Ranking Every Super Matchup, from I to XLIX (Part I)

Supe 550
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By Phil Hecken

Supe 50 is still a week away, but the hype machine is already in full gear. Earlier this week, we learned the Denver Broncos, the designated “home” team, would wear their “road” white uniforms, in a very surprising (and highly unusual) move. By so doing, it forced the Carolina Panthers to wear their black jerseys (which they will pair with their silver pants). Did the Broncos do it because their orange jerseys are “unlucky” (their record in Super Bowls is 0-4 in orange, 1-1 in white, and 1-0 in blue)? Since the orange is their designated ‘dark’ jersey, they couldn’t wear their blue tops. Or, did the Broncs go white because Carolina had considered their whites “lucky”? (Even though the Panthers wore white in their only Super Bowl appearance, losing in them to the Patriots).

While most of the civilized world cares about such things as “lucky” uniforms and records therein, I’m much more concerned how the Broncos choice of uniform (making for a white vs. black jersey game) will rank SB 50 in terms of overall matchups. The Broncos uniforms are pretty brutal (IMHO), due to the now very-dated looking side panels/pants ‘stripes, and the Panthers in black jerseys is probably (again, IMHO) their worst look. Will it be the worst looking Super Bowl matchup of all time? Possibly. They will certainly have company (including the Broncos themselves) in the bad matchup department.

There have been some VERY good looking Super Bowls over the years, including some fairly recent ones, but the early ones were certainly classics. I’ll cover the best looking games today — next weekend will have the bottom half (and there have been some stinkers). Next weekend will also include my annual uniform history of the two combatants (with the help of GUD guy Tim Brulia) — Broncos and Panthers. I’m sure if you were to ask 100 people, you’d easily get 99 different rankings, and probably my #1 won’t match up with yours. And my worst will probably not even be close to what you think is the worst. While I do love me some classics, I view the color schemes first and foremost; good separation and complementary colors rank highly with me — but I also take into account weather, domes, artificial turf, sun/darkness and more into account. Feel free to disagree, as these are simply opinions.

Here we go (you can click on any photo to enlarge). I’ll start with the best, and next weekend I’ll end with the worst:

. . .

Super Bowl X
Cowboys vs. Steelers

10-2

It doesn’t get much better than this (even though these teams met 2 more times, wearing basically the same uniforms). The Cowboys in white is iconic, as are the Steelers. The Bicentennial Patch was a new twist (back before uni patches were ubiquitous), and the Cowboys pants had morphed from gray to not-quite-greenish-blue like they are today. It was the quintessential Cowboys uni, matched up against another beaut, under a bright sun.

. . .

Super Bowl XVIII
Raiders vs. Washington

18-1

As much as I may bemoan the name of the team from Washington, there is no denying they have had some of the greatest uniforms in football — and back then, their preferred look was burgundy/white/burgundy, and it looked fantastic. Of course, the Raiders in silver and black goes back decades, and if nothing else, they haven’t messed with a classic. The matchup of these two teams was one of the best in SB uni history.

. . .

Super Bowl IV
Chiefs vs. Vikings

4-1

I’m not a fan of either the Chiefs or the Vikings, but the last Super Bowl between the AFL and the NFL produced one of the best looks ever — the Chiefs today still pretty much look like their 1970 counterparts (we cannot say the same about the Vikes). Gray facemasks, white pants, green grass and black shoes — this one looked super-b.

. . .

Super Bowl I
Packers vs. Chiefs

1-1

I almost hate to put the Chiefs back-to-back, but the Packers have probably had (arguably) the best uniforms in football for the past 50 years, at least when they go gold/green/gold. So naturally the first Supe was a feast for the eyes. It’s amazing when we look back today at how empty the stadium was for what would become THE premier sporting event just a few years later. The fans who were there may not have seen the best of football, but I’m sure no one complained the game ‘looked’ bad.

. . .

Super Bowl XXIV
49ers vs. Broncos

24-2

Ah, the ‘curse’ of the orange jerseys. Denver may have lost four Supes in them (and three in this particular iteration), but those were some damn fine looking unis. I usually like helmets to match either the pants or the jerseys, but for some reason the blue/orange/white works so well. Combine that with San Francisco’s stellar duds (yes, despite the fact the game was a 55-10 rout, played inside the Superdome), it was a great looking game, if nothing else.

. . .

Super Bowl XXXIV
Titans vs. Rams

34-1

You’re probably surprised to see this one ranked so highly — especially since I’m generally not a fan of the Titans unis, but their white/navy/white is (still) a real solid set. When you combine that with the Rams’ blue/white/gold it’s a very solid pairing. Fitting that the “Greatest Show on Turf” would play, well, on turf, and win one of the best Super Bowls every played, and also one of the best looking.

. . .

Super Bowl XIX
49ers vs. Dolphins

19-1

This one was stripe-a-licious. About the only thing I don’t like, uni-wise, here, is the extra-wide stripes the Niners had adopted during this point in their uni history. But the full sleeves with three white stripes, perfectly matched with the socks, contrasted so nicely with the all white Dolphins. Very strong pairing here.

. . .

Super Bowl III
Jets vs. Colts

3-2

Historical significance of this game aside, one really needs to like white elements and dirt for this one. And it had both. Yes, both teams uniforms were quite similar (white helmets and pants, jerseys with shoulder loops), but that’s not a bad thing at all. The Colts unis were (and are) classics, and the Jets never looked better. And together they looked great.

. . .

Super Bowl XLV
Packers vs. Steelers

45-1

Considering the number of Super Bowls each team has been in, it’s surprising this was the only one both teams were in — and this one places here because it’s a modern classic. Yes, both teams have gold pants. Yes, the Steelers futura bold number font isn’t as good as their classic block. But other than a few teams (Cowboys, 49ers), when you think of Super Bowls, you think of the Packers and Steelers. And both teams have stayed stayed pretty true to their unis of decades ago, which made this one a great looking game.

. . .

Super Bowl XIII
Cowboys vs. Steelers

13-2

The re-match of Super Bowl X was almost as good as the original (so how come you didn’t put it at #2 Phil???), but not quite as good. It wasn’t played in bright sunshine, which really made Supe X stand out. There was nothing wrong with this game, it’s just that between Super Bowl 10 and this one, there were better looking games…if that makes any sense.

. . .

Super Bowl XLI
Colts vs. Bears

41-2-

How many Super Bowls have had rain? I’m pretty sure this was the first (and only) — at least at the rate the game had. It wasn’t rainy all game, but when it rained it poured. Football weather! Combine that with the Colts all white uni (yes, I love it) versus one of the all time classics of midnight blue for da Bears, and you have one great looking game. Sure, sleeves were becoming a vestigial element by then (imagine if this were played in the 1970s!), but it still looked might-tee-fine.

. . .

Super Bowl II
Raiders vs. Packers

2-1

It’s hard to keep the Raiders out of the top 10 when they’re in silver/black/silver, but the Packers’ gold/white/gold is just a notch below their green-jersey’ed look. Still, you don’t get many better looking games than Supe 2.

. . .

Super Bowl XXVII
Bills vs. Cowboys

27-2

I confess I was never that enamored with this iteration of Bills uni, but this matchup of red/blue/white vs. silver/white/blueishsilver in the bright sun worked incredibly well. When you have very strong contrast and bright hues, you’re probably not going to be disappointed. This one looked SOOO much better than Supe 28 (played only one year later between the same two teams). You’ll see why when we get there.

. . .

Super Bowl VII
Dolphins vs. Washington

7-1

The Dolphins were in the midst of quite the Super Bowl run (and this one completed their perfect, undefeated season). Washington went with burgundy/burgundy/gold which provided a perfect contrast to the mono white Dolphins. Throw in real grass, black cleats, sunshine and sleeves, and you’ve got a sweet looking game.

. . .

Super Bowl XLIV
Saints vs. Colts

44-2

While this one probably would have looked better with the Saints in black jerseys, it was still a good looking game. Of late, the Saints have shown an affinity for wearing black leotards (with both the white and black jersey), but with the gold/white/gold, it’s their second best look. Points off for the helmet gold not matching the pants gold — that was quaint 30 years ago, but not so much in the modern era. Still, a good looking matchup though.

. . .

Super Bowl XXX
Cowboys vs. Steelers

30-1

Despite wearing virtually identical uniforms to Super Bowls 10 and 13, you can see how the years weren’t as kind to them — now with shiny, sheeny pants for both teams. That doesn’t mean the game wasn’t pleasing to the eye — with these two teams it’s hard to go wrong. But it doesn’t come close to their other appearances.

. . .

Super Bowl XVII
Dolphins vs. Washington

17-2

Unlike Supe 30, where the original combatants wore very similar uniforms, this rematch of Supe 7 ten years later featured the ‘skins in their fantastic burgundy/white/burgundy against the Dolphins in aqua. I happen to really like this shade of aqua, and the contrast was outstanding. As much as I like black shoes, somehow both teams in white cleats just works here.

. . .

Super Bowl XI
Vikings vs. Raiders

11-1

I certainly don’t have the same aversion to purple that Paul does, so this one was visually appealing — Vikes still in their old school unis with slightly mis-matched purples (which was quaint, back then) and the Raiders getting a bit more modern (for them) with the white shoes. Lots of grass stains. Northwestern sleeve stripes. Very nice.

. . .

Super Bowl XII
Broncos vs. Cowboys

12-1

Individually, those 1970s Cowboys and Broncos orange jerseys are outstanding. They should have looked better together. Maybe because it was in the Superdome, which (IMHO) has never had particularly good lighting, and the carpet over concrete didn’t add to the visuals. Still, the two unis by themselves were enough to overcome the dreary atmosphere. Denver, you deserved better.

. . .

Super Bowl VI
Cowboys vs. Dolphins

6-1

It’s hard to keep the Cowboys and Dolphins much lower than this, since their unis during the 1970s were so good, but this isn’t a great (but it is good) matchup. The ‘boys pants are gray (which is fine), but their metallicy helmets began to sometimes clash a bit (other times it matched well). Although outdoors and and in the sun, the concrete carpet of Tulane’s stadium didn’t improve the overall aesthetic any. If you’re playing on that, you need white shoes.

. . .

Super Bowl XX
Patriots vs. Bears

20-1

If da Bears had worn white pants, this one would be a LOT higher. They’re one of the few teams that look worse when matching their helmets to their pants. But that’s just my opinion. On the other side of the stick, the Patriots never looked finer. But with da Bears in blue pants and the game in the Superdome, it didn’t rank as high as it should.

. . .

Super Bowl VIII
Vikings vs. Dolphins

8-2

Can’t say much more about the beautiful aqua the Dolphins sported back then, and you really can’t go wrong with the Vikes road unis. Put ’em together and it’s a nice matchup. It might have looked better if it weren’t on the hard concrete of Rice Stadium, and it could have used some sunshine.

. . .

Super Bowl XXVIII
Cowboys vs. Bills

28-2

Here’s a classic example of how a game played by the same teams in the same uniforms just one year later can look nowhere near as good as did its predecessor. The Cowboys and Bills went from grass and sunshine to the antiseptic Georgia Dome and the resulting game wasn’t nearly as aesthetically pleasing. Same unis, but artificial light and turf.

. . .

Super Bowl XXXVIII
Patriots vs. Panthers

38-2

I really don’t like the Patriots’ current uni set, but the silver/blue/silver is far superior to the silver/white/blue, and considering some of the newer uniforms out there…it’s not that bad. But the Panthers look great in their white/white, and football looks so much better on real grass. Yes, two silver hats isn’t good, but that’s just a minor complaint here.

. . .

Super Bowl XXV
Giants vs. Bills

25-1

Despite the Giants being *my* team, the best uniform they ever wore in a Super Bowl came against one of the worse-looking teams, so the matchup wasn’t great. Their other four have been unis of which I’m not overly fond (the LT/Phil Simms “GIANTS” on helmets, and the Eli Manning blue/white/gray); so this is the first slot where the G-men get a ranking — the Bills road whites don’t look as good as their blues, but the red/white/blue matchup of the two teams (plus this was right at the start of the first Persian Gulf War, when patriotism hadn’t yet become a marketing tool), so it was a fitting color scheme. Being outdoors in Tampa and a fantastic game too boot gives it the 24th spot.

. . .

Super Bowl XXII
Broncos vs. Washington

22-1

You’d think this one would be higher, being that individually I love the orange shirted Broncos and the ‘skins in Burgundy/White/Burgundy. But the orange and burgundy never seemed to go well together (to my eye, anyway). Despite being in a beautiful setting and on real grass, it’s an example of two similar colors clashing, rather than complementing, each other.

. . .

And that closes down the best looking of the 49 previous Super Bowls. I’ll be back next weekend with the not-so-good and the stinkers. Feel free to disagree with my picks — they’re just my personal opinions.

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The King’s Goals

King's Goals
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I’m back again with UW favorite Jimmy Corcoran, who has another great story to share with us. Spanks, Wreck & Mellon — you guys can just skip this — but for the rest of you…ENJOY (you can click any images in this section to enlarge)!

Here’s Jimmy:

.. .. .. .. .. ..

How are you doing Phil?

When I was a kid we would find lists all over the house, they were written by my father and were always on a yellow legal pad with a black flair pen. These weren’t just lists like people make to remind them of something or to motivate them to get into better shape. The King’s lists were usually goals that were almost impossible to achieve. The odds against these goals happening for him were very high but he would write them like he was making a grocery list.

When my father left in the summer of 1974 for Philadelphia Bell camp my mother found one of his lists he made for himself and showed it to us.

1. Be on the cover of Sports Illustrated
2. Be the leading passer in the WFL
3. Be the MVP of the WFL
4. Win the World Bowl
5. Star in a movie with Burt Reynolds

As you can see, these are very hard goals to achieve, and being on the cover of Sports Illustrated is something that no athlete has any control of. He came close to being the leading passer in the WFL, he finished second to Tony Adams of the Sun and the Bell’s last game against Chicago was forfeited because the Fire were broke so if he had that last game he may have been able to overtake Adams as the leading passer. As far as making a movie with Burt Reynolds, the King had no acting experience yet saw himself as a leading man in Hollywood when he was done playing football. In August 1974 the King won WFL player of the week and he was supposed to fly to Chicago and receive the award from Burt but the King missed his flight and was a no show. Burt was on TV that night for the WFL game of the week saying the King never showed up, maybe he is busy calling his mother on his car phone! After Pottstown Revisited came out Burt told me he wanted to play the King in the early 80’s but the studio said no, The King wasn’t well known enough.

Though the King never made the cover of Sports Illustrated I decided to make my own cover for the issue that featured the first week of the WFL season. It originally had Lou Brock on the cover, though they did mention my father in the issue they featured a photo of George Mira, I replaced it with a photo of the Bell before the Portland game.

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When we arrived at the team hotel before that game my father was in his room studying plays with back up QB Frank Dimaggio. The King would never ever admit to being nervous, when my mother asked him if he was nervous he didn’t say yes or no, he said “I have never played in front of fifty thousand people before” (he didn’t care if they didn’t pay for the tickets) he still had to perform well.

When we got to the locker room before the game he was one of the first players there. As he turned into the doorway to enter he shouted “Never fear the King is here!” this was his catch phrase whenever he entered a room with people and some of the players laughed. The white game jerseys were all hanging in the lockers, back then you put your own jersey on and the player next to you would pull the back of the jersey down for you because it would get stuck on the shoulder pads. Today the skin tight jerseys are already pulled over the pads by the equipment staff.

I tried on his Bell jersey and it was huge on me, this was the first time I got to see the game jerseys, the last time I was in Philadelphia they hadn’t arrived yet. The first thing I noticed was his last name was not on the back? I asked my father where was his last name? The King was almost like a kid and was very serious about looking good in his uniform and wearing his lucky number 9. When he saw that his name wasn’t on the back he said “Jimbo are you shitting me? He checked the jersey next to him and there was no name on that either. He told me to go ask Bob (the equipment manager) where his name plate was? Bob told me the nameplates weren’t ready yet and would be there for the third game. The King said this is bush league Jimbo.

The game against the Portland Storm was a pretty easy victory. The Bell won 33-8 and Portland had no idea how to defend the Bell multiple offense since they had no game film to study and the Bell had many plays they never showed in the exhibition scrimmages that summer. After the game it was like the Super Bowl in the locker room, I had never seen my father that excited before. He was the very last guy to get changed, some guys were already dressed and he was still in his full uniform.

As soon as he got in the locker room he was surrounded by reporters, he stood up on the long bench that was in front of his locker and was pumping his fist just like in the Pottstown movie when they were playing the Hartford Knights. He kept screaming 33-8, 33-8, 33-8! at one point he made eye contact with me and screamed “33-8 Jimbo did the King do it!” he was pretty much out of control, then he kept screaming “Did I do it, did the King do it or what! Did you see the King out there tonight! Now as an adult looking back at this I don’t think he thought he beat the Portland Storm by himself, he threw two TD passes and the Bell scored 33 points and the defense held them to only 8 points so it was a total team victory. But my father felt validated because he had been cut five times in the NFL and he knew he had talent and a good arm but because his anti social personality would rub everyone the wrong way and it would always end the same way for him in the NFL.

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There was a picture of me sitting next to him while he talked to reporters in the paper the next day but he had that clipping in his Bell scrapbook that he took with him so I don’t have it. There was a scene in the movie Heaven Can Wait when the Rams win the Super Bowl that reminded me a lot of that night in the JFK Stadium locker room on July 10, 1974. That is pretty much how it looked in there and the locker room looked just like the Bell locker room only the Bell had light blue metal lockers. Most football movies look silly to me because I know the difference from what is real and what is not. Players do not all break out into choreographed dance moves as soon as they get into the locker room as Hollywood would like everyone to believe, every football movie has the obligatory locker room dance scene in it and sometimes the music appears out of nowhere?

When I saw Heaven Can Wait with my father he said the same thing I was thinking, “Jimbo that looks like our locker room” My father loved that movie because he wanted to be Warren Beatty and his character in the film would walk around wearing Polo uniforms like my father used to do. Some of the King’s polo uniforms were so nice he wouldn’t even play polo in them he would just wear them around Potomac. I enclosed a picture of that scene from the movie, my father’s locker would have been the one on the far right and the two next to his that you can’t see in the picture would have been Mike Yancheff’s and Frank Dimaggio’s both QB’s. I couldn’t find my high school locker if you paid me, I have no idea where it was? but I can tell you where Vince Papale’s locker was in the Bell locker room. I don’t know why I remember that place so well. As I write this I am taking a virtual tour of the Bell locker room right now in my head.

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After the Portland game there was a team party in the Warwick hotel where my father lived. First we went to Dewey’s across the street from the hotel where the King would go for a rare hamburger every night after practice, he had his own booth there that was reserved for him that no one else was allowed to sit in. As soon as he walked in the waitresses all asked him how he did? he said he was going to give them a play by play but first the King needed an extra large black and white shake! (that is vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup, he would drink these after games). After the King was done telling everyone at Dewey’s how great he played we walked across the street to the hotel, my mother and sister went to the party, I went up to the King’s room because he wanted me to help him pick out what pair of new bell bottoms he should wear to the party. Bell bottoms and platform shoes were still in style, the 70’s music that we call oldies was the music that was brand new then. The King was at the height of his “Kingness” is the only way I can describe it, it seemed like everyone in Philadelphia wanted to hang out with him. I don’t think guys who played on the Philadelphia Eagles got treated the way he did at that time.

When we got to the team party he again shouted “Never fear the King is here!” everyone started clapping and banging on tables, he literally got a standing O from everyone. He leaned down to me and said “Jimbo, this is why I play the game, I fucking love this! do you dig what I’m saying!”

Epilogue: In January 1987 I was home from college and my parents would be splitting up that month. My mother found the last list we ever saw from him, it was again written on a yellow legal pad and may have been the most bizarre one he had ever written, we still laugh about it today.

1. Lose 30 pounds
2. Make 300 grand
3. Become Cosmo bachelor of the month
4. Star in a movie about me

.. .. .. .. ..

Thanks, Jimmy. Tremendous story, as always!

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Uni Watch News Ticker

Baseball News: The Tacoma Rainiers allowed a seventh grader to design a uniform, and it is awesome. They’ll wear that on the field on April 23rd, and will have a silent auction, the proceeds of which will benefit local schools. How great is that? Argyle is awesome. … Check out the color palette for these University of North Georgia softball team unis (from Mike Davenport). … Sports Illustrated has decided it was necessary to rank the 10 best caps of Spring Training. … At yesterday’s Twins Fest, all players and coaches were wearing these “Heart of 29” patches (from Ben Matukewicz). What is “Heart of 29”? Click here. … OK — Check this out. CAVEMAN! That’s just one of the Cleveland Indians’ giveaways for 2016 (thanks to Jimmer Vilk). … Here’s how those red Twins jerseys looked in person (h/t Donald Gullicks). … Check out this Phillies/Dodgers(?) mashup: Dan McQuade tweeted “This might be the worst ‘sports logo combination’ shirt yet” (from William Yurasko).

NFL News: When the Supe is played, Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib will be the only one wearing a helmet made by Xenith. That’s because of the growing concussion woes in football. … We know the Supe is eschewing roman numerals for this year, but they are going back to regular designations for next year (h/t Andrew Lind). … Dabnabbit! This is a helluva snowman (but why are the xmas lights still up?). … The Weekly Standard thinks the Pro Bowl needs to, among other things, ditch the current clownsuits and wear throwback uniforms. … You guys all knew that at one time, college all stars faced off against the defending Supe champs, right? If not, that’s some good reading there (and great uni splash photo). … There were times the Pro Bowl didn’t suck. Also, the early logos were awesome (from Josh Sánchez).

College Football News: We’re not quite done with College Football for the year, as the Senior Bowl was played yesterday. RN’s Funhouse thought the uniforms reminded him of an Oklahoma State intrasquad game. Can’t say I totally disagree. (Better than last year’s unis though) — this year they got rid of the shoulder caps and added stripes. Not a fan of both teams in black pants tho. Yes, I know it’s sponsored by Reese’s, but they could work some of that yellow-gold in there somewhere (orange vs. gold? one team wear’s black tops/white pants and the other white/gold?). Maybe wear brown pants? Wait, maybe not.

Hockey News: Check out this NHL mask ‘in the making’ — that’s for Dominik Hasek and he’ll use it in the Stadium Series game (from Barsotta). … The Cincinnati Cyclones have pink ice for their Pink in the Rink (from NA_Colosimo). … Cincinnati went with pink jerseys to go along with the pink ice (via David Derreberry). … Oops: NHL All-Star Fan Fest jerseys have wrong number for #CBJ’s Brandon Saad (from Andrew Lind). That makes us sad. … Via Chris Creamer, the Leafs will announce their new logo Tuesday, at 9:30 pm EST. Here’s the teaser video. … In what’s sort of a crossover alert, the Missouri Mavericks will honor former Kansas City Chiefs player, Will Shields with a special jersey, for his 2015 induction into the NFL Hall of Fame (h/t John Muir). … Paul is quoted in this article about how numbers on hockey sweaters are important and how attitudes towards higher numbers have evolved over the years. … That “Garfield & Odie” sweater thing ended up being color vs color (from Brian Renfro) and pretty damn hard to distinguish at a distance. I’m surprised no one saw that coming. Seriously. Apparently I wasn’t the only one to think so — the Indy Fuel changed into darker, contrasting sweaters to begin the third period (h/t BLRMKRdave). … Check out Cory Schneider’s pads for the NHL All Star Game in Nashville (from RNs Funhouse).

NBA News: Here’s a pretty good writeup on those “Turn Back The Clock” Baltimore Bullets uniforms worn by the Wizards the other day (from Justin Wages). … N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver’s daps ”” a more intricate, intimate handshake ”” have inspired double takes from players and gleeful Twitter posts from amused spectators (thanks, Paul). … Everyone knows LeBron is special. Last night he wore different shorts than the rest of his Cavs teammates (via Mandy Lopez and Noel). Then, later on, he changed to the tiled stripe shorts, matching his teammates (via Stanley Ibcus). Very strange. It’s not entirely clear why the snafu happened, but he did have to change shorts mid-game. Looks like the equipment guys laid out the wrong shorts before the game, though (h/t License2ILLguaskas). I think the lesson here is “maybe don’t have so many alternates?” OK — here’s a better answer…. Pacers G George Hill is back to a conventional hairstyle. Previously this season, he bleached his hair (from Mike Chamernik). … Also from Mike: ESPN/ABC’s Spurs-Cavs telecast tonight shows off a new feature: A 3-point that lights up when a 3 is shot. … New Orleans wore its Mardi Gras alternates at home against Brooklyn (Mike again).

College Hoops News: Lots of “#LaceUpForLacey” sneakers yesterday, including this purple pair for Kansas State. Who was Lacey? Read here. … Here are the Gators coaches. Here’s Tulsa. Here’s Syracuse. For more, you can look here. … Syracuse players wore these “Pearl” warmup tops yesterday (pic from RN’s Funhouse). … As a part of Louisville’s “White Out” yesterday, Rick Pitino was back in the white suit. The Cardinals wore new sleeved white unis too. … In women’s hoops action, Toledo & Bowling Green went color vs. color (Glenn Janos and Dylan Cramer respectively). … Harvard and Columbia also went color vs. color (from Alex Oberweger). … Have I mentioned that argyle is awesome? … Looks like Florida Gulf Coast U is going black for black sake (h/t Mark Majewski). … (Goggles alert) Baylor debuted new neon yellow volt unis yesterday. Yes, zee goggles, zey do nossing. They are blinding (as Josh Sánchez points out). WOW (h/t RNs Funhouse). … Last evening, Georgetown went with the pink kente (via bryanwdc).

Soccer News: Tweeter Tim Cross asks if we’ve seen these new kits for Belgium yet. … Here’s another one I don’t think we’ve seen: the Portland Timbers have released a new secondary jersey (please forgive me if either of these has been posted before). … Who says uni deals aren’t huge business? Real Madrid are on the verge of revealing football’s first  £1bn kit deal with 10-year deal with adidas (h/t Tim Cross). … Here’s a look at the Vancouver Whitecaps (h/t Phillip Foose). … This photo is an actual photo leak of the 2015-16 Barça home kit, according to Conrad Burry.

Grab Bag: “My wife pointed this one out to me from the Washington Post: How you can own a famous photograph for free,” writes Ray Barrington. “It’s about the New York Public Library digitalizing its collections and opening many photos it has to the public domain. Notable among them is the A.G. Spaulding Baseball collection, a lot of real old-time photos, many in a studio setting but some taken at ballparks. This might lead to some real good research about old-time unis! The Spaulding Collection link.” Great stuff, Ray — colorizers — be sure to check this out! … An X-games participant wore a Peyton Manning jersey while competing. You can read more about him here. … Whoops — Looks like an apostrophe catastrophe on the ’85 Bears 30-for-30 ticket (good spot by JNG). Also looks like a typo.

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And there you have it — just a bit of light reading for your Sunday. And I didn’t even talk about the Pro Bowl or NHL ASG unis (ugh). Fortunately, Paul covered those plenty well. So, you’ve got plenty to watch today (or not watch — I might check out the puck, but I won’t be even glancing at the Pro Bowl — mostly because I’ll be curling, but even if I weren’t, I wouldn’t watch). Lots of hoops today, and a replay this morning of last evening’s Australian Open final between Murray and Djokovic. Plus curling on TSN/ESPN3. Big thanks to Jimmy Corcoran for yet another great story! You guys have a great week (I’m sure there won’t be any hype for the Supe or anything), and I’ll catch you next weekend.

Also, big thanks to everyone who commented or e-mailed with “musicians in jerseys/unis” — at some point I’ll start running them as sub-ledes (since a lede will be too large) — we’re amassing quite the collection now. You guys are great!

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“The Pack could do a lot worse than the green Color Rush mockup. Tasteful. But, then, tasteful doesn’t seem to be the point.”

— Mike

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line - red, white & blue
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56 comments to Ranking Every Super Matchup, from I to XLIX (Part I)

  • Kevin Zdancewicz | January 31, 2016 at 9:01 am |

    Phil has decided it was necessary to rank Super Bowl matchups.

  • Mangler | January 31, 2016 at 9:06 am |

    You had it right the last time you mentioned the Missouri Mavericks-Will Shields item: Pro Football Hall of Fame.

  • Oilcandroid | January 31, 2016 at 9:07 am |

    “They’re one of the few teams that look worse when matching their helmets to their pants.”

    As a Bears fan, I completely agree with this. They need to ditch the navy colored pants for away games, and return to white pants.

    • Doolin | February 1, 2016 at 6:30 am |

      YES!!! Glad I’m not the only one who thinks this.

  • Mountain Ways | January 31, 2016 at 9:35 am |

    Can we stop with the “Supe” nonsense. If shortened when writing it should be “SB”. Otherwise it’s “totes cray”

  • Chuck | January 31, 2016 at 9:35 am |

    How much better would the Rams – Titans game have looked if it were the blue/white Rams, and Oilers? ( my bias and age is showing, isn’t it? )

    • Alex | February 1, 2016 at 4:11 pm |

      I’d allow that combo. I’d also allow the Rams blue/yellow with the oilers away.

  • Troy Towery | January 31, 2016 at 10:03 am |

    Super Bowl 50 could have been one of the best looking looking uni match ups in history. Broncos in orange jerseys with white pants vs Carolina in white jerseys-white pants trimmed in carolina electric blue. Instead we’re getting a bland Broncos in all white and Panthers in Black jerseys matchup.

  • ThresherK | January 31, 2016 at 10:03 am |

    Super Bowl XXII: Look at Washington’s Timmy Smith and Clint Didier. Does the burgundy of the jersey numbers seem just a little more reddish, and the helmet and pants a bit more to the purple side of the spectrum?

  • Mild bill | January 31, 2016 at 10:06 am |

    Great stuff this morning.

    Phil… I love how you factored dirt and grass stains into your ratings. I am biased towards the first few Super Bowls played outdoors in the afternoon. Just one thing to add, stickum on the socks of Clarence Davis in Super Bowl XI.

    Jimmy… I can never get enough stories about the King. Those goals were great, he aimed high. Thanks for sharing.

  • Rubens Borges | January 31, 2016 at 10:14 am |

    That lght up 3 point line is Tech For Techs Sake… Useless.I know they’ve been using the same type of tech for football games, but there it helps…

  • Matthew Toy | January 31, 2016 at 10:19 am |

    How was Super Bowl V left off this list? It should be on every list. Only time Dallas wore blue and it was in the bright Miami sun.

    • Phil Hecken | January 31, 2016 at 11:08 am |

      “How was Super Bowl V left off this list? It should be on every list. Only time Dallas wore blue…”

      ~~~

      I think you answered your own question.

      Actually, I was tempted to move that into the top half, but the list is already Colts/Cowboys heavy (as it should be); still, the Cowboys in white (especially since they were forced to wear blue in SB V — imagine how good that would have looked if the Colts were in blue and the ‘boys in white???) is the best look for a Supe.

      Unfortunately, the blue-greenish pants haven’t aged well, and I think NOW I prefer the Cowboys in blue with their other ‘silver’ pants. But back then, you needed the ‘boys in white tops.

  • arrScott | January 31, 2016 at 10:30 am |

    Item: At least SI put the right Spring Training cap in first place. If I were a Royals fan, I’d probably blue like five of that cap in my size, and then wear it exclusively for the rest of my life.

    Item: About once a decade, The Weekly Standard accidentally publishes something that isn’t mind-blowingly idiotic. In the 2000s, it was Jonathan Last’s Hobbesean defense of the Galactic Empire (http://www.weeklystandard.com/the-case-for-the-empire/article/2540). This decade, it’s the call for throwbacks in the Pro Bowl. I would bother to watch the game if the NFL did that.

    Item: Way too much love for white over white in the Super Bowl rankings. And if the two teams are wearing basically identical helmets and pants, then by definition that Super Bowl should be ranked in the bottom half all-time. No matter how great each uniform may be on its own.

    Item: Those Twins red alts are growing on me. I first thought they were kind of bad. Seeing them in use, I now think they’re harmlessly mediocre. Makes the players look like the sales team at a car dealership, but a nice car dealership. A shame they couldn’t come up with jerseys that make the players look like a baseball team. On the other hand, if it’s a choice between looking like the Minnesota Twins in their current home whites and road grays or looking like a bunch of guys in matching polo shirts, the salesman look is probably the better option.

    • Eltee of DC | January 31, 2016 at 11:19 am |

      Arrgh,

      I concur that is a great Royals cap – a good look stands out from amongst the usual fare of unwearable fanboy hats.

      Useless three point line tech. I get it, ESPeeN wants more razzle dazzle to keep viewers viewing.  Right, as if gimmicks and light shows are gonna drive more viewers to watch Central Pennsyltucky vs. North Podunk U.

      Looking forward to next week’s exciting Bleacher Report-y style ranking of the top 5 Oceans for wearing knockoff team swim trunks for fanboys who can’t get enough of ranking the rankiest ranks of things that don’t require higher levels of thinking.

      • Eltee of DC | January 31, 2016 at 11:24 am |

        Some real sartorial sport news….

        Happy Birthday Jackie Robinson. Born on this day in 1919.

        • Phil Hecken | January 31, 2016 at 12:13 pm |

          Not just JRR, though that’s awesome by itself.

          There is an epic triumverate who share 1/31.

        • Eltee of DC | January 31, 2016 at 1:05 pm |

          Great birthday boys…and Mr. Cubs uniform is flawless.

          I am, and always will be a fan of Nolan, not too crazy about his duds in that shot. Never a big fan of the Tequila Sunrise, though I understand how people would dig it. It is wild enough to still be in use today in some form or another.

          Just wish the team would get past the Bad News Bears font and so something less little league and more upscale.

  • MJ | January 31, 2016 at 10:43 am |

    You lament the Broncos and Panthers setting up a black v white Super Bowl. But right after that your 2 top-listed Super Bowls were black v white games. And the 51st Super Bowl should be played on Long Island, for obvious reasons.

    • Phil Hecken | January 31, 2016 at 11:15 am |

      It’s not just about the colors. Steelers black and Raiders black are MILES ahead of the Panthers black tops. If they have to wear color, it should be blue, which is a much better color for them. And as good as those old Broncos unis looked, the current set is still awful. At least the Broncos in orange over white and Panthers in all white would look decent. The only worse look for the Broncos would be mono-blue.

      In this case, the Panthers’ black jerseys vs. the Broncos’ white jerseys isn’t in the same stadium as Steelers/Boys or Raiders/’skins.

  • mike 2 | January 31, 2016 at 11:13 am |

    Great post today. Even if you disagree with some of the rankings, its fun to look at how the league used to look, with long sleeves, loose uniforms, giant shoulder pads, and daylight.

    And I’m not calling it Supe, I’m calling it the Super Bow50.

  • mike 2 | January 31, 2016 at 11:15 am |

    I’ve said this before, but to the extent the Pro Bowl was ever interesting, it stopped being interesting when they moved it to the week before the Super Bow50.

    It used to be that it was the last football of the year. You knew it was terrible football but you also tuned in because you knew this was the last chance to see football for eight months. And also to catch a look at Honolulu’s goofy stadium.

    Now that its not the last game of the year, there’s no reason at all to tune in.

    • Graf Zeppelin | January 31, 2016 at 1:40 pm |

      I always thought the Pro Bowl should be played the week before the Super Bowl, and was glad when they moved it there. I thought playing it at the Super Bowl site (which happened once or twice) instead of Hawaii was also a good idea.

      I think filling in the gap between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl is, on balance, more appealing than it being the “last football of the season” after the championship has been won. If the NFL wants to eliminate that extra week between the last two playoff rounds, which it did in 1990-91 (Super Bowl XXV) but not since, then that’s fine; move the Pro Bowl to the next week. Or, better yet, play it at the Super Bowl site on Saturday, the day before the Super Bowl.

      I appreciate the NFL’s efforts to get people to give a sh** about the Pro Bowl, even though they’re mostly futile. The fact that people don’t give a sh** allows the league to experiment more. I don’t know how much appeal there could be for an all-star game played mostly by guys who haven’t suited up in a month.

      • Brian | February 1, 2016 at 2:27 am |

        The bye week was also eliminated for a few years at the turn of the century. I’m not 100% of the years off the top of my head, but I know there wasn’t one for Super Bowl XXXVI.

        • Dave Mac | February 1, 2016 at 11:25 am |

          There was no bye week from Super Bowl 34-38. It returned for Super Bowl 38.

  • Bob A | January 31, 2016 at 11:18 am |

    Fun list to scroll thru today, Phil. I’m old enough to have watched them all and there were some good (and bad) memories here.

    I’d have had Colts-Jets higher (despite the fact the result made me ill) and Rams-Titans lower (much lower) but different ideas is why we are here, right?

  • Andrew | January 31, 2016 at 11:49 am |

    How would the Bears look if they swapped the orange and blue in the pants? Blue, white, orange.

  • Graf Zeppelin | January 31, 2016 at 12:17 pm |

    Super Bowl XVIII was the first Super Bowl I watched from start to finish. It may be the best-looking game I ever watched. (It’s also the reason I suffered for 10 years as a Raiders fan during their abject-stupidity-and-aggressive-mediocrity era, but that’s another story….)

    I was looking at some photos from that game and I noticed something; four non-kickers wore one- or two-bar facemasks: Joe Theismann and Joe Washington of Washington, and Jim Plunkett and Cliff Branch of the Raiders. I believe Mark Duper of the Dolphins wore a two-bar facemask the following year in Super Bowl XIX against the 49ers.

    Has any non-kicker worn a one- or two-bar facemask in a Super Bowl game since then? I can’t think of one.

  • Peter K | January 31, 2016 at 12:32 pm |

    Pretty sure that helmet is Petr Mrazek’s who’s idol was Hasek. Hasek has never worn a traditional helmet and why would he now?
    http://www.wingingitinmotown.com/2016/1/30/10875440/petr-mrazeks-new-helmet-features-dominik-hasek

  • WFY | January 31, 2016 at 12:52 pm |

    I think XIII was better than X because the Steelers had black facemasks and the game was one grass. Had those two things happened in X, it’d be the best hands down. Those might have been the two best NFL Films as well. I like XIII better, but not by much. Both had wonderful, albeit vry
    different soundtracks.

    Any Super Bowl in the Rose Bowl looks good. Really, anything in the Rose Bowl looks good.

  • CD | January 31, 2016 at 1:18 pm |

    How does Super Bowl 38 make this list ahead of games like 9, 14, 15, 37, and 43?

    • Dave Mac | February 1, 2016 at 11:26 am |

      Yeah no kidding. How does Super Bowl 14 not make this list? It’s one of the best looking championship games of all-time. Two great uniforms, sunny day on grass, in the Rose Bowl. You’ve got to be kidding me.

  • Jimmy Corcoran | January 31, 2016 at 3:05 pm |

    I always loved Super Bowl 10 because I was a Cowboys fan as a kid and that team was not expected to even be there. The guys at NFL Films told me that was the best Super Bowl they ever shot because of the early kickoff and the bright Miami sun. They said every shot looked great but the shadows from the blimp ruined a few.
    I remember watching the game with my father and on a special teams play the announcer said tackle by Warren Capone! My father said he just tacked me a few months ago Jimbo. I said what are you talking about? you never played against the Cowboys?
    He said “Warren Capone of the Birmingham Americans, you don’t remember him? you’re slipping Jimbo, you’re really slipping, I thought you knew more about the WFL than that”

  • KB | January 31, 2016 at 3:55 pm |

    I had to scroll through the twitter comments to figure out what I was supposed to notice on that three-point light. Even after knowing what to look for, I still have trouble actually noticing any difference.

    Is my red-green colorblindness dulling my awareness, or do normal people have difficulty noticing the alleged three-point light?

    • The Jeff | January 31, 2016 at 4:11 pm |

      It’s really subtle, at least in the gif that was posted. The 3 point line just looks a bit thicker than usual after the shot was taken. It’s literally like 3 pixels wider and looks like a camera focus/video quality thing rather than an intended effect.

  • Brian | January 31, 2016 at 5:04 pm |

    Pretty good list, though admittedly my Pats bias would lead to a couple of changes. I would have ranked Super Bowl XX way higher. First off, it’s the best uniform the Patriots have ever had. Secondly, I disagree on the Bears. I greatly prefer the dark pants with the white jersey. Secondly, as much as it pains me to not have one of their Belicick/Brady era SB victories on the list, I just don’t think any of them have looked that good, and that comes from someone who likes the 2000+ NE uniform more than most. I actually think their Super Bowl XXXI matchup vs the Packers looked great. Green Bay’s colors look so bright in that game, and I personally like the Pats 1995-1999 look more than most people. All subjective of course.

  • Jerry | January 31, 2016 at 5:26 pm |

    That Red Wings mask in the Stadium Series belongs to Petr Mrzak, the Wings goalie. Hasek has been retired for almost a decade.

  • MPLS Kurt | January 31, 2016 at 6:13 pm |

    I thought I was the only one crazy enough to factor in lighting, playing surface, etc. this is why I love UW. Thanks the the list Phil. I don’t agree with all of them but my list wouldn’t look so different. You can call the Super Bowl anything you want just keep putting out these lists. Great work Phil!

  • diggerjohn | January 31, 2016 at 6:45 pm |

    I am not going to complain about any of the rankings, it is just cool to see a compilation of all one hundred teams’ uniforms. (I still think you should have put the Giants higher, lol.)

  • djstatman | January 31, 2016 at 7:00 pm |

    Nice slant towards the older uniform matchups. The uniforms from the late-60s early-70s are just so crisp and clean. Really underrated the Bills though, the Jim Kelly era squad had some all-timers.

    thisweekinhottakes.wordpress.com
    djstatman@mix.wvu.edu

  • Wheels | January 31, 2016 at 7:28 pm |

    I’d put Super Bowl XIV high on that list. Steelers in black vs. the Rams classic gold and blue set, in the dazzling sun at the Rose Bowl in 1980. What a beaut.

    • GC | February 1, 2016 at 11:28 am |

      I didn’t get how Rams/Titans > Rams/Steelers either.

    • Dave Mac | February 1, 2016 at 12:04 pm |

      Me too. I think I may have it at number 1. I’m shocked it’s not even on the list!

  • Jakob Wolf | January 31, 2016 at 7:41 pm |

    Matter of taste, yes…so in that sense I’ll be kind.

    But what in the name of Casey Kasem are you doing counting up? You start with the worst *cough*39*cough* and count down to the best *cough*4*cough*.

    Anyway…
    * 13 > 30 > 10.
    * 17 > 7.
    * Clouds > sun. Sunshine is for baseball (although there’s nothing like a raw, gray cloudy windy day at Wrigley, or a cozy game inside the Trop). Clouds, snow or rain is for football, unless…
    * Superdome > Georgia Dome. Yes, there’s a difference. Almost every Superdome matchup should have been featured today (well, they should have been featured next week if you counted down properly…).
    * To the person who said every game looks good in the Rose Bowl, I’ll agree. It’s allowed to be sunny there.
    * Bears blue pants = Bears white pants. For most teams I have a preference, but not for da Bears. 20 should have been in the top five.
    * 9 > 45.
    * (channeling Jim Mora) Titans? TITANS?? Don’t talk about Titans!!!

  • Curt | January 31, 2016 at 8:38 pm |

    Couldn’t disagree more about the Bears…they look 1000% percent better with the navy pants, compared to white-over-white. As a general rule, I hate white-over-white, especially when the helmet isn’t also white, but the Bears in particular looked bad on the road until they got the navy blue pants. Great contrast with the Pats in SBXX, that game could easily be higher on the list.

    • Doolin | February 1, 2016 at 6:35 am |

      Ugh, dark pants are so cliche… and ugly.

    • Predominantly Orange | February 1, 2016 at 12:34 pm |

      100% agree with Curt. White jersey with white pants always looks bad. Always. Reminds me of bad high school teams with no budget for uniforms. White jerseys with colored pants always looks better. The Bears won nothing in the Super Bowl era until they got blue pants for the road and started to look like a professional football team instead of a joke.

  • Brendan | January 31, 2016 at 8:47 pm |

    SB13 was never played in sunlight. it was overcast from kickoff forward.

    • Dave Mac | February 1, 2016 at 12:06 pm |

      It was still a great looking game. Looked MUCH better than Super Bowl 10 due to the grass vs. artificial turf.

  • Oakville Endive | January 31, 2016 at 9:01 pm |

    IMO, any Super Bowl played in the Superdome (New Orleans), automatically gets knocked down quite a few pegs, it has always been a dark and dingy looking stadium.

    This year’s Super Bowl will have the advantage of being in daylight the first half, but I agree it’s a rough looking one.

    I know people hate the Arizona Cardinals uni, but from a pure color contrast, the Cardinals / Steelers looked a heck of a lot better than say Colts /Bears – dark , rainy, water sogged unis

  • Dan T. | January 31, 2016 at 11:10 pm |

    Paul and the rest of you guys are way out of touch – the Panthers’ black/process blue/silver look is both classic and distinctive. There is no other team in pro sports that uses this combination.

    This will be a much better looking game than if we were subjected to the Broncos’ garish orange and the Panthers kind of strange white pants/silver helmet thing that has kind of become a trademark but doesn’t make sense from an aesthetic viewpoint.

    As I’ve mentioned before, one of the smartest things Jerry Richardson has done was to proclaim that as long as he was alive, the uniforms would remain the same. Once Cam and the boys win Super Bowl 50, they will be considered classics.

    • Graf Zeppelin | February 1, 2016 at 4:38 pm |

      I agree that the Panthers’ black jersey/silver pants is a better look than their white/white combination. I also agree that this will be a better-looking matchup than Broncos in orange vs. Panthers in white.

      But there’s no need to go after “Paul and the rest of you guys” with a personal attack, viz., “way out of touch.” It’s naught but a matter of personal taste, and thus there’s nothing other than your own personal taste for anyone else to be “way out of touch” with. It’s just not necessary to say something like that.

  • Mike D. | February 1, 2016 at 12:33 am |

    Great read. I have to say though, I’m a huge fan of the Giants blue/white/gray combo. One of my favorite looks in the NFL. Unfortunately, the Pats uni isn’t that good, so I probably wouldn’t have their matchups in the 1st half of this list either.

    • Doolin | February 1, 2016 at 6:43 am |

      Thank you. Good team, crappy uniform and that red face mask sticks out like a sore thumb. Hate it.

  • Doolin | February 1, 2016 at 6:41 am |

    The last two Colts Super Bowls are probably the best looking. road Colts v. home Bears & home Colts v. road Saints (gold pants) is pretty darn nice looking.

    If the Chiefs and Redskins would have made it this year it would have been sweet looking too. Home Chiefs v. road Redskins

  • Bryce Miller | February 4, 2016 at 2:14 am |

    I was a little surprised that SB 32 with Denver in their first year of blue uniforms and Green Bay’s road unis did not make the list. Combined with the lighting and field conditions in San Diego this was an aesthically pleasant matchup.