By Phil Hecken
The Annual Army/Navy Game is today — the two teams will be meeting for the 116th time (so it’s a bit of a rivalry) — and for the second straight year, Navy’s uniform supplier, Under Armour, will be outfitting the Middies in special uniforms. It’s become somewhat of a tradition for the two teams to wear special uniforms for this game. In fact, it could be argued that the entire “one-off” tradition began with these two teams back in 2008. Except for one year, one or both teams have worn special costumes for The Game.
But this year, and for what I believe is the first time in college football history, Navy will be outfitted with different helmet designs for different positions in the game. And not just one or two or three different helmets: Naval players will sport seven different designs.
Each of the helmets will be hand-painted, and represent “seven of the historic ships that make up the U.S. Naval Fleet.” Each position (QBs, RBs, WRs, Linemen, Linebackers, DBs and Special Teams) will wear a designated helmet that corresponds to each of the seven ships.
Despite my desire for “uniformity” of uniforms, I actually dig this concept — so long as it remains a one-time thing and UA (or Nike or adidas) doesn’t decide to spread this to other teams it/they outfit. Just like when half the NCAA decided to be like Oregon, it ruined it for everyone, including Oregon. So as long as this multi-helmet gimmick is just for this game, I’m 100% for it.
With that in mind, let’s see what helmets correspond to which position and why.
I’ll break down the individual helmets (and UA/Navy’s ‘explanations’ for each) in a minute, but here’s an overview of the seven helmets and what position they correspond to (descriptions are from the UA/Navy release, and of course, are pure corporate-speak; click to enlarge):
— Army Navy Game (@Army_Navy_Game) December 1, 2015
OK, here are the helmets individually:
• Quarterback: Aircraft Carrier — The QB of the Naval Fleet, the aircraft carrier is the ultimate decision maker; the “quick strike” weapon of the Naval fleet
• Running Back: Littoral Combat Ship — Like running backs, these fast and nimble ships can navigate through both crowded shallow and deep waters
• Wide Receiver: Submarine — Predominantly utilized as blockers, wide receivers play a key role in driving the Navy rush attack, taking on a stealth-like persona as they blend into the rhythm of the offense but bring significant fire power when called upon, just like a Naval submarine
• Lineman: Amphibious Assault Ships — Just as a lineman’s job is the create a hole for a running back or linebacker, these ships are utilized to establish the “beach head” that enables the invading force to gain access and ultimately accomplish their objective
• Linebacker: Cruiser — Provides anti-air defense and packs the biggest punch of Naval surface ships representative of the linebackers on the Navy football team
• Defensive Back: Destroyer — Known for significant fire power, speed, and anti-missile defense as are Navy’s defensive backs
• Kicker/Special Teams: Minesweeper — Much like the specific task of the Navy special teams, this small ship has a unique mission of identifying and eliminating mines
Now, if we can toss the ridiculous descriptions of the helmet/position, this is a pretty neat idea, right? Right. Each helmet is distinct enough from the others so as to be different, but close enough to still look ‘uniform.’ There will be no confusing Navy and Army today, at least not by helmet or uniform.
Ah, but those are just concepts, you say — how will those look on the field? Well, fortunately, some photos have been released, and (unlike in the graphics), they’re actually pretty shiny (those initial mocks led me to believe they might have been matte). They look pretty sharp:
Of course, it wouldn’t be Navy (UA) without special uniforms for the game as well — and these aren’t too bad either:
Both the jerseys and pants are navy blue, and they don’t have too many bells and whistles, which is nice. There is gold piping around the shoulder caps (with are gray — probably “battleship gray”), and likewise down the pants. Of course, there’s a whole “Damn The Torpedoes” thing going on the jerseys (which won’t be seen as long as they stay tucked in), pants and gloves, which is more than overkill. If they had done up the uniform without the slogan, it would look a LOT better.
But the real “star” of these uniforms will be helmets. I’m looking forward to seeing those on the field.
So, dear readers, what do you think? Too many helmets? Cool idea (that should stay a one-time thing)? Dumb? Let’s hear your thoughts!
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards
I’m pleased to continue with a favorite 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 image to enlarge):
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards – Series II
by Gary Chanko
This edition of Classic Football Scoreboards travels to the City of Brotherly Love and the oldest collegiate stadium still operating for football. I made to Franklin Field only once to watch an Eagles vs. Vikings contest. This was in 1970, the Eagles last season in Franklin Field before moving to the Vet. The stadium was a good place to watch a football game, but totally absent of all of the amenities fans expect today. I also recall wearing a sports coat and tie to the game – back in the day it was sort of the dress code for these events!
Football Home of: University of Pennsylvania (1895 – present), Philadelphia Eagles (1958-70), Philadelphia Bell (WFL) (1975), Army-Navy Game (1899-1938)
Opened: April 1895 for first running of Penn Relays
Franklin Field, located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, is the site of several notable football “firsts.” (highlighted below)
The Penn Quakers football team played on Franklin Field in every season since 1895 making it the oldest operating stadium for football games. The current stadium structure was constructed in the 1920s and at the time was the largest two-tiered stadium in the United States. During the 1930’s and 1940’s, with a stadium capacity close to 80,000, Penn led the nation in attendance for several years.
During its initial years the Franklin Field scoreboard was located on the west end Fieldhouse. Later, probably after the upper deck was added in 1925, scoreboards were added at the closed ends of the stadium along the upper deck. Today Franklin Field’s newest scoreboard is found in the same location.
The scoreboard illustration captures one of the Franklin Field “firsts” – Vince Lombardi’s only NFL playoff loss. In 1960 on the day after Christmas, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Packers 17-13 for the NFL Championship.
A Few Things to Know
The Franklin Field “firsts”
• The first college football scoreboard in 1895 (no photographic records found so far!)
• The first two-tiered stadium (1922)
• The first commercial football television broadcast in 1939 (Philco).
• Almost the first radio broadcast of a college football game in 1922, but that milestone is owned by KDKA (Pittsburgh) on October 8, 1921; West Virginia vs Pittsburgh.
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.
Got a pair this week from our friend Bruce Menard, who is once again busy with the Colorizations. And that’s a very good thing.
Click photos to enlarge.
Good morning Phil,
Here’s my colorization of Bob Feller being sworn into the Navy on 12/9/41, along with the original black & white vs color comparison.
Bob Feller Becomes The 1st MLB Player To Enlist After Pearl Harbor
âš¾ Chicago, Illinois – December 9, 1941
~ Here’s a great picture that I’ve had on-deck to colorize for a while now. That’s former Heavyweight Champion and now Lt. Comm. Gene Tunney swearing Bob Feller into the Navy just two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Feller actually had a 3-C draft deferment due to being the sole support of his family, but chose to serve his country instead. The original wire tag reads:
“Feller Now Pitching For The Navy – Bob Feller (center), Cleveland Indians’ ace fireballer, is sworn into the Navy by Lt. Comm. Gene Tunney (right) as Chicago recruiting officer Lt. David N. Goldenson looks on. Feller got rating of Chief Boatswain Mate, will assist in Navy’s athletic program.”
That’s it for today. Great job B!
UW’s Friday Flashback
In case you missed it, on Friday, Paul’s Friday Flashback on ESPN took a look at the Green Bay Packer uniform history — or more specifically, their wearing of both mono-green and mono-gold (and some kinda-sorta mono-gold when they wore tan canvas pants) uniforms. The column was generated in response to some who were questioning why the post-Thanksgiving Packers/Lions game wasn’t (mercifully) a color rash game.
Great read, so be sure to check it out if you missed it!
for the Ticker
I received an e-mail from William Yurakso, who has a uniform “update” for the Washington Nationals, and it’s a bit too long for the ticker.
Hello weekend UW crew!
Mark Lerner, one of the team owners (son of the principal owner, Ted) and someone who has been known to shag flies in uniform had a few things to say about the Nationals uniforms.
The Nats refreshed the team’s uniforms several years ago. I personally feel the set has been a success for the most part, but also could be improved in some ways. How do you feel about them? Do you see any enhancements/additions in the future, or are you content with this set?
“It’s funny, now anywhere I travel I run into folks wearing Nationals team merchandise ”“ Curly W caps, jerseys, T-shirts. I think we have developed a pretty popular logo and brand. We are open to alternate designs down the line, but currently we are sticking with what is proving to be popular.”
Can we have the interlocking “DC” return as a home/away alternate and is it possible to sell the uniforms and caps with the interlocking “DC” logo in the team store?
“We are open to alternate designs, but don’t have any current plans to change the uniforms next season. I’ll share your request for the interlocking DC logo to be made available in our stores with the retail team!”
As for improving them in some ways, I had a few ideas several years ago.
William F. Yurasko
Thanks, William! Great stuff.
OK. Now, onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: Whoops: Looks like the Red Sox have a new logo & colorscheme (nice find from Eric Alves). … Yesterday, in 1951, Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement from baseball (from Bruce Menard). … As you all know (or should) Zack Greinke is a Diamondback now, so that means fans have lots of D-Bax jersey & cap options — just in time for the holiday shopping season! (But it also gives us a good look at the jerseys.) … Here’s an image of the potential patch for Alabama Baseball when they move into Sewell-Thomas Stadium this spring (via Griffin Smith). … The PCL Champion 1940 Seattle Rainiers wish you, “Christmas Greetings & Best Wishes for the New Year” (from Bruce Menard).
NFL News: Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ QB Jameis Winston really likes the all-red Color Rash unis the Bucs will wear next Thursday: “I feel great in it. I feel like this is a winner’s uniform,” he said in a video unveiling the unis. “I love red. I know red means stop, but, hey, we want to go in these uniforms.” … So…you like “wide” pants stripes, do you? Well, RN’s Funhouse has found the ultimate wide-stripe match-up. … Also from RN, some nice Giants footage when they played in Yankee Stadium. … OH BABY — sure it cost $67K, but check out how the Dolphins field will look for their MNF game (and they’re wearing those gorgeous throwbacks), with thanks to Matt Edwards. … Do you think the Bucs Color Rash unis would look better with pewter pants? (thanks to CB). … And for that matter, how about the Rams Color Rash with blue pants? (h/t Gregory Butler).
College Football News: In preparation for their upcoming appearance in the “AutoNation Cure” Bowl, Georgia State has been practicing with concussion *preventing* (reducing?) pads (h/t D.C. James). Tweeter Nick Bray adds that these are “Guardian Caps,” which (according to Guardian), are a “Soft-shell football & lacrosse helmet cover that reduces impact forces up to 33%. Over 40,000 worn today by youth and college players.” Here’s a bit of background on that. … Here’s a look at the Louisville jerseys for the “Music City Bowl”, with patches about to be applied (h/t David Doop). … The University of Maryland has officially changed the name of their football stadium to “Maryland Stadium.” It was a 12-5 vote, reiterating how pertinent a name change had become. Submitter Andrew Cosentino adds, “Good for UMD!” … Here’s a look at the Ohio Bobcats jerseys with patches for the “Raycom Camellia Bowl.” … Iowa will be the home team for the Rose Bowl, and they will wear black jerseys for the game (h/t Marcus Poe). … Looks like Virginia Tech will be going maroon/white/orange for the “Camping World Independence Bowl” (h/t Chance Hester). — OR — will it be this uniform? (h/t Clark Ruhland). Guess it depends on who is the designated “home” team. … Here’s an article on the the “mystique” of the Clemson orange pants (you’re welcome, Wreck), sent in by Scott Durham). … Also for Wreck, here’s a look at the THE Ohio State University jerseys for the “BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl” (from Robert Hayes). No confirmation what their opponents, Notre Dame, will wear, but it will likely be NOB (a ND Bowl tradition). … UNLV will (in the future) have black matte helmets with a new design. Interesting!
Hockey News: Boston Bruins’ goalie Tuuka Rask is using a different blocker in practice than he does in game. Adds Nick Griffin, “Done it all year.” … The Cincinnati Cyclones will be wearing Boba Fett-inspired jerseys for their Star Wars game tonight (via Jonathan Machuga). … Two hockey entries from Dustin Semore: First: “Finding out all about the AHL while playing the ‘Be A Pro’ on NHL 16. Drafted into the Avalanche, I was sent to their minor league affiliate ‘San Antonio Rampage’ — I noticed this logo on my jersey. You note it looks remarkable to the local pro basketball team – the San Antonio Spurs use. Makes perfect sense and I did research–and the Spurs actually OWN the Rampage. Have you ever heard of one pro team OWNING another pro team that’s a completely different sport?” [Isn’t this the case with the Brewers and Admirals? –PH]. Second: “I’m a Nashville Predators fan and love their ‘Beneath the Ice’ segments. This week’s edition was all about the hell equipment managers go through on those quick road trips. Around a 10 minute watch – but well worth it.” … “We just wanted to share with you the Star Wars themed jerseys that the Lake Erie Monsters will be wearing for Star Wars Night (tonight)” writes Josie Janavicius. “Fans can also bid on the jerseys until Monday which includes NHL veteran Manny Malhotra’s.”
Basketball News: Adidas has designed a pair a shoes for Croatian star power forward Dragan Bender that have no visible logo on the outside (from Brinke). Why? The move likely comes in response to a dispute between Bender and the Croatian National Team that kept the 18-year-old from playing in the FIBA U19 world championships in July. … Oooohhh – check out this awesome Cincinnati Royals winter hat (nice find by Munch Suchland). … “Here’s a really interesting thread of one guy’s 9+year search to find just one photo of the pre-NBA New York Americans basketball team (when the NBA was still called the American Basketball League),” writes Jeff Flynn. “He succeeded! Though, I think he was trying to match up one of his own jerseys only to find that it wasn’t what he thought it was. Very cool though to see someone search for so long to solve a uni-mystery! Here’s the photo he eventually found and posted. Pure gold.” … So, does every team have candy-striped pants now? Here’s Catholic University with their warm-ups before last evening’s game vs. Dickenson (h/t Kienan Dixon). … The Grizzlies had a Star Wars night. They gave away robes with an emblem of G-F Tony Allen (from Mike Chamernik).
Soccer News: Reader Miles Crowther writes, “This tiny Belgian soccer team KAA Gent has made the Champions league knockout stage, which is noteworthy, but what’s even more interesting is that their logo is of a Native American. Their nickname is the Buffalos, which is an homage to Buffalo Bill Cody, who visted Gent in the early 1900’s. Should people who oppose the Washington football team’s usage of Native American imagery also protest Gent’s logo? Should actual Native American’s be offended by this? Potentially, this team could make a significant run in the Champions League, and gain attention from around the world. Are they even aware of the potential controversy in the US?” he continues, “Also, I noticed that ESPN FC doesn’t show their actual logo in the scorebox in this article. Is that on purpose?” … Here’s a teaser of the new DC united black jersey (h/t Patrick Thomas).
Grab Bag: Here’s a pretty interesting FDNY (Fire Department of New York) Jet Blue livery (from Adrian Acosta). … New cycling kit for TeamSky (from Craig Ackers). … When is it not OK to dress up in “Ghosts of Christmas Past” uniforms? Hmmm. Those are now former Citadel cadets (or at least suspended ones).
And that’s all for this fine Saturday. Thanks to Gary, Bruce and William, and anyone who tweeted or sent in e-mail for the ticker. Enjoy the Army/Navy game today (it’s the only [FBS] game in town!). I’ll catch you guys tomorrow.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“So you only watch football for the uniforms, not for the sport itself?”