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Iron Bowling


By Phil Hecken

Ah, Rivalry Weekend.

Quite possibly the best weekend weeklong set of games in college football. In the past, I’ve covered many of the best rivalries, including Army/Navy (several times), UCLA vs. USC, Harvard vs. Yale (a/k/a “The Game”), the Civil War, the Backyard Brawl (what?), and even “THE Game” (OSU vs. UM) (that’s a really great one — definitely take a look at that, since it involves the creative genius of Robert Marshall), and probably others I can’t even remember. But I’ve yet to cover today’s HUGE game, The Iron Bowl.

The Iron Bowl isn’t the oldest of rivalries, but it is one of the fiercest, involving Auburn and Alabama. It’s always a big game for the two schools, but today’s version pits #1 Alabama against #4 Auburn in a game that will possibly have huge implications. A win by home dog (10 ½ points) by Auburn basically ends Alabama’s hope for three consecutive National Championships. So today, we’re going to look at the Iron Bowl.

I’ve drafted Auburn student and frequent UW contributor Clint Richardson to do today’s writeup, since he’s not only currently experiencing the game hype, but he’ll be in the stadium today (and hopefully he’ll get some pics for us). Now, you might think there isn’t much of a uniform history for these two schools, since Alabama has been wearing crimson and white since forever (even their one-off “Pro Combat” uni wasn’t much different from their current uniform). Likewise, Auburn has worn blue and orange and white for a long time. But it wasn’t always that way.

With that, I’m now pleased to turn the rest of the lede over to Clint as he take a look at …

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The Iron Bowl
By Clint Richardson

The Iron Bowl. One of the most historic and fierce rivalries in all of sports. I know a lot of people think there are better rivalries and games out there, but as an Alabama native, lifelong Auburn fan, and current Auburn student, I must say there is no comparison to this game. But I may be a bit biased in that statement”¦However, Phil asked me to do a uniform history of the Iron Bowl for the huge and historic game this weekend, and I happily obliged. As Phil and I talked, these two teams have worn the same or very similar uniforms for decades. But there are a few uni-quirks out there, many that even I didn’t know about. Since most of these quirky games were decades ago, there obviously aren’t many colored pictures from then, let alone many photographs at all. Many if not all of these pictures will be based off of famous Daniel A. Moore’s paintings of the games.

Auburn started wearing the traditional AU logo in 1965, when the school was officially changed to Auburn University, and has ever since. Before then, Auburn wore helmets very similar to what Alabama wears now. I took this picture a few years ago at a local bookstore (the helmets have since been sold).

Alabama wore white helmets off and on as we will see, during the 1960s and in 1983 and 1984. According to the team’s website, “Alabama used white helmets on eligible receivers in games at night or when another team ¹s helmet matched or resembled ours in color.” I know we’ve covered this before here on UniWatch, but I still find that extremely interesting!

According to Moore’s paintings, 1948 is the first of these odd years (and the first year that he has featured on his site). Alabama wore brown pants with black (dark blue?) helmets, and Auburn wore orange helmets. This picture from the 1949 game makes me think that Syracuse is playing rather than Auburn”¦I love seeing teams wearing different helmet designs in the same game.

This next one is one of my favorite paintings on his site. The 1950 game supposedly featured Alabama in brown pants, white lids, and Auburn in orange pants! As a lifelong Auburn fan, I never knew the Tigers wore orange pants. Auburn also wore plain blue helmets with no stripes in 1951. The 1953 Iron Bowl featured Auburn in orange jerseys, which is the earliest, that I can see, that the Iron Bowl was a color-on-color game. Paul actually did an ESPN.COM article in 2010 about the orange jerseys in Auburn. Patrick, who sent Paul all the information, contacted me earlier in the year and sent me to that page.

There were actually a few blue-on-red games during the late 50s and early 60s. The first of these was in 1956, with Auburn wearing white pants versus Alabama still in their 40s style brown pants. In 1958, the two teams once again wore blue vs red, but this time Alabama wore their white pants. Finally, in 1963, a blue-on-red game was played, and this time Alabama wore their now iconic red lids.

If you’re interested in seeing some more historic Auburn football uniforms, check out, for he did a wonderful write-up about a year or two ago featuring some amazing information. It’s a must read.

For those of us familiar with Auburn, we know about the famed cartoonist Phil Neel. Phil was the creator of Aubie, our beloved mascot. Phil was extremely influential in his day with designing gameday programs and also gameday buttons that many people have come to love. Below will be some of Phil’s creations regarding the Iron Bowl. If you’re interested in seeing some of his other creations, visit my friends at The War Eagle Reader, as they document some awesome and little known information about Auburn. They have a collection of Neel’s creations, and they are all glorious. I know Paul would love seeing some of them.

And before I go, I thought I would share some quick mascot trivia from The War Eagle Reader.

• Did you know that Alabama had a white bear on the sidelines in the 70s? Now you do.

• Auburn nearly had a giant eagle instead of Aubie.

• And my favorite story: St. Joseph’s students chose to adopt Auburn as their “football school” in 1987. So, for one game that year, a number of students came down to a game and brought their eagle mascot with them. With that, the Auburn Tigers that yell “War Eagle” had a Tiger AND an Eagle on the sidelines!

Hope you all enjoyed a quick history of the Iron Bowl! I wish It could have been a bit more in-depth, but pictures are so hard to come about from the old days and the past 50 years or so have basically been the same. Anyways, have a great Rivalry Weekend everyone! If you happen to be in Auburn, I’ll be in the student section wearing this! Stop by and say hi, would love to meet some UniWatchers! Be sure to check out my Auburn uniforms blog for weekly football game preview posts as well as some very informative posts regarding Auburn’s uniforms!

War Eagle!

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Thanks Clint!


All in GOOD Fun, right?

Just in case you weren’t aware, the Ohio State/Michigan game is a big deal to some. Including, apparently the Ohio legislature, who actually passed a resolution banning the letter “M”. Obviously, that’s kind of a goof, all in good fun, right? Here’s the reso (and you can click to enlarge):



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 Sean Flaherty, who has a new uni concept for the Washington Football team:

washingtonnfl - Sean Flaherty

Hey Phil,

I have a slight change for the Washington Redskins. I changed the name to Washington Warriors and left the colors the same while retaining a similar, but hopefully less offensive, Native American theme.


Sean Flaherty

And a follow-up from Sean as well:

Washington Warriors2  Sean Flaherty

Hey Phil,

Meant to send this picture along with the last email.
I found this cool logo of a W made of feathers from this site.

I used that as the helmet logo, as the first concept looks too similar to Florida State I think.


-Sean Flaherty

. . .

Next up is Jace Rauman, with a slight tweak for the Minnesota Wild:

Min Wild - Jace Rauman

Hey Phil,

I wanted to send along my uniform tweak for the Minnesota Wild. I read Paul’s column on ESPN for the 2013 NHL Preview and I’m in total agreement about how flat the Wild road uniforms are. At first I loved them, they couldn’t use any tweaking but the more I looked ”“ the more I missed the red & gold accents

Here is my submission on what the Wild should have done instead. Red stripes are added back into the uniform and the red numbers are outlined with gold. I’m a big fan of this look! Maybe they didn’t want to go this route because New Jersey used to have something similar.



. . .

We close today with Bryan Moss with 2 NFL changes:

Vikings alt - Bryan Moss

Seahawks alt - Bryan Moss

Hey Phil,

Seattle and Vikings new alternate uniforms.

Roll Tide,


. . .

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



U.W.F.F.L. Week 13 Update

By Rob Holecko

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s UWFFL update.

Only two weeks left in the regular season for the UWFFL and four playoff spots have been clinched with New York, Minnesota, San Diego and Atlanta already punching their tickets. Detroit and Miami can wrap-up the final two spots, Tampa and San Francisco need help to stay alive, and Seattle and Texas are in a battle to avoid relegation.


Click To Enlarge

In the minor leagues, the big news is this week’s Maple Leaf Bowl, as the league’s two Canadian teams, the Montreal Machine and the Vancouver Sea Wolves, face off for the UWFFL bragging rights of Canada.

Maple Leaf Bowl

Maple Leaf Bowl

Montreal Machine vs

Vancouver Sea Wolves free polls 

That’s all for this week, be sure to vote and follow along with the league at



Be Afraid…Be VERY VERY Afraid…

I’m not sure what Texas A&M (and adidas) has up its sleeve for today, but all week long they’ve been hinting at some kind of uniform based upon the design shown above. And I use the word “design” very loosely.

They’ve been photoshopping it onto various “things.” Click on each image to enlarge, if you dare:



BaNY1XbCQAElVA2.jpg_large BaHkjF9CEAEGR3f.jpg_large

If that sort of ad(idas) campaign is any indication of a uniform pattern, then we have SURELY jumped the shark in terms of uniform design. One can only hope this is just hype. Sadly, I don’t think it is.

Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.


Duck Tracker

Ducks 11-29-13

Oh my. I saved this for last because, well. Lets just say the Civil War (the annual battle between Oregon State and Oregon) was one of the most colorful color-versus-color games in the history of ever. Words alone cannot describe it, and the twittersphere was afire last night (with opinions ranging from the “most awesome thing ever” to “Jesus. My Eyes” to “the losers are the fans who have retinas.” And those were just comments to this tweet:

Lots more photos here.

And despite the highlighter-like colors, it was actually a pretty good game with an even better finish:


Anyway, our Duck Tracker, Tim E. O’Brien is back, and here’s what he has to say:

Duck Tracking
By Tim E. O’Brien

Well, No one can say this Civil War game wasn’t colorful…

Friday night displayed the prime issue with Oregon’s uniform philosophy:

The fact Oregon wouldn’t allow themselves to repeat this look, turned this game from in instant classic to a game that looked good from a distance, but hard to look at up close.

The forest helmet doesn’t match the rest of this set, but even excluding that, this rivalry game was one for the aesthetic ages. Your TVs may not recover…

I’d also like to thank everyone for a great tracking season. While I’ll be back for the Oregon bowl game, Indiana and Northwestern’s seasons are done after today and UO wont be playing in the Pac12 Championship. It’s been a fun – in not exhausting – season, but I can’t wait until next year.

Thanks again, and keep on trackin’.


ticker 2

Uni Watch News Ticker:

John Curran saw an interesting uni-related clip on the news Thursday night. For the Thanksgiving game the players from Attleboro and North Attleboro are allowed to design their own helmets. Brendan Hall from ESPN Boston explains further, “Every year in Massachusetts, Attleboro High and North Attleboro High square off on Thanksgiving. As part of the game, each player decorates his own helmet. Basically, they’re given a blank helmet a few days before, and they are free to design it however they want, in the school’s colors (Attleboro – blue and white; North Attleboro – red and white). Thursday, my colleague Scott Barboza did a column on it. Yesterday, I ranked the Top 10 helmets from the game. … “Almost too much uni-gloriousness for one photo (almost),” says Hugh McBride. I’d agree. … Yesterday’s football games weren’t the only hard things to look at. The Hokies wore gray yesterday vs Radford (thanks to Andrew Cosentino). … App State has announced some upcoming logo changes to take effect on December 1. … The Penguins changed their twitter avatar to this for Thanksgiving (nice spot by Aaron McHargue). … “Check out the shirts Dana Altman and each of the Oregon assistant coaches were wearing on Friday afternoon against Pacific,” says Adam Miller. Looks like those are two-toned on opposite sides. … David Greenwald sends along this graphic from the Iowa/Nebraska game. “Didn’t even come close on correct logos. Montana state, Iowa state and western Michigan in place of Michigan state, Ohio state and Wisconsin.” Yeah, but they got NIU correct! … But ABC wasn’t the only network to screw up logos. Coleman Mullins notes CBS Sports is using the wrong logo for the Pelicans in their ticker. “They’re still using the Hornets logo,” he adds. … Ohhh, check out this New York Giants circa 1963 Vintage Game Worn Used NFL Football Sideline Jacket (here’s the listing). Great find by Mark Gonillo. … I’m sure this isn’t the first time this happened, but Sam Youakim thinks Nike’s designers may have been influenced by 1970s movies. … “Thought I remembered reading about one of the Virginia colleges maintaining a database regarding traction provided by various athletic shoes on Uni Watch (although it may have been ESPN’s TMQ),” says Dustin Allgeier. “(Yester)day I came across an article (and video – at about the 1:38 mark) about this research going on at Penn State that happened to show the machine used to measure traction in use.”


And THAT, boys and girls, is it for today…the greatest (IMHO) day for college football short of bowl season (and possibly the Army/Navy game). Enjoy ALL the rivalry games today, especially the Iron Bowl (and a big thanks to Clint for his review). ALso thanks to the concepters, ticker submitters and Timmy for the Duck Tracker.

You guys have a great Saturday, and I’ll be back with the full Sunday Morning Uni Watch tomorrow (TJ will have the rundown of all the NCAA games from the week then). Should be a big one. Let’s hope Texas A&M isn’t the *star* of the show.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


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“I wouldn’t say that the outline was missing on the 8. Rather, the space between the number and the outline was filled in.”

Comments (54)

    loved that pic of all those NFL QBs with the footballs. Also, great idea to let those kids design their own helmets. great top ten list of those.

    That photo of the NFL QBs struck me for three reasons:

    1. A lot of those guys ended up on other teams. Snead and Jurgensen were later traded for each other; Tarkenton was traded to the Giants and Plum to the Lions. And Bratkowski became Starr’s backup in Green Bay.

    2. Only two single-digit numbers (and both were 9) among the 14.

    3. Meredith and Brodie were the only two who smiled.


    And also the Giants equipment guy (or someone) packed the red road stirrups for Y.A. Tittle instead of the home royal.

    FYI, THE Game, is actually Harvard vs. Yale (preceding OSU vs. Michigan by over 50 years) but I understand that Ivy League football is not of much concern to modern college football. Especially, in light of the fact that OSU vs. M has produced numerous National Champs in the last 40 years or so.
    It is similar to the way that Michigan’s winged helmet is associated with its University while having its earlier origins elsewhere (Princeton).
    BTW, I am originally from Big Ten country but apparently the East Coast (Ivy League) bias is too powerful or perhaps I am just a historical stickler : )

    I’m close enough to Ohio that I ignore the Ivy League beyond academics. (Go Buckeyes, BTW.) Although, unlike Ohio State, none of the Ivy League schools can say they were started by a future U.S. President. Yes, The Ohio State University was founded by one of the many Presidents to come from Ohio, in this case Rutherford B. Hayes, who became link

    As for the uni concepts, I like the alternate concept for the Vikings. Since their uniforms are pretty close to the their throwbacks save for striping, this might be the route to go in the future, unless they decide to go BFBS.

    The first bad logo during the Iowa-Neb broadcast was Missouri State, not Montana State. The logos correctly represented Iowa’s first four games played, rather than the ranked losses, which was the point of the graphic.

    The Oregon helmet didn’t actually look that bad with this uniform. Yes, it was quite darker than the jersey, but the color of the helmet matched the color of the wings on the shoulders. In addition, when the light would shine on the helmet, spots appeared to be kelly green. I thought it actually looked pretty unique.

    In the article about ‘The Iron Bowl’, Clint Richardson posts a picture from 1949 where he mentions Auburn look more like Syracuse. Take a close look at the picture. Auburn players are actually wearing TWO different helmets. Very interesting! A blue with orange stripe and an orange with blue stripe. Think on that.

    Maybe another situation where ends and backs wearing different helmets for better visibility? I know other teams did that back in the day, and it’s also mentioned regarding Alabama doing the same.

    Wasn’t there a colorized variation of that 1961 NFL QB’s photo on Uni Watch recently? The version that the Dailymail used looks colorized to me.

    I like the idea of having the high school students design their own helmets. It would be great if each high school did this each year–maybe for the last regular season game. Or perhaps have the school’s art students design helmets each year…

    Good job Clint on the Iron Bowl. Those Moore paintings are sweet.

    War Eagle. Go Auburn beat Bama today.

    Re: That Texas A&M pattern — it looks like ‘military camo’ and ‘zubaz’ had an illegitimate child. I was bummed that we don’t get Texas-Texas A&M anymore on rivalry weekend, but I guess it’s just as well if they’re going to look like that. Better off to just go watch Best Little Whorehouse In Texas again.

    I haven’t seen this web-site before, vintage 1950’s thru 1970’s minor league hockey teams. I like the Florida Rockets sweater.


    Just got a thing in my Facebook feed about the Philadelphia Eagles’ “black Sunday.” Looks like the Eagles will be wearing those disgusting black uniforms tomorrow. Ugh.

    Even more annoying when they’ve got those beautiful kelly green throwbacks which they’ve worn exactly once.

    I personally wouldn’t want to see the kelly and silver tops with the midnight green helmet. Since the stupid, arbitrary, and arguably ineffective helmet rule is “a thing,” might as well trot out the BFBS alts.

    So they’re calling it “Carmouflage” now?

    What the FUCK does that even mean? Is there any actual meaning behind that R being in there? I have no clue about A&M’s history, so if there’s something there that I don’t know about that this is somehow being linked to, please clue us all in!

    That camouflage is commonly used on cars to hide the lines of a new model’s body style during road tests.

    Here are a couple of examples of dazzle-style car camo:

    However, I’ve found far more examples of other types of car camo, involving more rounded lines, swirls, and other methods. The dazzle method doesn’t seem to be too common – and, again, dazzle predates its usage on cars by the better part of a century.

    Disappointed that Michigan couldn’t pull it out today. While I don’t dislike the idea of going for 2 on that last touchdown, the actual play sucked monkey dung. Gardner should’ve fake-pumped and broken left to try to run it in.

    Or, maybe they should’ve just kicked it and taken their chances on stopping OSU’s last shot in regulation, and then taking their chances in OT.

    In any case, it was a damn good-looking game uni-wise, without having to mess things up with “special” uniforms.

    Gardner couldn’t recognize the man coverage; that receiver was never going to get open.

    Going for two was the right idea (there was no way Michigan was going to stop Ohio State on the ground in OT). But why put the game on Gardner’s arm, instead of his feet?

    Duke actually had a solid program for about 30 years, never won a title, but they finished in the top 10 an absurd amount of times over that span.

    They are one of only 4 teams to win the “Big 4” Bowls (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton), joined only by Georgia Tech (first to do so), Alabama and uga.

    Their recent ineptitude,and heavy focus on basketball has really clouded how people view the program (I remember being in complete disbelief when I learned a few years back that Spurrier took them to an ACC title back in ’88).

    Wow — CBS announcers marvel at a sewing machine on the sidelines at the Iron Bowl to repair Auburn uniforms during the game!

    Loved the comment, “With all the SEC money, wouldn’t it just be easier to buy extra uniforms?”

    Watching the Auburn game and apparently Auburn has a sewing machine on the sideline to repair jerseys on the spot. Apparently these new materials that Adidas Nike Under Armour to make their jerseys weigh an ounce are cheap and no better than a t-shirt. I thought the NCAA outlawed tearaways. Lol

    Ooh, yeah, Adidas’ dazzle/”carmouflage” promotion is such a brilliant idea… you can’t even tell which A&M players are wearing them! Way to come up with a gimmick that isn’t even noticeable, even on HDTV!

    It would be way more effective if they’d rolled it out for basketball.

    Actually pretty brilliant marketing campaign, they had us fearing what the unis would look like, and in the end it was a new pair of cleats. Got a lot of attention for something that turned out to be pretty innocuous.

    I do wonder if they actually had uniforms ready to go and TAMU scoffed at what they had prepared and elected to go with just the cleats.

    I doubt that pattern on a jersey would’ve passed muster with the NCAA. You’d have to have number panels like the Steelers’ bumblebee throwbacks for them to stand any chance of being legible.

    The World looks to Uni Watch for in-depth, fearless, extensive and definitive reporting about the sewing machines..

    Not much contrast between San Diego State’s road whites (with red helmet/black pants) and UNLV’s monotone off-grey “color” home uni.

    Watching the Bayou Classic between Southern and Grambling State and Grambling State’s uniforms remind me why Russell should never be allowed to make football uniforms.

    Nice shot of the Spokane Indians logo with the setlist from tonight’s Pearl Jam show link

    They’ve posted similar throughout the tour. Portland last night: link

Comments are closed.