots didn’t completely match what was worn 30 years ago), old NFL logos and the ESPN set. Also, loved the early ’80s shots of John Elway in Yankees minor league gear, wearing a gray pullover with “YANKEES” across the chest, almost like a ’70s/’80s version of what the main Yankess road uniform would have looked like if they’d gone pullover/sansabelt.

    Miami: Include me in the group that wants more orange in the Dolphins’ uniforms.

    The Jags helmet is horrible IMHO. Isn’t that the Star Trek font?? I need more Gold.

    Vikes: More “horns”? Really?

    Are you implying that the Vikings have added more “horns” to their unis? Where? They’ve dropped them from their shoulders and pants.

    The Vikings uni is blandy mcblanderson topped with one of the stupid fonts I’ve ever seen. It needs more gold.

    Miami needs more orange.

    Jax needs more teal.

    It took me a few minutes to get that Thurman Thomas reference.

    How’s about a break from all of this unveiling stuff?
    What do the San Fransisco 49ers and the Oklahoma City Thunder have that no other team (big four) can claim?

    You can even beat that by combining the two (sort of) and getting the minor league baseball Oklahoma City 89ers (1962-1997) and get up to ten syllables.

    The Thurmanator famously misplaced his helmet during the Super Bowl and had no miss an offensive series (or was it just a few plays?) as a result.

    But the Jaguars lose because have to look them during the entire game. We’ll only have to look at 3-4 of the Rangers helmets at any given moment.

    Why give the Mets black-and-blues a pass?
    I suppose that since the Texas Texas have been around longer, they finally deserve to be crowned ultimate champions of something.

    The Dolphins wear coral, not orange.

    But still, the new uniforms need more of it!

    And anyway, hasn’t the NFL standardized all colors, so that the orange worn by Miami is the same orange worn by the Broncos?

    Plus, doesn’t coral have more of a pinkish hue to it (I’m ashamed that I’m even saying that)? I don’t think the Dolphins’ orange has ever looked pink.

    Jerry: “A pinkish hue?”
    George: “Yes, a rosy glow.”
    Jerry: “There’s a hue.”

    The Chargers do wear navy. You can’t just say they wear blue since they have two shades.

    Donovan Moore, of the ColorWerx blog, calls it orange. It is different than the coral shade that the Dolphins have worn in recent years. All the colors are lighter (aqua, orange, and blue).

    This was in comments for yesterday’s second post, but it’s worth noting again, as UW readers couldn’t do this nearly so badly: link.

    That’s what I’ve been doing, though I wouldn’t call it “spamming.” That’s genuinely my favorite because of its old-school feel, and because I’m surprised that they even released that as a potential design. I prefer to call it “voting early & often.”

    Absolutely. I mean, there’s no accounting for taste, but that is heads and shoulders the strongest one to me. The others look to me like choices that were only put in because they’re so ugly or nonsensical that they would guarantee a victory for #1.

    I also voted for number 1 because I like how the stripes in the flag match up with the stripes in the football. I thought number 4 was the weakest but it’s winning by a landslide!

    I can’t believe that website is for real! It looks completely amateur – like something a 14-year-old could have put together on WordPress using his iPad. The logos aren’t much better. Where’s the “none of the above” option?

    Not surprised at all at the return of the Wolf Pack. It was pretty much assumed the moment Howard Baldwin ceased to have anything to do with the team.

    Yeah. Baldwin’s only goal was to set Hartford up for the “Whalers” to come back someday (obviously inspiring the “Whale” nickname). You’re right, once he left, that went out the window.

    But honestly, I grew to like the Wolf Pack name, so I think it’s a good thing they’re going back to it. “Whale” just sounded like they were borrowing somebody else’s name (and weren’t they?).

    I loved the “Wolf Pack” name when I was a kid, and they were on TV here after the Whalers left.

    “Whale” always just seemed like a half-assed attempt and bringing back something they couldn’t. Anyway, the logo with the whale beached on the C always seemed like a rip-off of the last Springfield Indians logo:


    lets just say it, the Jags and Dolphins both suck. They look like college teams, or maybe Arena League teams, employing trendy tricks instead of sustainable concepts. It is not unlike using filters or effects in design programs instead of making effective, modular, specific decisions. It is a trend throughout the design landscape, two high profile examples that come to mind are the UPS logo and ATT logo redesigns from the last several years. Using implied dimensions to illustrate something that does not need implication. Theses two unis fit right in with the World League of American Football (Dolphins) and the Arena League (Jags). We can expect more of the same from Nike, as it seems they are in over their head and those of us who are traditionalists and can explain why are going to have to accept it and prepare for something frownable to happen to our squads soon enough.

    “We can expect more of the same from Nike, as it seems they are in over their head”

    I respectfully disagree that Nike is in over its head, because Nike knows exactly what it’s doing.

    Err… yeah, ok. Because the new NFL uniforms we’ve seen from Nike in the last 2 years are just so much more of a departure from the norm than the new uniforms we were given by Reebok were. (Falcons/Cardinals/Bengals/previous Jags/Vikings/Bills)

    This is the same talk as last year with the Seahawks and I will say it again; we as people that love sports uniforms aren’t the target demo for these products. We can bitch and moan but it will fall on deaf ears. Who matters with the new uni’s? The fans of those teams and not us. They are the ones that are going to fork over their money for it not us. I am not a Jags fan but I like them. Wish that there wasn’t empty space under each of the Nike symbols on the shoulders and the helmet might be much but who cares what I think. If Jaguar fans like them that is all that matters. The only other people I would want to hear from would be members of the military since there are nods to them as well. Everyone said the same thing about the Seahawks but all the local publications showed that the fans of the team loved them. Even the local Native American tribes from what I read loved them and even said it was the best use of Native American art and symbolism in sports in the country. It also helped that the Seahawks were good last year so people will start associating it with winning. On top of that all that players from different teams were saying they were the best uni’s.

    I wouldn’t mind if all teams did what the Seahawks and Jaguars did in the fact that they we tried to convey the local culture and area into the uniforms. It is more inclusive and could draw more fans to the teams. As Uni-Watchers we can try and champion the more classic looks but those who want to push the the boundaries they shouldn’t get roasted either.

    What you’re basically saying is that there’s no reason for any of us to have an opinion, because our opinions don’t matter.

    But that’s not true. Expressing one’s opinion is part of living in a vibrant society. Are some of us preaching to the converted, or just talking to each other? Sure. Will that have an effect on what teams choose to do? Probably not as much as we’d like (although I’d argue that it’s more than you think). But so what? It’s good for people to weigh in with their opinions, regardless of whether they’re part of the “target market.” If it helps us all think things through and sharpen our abilities to critique things, that’s good. If it helps expand the parameters of the target market, all the better.

    I didn’t mean for it to come off that strong now after re reading what I wrote. I am just tried of the all the hate for looks that push the boundaries because I feel it doesn’t really move the discussion since on this site their aren’t many coming to the defense of that style. Also as someone that is about to take a Sports Business and a Sports Marketing final today, from what I have been taught and seen teams are starting to really focus in more on target markets to try to achieve the highest gross profit they can but that is a different topic for a different day.

    Replying to Mort’s second post: it’s not that I hate uni looks that “push the boundaries.” I just hate uni looks that are ugly and that roll out a bunch of gimmicks (like a two-tone helmet) for gimmicks’ sake.

    In response to Mort: I think you’re right on most fronts, but many of us are just looking for something that pushes the boundaries in the right ways, or even just visually cohesive or appealing ways. We may see glimpses here and there, but I haven’t seen a total package that wows me in every aspect yet.

    Well, by conveying the local culture, that means the Steelers will be staying the same…oh wait a minute. The Rooney Family already agrees with that statement.

    With that said, I personally like all of the upgrades (though the Jaguars need to chuck the black jersey–how many more times are they going to ripoff Pittsburgh?), especially with Minnesota going back to basics. I do have some thoughts:

    1. No orange alt for Miami?
    2. I’m assuming the Vikings aren’t bringing back their throwback now that the uniforms are now a modern twist on them. I just hope they don’t introduce a BFBS uniform to replace it, or wear purple pants with the purple jerseys.
    3. The NFC North, a traditional old-school division, now only has the Packers wearing block numbers on a regular basis. What would be ironic is if the Bears are the ones that switch to block numbers down the road.
    4. Personally, I would’ve liked it if the Jaguars would’ve had the player’s last names on the front of the uniform under the patch. I’m guessing the league put the kibosh on those.

    The “bat” story got me wondering something. . . do major league baseball players buy their own equipment? (bats, gloves, hitting gloves, etc.) Or do they get it all through the team/promotional deals? Obviously big name and even 2nd tier stars have no problem getting free stuff, but where do unknown, rookies and new call-ups get their equipment?

    I did a quick search and didn’t find much about it.

    From link :

    Players, both at the Major and Minor League levels, are provided equipment like helmets, uniforms and such, but most opt to use their own bats and gloves. Often those pieces of equipment are custom-ordered by that player so they can be manufactured to his liking. If you look closely, many players have their names embroidered on their gloves and etched on their bats. In many cases, agents will provide their players with bats and gloves made to the player’s specifications.

    Catchers often use a larger mitt when catching a knuckleball pitcher since there is little control of where the ball is going to go. Unless you’re Bob Uecker, who said just wait until the ball stops rolling and pick it up.

    Yes, we know WHY they use it. The uni-notable thing was that the pitcher brought the glove in for the catcher. Never seen that before.

    A big point is that you don’t see a lot of knuckleballers in relief.

    If their were more knucklers relieving, you would see the pitcher bring in the glove.

    So most teams that have had a knuckleballer have probably only had the one large catcher mitt as well, they’ve just not needed it in the bullpen because they were a starter? Makes sense.

    When I first saw the three new uniforms together, it took me a second to realize the teal jersey with black numbers belonged to Jacksonville … I was a little scared for a moment.

    Call me a sick individual, but I think it’s hilarious that Juan Pablo Montoya’s “Depend” car also advertises Clorox bleach…

    Todd Van Horne is an absolute goldmine if you want the best the world has to offer in overly dramatic corporate storytelling. If you’re ever in a sour mood and just want to put yourself over the edge, go straight for a TVH video, preferably of the Seahawks or Jaguars unveiling.

    Funny quotes from the interview above:

    “We used black for the home uniform. It’s a bold, modern approach that will give the team an iconic look.”

    You mean like the Steelers, Raiders, Saints, even the Panthers, all of whom are more famous for wearing black jerseys than the Jaguars?

    “I also like that a uniform can come to define a an era of the team – since they are used for five years.

    This basically confirms that there is no intention to create strong, lasting brands in this industry. Sad.

    “Thirdly, and this is perhaps the most obvious, was the jaguar – many of the players want to embody the spirit of this animal when they come out onto the field.”

    I just love this one. I’d like to get a list, specifically, of which Jaguars’ players dream about cats when they come out onto the field.

    You have to drink a serious amount of Kool-Aid to say the things that Todd says at unveiling events (or to hear those things without laughing out loud). I always feel a bit embarrassed for him.

    In any case, he was off his game at yesterday’s unveiling. Stumbled over a lot of words, kept reflexively saying the word “itself” (as in “even the jersey itself”) over and over. Not his smoothest performance.

    He used “you’ll notice” even more.

    Your post popped up when I submitted mine. . . are you saying he is usually more polished?

    He is often more polished, although I don’t necessarily count that as a good thing. He’s selling a myth, a fantasy. So the more human he is, the better — at least from my perspective (although presumably not from Nike’s).

    Having not watched a TVH presentation before, I was surprised at just how bad his delivery was. This is the guy that is going to be the face of your big release, and the guy looked like he had a written script but didn’t bother to read/rehearse it even once.

    Not that I prefer a theatrical presser, but people need to understand that trying to follow a script you haven’t practiced before usually results in you looking like a bumbling amateur.

    If you look at the close-up picture of the new Dolphins uniform, you can see the Vikings uniform in the reflection. It looks like the white stripe on the Vikings’ sleeve starts to curve up as it goes back. I liked the uniforms until I saw that.

    I liked the uni until I went back and looked at what you are describing. Talk about a turd in the punchbowl.

    How could there be a white sleeve stripe on a white jersey??? It’s not a stripe, it’s the space between the sleeve’s cuff and the TV numbers on the shoulders. What you are describing is impossible. It could only be possible on the purple jersey and the purple jersey is not seen in the reflection.

    It is the purple jersey in the reflection. Notice the white swoosh on a purple background.

    I love how Jacksonville described the thematic of the team and it’s mascot, “Jaguars come from OUT of the shadows” — yet show the logo of the Jaguar on the helmet going INTO the shadow.

    New Jaguar helmet logo — A+
    New Jaguar helmet design — C-

    Paul, I think that the reversed “light to shadows” concept is a completely egregious and unforgivable error.

    Have you ever been approached by a team or a manufacturer to put an expert set of eyes on a new design to find such an error before it was too late?

    Maybe the idea is that if there’s a Jaguar player running toward you, the first thing you see is the black part of the helmet and then at the moment of impact you might catch a glimpse of the jaguar head and the gold part of the helmet.

    The Dolphins really messed up IMO. Changing the logo was a bad idea. The new uniforms are way too generic and remind me of the USFL’s Boston/New Orleans/Portland Breakers

    I can see how some can compare the Dolphins’ new helmet logo to the one the Breakers had(which was interesting as well as ‘innovative’ for its’ time…first use of a wraparound logo?), but the overall uniform looks more like what the Orlando Renegades used to wear.
    The Dolphins are perhaps best known for being the last ‘perfect’ team, but this new set is far from flawless.

    I like that the Dolphins look is ultra-clean, bright, minimal. I think it could use a little spice somewhere, but overall, It’s my favorite of the three by far, if only because there’s nothing there to be visually offended by.

    If I may be so bold, Todd Van Horne is is what is wrong with the “corporate, building a brand, focus group” approach to uniform design. All of the classic unis from all sports were all done long ago, when no one gave a crap about building a brand, selling merchandise or being kitschy for kitsch’s sake. Those designs spoke for themselves, where as today companies like Nike have to speak for the designs. Sad.

    The Jags look isn’t great, but not terrible (two-toned matte helmet aside!. I agree with Paul that the teal alternate needs gold or white numbers. It looks too Arena Leauge-ish with the black numerals.

    I’ll reserve judgement on the Vikes and Dolphins until there is more info available, but the Vikes look good so far (Stupid number font and matte helmet aside) and the Dolphins…………..yikes. So generic and colorless! Those Dolphins uniforms remind of a board game I had as a kid called “All-American Football”. It was sort of like “All-Star Baseball”, where you played with round discs and spinners. Anyway, the picture on the box was obviously from an NFL game, but since the game manufacturer (Cadaco, I believe) didn’t have an NFL license, they had to alter the picture to make the uniforms look generic. That’s exactly what those Dolphins uniforms remind me of.

    One of the ESPN commenters mentioned that the look like the old USFL Boston Breakers. I agree, but the Breakers looked much nicer; always one of my all-time favorite (and underrated) unis.

    OK, off to a tangent!

    After looking at the picture more closely of the Cadaco game box, it appears that the game is taking place at Wrigley Field. The green team looks like the Eagles (also could be the Jets), and the white team appears to be the Browns. Why would these two teams be playing at Wrigley Field? If the white team is the Bears, then why would Cadaco bother making the helmets orange when they could have just left them black with no stripe? Also, would they have substituted a generic block number font in place of the Bears iconic number font? And why would the Bears be wearing white at home? FYI, the Copyright date on the game box is 1969.

    Unless this is taking place at Franklin Field or possibly the Polo Gorunds (Jets played there for 2 years before Shea was built), I cannot unlock this mystery. It sure looks like Wrigley though, doesn’t it? Damn you childhood board game!!

    Doesn’t it look like #94 in white has an upside down 6 instead of a 9? Also, on the green team, check out the two inconsistent airbrushed generic helmet logos. On #28(the ball carrier being tackled) it looks like a “boomerang” pointing downward with the point closer to the facemask side of the helmet, whereas on the player in the foreground (#44) has a “boomerang” pointing upwards with the point closer to the back of the helmet. These are both on the same side (wearer’s left) of the helmet!

    It’s clearly a photo from the 1967 conference championship game between the Chicuffalo Browns and the Phil Bay Vikings. Duh.

    Very interesting to see people commenting about TVH (as you can see above, we already have another thread about him).

    I agree that he’s very much Part of the Problem. In fact, he pretty much embodies the Problem.

    I interviewed TVH link. Smart guy, nice guy. Which makes it all the more disappointing that he uses his talents in the service of so much nonsense. And by “nonsense,” I’m not referring to the designs themselves, but to the way the designs are packaged, presented, sold, and mythologized. He knows — he HAS to know — that most of what comes out of his mouth at these unveilings is nonsense. He knows — he HAS to know — that the way Nike packages and sells its product is basically pandering. He knows — he HAS to know — that he’s part of an unsustainable race to the bottom.

    I respect his talents. But oy, what he does with them.

    Good point, Paul.

    I guess what I meant to say was “Guys like TVH who have to try and sell us a uni design for his company that he represents is what is wrong with …………..”

    I blame Steve Jobs and the Apple fan-boys who fell over his every word when he’d announce a *gasp* smaller computer or a “revolutionary” new docking connector.

    Sure, it’s hucksterism but people eat that $h!t up.

    This sums up exactly my thoughts on the subject, Paul. Well said. You couldn’t write a better character in a movie for what he does, it’s so ridiculous at times. Wholly entertaining for the more “enlightened” of consumers, but more in a constantly chuckling, “how’s he going to top that one!?” kind of way.

    In response to Alan: You’re right. No one was trying to design a “brand” back then. Coincidentally, those designs have become some of the absolute best brands in the country because they were allowed to blossom and develop naturally over a period of time. No one wants to sit around and let a brand grow anymore. It sucks.

    … which reminds me: the Chicago Bulls logo — which has, to my knowledge, never really been altered over the years — was conceptualized on a bar napkin by a friend of the owner. If memory serves, I think all he received (or wanted) was season tickets. Totally organic … no focus groups … nothing filtered ad nauseam or “overthought” … oh, to have those days of simplicity (and the trust of good graphic designers who “get” sports) return. Sometimes, I think the folks who create these logos and uniforms today wouldn’t know the difference between a touchdown and a home run.

    Paul: Do you know if there’s ever been a book written giving the backstories of all the iconic, best team logos in our 4 major sports leagues? Before the leagues took ownership and micromanaged the whole process? If not, that’d be an entertaining read.
    – C.

    The more I look at the Dolphins’ new logo, the more I expect someone with that on their business card will try to sell me a time share in a condo.

    If you look in the reflection of the close up of the Miami uniforms it looks like the white stripe on the Vikings uniform is actually a panel and not a stripe.

    Depend as a NASCAR sponsor – brilliant. Driving for hours going in endless left-hand turns. Drinking water from their little sip tubes. No bathroom breaks. Why mess up a perfectly good fire suit when you don’t have to.

    The new teal Jags unis are wack. Your right Paul the numbers should be gold

    i like the helmet though. its something new, and it gives the jags their own identity. i like it a lot. maybe it could of been better if they did a solid gold helmnt with black around the edges

    May have been mentioned and I missed it along the way, but has anyone else noticed that the Capitals have reversed there sock colors? I’m not sure if this has been a season long thing or more recently during their hot streak, but by switching from red lower to red upper, it gives the uniform a more striped appearance. For something so minor, I think it has a pretty big effect.

    Old – link

    New – link

    Fair enough, and now that you mention that write up, it seems familiar. I don’t think it donned on me until last night. I’ll blame the shortened season and carry on.

    The one thing that jumps out about the Dolphins side photo is – – that nothing jumps out. The white jersey is white. No stripes, no swirls, no colored panels, not even a large logo. It looks a lot like the early 70s Super Bowl teams (some did not have sleeve striping).

    Here’s a thought: has there ever been leaks that were not true? I mean, teams spend a lot of money on designs and they spend more time on keeping it secret. What’s a few more dollars to create a fake helmet or an ugly jersey and get it “accidentally” leaked. I think it would be great if a team was unveiling their new look in mid-April and have an individual post a cell phone pic on April 1.

    I assume the Jaguars wanted to get away from teal because a.) it has a “90s” stigma, and b.) they probably felt like the color was too close to the Dolphins’. So why the heck did they ever pick teal in the first place? Because it was popular at the time?

    Instead of being yet another team wearing black, I think they should have went with gold as the primary jersey color. First of all, jaguars are actually gold (duh). It would give the benefit of allowing them to wear color at home in the Florida sun (because really, do we expect to see the black jerseys until November or December?). And it would have been a totally unique design that they could own. They could have kept black as an alternate, even. It’s just disappointing that they went with a look that is just so… stupid, for lack of a better word.

    TVH actually claims in that viodeo that they looked extensively into the black jaguar. And that is why they went with a black jersey… Of course, this all BS just to have a black jersey – since they kept the logo of a GOLD jaguar.

    Oh, although I am quite stunned to find link photo which actually makes the stupid helmet kind of make sense (in reality, not good design)!

    What we often call a “black panther” is actually a melanistic jaguar or leopard, though, meaning there’s really no such thing as a black panther, taxonomically speaking. Thus, the Carolina Panthers’ logo is actually either a black jaguar or leopard. The “Florida panther” is a subspecies of puma or cougar (small, svelte and tan). It would have been a big miss for the Jaguars to create an identity based on a black jaguar.

    According to link, they are almost extinct… heh, one can only hope and then we would not have to stomach ANY jaguar unis.

    And apparently a link isn’t a panther at all.

    So when the Jags move to LA, they can just change the spot pattern in the logo and be the Los Angeles Leopards.

    Those dolphins uniforms are a disaster .. Mismatching helmet and pants stripe and no orange stripe on the helmet ( or so it appears). Makes me want to cry.

    To me, it appears that the helmet & pants stripes are exactly the same (The helmet does, it appears to me, have an orange stripe).

    Does mean they are ‘good’, but they do match.

    The Dolphins are taking a minimal approach, which is not bad, but the “classic” Dolphins look is the one that all (well, most of us anyway) love. Wish they would go back to that.

    I had this card as a kid (still do), and to me, nothing captures the “classic” Dolphins look better than this 1979 Topps Norris Thomas football card. The sleeve stripes and numeral outline on the sleeves are just perfect and tell me to play some football on a sunny, Sunday afternoon in Florida!


    The Best-Laid Plans of Mice, Men, and Self-Aggrandizing Corporations…

    Schemes…it’s “the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.” Mind you, the only reason that’s burned into my brain is the episode of Batman where Roddy McDowell played the Bookworm…

    Arizona Cardinals are now using their black alternate as the QB no contact uni in practice. Better than using the red uni as in the past since it blends in so much with their two tone whites.


    Hang on there, AHL: “Wolf Pack” (one-man or otherwise) doesn’t end in “s!” I want my Whale back!!!

    Here’s my speculation as to the Vikings numbers: the leading number seems to “wrap” around the trailing number. Could we be seeing the first (?) use of a different font for each digit? That would explain the differing 2s. Madness!

    Remember you heard it here first. :)

    If weight is as important as the manufacturers all claim, shouldn’t they do away with all of these extraneous additions to the numbers?

    That’s pretty clearly the case: The first digit has horns, the second digit does not. The real question is what will be done with single-digit numbers.

    Jerg is my hero of the day. Somebody who knows his way around tackle-twill needs to measure the first-digit horns and calculate the weight increase in both absolute and marginal terms. It would make my year to learn that all the supposed weight reductions from “cutting edge” jersey “technology” was offset by the extra 3/4 ounce or whatever of fabric weight from the digit horns!

    I prefer the look of “classic” uniforms versus most of the newer designs coming out of Nike, adidas, UA, etc., but there is a difference between classic and bland. To me, the new Dolphins uniform falls into the latter category. Like most people on here, I agree the first step would be to add more orange. This uni looks more like the Miami franchise on my old “NES Play Action Football”


    Looks like it was done that way on purpose so the “ghost” stripes on the shoulders and flywire collar stand out more. Just like how the facemask is a shiny black and the helmet is a matte black.

    I just noticed those jerseys have some kind of maroonish color on them.

    Officially way too busy.

    Every black fabric will have some sort of tiny to it, whether it’s reddish, bluish or greenish. It’s almost impossible to get a true, neutral black, especially in artificial lighting. I noticed the golds don’t match in that lighting, either.

    So that material surrounding the shoulder “dart” or whatever it is is supposed to be black?

    Paul – regarding the Viking’s font, it appears the first of the two numbers has the unique serif. When combined with the second number “52” or “28”, it creates more of a single shape as opposed to two unique numbers. Notice how the “5” also has the serif extending into the “2.”

    I’m not seeing the serifs intended so much as “horns” but as to replicate the prow of a Viking longboat.

    Still not my favorite idea.

    I’ve seen some more shots of the Viking uniforms and I must say I am quite pleased. They’ve gone with no outline on the numbers which no matter what you think about the font is a huge improvement.

    There’s something else about those pictures. Look at the colors. The Purple seems to be a bit more muted, plum-like. The gold seems much less bright and more mustard like. Not quite a metallic gold but definitely richer than the bright yellow of the last set.

    Those teaser pics indicate a single-color number font without the extraneous horn-serifs… guess we’ll have to wait for the official unveiling to find out which is the real deal.

    Just went back to the leak at the top, and saw those were single-color as well… and that pic that shows the full number looks more like a mock-up…

    The success of any new uniform will be determined by the fans who will or will not buy uniforms. I can’t really see a Jaq’s fan not buying new stuff.

    Jersey sales are a poor barometer of a design’s success, especially since only a certain demographic tends to buy jerseys.

    Has anyone ever explained the need for the wordmark on the front of the jerseys? (In Nikespeak or otherwise?)

    If you need to put the name of the team on the jersey doesn’t that mean you’ve failed at making it part of a unique/recognizable identity package?

    The wordmark is there because it increases sales. People don’t want to wear just a red jersey with white numbers — they want a red jersey with white numbers and the name of the team.

    The word mark and the addition of logos above the name plate in some cases are what separates a blue number 10 football jersey and an “official” Eli Manning jersey at retail.

    The black to gold gradiant on the new Jags helmet seems like it will be difficult to render on flat merchandise (pennants, shirts etc). The old color shifting helmet could seemingly cheat by just mixing the colors for the application but I don’t see how they could render this in 2 colors and capture the randomness of that gradiant.

    I’m stunned to see that DEPENDS UNDERGARMENTS has finally entered the world of NASCAR sponsorship. For years I’ve thought that they would have been the perfect corporate sponsor for former NASCAR driver (and as Dave Barry would say, I swear I am not making this up) … Dick Trickle.

    Talk about a missed opportunity!


    Don’t everybody be jealous but I happen to have a Dick Trickle autograph. He of course had none of his own stuff so he had to grab a Miller Lite restaurant table ad that was for Rusty Wallace and sign it on the back. Damn I need to find that in my storage boxes and frame it!!

    I think they missed the boat with no Dolphins aqua pants. Good to see the Vikings are a little better since I have to see them play the Bears twice a year. What is with Nike using goofy fonts on for jersey numbers?

    Does the Vikings’ helmet look matte to anyone else? I looked around the comments and nothing was really said about it. Is it the first colored matte used as a primary helmet in the NFL?

    Yup…matte finish (I believe I saw it somewhere in writing).

    I think I already said this above, but how soon until matte finish seen in NHL (or more likely collegiate hockey)? Ohio state would be perfect…could be matte, grey helmets…

    Seattle had the first matte primary helmet.

    Washington has the throwback helmet (but I see you accounted for that in your question).

    Lee- if the stripes do in fact match (with orange stripe) I will go to sleep a happy man. Crossing my fingers that you’re right.

    In your Red Sox catcher’s mitt ticker link, there appears to be a typo with the last name “wright.”

    Are my eyes deceiving me or are the Dolphins new numbers a hybrid of rounded and block numbers?

    If it’s true then its a terrible move, they should have committed to numbers more akin to the font used for the Dolphins wordmark. That accompanied with the fact that the numbers are outline in Navy and then orange, instead of Orange then Navy, means a big missed opportunity.

    The purpose of the Navy is to make the numbers and the outlines pop (see: Lions, Buccaneers, Bills), instead orange is an afterthought. Then again they don’t seem very keen on using their other color, so making it an afterthought on the numbers actually fits with the rest of the uniform.

    Heres a thought about ads on nba unis…..maybe the nba can slap an ad on the shooting shirts, they already resemble soccer jerseys. So why not put an ad on them. The n that way the nba still gets their ads, but leaves the uniform( jersey and shorts) alone

    That article is almost a month old and the “leaked” picture of the helmet was a fan mock-up.

    Having said that, it will look almost exactly like that, but with thin orange outside of the blue (most likely).

    is it just me or does the first number of the vikings new font have horns pointing to the second number? what does a single digit number look like then?

    Here’s the helmet that Flipper thinks the Dolphins should have stuck with. And while I’m not Flipper, I strongly agree.

    Win for naming rights? College footbal playoffs won’t have a corporate name and if the Chik-Fil-A Bowl were to be one of the extra games added to the BCS, it would have to revert back to the CFA Peach Bowl.


    Yeah it was wrong for them to request that and even worse that they were granted the name change.

    I haven’t stopped calling it the Peachbowl, nor have most people in the metro-atlanta area, but nationally people are starting to think of it as its new name and not its actual name.

    The Dolphins unis are really unappealing. As others have noted, generic is the word that comes to mind. Bland and colorless, too, which is a shame since the Dolphins have such a vibrant color scheme.

    Aqua is too soft a color to anchor a white uniform with little or no accents. The key to the simple yet elegant Penn State and Alabama uniforms is that navy and crimson are strong colors that really stand out against white. Aqua doesn’t–it needs help. In this case, that means much more orange.

    It was also a mistake to do away with the aqua facemasks and road pants.

    Definitely a substantial downgrade for the Dolphins. I now rank them in the bottom rung of NFL uniforms.

    I totally agree. The Dolphins mucked this up pretty badly. There is simply nothing appealing about these new unis. The weak Aqua color will be a disaster without accents. Why in the name of Odin’s Ghost do you ditch the Orange? The new logo is a step backward. The helmet stripes are worse not improved. The striping to begin with is pretty bad. The White facemask adds a High School/FAU/Arena feel to the whole look. I fully expect another makeover sooner rather than later.

    Jags are OK. A step up. Should have used more Gold. Missed opportunity.

    Vikings in sum are hugely improved. Add a bit more Yellow/Gold – particularly in contrasting socks from Purple road pants. Numeral font – YUK! Is there any other team – perhaps other than the Packers – that should most definitely use a traditional block numeral? They are the VIKINGS, Dammit! Not the Jags. There is a difference.

    Are the bears keeping their throwbacks as the third alternate? or any chance of the Orange jerseys making their Nike Debut??

    I don’t like the Jacksonville Jaguars new uniforms nor their helmets. Their best uniforms and helmets were the originals ones worn from 1995-2003 when Mark Brunel1 was their quarterback. If the team felt a need to change their uniforms they should have changed their jersey to gold because there are already a few teams who use black as their primary jerseys. I don’t know any other NFL team (current or former) that has worn gold as their primary jersey color with the exception of the New Orleans Saints who used it once as a third jersey in 2002.

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