By Phil Hecken, with Aaron Johnson
You’ll recall about a month ago, Aaron Johnson and I took a look back at the World Football League (which would have turned 40 this year), and later announced a uniform contest to imagine what a WFL team (or teams) would look today like if the league had stayed in existence. We were pretty open-ended about the requirements. We suggested (but did not require) a “progression” of uniforms from 1974/75 up until today, assuming a team would have gone through several uniform iterations. That was a tall order, but three intrepid designers actually did just that, and two of them traced a full lineage!
We’re going to look at those today.
Overall, we’re very pleased at the number of submissions (more than 150 total design elements were submitted), by many submitters and for several teams. We’ll get to those, and enable voting, very soon.
Aaron wants to add a few words, and then we’ll look at the concepts by those who submitted a set of progressions (no voting today — just want to give you a taste of what’s to come). Here’s Aaron:
I’d like to thank everyone who participated in the WFL uniform design contest. When Phil told me there are 153 submissions I was shocked (and the designs are amazing). This year marks the 40th anniversary of the World Football League kicking off and from everything I saw the league would look great if it were still around today. The contest will begin in the near future. Right now, we’re going to start everything off with the progressions that three readers did (Steve B. Creations, Bryan Phillips, and Jordan Reagan).” — Aaron
For any images below, click to enlarge.
We’ll begin with Steve B. (of Steve B. Creations), with the Charlotte Hornets:
(Here is) my submission for a redesigned Charlotte Hornets. Not only did I design a 2014 update, I’ve created an entire uniform history for the team. For each uniform set, I’ll give you a short synopsis.
These detail the first major change for the team. They add a black face mask to the helmet and go with an asymmetrical stripe pattern on their jerseys and pants, similar to other popular teams of that time (‘Skins and Argos). Black tops and white pants at home, and white tops and gold pants with striped socks for the road.
For the 1995 season, the team goes for an updated look. Stripes are scraped on the helmets and the logo is elongated to create a wraparound effect similar to the Seahawks and Roughriders. The jerseys no longer have stripes, but instead the new elongated logo on the sleeves. The TV numbers have also been moved to the shoulders. White pants are ditched and a black set is added. The stripe pattern on the pants is designed to mimic the black and gold stripes on the Hornet’s torso. The set also features two sets of solid socks, one black and one gold.
After 10 seasons, the Hornets change things up by going with a trendier look. The logo has been updated to make the Hornet appear to be in motion. Other details are added, like a more pointed stinger and a facial expression.
Gone is the popular gold helmet and is replaced with a black lid. Also, the primary home uniform is black on black. The Hornet’s stinger becomes a featured part of the uniform, being symbolized on both the jersey and pants, while the side panels symbolize the Hornet’s torso. White pants reenter the fold, and the addition of a gold alternate jersey give the team plenty of mix and match options (18 if my math is right). Finally, the team goes with a custom number font.
By 2009, the BFBS set is moved to alternate status, while the gold and black set becomes the new primary. By 2011, the black jersey is out entirely and the 1982-94 throwback uni serves as the alternate.
For the 2014 season, the team goes back to a more traditional look. Gone are the days of monochrome black. The gold helmet is reintroduced with a white mask. Stripes are added back to the lids as well. Also, the logo has been tweaked to fix the mouth. From a distance, the previous Hornet’s facial expression was said to look more like a smile than a snarl.
The stripes on all uniform elements are made to match, from the helmet down to the socks. The only remains from the previous set is the custom number font. While the new set still has the potential for many combinations, the team eventual settles on black over gold at home and white over gold on the road. Occasionally, the team may don the gold over white alts for a big Wednesday night game.
Next up is Jordan Reagan, who wasn’t quite as in depth, but still has a three-stage progression for the “Houston Texans/Shreveport Steamers/Houston Rattlers.”
Long time reader but first time contributor. I apologize for the wordiness but I’m submitting five uniforms to the contest.
I chose to do a progression of uniforms for the Houston Texans/Shreveport Steamers/Houston Rattlers.
The Shreveport Steamers went through a uniform redesign in 1992. They relegated the Steamboat Logo to the sleeve and dropped the drop shadow from the S on the helmets. The Steamers got a little stripe happy but maintained a “classic” look.
The team moved back to Houston in 2002 but since the Houston Texans had already set up shop they changed their name to the Houston Rattlers (the Timber Rattlesnake is the offical “Rattler”). Their colors changed to Black, Copper (not orange or brown even if it looks that way), and White. The terrible design choices of the early 2000’s are there; odd panels on the sleeves and pants (meant to simulate fangs), piping, and mismatched side panels. Their primary logo became the coiled rattlesnake shown on the sleeves.
In 2014 the team decided on a modern upgrade. Because they aren’t subjected to the NFL’s strict uniform policy they have two different helmets and some gradients. The helmet is matte black with Metallic Copper striping and facemask. The scaled panels on the jersey and pants are more subdued than illustrated. Those panels feature a flat copper with copper sheen details that reflect the stadium lights. The Rattlers fell into the BFBS uniform trope for their “Pride” uniforms, though at least black is a primary team color. The “Pride” uniform features the return of the “Coiled Rattler” logo and Metallic Gunmetal details.
And we close today with Bryan Phillips, with the Southern California Sun:
For the WFL design contest, I chose to do an extensive uniform timeline of my local team, Southern California Sun.
So here is the basic summary of each time period:
1980s: WFL stays alive and the Sun keep the same original look and logo. Some minor changes including orange jersey for home, drop shadow numerals for jersey, white pants with new striping.
1990s: The Walt Disney Company not only introduces the Mighty Ducks and purchases the Angels, but they acquire their own football team by purchasing the Sun. They change the location name to Anaheim and the Magenta to Eggplant (like all the other hip 90s teams). The logo changes into a cartoon sun created by a Disney animator and the wordmark becomes something “bold and fun”. ALSO, they get their very own Disney original film starring John Goodman and Kevin Costner as two brothers with opposite coaching styles that need to learn to work together in order to bring home an unlikely championship. Along the way they learn the importance of family and the power of teamwork.
2000s: Disney sells ownership of the team over with the rest of their sport franchises. Team stays in Anaheim. They keep the same colors and logos but change the uniforms. The uniforms involve shoulder yokes, strange pant striping, and different numeral font choice.
Current: After many years of being without a football team, Los Angeles finally has their wish come true! The Sun change ownership again and are relocated to Los Angeles to play at any of the many proposed football stadiums (probably Farmers Field next to Staples Center). They become the Los Angeles Sun and go through a complete overhaul. New colors (Maroon and Burnt Orange). New logo (inspired by the original look) and most notably a new uniform. The uniform relies heavily on what they would call a Sunburst Gradient on the shoulders and pant striping. They would also introduce an all black uniform titled “Midnight Solar Flare”. The All-Black alternate would be covered in glowing reflective material on the orange numerals, shoulder gradients, and pant striping that would light up under the stadium lights for night games.
Paul Lukas would probably go on the record as referring to the uniforms as “the cheeto dust uniforms” or something of that nature.
As you can see I wasn’t necessarily going for the most pleasing uniform aesthetic, but the most realistic uniform history for an originally bright team in a league that fell apart after two seasons.
And there you have it! Three tremendous entries showing the WFL uniform progressions. Great work, gentlemen.
OK — next time we’ll be back with more entries. There were a LOT so, it’s probably going to be over the course of a few weekends, and there were some instances of 4 or 5 submitters for a single team, others teams had 3, 2 or only 1 entry — we’ll figure out how we’ll break up the voting at that time (likely on a team-by-team basis except for the single or double entries, where we may combine those). But until that time, how about a big standing ovation (or at least a virtual interwebs clap) for our three progressive submitters!
Pittsburgh Penguins New Third
Yesterday morning, the Pittsburgh Penguins unveiled their new (and long-awaited) third uniform, which as you can see, is basically a return to their classic black and athletic gold uniforms of the 1980s and 1990s. And it’s fantastic. It’s a look that many of us grew up knowing (and loving) and its return is much appreciated. As Mike Engle said in yesterday’s comments, “Isn’t it awesome when the way a team used to look becomes the way a team should look, and then becomes the way a team looks?” I couldn’t have said it better.
Here’s a couple more looks (the second one via our friend Chris Creamer over at SportsLogos). Feast your eyes on what a hockey uniform should look like (click to enlarge):
You can watch a short video of the new jersey here. And here’s a list of dates during which the thirds will be worn.
What do you think readers? Did the Pens score a hat trick with this retro-feeling third or what?
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards
I’m pleased to continue with a new weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” which are created by Gary Chanko. You probably know Gary best for his wonderful colorizations, but he has been a solid contributor for many years, and this is his new project. This segment will appear every Saturday on Uni Watch.
Here’s Gary (click on images to enlarge):
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards – Third in a Series
by Gary Chanko
Ebbets Field and Royals Stadium are the subjects of this week’s look back at classic ballpark scoreboards.
Home of: Brooklyn Dodgers
Last baseball game:September 24, 1957; Demolished:1960
Charisma, color, zaniness. Ebbets Field had all of that, including one unmistakable scoreboard. Columnist Ed Burn’s amusing 1937 article and illustration tells it all.
In 1930 the iconic scoreboard was installed, featuring Abe Stark’s famous “Hit Sign, Win Suit” advertisement. The notable Schaefer Beer ad was added in 1948 and is captured in the illustration.
A Few Things to Know
• The first Abe Stark advertisement was placed along the right field wall. It was a relatively easy target before being moved to the bottom of a new scoreboard in 1930. The second Abe Stark sign was only several feet high making it much easier for Dodgers outfielders to intercept balls headed for a free suit. It was six seasons before Abe had to cough up the first free suit.
• The Schaefer Beer advertisement featured “h” and “e” indicators for hits and errors.
• From the 1951 ground rules edition: “Batted balls landing on top of the scoreboard, clock included, – in play.” Huh?
• The center field flag pole avoided the wrecking ball and now lives at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
• The Bulova clock also survived the demolition. It found a minor league ballpark home at McCormick Field in Ashville, North Carolina for a number of years.
Home of: Kansas City Royals
First baseball game:April 10, 1973; Still considered one of the best venues.
Originally opened as Royals Stadium, the ballpark was renamed Kauffman Stadium (1993) in honor of the team’s founding owner. Now 41 years old, it’s the sixth oldest major league ballpark.
Major renovations completed in 2009 included a new LED fueled high def scoreboard, but the original Royal Crest (dot matrix) scoreboard was also state of the art at the time. A 1971 artist rendering shows the proposed scoreboard and famous water fountain feature. The Royal Crest scoreboard display from the 1976 season is the subject of the graphic illustration.
A Few Things to Know
• The original scoreboard was twelve stories tall (40 feet wide and 80 feet high) and used over 16,000 light bulbs for the display. The new HD scoreboard (84 feet wide and 104 feet tall) is over 3.5 times larger in area!
• In the seventies the scoreboard’s dot matrix animated graphics represented advanced technology. If you find this vintage scoreboard style interesting, you will enjoy this past Uni-Watch posting.
• The original scoreboard lasted until 2007 before being dismantled.
• The original plans for Royals Stadium included a “rolling” cover that would have moved on rails between the ballpark and the adjacent Arrowhead Stadium. It was estimated to cost nearly as much as the $10 million ballpark! The original scoreboard was only $2.75 million, or about $15 million in today’s dollars.
Next week it’s on to two more classic ballparks with uncommon histories and celebrated scoreboards, Forbes Field and Wrigley Field.
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards…on the wall
I received a nice e-mail from reader David Feigenbaum who had asked that I put him in touch with Gary about the scoreboard series, wondering if these were available as prints, which I’m reposting below:
Gary & Phil,
Here are a couple of photos of the print framed and hanging in my office.
Gary, thank you. I saw my first major league game in the Polo Grounds about 6 weeks prior to the date of your print. Phil, thanks for hooking me up with Gary. You guys should market these prints.
A couple readers have inquired about Gary’s posters. I’m happy to host the feature, but I’m not involved beyond that.
If anyone is interested in purchasing a digital copy of these posters, Gary is working on an online purchase option. In the interim you can contact him directly at Classicscoreboards@gmail.com.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
We haven’t heard from colorizer Pete Woychick in a while, but he’s back today with a *revised* colorization of Jack Trice.
I’ll let Pete explain.
Click on image to enlarge:
A while back, I sent in a colorization of Iowa State’s Jack Trice. In light of new evidence, I’ve adjusted the jersey color. It’s a good reminder that we colorizers shouldn’t always trust our eyes.
Thanks Pete. Great to have another of your colorizations. Please keep them coming!
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: From the “Things that cannot be unseen” file, did you know that San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore threw out a Padres first pitch in sparkly high heels? Well, now you do (with thanks, I think, to Brady Phelps). Actually, if you can read the small print on that link, it’s a domestic violence awareness initiative, so it’s not quite what it seems. You can find out more about this initiative here. … Joanna Zwiep writes, “Another Minor League team is likely to be getting new uniforms/logo. The former Daytona Cubs are now affiliated with the Reds.” Also, “I feel like this may have been on the site previously, but a search turned up nothing. I was watching a rerun of Boy Meets World, and in one scene Mr. Feeny was wearing a Phillies jersey that appeared to have pockets sewn into the sides.” … From Busch Stadium Friday night, notes Matt Larsen, comes a fan who learned how to express his love of the Cardinals AND the Blues.
NFL News: Check out the length of the line to exchange Ray Rice jerseys at M&T Bank Stadium (h/t Keith Olbermann). … Meanwhile, the Vikings don’t seem to be in as big a rush to exchange Adrian Peterson swag (yet). … Looks like the NFL may have just lost a huge Pinktober sponsor, as Procter & Gamble pulls out of cancer initiative due to NFL off-field issues (big thanks to @holycalamity). … Tomorrow, the Miami Dolphins are hoping to “aqua out” the Stadium (and they’re giving away this t-shirt to help. — Not only that, according to this blog, they’re going mono-aqua. OK then. After tweeting that, I was told the Dolphins would be wearing white tops (because it’s a day game); so we’ll just have to see.
College Football News: Missouri will be wearing this uniform today — check out what appear to be tiger-stripe numbers (from Nick Bianchi). The numbers were updated because of the NCAA rule against same color numbers as unis (h/t Jack Peglow). Also, when did we return to Standard Time? … The SMU Mustangs will go white/red/gray for today’s game against Texas A&M (thanks to Steve Stovall). … The Bill
Synder Schnider Snyder statue at Bill Snyder Family Stadium has Nike shoes (nice spot by Collin Harrison). … In yesterday’s ticker, there was a photo of LeBron James wearing an Akron Zips jersey, but with a Nike swoosh (Akron is outfitted by adidas). Apparently some folks thought it was photoshopped, but the photo was legit (In one version of the picture, tweeted by Zips coach Terry Bowden, the jersey James wore had an adidas logo — turns out THAT was the photoshopped one). They are ALL douchebags, aren’t they? … The U will be wearing white/white/green today against Nebraska.
NBA News: Paul is referenced and quoted in this NESN article which notes those NBA sleeved jerseys are hated and not selling well. That’s probably very bad news for the NBA, “especially considering that these gimmick jerseys are created pretty much solely for merchandising purposes.”
Grab Bag: U of A Wildcat hockey, a club team in the ACHA, will be wearing special, customized pink jerseys against Stony Brook in January (thanks to Justin Aniba). … Reader KC writes, “My daughter attends Seneca Valley High School in Germantown, MD. Their normal colors are Green & Gold (packer like). They wear dark at home. Well (last) night was military appreciation night and they were wearing dark gray pants and top, with green numbers outlined in gold.” … New third kit for Newcastle United (from Chris Rodgers). … Looks like we have new basketball uniforms for Southeastern Louisiana (from Chris Mycoskie). … New white uniforms for Long Beach Poly (via DigitalScout).
And that’s it for today, folks. Big thanks to Gary, Pete, Aaron, and of course, the three concepters who were featured today, as well as you tweeterers and ticker submissionists. Back tomorrow with SMUW, a special 5 & 1 guest, and more. Enjoy the college football (and everything else on the agenda) today — and if you see any good 5 & 1 matchups, post them down in the comments below. OK? OK!
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“I like being educated.”
— Dumb Guy
“We suggested (but did not require) a “progression” of uniforms from 1974/75 up until today, assuming a team would have gone through several uniform iterations. That was a tall order, but three intrepid designers actually did just that, and two of them traced a full lineage!”
Um, I submitted progressions for several teams. The sentence above makes it sound like only three designers did so, when it was actually four designers when you include me. What gives?
All the WFL uniform design progressions were exceptionally well done. They accurately reflect style changes that occurred during the past decades.
I’m a little bothered by the Houston Rattlers. I just can’t see the team moving back to Houston in the same year that the NFL Texans were born. I think it would’ve made far more sense if they’d moved in 1998, after the Oilers had left town and the NFL had no presence in the city.
Wait…people are really saying that the LeBron Akron Zip picture is NOT photoshopped? It clearly is. I mean look at the “Z” logo on the right side (our left) of the helmet. The thing is on backwards. It’s definitely a photoshop.
Pete, good job on the Trice revision. I know us colorizers do a lot of educated guessing. That article about Jack Trice lost jersey and some of the other work on that site is fascinating. The guy talks about the old friction strip jerseys and does some great research.
Uni Watch a few years back did a column about colorizing black and white pictures. Meaning trying to figure out the actual colors and how red and blue are confusing among other colors.
Anyhow you got on that revision quickly
Thanks, Larry. I remember the column you refer to, but I didn’t take the time to search for it.
You’re right, my Trice revision was pretty easy. The technique I use involves creating a separate Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, with a layer mask, for each color. Once that work has been done, it’s simple enough to swap one color for another.
One of the nice things about colorizing sports photos is that I usually “know” (or think I do) the correct colors of the teams involved, and can reference Dressed to the Nines, GUD, etc to fill-in any knowledge gaps.
This goes to show we still don’t know everything about uniforms of the past, and it’s a team effort. To the researchers: Thank you and keep it up. We (I) couldn’t do it without you.
Well said Pete. I too usually “know” the colors. And yes the places to use for info are greatly appreciated. The researchers that is.
Long Beach Poly is a high school team…perhaps you knew this already, but since I’ve twice seen them in the College Football News section with no mention of that, I’m thinking there may be a little confusion.
Thanks. Love Uni-Watch, btw!
I did know that, but…
There’s two ways I usually handle HS football — either put it in the “Grab Bag” section or change title of “College Football News” to “College & HS News” when I include high school teams. I did neither today, and that’s a mistake on my part. Will move to Grab Bag now.
I’m excited for the Penguins throwback, as are a lot of other Pens fans that I know. I think it’ll eventally become their standard home uniform, with the white equivalent as their away uniform and maybe the blue equivalent that the team wore right before this one as an alt. (They kept the same jersey design when they switched from blue & white to black & gold.) Honestly, I’m not sure what fans have hated more over the years, “Robopenguin” or Vegas gold. They’re both pretty neck-and-neck, although the Vegas gold wasn’t initially hated as much when the “skating penguin” was revived just because that logo was back.
Just as a hockey fan, I’m excited to see the Penguins going back to this design. Ditch any memory of the old gold designs and go to that solid black and yellow that won you cups with Mario!
I don’t hate the Vegas gold; I just want the 80-92 jersey back!
This morning’s QPR vs Stoke City was a little hard to watch with link.
Jeopardy! updated the Daily Double font for the first time in about 7 years.
Going to post this here so I have some proof when the time comes and I can refer to this comment.
I am currently painting 6 helmets, including an original Cleveland Browns redesign, which shockingly looks a lot like Jordan Reagan’s Houston Rattlers design from the side, although there are differences (it appears mainly in front and on top, and colors, of course). I posted the layout on fb, August 29. The reason I’m bringing this up is because I will be submitting the design to Uni Watch when this batch of helmets is finished, and I want to make certain no one thinks I’m ripping off Jordan’s design.
For anyone with a fb account, the date of my posting (I had come up with the idea years ago) can be seen here:
Great minds think alike, Jordan! And, it goes without saying, I love that Houston helmet!
The posting on fb was August 29, this year, to be clear. Although I’ve had this idea for a long time, it took until I had a helmet ready to begin painting (which was this summer again) until I digitally rendered the idea.
Again, I want to say how shocked I was to see Jordan’s design! Great minds truly do think alike!
Love the Pens new Jersey, but as with all of these, I just don’t get why these teams don’t go back to these looks as their main uni. For some reason teams insist on keeping ugly modern designs in spite of the fact the throwbacks are almost universally preferred. I’m looking at you Brewers. There are others too.
The Oilers, Islanders, and Flyers all introduced retro jerseys as thirds that gradually became their full-time uniforms, so it’s possible the Pens could continue that trend. And I, for one, hope that they do.
The Badgers of Wisconsin are sporting their alternate red helmets today. Unfortunately, they are wearing the ones with the black stripe and black face mask. Also… most Badgers are wearing black shoes and black socks. Yuck.
I don’t mind the red helmet, but having a white stripe and white face mask would make it so much better.
I created my own classic illustration of Royals Stadium several years ago:
Here are a few closer detail shots as well:
Gold ring around the midfield logo in Pittsburgh this afternoon similar to the ring in the Steelers logo. Previously for college games it was just a white circle with no ring. Nice improvement IMO even is I’d still rather see the panther head logo back at midfield & on the helmets.
It still drives me crazy that they do “Pittsburgh in one endzone and the slanted stripes in the other. I wish they would at least do what Minnesota is doing and put Pittsburgh in each endzone and just change the colors of the wordmark. Of course I’ve been saying all along they need to just put field turf in instead of that grass that will be destroyed in a few weeks. Then they can just repaint the midfield logo & swap out the endzoned like the Jets-Giants do & go back to the full yellow and full gold colored endzones which would look much better.
Thanks for posting my progression on the Southern California Sun. It was a lot of fun working on the designs and applying them to specific eras in uniform design.
Hope you guys enjoy them as much I enjoyed making them.
Yeah man, you did an excellent job. Great work.
Re: Daytona and the Reds
It will be very interesting to see if Daytona takes on the Reds’ moniker in the same way that they did with the Cubs. My guess is no and the hope is that we’ll get another iconic Florida State League identity to go along with the Hammerheads, Manatees, Threshers, etc. Early guess is something related to the Nascar. Racers…Pacecars…Pit Crew…Cruisers…Tom Cruisers…the Daytona Days of Thunder.
I feel a little bad for the franchise. They just went through an expensive major rebrand about two years ago, but they retained the one thing that they can’t use anymore. Their Cubs identity. Ouch.
A side benefit of the Penguins new(old) jersey…the same font that the Steelers wore in their heyday and should have never changed.
Take the stripe off and change the face mask from “anthracite” to cream (to match the OU monogram), and this Oklahoma helmet would be pretty good (I sort of like the wood grain pattern).
I agree. Also take the stripes off the britches.
Mountaineer should have worn the yellow britches.