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Timelessly Representing the Ballclub, NFL Edition – Part I

Joe Willie Namath

By Phil Hecken

Well, that didn’t take long.

No sooner had I run two reader suggestions for “timelessly representing the ballclub” (NL here, AL here), then I was contacted by another reader, Joseph Gerard (who I’m pretty sure loves all things Pittsburgh), with suggestions for the same, only for the NFL.

Here’s his brief email description to me:

Hey Phil,

After reading your articles on baseball’s “classic looks”, that got me thinking of doing one for the NFL. Of course, this is just subjective to personal opinion. I’m taking success largely into the look. With three exceptions largely by default, domed stadiums and retractable-roof stadiums are intentionally excluded from this list, though I did leave Texas Stadium on since it did have an opening in the roof. Also, for simplicity, some of these I combined into one image.

Joseph Gerard

Obviously, trying to pick the most representative look/uni/stadium, like in baseball, is subjective. But it is a pretty fun exercise to try to pinpoint that perfect representation. Joseph was kind enough to supply me with links, although in some cases, the pictures were either small or watermarked, so I substituted some new ones.

And without further ado, let’s see what he came up with — we’ll do the AFC this week, and conclude with the NFC next time.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Baltimore Ravens: current uniforms (sans neckroll), M&T Bank Stadium

Buffalo Bills: Marv Levy-era uniforms, Rich Stadium-era Ralph Wilson Stadium

Cincinnati Bengals: Ickey Shuffle-era uniforms, Riverfront Stadium pre-Cinergy days

Cleveland Browns: Uniforms haven’t changed much, so Jim Brown-era uniforms with sleeves (Kardiac Kids with the orange pants a close second). The stadium is a no-brainer: Cleveland Municipal Stadium with the Dawg Pound.

Denver Broncos: Orange Crush and Mile High Stadium

Houston Texans: current and current by default

Indianapolis Colts: current uniforms (with truncated shoulder stripes) and Baltimore Memorial Stadium (trying to compromise for both markets)

Jacksonville Jaguars: Tom Coughlin-era and Wembley Stadium (sorry, but anything is better than Alltell/Jacksonville Municipal/EverBank/Gator Bowl)

Kansas City Chiefs: Nothing really has changed much in 50 years except for Arrowhead Stadium opening in 1972, so Hank Stram-era uniforms with sleeves, current Arrowhead Stadium.

Miami Dolphins: Dan Marino-era uniforms, Orange Bowl

New England Patriots: Current uniform (hey, unlike the Pat the Patriot-era uniforms, they win in these), original Foxborough Stadium.

New York Jets: Joe Namath-era uniforms (not the current ripoff), Shea Stadium

Oakland Raiders: Well, except for their 13-year stay in LA, literally nothing has changed since they initially moved into the septic tank…I mean, the Coliseum since 1966, so we’ll go with John Madden-era uniforms with sleeves, 70’s era Coliseum.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 1970’s uniforms with block numbers and sleeves, Three Rivers Stadium

San Diego Chargers: Air Coryell-era uniforms (as much as I like the powder blue uniforms, aside from the 1963 AFL Championship they never won in these), contemporary-era Jack Murphy Stadium

Tennessee Titans: Houston Oilers “Luv Ya Blue” and the Astrodome

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Nicely done, although, as with all lists like this, I would disagree with some of your picks. Personally, I could NEVER think of the Pats (despite all their Super Bowl wins) in anything but the classic red tops and Pat Patriot hats, and I might go back a bit further in time to the Griese-era Dolphins, but by and large, I like it. Glad you selected the Bradshaw/Greene/Harris Stillers with the nice block numerals, rather than the current Nike-inspired Futura Italic jobs.

Readers? I’m sure there will be areas with which you disagree, so feel free to comment and post your own suggestions.


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 Travis Cuomo, with a tweak of the Arizona Cardinals:

AZ Cards home - Travis Cuomo

AZ Cards road - Travis Cuomo

AZ Cards graphic - Travis CuomoAZ Cards graphic2 - Travis Cuomo

Hi Phil,

I took the Skillshare uniform design class that you mentioned on the site, and this is my project from the class. I redesigned the Arizona Cardinals, with a touch of inspiration for the University of Maryland and their pride uniforms. I decided that the Arizona state flag would be perfect for giving the Cardinals a new team identity. Home, road and two graphics.

Travis Cuomo

. . .

Next up is Alex Carmack, who has some new Titans looks:

1harkbackcomplete - Alex Carmack

2Lightbluecomplete - Alex Carmack

3Darkbluecomplete - Alex Carmack

Hey Phil,

This my first time trying my hand at uniforms. It started with an attempt to design some Tennessee Titan harkbacks to their Oiler days, I designed the helmet using the Titans’ “T-Sword” logo because it resembles the old oil tower logo. I put it on the harkback helmet and liked it, it is more balanced and symmetrical than the “Circle T” logo currently on their helmets. I don’t like the current white helmets the Titans use, so I used the “T-Sword” logo on a light blue and dark blue helmet to see how it looked with their current uniforms. I also tweaked the current uniforms slightly, adding some white piping and new stripes on the pants to match the new helmets. Obviously the helmets and jerseys could be mixed and matched to whatever combination, but I think it is at least a small improvement to the bland helmet and unsymmetrical logo.



. . .

We close today with Alan Camp who has some logos for the Washington Capitals:

capitals1 - Alan Camp

capitals2 - Alan Camp


I’m a diehard Caps fan, and I love the logo we have now. However, my friend still has a shirt with the old black/gold/blue logo on it. We thought that it might’ve been cool if the team had just changed the colors and kept the logos from the 90’s and early 2000’s when they redesigned in ’07. I edited the old logos, and it turns out that the team could’ve kept the symbolic logos and looked about as good as they do now.

Thanks for all you do, I love the site!

Alan C

. . .

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


Timothy Moore - photo(9)

Dads in Uniform

Last Sunday’s column, A Very Special Uni Watch Fathers Day generated a lot of positive comments, and it was one of which I was very proud. The tremendous number of submissions I received was a testament to the power of our fathers on us, and I enjoyed very much sharing those with the readership. It will definitely become a yearly feature.

I received one submission from John Adomaitis after the post had been published, but I wanted to include the photo of his father here, and his short write up. This would also make a great candidate for colorization:

Daddy - John Adomatis

Hi Phil:

A little late as I was watching the U.S. Open but here’s my dad, John “Daddy” Adomaitis, in uniform as a guard, punter and place kicker for the Bayonne Bulldogs back in the ’40s. He’s been gone for almost 7 years but I have this picture of him on display at home so I see him in his prime every day.

John Adomaitis

Thanks, John — and again, a big THANK YOU to all who submitted photos and stories of their dads in uniform. To borrow a phrase from Paul, you’re all aces!


That’s going to do it for today. Everyone have a great Saturday and I’ll catch you on the morrow.

Thoughts and prayers go out to all of our friends north of the border in Calgary, who are taking it on the chin. Yes, it’s bad. Stay safe, guys!

. . .

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.



Blackhawk Down

One For The Road

.. … ..

“I see many people making the same comparison between the Redskins and other Native American-themed teams, but they all seem to miss the HUGE difference: ‘Redskins’ is an offensive term.”
–Gordon Blau

Comments (68)

    And without further ado, let’s see what he came up with – we’ll do the AFL this week, and conclude with the NFL next time.

    AFL? It’s not 1969, yo.

    Speaking as a Balti-moron I don’t think you could ever satisfy both markets. It needs to be Johnny U and the black high tops in Memorial Stadium or Peyton Manning era uniforms in the back of a Mayflower moving truck.

    You’re right. I’m still working on it. It just bothers me that people try to split it between two markets. Like when the Indianapolis Colts wear gear that says “Since 1953”. There’s just something disingenuous about it.

    You bring up moving trucks? Thanks to those moving trucks the two Baltimore Super Bowls were given to the Crabcakers. They actually belong to Cleveland. Thanks Art.

    BTW-Greatest running back in football history. Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns. Nuf ced.

    Also agreed. That’s why I made a conscious decision not to root for the Ravens. At least Cleveland got to keep the Browns name and got a new team a 4 years later instead of having to wait more than a decade.

    I think the hard part about making a list like this is separating your personal favorite uniforms from the team’s history. I find both versions of the green helmeted Jets uniforms to be superior, but I’d agree that the Namath era is probably the definitive one.

    as a chargers fan, i’m a bit confused by your blurb about them…

    you dismiss the powder blues by writing “aside from the 1963 AFL Championship they never won in these.” am i missing something? that 1963 AFL Championship is the only thing we’ve ever won! also, we wore them throughout the 1994 season, the first and only time we’ve ever made the super bowl. there was a big outcry when the team announced they wouldn’t wear the throwbacks in the super bowl.

    there’s a reason the powder blues are so loved by chargers fans, and it’s not just because they are the perfect football uniform. it’s also because they remind us of the only success we’ve ever had. the fouts/winslow-era chargers were a lot like the rivers/tomlinson-era bolts – supreme underachievers and ultimately a disappointment.

    … now that i think about it, “supreme underachievers and ultimately a disappointment” pretty much perfectly sums up the chargers as a franchise and what it feels like to be a lifelong fan of them, so i take back my criticism.

    sorry phil. you are absolutely right to pick that uniform.

    Not my list, I just prepped it.

    As for the Chahgahs, I personally LOVE the powder blues, although not necessarily the current alt-iteration.

    Had I been making the list, I very likely would have done the Lance Alworth 1963 version, since, as you correctly point out, it is the perfect uniform, including that wonderful All-American City patch on the helmets.

    and forget half of Pro Football history? The Browns were around since the 40’s I believe. In the NFL since at least the early 50’s. They have at least 4 NFL titles I think.

    oh, and back to purple. Unless you’re a classic team that’s had it forever….no thanks.The Baltimore Charm look good in it.

    I agree that the ’63 powder blues are absolutely the iconic Chargers uniform. But for the record, the anniversary throwbacks were worn four times in 1994 (road all-whites twice, home powder blues twice).


    Modell did a lot of bad things while owner in the NFL. After losing his attempt to bring the Browns name/colors with him to Baltimore, he went with purple?

    Lets see, the Maryland state colors of red/gold/white/black would have been great. The Baltimore city colors are actually black and gold. The Orioles are orange and black. So, those two wouldn’t work if you’re keeping them in that division.

    So, basically they should have gone with the colors the U of MD uses and maybe done a better job reaching fans down towards College Park who are closer and seemingly still into the Washington teams.

    Or they could choose a color scheme all their own in their city like purple and forge their own identity and cement it by winning two Super Bowls in their first eighteen years (two more than the Browns have won in two stints in Cleveland from 1967-95 & 1999-present).

    and forget half of Pro Football history? The Browns were around since the 40′s I believe. In the NFL since at least the early 50′s. They have at least 4 NFL titles I think.

    oh, and back to purple. Unless you’re a classic team that’s had it forever….no thanks.The Baltimore Charm look good in it.

    100% agree. Vikings and Lakers look classic in their purples. Ravens and Rockies look like XFL or minor league colors. Maryland has just an epic flag. Even the O’s use the logo as a patch. Ravens dropping the ball there.

    And two NFL titles in 18 years? I think the neighbors to the South won 3 in 10 years to make it 5 NFL Championships. The Giants and Packers have at least 10 NFL Titles. At least the Eagles haven’t won in the modern era. That’s always funny.


    History is rad.

    and forget half of Pro Football history? The Browns were around since the 40′s I believe. In the NFL since at least the early 50′s. They have at least 4 NFL titles I think.

    It’s not forgotten — it stayed in Cleveland when the team left it behind.

    Well regardless of how you feel of the should-be, could-be of the Cleveland-Baltimore relocation and the NFL’s handling of that, the second incarnation of that team is currently wearing those colors in Cleveland, so this Baltimore franchise’s current history begins in 1996 and it’s their own identity that they should forge.

    And your old team is active over in Indianapolis, so that franchise history is also spoken for.

    oh, and back to purple. Unless you’re a classic team that’s had it forever

    By that logic, the expansion 1961 Vikings shouldn’t have worn purple, either. Both the ’61 Vikes and ’96 Ravens have worn purple since the beginning of their franchise existence.

    And I’m not saying it looks good or bad, just that the current purple scheme (or the O.P.’s suggestion of Maryland’s state colors of red/gold/white/black) either way would have to do because the orange/brown of Cleveland and the blue/white of Indianapolis are both spoken for.

    In an ideal world, we’d be talking about the Baltimore Browns, who would probably still be wearing the same uniform, and Cleveland would be the team with the new and hopefully unique color scheme.

    /Where are all the angry St. Louis Cardinals, LA Rams, and Houston Oilers fans?

    In an ideal world, we’d be talking about the Baltimore Browns

    A team playing in Baltimore, named after a man whose entire professional legacy — high school, college, and professional — is inextricably tied to football in Ohio. What a profoundly ignorant concept.

    In an ideal world, we’d be talking about the Baltimore Browns

    A team playing in Baltimore, named after a man whose entire professional legacy – high school, college, and professional – is inextricably tied to football in Ohio. What a profoundly ignorant concept.

    Maybe that’s an argument for not naming team nicknames after people whose legacy is tied to football in a particular state. You might not like what would happen if that team were to move.

    Better stick to animals, inanimate objects and possibly pejorative indigenous peoples.

    /Where are all the angry St. Louis Cardinals, LA Rams, and Houston Oilers fans?

    I guess some people are more capable of “getting over” things than others.

    Vikings and Lakers look classic in their purples. Ravens and Rockies look like XFL or minor league colors.

    That’s just because that’s the era they came from. If the Lakers & Vikings were formed in the sucky 1990s, they’d look like shite, too. And if the Ravens and the Rockies colors originated a half-century or more ago, you’d consider them classic.

    And two NFL titles in 18 years? I think the neighbors to the South won 3 in 10 years to make it 5 NFL Championships. The Giants and Packers have at least 10 NFL Titles.

    I’m just comparing them to the Browns. Comparing them to a team that hasn’t sniffed a championship in about fifty years (other than losing three AFC title games to Denver in the 1980s), winning two Super bowls since 2000 is a fricken dynasty.

    I love all of the new uni concepts today, especially the Cardinals. Great job, Travis! I’m a sucker for anything flag based.

    Travis’s Cards uniform, with a white helmet, should be adopted tomorrow. The shame of it is that Nike would feel the need to screw it up with some newfangled numerical font.

    Agreed. I really like that Cards tweak. I always liked the AZ flag on their sleeves. The Titans concept is a huge improvement as well.

    Yes, both of them are excellent.

    The Titans look is spot on, I’ve always thought they should use the sword logo on the helmet, and the shoulder yoke is done right in this version, plus it gets rid of that ridiculous font they currently use.

    Love the way Travis used the flag, but keeps the classic look, I really like the red helmet, but would keep the white one as well, and use them as appropriate.

    Love the Cardinals’ concept and the red helmet. Wish someone could tweak the helmet a bit, though, so the bird isn’t lost in the helmet.

    “I’m a sucker for anything flag based.”

    Then you must be one of my biggest fans, Nate! LOL :)


    The Hungry Hungry Hipster
    “Designing Flag-Based Sports Uniforms Since 2009”

    Also Nate, I think you and Travis will greatly appreciate the Arizona Cardinals state flag jersey concept that I designed for a Uni Watch contest back in 2010:

    Home/Color jersey: link

    Away/White jersey: link

    Those are awesome! And I am a fan. Your comment gave me the chance to go back and look at your flag color uni tweeks from ’09. Chicago is still my favorite, as it was then, but they have such a great city flag to work with.

    Phil, you’re correct: that the Pats won in ugly unis and lost in gorgeous unis is interesting, but only tangential to the core aesthetic of this venerable site: looking good matters more than playing good. Sometimes God is kind and gives us Super Bowl III, but otherwise we wrestle.

    PS Homer Blackhawk made me laugh.

    I totally agree Phil. As a lifelong Steelers fan, bring back the block numerals or at the very least use them as part of a 1970’s throwback jersey twice a season as homage to the great 70’s Steelers Super Bwl teams!!

    Has anyone else who reads the site on an iPad recently been subject to a malevolent hovering banner ad that cannot be dispatched? Reminds me of the evil cloud in Super Mario Bros. that rained bombs down from the sky.

    I love the az cards redesign and the titans redesign as well. Nfl would sell a ton of them overnight if they switched to those concepts. Truly great work!

    I love the shot of ravens stadium but that is a navy football game pictured so minus 5 points.

    That’s all I have time for, Kirsten is calling for me(kidding, of course!)

    As a Pats fan, just ughhhh. Pat Patriot uniforms = timeless.

    And I went to a few games at Foxboro as a kid. I just remember it being a miserable experience every time, and not because the team sucked.

    I had a dream that the Yankees wore flag desecration home uniforms to a game I will be attending on Thursday. Not only that, but President Obama’s face was superimposed in the middle of the stars and stripes. Double flag desecration! Gak!

    I’m a fan of the old AFL so it will always be the Bills in the Jack Kemo era, the Pats in red, the Chargers in powder blue, and the Bengals is those simple “Cleveland Brownish-style” orange, white, but with black replacing the brown. The Raiders use to have an interesting road jersey, white with silver numerals as well.

    The titans concepts are 1000x better than their current set. Great work! I have always thought the sword logo would be better suited for the helmet logo. I especially like the oilers inspired one. Fantastic job

    One quick note. I just noticed the pic chosen to represent Cleveland’s municipal stadium was actually a pic of an ass-hat fan who thinks he’s “part of the game”.

    A better pic is here link

    And on that note, is there anything in sports more tiresome than “fan who thinks he’s way cool” in garb like that?

    There are three that immediately come to mind I would love to banish from earth today.

    1 the fireman JETS guy. Seems a little too old to be that into the game and his persona.
    2 the big fat douchebag at ohio state games who paints his face and then wears a necklace made of (wait for it) BUCKEYES!!!
    3 a slightly less fatass who attends UGA football games with a bulldog painted on his bald head.

    Each if these “super fans” are over the age of 50 and I would be mortified if I had to sit near them at a game much less, talk with them.

    Time for a hot beef injection with Kirsten do that’s all for now. ( kidding, of course!)

    Wow a 1986 game between the Colts and Browns. I’d need a slide rule to figure out who Baltimore should have rooted for in that game.

    Or the ugly guys who spent three decades dressing like girls at rhe team whose name shall not be spoken’s games.

    As an impressionable teen who sawvthe colts move away and forever made me jaundiced about sports, not going to ever get over it.

    Made worse by then going to college in indiana and then seeing the colts every week on tv.

    Same here for an impressionable 7 year old. I have moved on, but won’t forget about it. I have never had anything against the players or fans, but the team owner and the NFL hurt me in a way that I’ll remember forever. That’s why I still can’t come to root for the Ravens. The same thing was done to Cleveland.

    Update from Calgary: its sunny but downtown is still underwater.

    First interior photo from the Saddledome:


    The blue railing is the front edge of the lower private boxes, and there are about 15 rows to the floor in front of that. So the water is about 10 rows deep.

    The exterior:


    Rockies wearing the batting practice jerseys in Washington today. Definitely a first for them.

    Regarding the redskins controversy. I feel like I could say SEMINOLE or INDIAN or BRAVE to a native American’s face. If I called them a REDSKIN I would expect a punch in the nose.

    REDSKIN is a slur, period.

    True, but Chief Noc-a-homa or Chief Wahoo look like cartoons commissioned by the Office of the Minister of Propaganda.

    What is this skill share uni design class? On YouTube or the web somewhere?

    Italy is wearing all-blue, so Brazil put on white shorts which look terrible with the yellow shirt.

    FIFA strikes again, they won’t let teams wear any piece of kit that is the same color anymore. Brazil and Italy have played numerous times in their usual first choice kits, Yellow/Blue/White for Brazil and Blue/White/Blue for Italy. Classic games in classic kits.

    1970 World Cup final, Brazil’s performance is often considered the greatest performance in a final by any team ever. 1994 final, not a great game, but Brazil’s 4th title and first in 24 years. 1982 in Spain, considered one of the greatest games ever played in the World Cup, all with the teams in their historic, iconic kits, but now, somehow FIFA thinks Brazil’s blue shorts will clash with Italy’s blue jerseys and socks.

    Fucking ridiculous. Neither team has worn their first choice yet this tournament.

    (However, maybe Italy chose all blue to force Brazil to change, as some sort of psychological ploy, in which case…, well fuck FIFA anyway, for a lot of other stuff)

    Even worse is this Mexico kit. White with red shorts and no green to be seen? Blech.

    Not to spoil it for next week, but the Silverdome was not picked for the Lions. (As I said up above, I largely intentionally ignored stadiums that were in a dome or a retractable roof. The exceptions I noted above were done by default–Texans and Seahawks haven’t played in a permanent home stadium without at least a retractable roof, the Jaguars “home” being Wembley was largely done as a satire, and the Oilers/Titans franchise people tend to think of the Astrodome more than LP Field–wait a minute, that’s four teams! D’oh!) I DID send Phil a pic of Barry Sanders for the Lions uniform, but is it his regular uniform or a throwback? We shall see…

    There is absolutely nothing worng with Everbank Field, it is a great place to watch a football game and it’s only going to get better when they install the largest outdoor video scoreboards in the league. Shad Khan is investing $30 million of his own hard earned cash in the stadium so the Jaguars won’t be moving to London, LA or anywhere else any time soon.

    “…who I’m pretty sure loves all things Pittsburgh…”

    Phil, I’m pretty sure you are right. lol

    I couldn’t agree with that quote at the end more. There are plenty of Native American names used that could be construed as offensive, but there is no way around the Redskins name being a slur.

    As a life long Buffalonian, I always equate the Bills with the 1964-1964 uniform…the standing Red-Buffalo some call him the Pre-Historic Buffalo. and the mud on the uniforms that only the falling down, so ugly only a mother could love it..RockPile stadium, War Memorial Stadium..

    So one vote here for 1964 Bills uni and helment..and some mud on the tires from playing in the RockPile…(where the Natural was filmed)

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