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Chargers Say, ‘Never Mind,’ Scrap New Marketing Logo

In case you missed it amidst all the weekend hubbub, the Chargers’ much-maligned “LA” logo is official dead, done, kaput. That news was broken on Saturday by NBC’s Pro Football Talk, where Chargers exec A.G. Spanos raised the white flag:

The logo that was revealed on Thursday was meant to help launch our brand into the market and supplement ”” not replace ”” our official team marks. Clearly, we miscalculated how the logo would be received, and we’ve taken it out of the rotation.

I’ve heard a few people compare this episode to the 49ers’ infamous one-day six-day helmet fiasco from 1991, but I’d say that’s a case of apples vs. oranges. The Niners’ helmet was really going to be, you know, the Niners’ helmet, while this logo was never going to be anything except a Twitter avatar and a promotional mark. As I explained last Friday, it was never going to appear on-field. So all the fuss over it was largely moot.

But the Chargers have nobody but themselves to blame for that fuss, because they put the logo out there without explaining what it was for. If Spanos had used that language about the logo being intended to “supplement, not replace” the team’s existing visual portfolio when the new logo was introduced, a lot of the ensuing ridicule could have been avoided.

As I mentioned on Friday, I don’t think the logo was that bad (although it would’ve looked a lot better if rendered in a more Chargers-y color scheme). The real issue here wasn’t a design problem; it was a communications problem.

Speaking of which: I often roll my eyes when teams stage elaborate media events or issue hype-laden press releases for fairly routine developments. That’s all part of what I perceive to be a culture of micro-management and marketing nonsense that’s gotten way out of hand. But the Chargers’ logo debacle makes it clear why teams often err on the side of too much information. The alternative — too little information — can have disastrous results.

I’d like to think there’s a happy medium between those two approaches. But I think it’s a pretty safe bet which approach the Chargers will take the next time they update their visual program.

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End zones, continued: Last week’s Friday Flashback about home teams acknowledging the visiting team in one end zone led reader Bob Gassel to submit the 1970 photo of Northwestern’s Dyche Stadium shown above. See how there are two sets of goalposts in each end zone? I’ll let Bob explain:

This photo was taken when the Bears and Eagles played there on September 27, 1970. The game couldn’t be played at Wrigley Field [which was the Bears’ home venue at the time] because of a conflict with the Cubs. NFL goalposts were still located on the goal line in those days, not the back line, so the extra set of goalposts was added for this game.

Another hint it isn’t a college game is that the stadium is full. Northwestern rarely filled the place back then (and now).

Footnote: When the Bears had to move from Wrigley after the 1970 season, Dyche Stadium was their first choice for a new home. But Evanston was dry at the time, and the team wouldn’t have been able to sell beer at the games, so they went to Soldier Field instead.

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And the Puppy Bowl’s coming, too: In case you missed it yesterday, Phil had a post on pets wearing sports uniforms. He’s planning a follow-up post and wants to feature photos of your uni-clad pets. If you have a photo for him, use this link to send it his way. Thanks.

Raffle reminder: I’m currently raffling off a $100 discount code for use at IceJerseys. Full details here.

Design contest reminder: I’m currently accepting entries for a “Redesign the Chargers” contest. Full details here.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News:  The Diamondbacks announced yesterday that their black snakeskin gradient cap will now be their “primary” cap this season. It also looks like they’re mothballing the black and red cap without the gradient. … Whoops: Andrew Greenblatt’s  father bought a Giants cap with a sublimated American League logo. He’s not alone, either. Dawson  found a Pirates cap with an AL logo.  …  With the news  that Ringling Bros. is ending its circus after more than 100 years, check out this photo of the  Barnum and Bailey Circus baseball team from 1912 (from  BSmile). … Tom Cruise must read Uni Watch (from  Matt). … You can hear former Mets broadcaster Lindsey Nelson commenting on the Padres’ 1972 uniforms in this radio broadcast from a ’72 game. “But he gives out some incorrect information,” says Ferdinand Cesarano. “He says that the Padres had gone back to brown caps from caps that were ‘all gold.’ There was no all-gold cap, but only the brown cap and the original version of the Taco Bell cap.”

Football News:  In Paul’s most recent  Flashback Friday column about visiting team logos painted on NFL fields, he mentioned a 1971 Dolphins/Chiefs playoff game. Turns  out that the hashmarks on the field were painted in Chiefs red and Dolphins aqua (from Mark Guttag). … Speaking of field design, the “Divisional Playoffs” logo that usually appears at the 25-yard line for was missing from the Cowboys’ field yesterday (from @espitt). … Whoops: This NC State shirt was printed in UNC colors (from  James Gilbert). … Step aside, Bucs and Cornhuskers. The Oregon Medical Department football team owns the skull and crossbones. That’s from  Andrew John, who spotted that awesome photo at the Oregon Health & Science University.

Hockey News:  The Maple Leafs recently acquired Curtis  McElhinney from Columbus. In his first game with his new team on Saturday, he wore a mask with both Leafs and Jackets logos. If you look closely at the first shot, you can see the CBJ  logo under the white paint. (from  Will Leslie).

Pro Basketball News:   The Grizzlies wore their black Martin Luther King Jr.-themed alternates at home last night, creating a black vs. red game against the Bulls (from Zachary Loesl). … Also from Zachary: The Raptors wore black at home, with the Knicks wearing their white throwbacks on the road, and the Hawks wore their red alternates at home, with the Bucks wearing their white home unis on the road. … The Dandening Rangers of the Australian Women’s National Basketball League wore special uniforms commemorating 25 years in the league. They contain the names of every player to play for the team.

College Hoops News: Iowa players honored former player  Kenny Arnold on their shooting shirts before last night’s game at Northwestern. Arnold lives in Chicago and was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor (from Josh Segal). …  Manny Powell for DII Clarion University had a backwards number on his shooting shirt on Saturday (from  Jim Roddy).

Grab Bag: Here’s the ball that teams in the United Soccer League will play with this season (from  Josh Hinton). …  Federal officials are covering up the signage on portable toilets  brought in advance of Inauguration Day, due to laws restricting advertising on the National Mall. The slogan they’re covering up? Don’s Johns (from Adam Brodsky). … put together a good graphic showing how franchises changed their logos — or, in some cases, didn’t change their logos — when they moved to a new city. … New logo for the Australian Open tennis tournament.

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Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when we honor history’s greatest American. And as I like to point out each year on this holiday, perhaps the most amazing thing about King is that he accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. He was only 39 when he was assassinated in 1968. Think how different — how much better — this world might be if he had lived another 20, 30, or 40 years. What a waste.

As you may recall, the Grizzlies have an MLK-themed alternate uniform this season. Unfortunately, they’re not among the 18 NBA teams that are playing today. Disappointing.

Comments (61)

    Random question regarding the photo of Northwestern’s football stadium:
    What’s the deal with the way the cars are parked? I often notice that cars are crammed together in older photos of sporting events. There still appears to be plenty of room in the lot, and the stadium appears full, so why do they need to squeeze them together that way?

    Good question. Several cars are also crammed together way back on the baseball field.

    Also, I am used to seeing numerous buses parked closely together in these older photos…

    Maybe they plan to have more cars than the actual number that ends up arriving. Thus you cram them since the first one comes in.

    Martin Luther King Jr., history’s greatest American. Had he lived, how would he have reacted to Donald Trump winning the presidential election? How would Trump have hit back?

    1) If King were still alive, lots of things would be different, mostly likely including the outcomes of our presidential elections.

    2) In any case, let’s please keep any discussion of King to King, and his place in history, and not include Trump or other modern figures. Thanks.

    Hi Paul. Honest question: how do you think things might be different had MLK lived? I think it’s pretty obvious some things would have occurred differently had he been around to be a part of them, but what specifically do you think? Interested in your opinion, thanks.

    No time for a full treatment of this (busy working on an article). Among many, many things, I’d like to think we would have made more progress against institutional racism. Also, since King was a preacher, I suspect we wouldn’t end up with the situation where Christian voices and viewpoints in our political dialogue exist largely on only one end of the political spectrum. (Yes, I know Jesse Jackson was a preacher as well, but he wasn’t nearly as effective a public figure as King was.)

    At some point I think he would have run for elective office, and I think he would have been effective.

    For those who’ve said Washington and Lincoln are history’s greatest Americans, not King, I agree that those are the only other names that are even in the discussion. But I’ll take King, a man who countered violence with peace, and hatred with love.

    Jesse Jackson is not a preacher; although ordained, he never worked as a pastor, and also never earned a divinity degree. (His MDiv, awarded late in life, was effectively honorary.) King earned both his MDiv and DDiv, and worked as a settled pastor his whole adult life until his death.

    Aside from the differences in credentials and careers, King was one of the great pulpit preachers in English-speaking Christian history. Edwards, Wesley, King – hard to imagine a top-three list without those three in some order. If you’ve ever heard Jackson deliver a sermon from a pulpit, he probably wouldn’t make your top-hundred list of preachers alive today, much less all-time. Jackson is, or anyway was in his prime, a terrific political rhetorician, but he’s a pretty dreadful preacher. There are multiple American denominations whose theology and missions today are significantly influenced by King’s preaching; I’m not aware of a single church congregation anywhere that can be said to have been influenced in its theology or missions by Jesse Jackson.

    On topic: This 2013 Yahoo Sports article discusses the impact of Jackie Robinson’s career on King as a young adult, and also includes crazy-awesome photo of Curt Flood painting a portrait of King: link

    This famous NFL Films piece about the Bears mascot was filmed at the aforementioned 1970 Bears-Eagles game…. link

    Ahhh, the 70’s, when sports mascots didn’t know how to mascot, and nobody cared. (See also the Brady Bunch amusement park episode.). I’m looking at all the things this guy is doing, and how unthinkable it would be for mascots to do the same nowadays: talking in costume, talking to kids in costume, taking his head off in full view of everybody. And he makes no effort to get into character, he just runs his mouth, even when the Bears are doing badly. No wonder today’s sports mascots don’t talk!

    Regarding the Bears mascot in the ’70s NFL piece, it was said he did not get paid for his game day work. After listening to him, he was overpaid.

    The Divisional logo for the GB/DAL game was near the team sidelines…so it was there, just not in the field of play.


    The Padres wore gold caps with brown bills on the road in 1971 only. This is probably what Lindsay Nelson was referring to:

    Given that this game was being played in NY, its probable he was referred to the gold crowned cap, which would have appeared at Shea in 1971.


    Only worn for one year but a good looking design.

    Regarding the UNC colors on the kids NC State shirt….

    I wonder if this is the BOYS version (thus the blue tones) and a girls version also exists in pink tones. Granted, that should have been taken into consideration by the maker. However, it is likely unlicensed and therefore not up to any scrutiny, other than the customer.

    The LA Chargers have unveiled a new website: link which includes a wordmark akin to the San Diego Chargers wordmark.
    There is also a poem(?) if you scroll down which says in the last paragraph “WE WEAR LA ON OUR CHEST. WE FIGHT FOR IT WITH OUR HEART.” Which is interesting because the current uni doesn’t say San Diego on it – just “Chargers”.

    Good point. Yet another gaffe by the Chargers because as I understand it that would mean a uniform change to say “LA” instead of “Chargers” accross the chest. Silly Spanos.

    Don’s Johns have been around more many moons (pun intended).
    They are the finest of portable water closets in the DC area. jmo.

    I always knew that the L.A. Chargers lightning bolt logo was only meant to signify the move from San Diego, and not permanent, like the “candidate city” logos when cities bid to host the Olympic Games. But the hanging bolt looked so silly, other sports teams picked up on it and made it a laughing stock. I liked the Reno Aces version (no bolt though), using the Diamondbacks A to signify its major league affiliation, and Air Force’s version, considering that they’ve always had lightning bolts on their helmets.

    I suspect MLK could have had an impact on the Palestinian conflict. King was particularly concerned about the growing defamatory characterization of Zionism as racism and he opposed the anti-Zionism in the “Black Power” movement.

    I found this quote attributed to him when he lashed out a student: “Don’t talk like that! When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!”

    In one of MLK’s letters to Adolph Held, president of the Jewish Labor Committee, King wrote that “Israel’s right to exist as a state is incontestable.” Though the majority of those in the civil rights movement identified with the Arabs in the run-up to the 1967 Six-Day War, King signed an open letter to President Johnson published in The New York Times urging American support for Israel.

    I think Paul is correct that trying to suggest what MLK would e doing with the 2016 election cheapens his legacy and we don’t know if he would have sold out to one of the networks by now or if his numerous extra-marital affairs would have knocked him off his perch. Our country had higher moral standards regarding marriage in the late 60s and early 70s. Just because Bill Clinton got away with it in the 90s does not mean the public would have let it slide in the late 60s and 70s.

    Keep up the great work, Paul!

    PS love the skull and crossbones on the Oregon Medical Dept!

    That seems a bit unfair, Paul. You’re the one who brought up the topic of thinking about how things would be different had MLK not been assassinated. Considering how elements of his life that were not widely known during his lifetime could have affected the perception of him later on had he lived seems perfectly legitimate to me.

    You’re perfectly welcome to think it’s unfair. But the fact remains: We’re not going to be discussing MLK’s sex life here. Thanks.

    McElhinney’s mask is covered with white tape and Leafs decals, not paint. You can see where the overlapping strips of tape are more opaque. I’ve heard of at least one other goalie utilizing tape to temporarily cover their mask after a trade until a new one can be painted, but can’t recall who.

    I was about to comment the same. It would have been cool to see him take one to the head and rip the tape, revealing the CBJ logos.

    here is a great pic of MLK pitching to his son


    Not sure if Billiards falls under the uni-watch umbrella but it is a sport and here is MLK shooting stick


    Tangential to the Northwester stadium photo, which I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise:

    When did the NFL go to the TV-friendlier yellow goalposts?

    Did the colleges go to the yellow goalposts en masse, or randomly?

    Goal posts offset from the goal line, painted bright yellow, and with uprights 20 feet above the cross-bar were made standard in the NFL.


    Rottman airbrushed the taller uprights into the picture, and a few months later a New York Times headline blared: NFL Adopts Sling-shot.

    By opening day of the 1967 season, all 16 NFL teams had a yellow-gold slingshot set with 4-inch wind ribbons on top of the uprights made by Triman (Trimble-Rottman) Tele-goal Co.


    Colleges randomly went to the neon yellow goalposts, and I think many schools still have traditional white posts. Michigan just changed a few years ago, and Penn State still has white – I’m sure there are many other examples.

    Also, the article from last week was all about the endzones having something other than the home team painted – but no mention of the endzone in the Northwestern picture? It says “BIG TEN 70” – does the submitter or anyone else know what’s up with that?

    the article from last week was all about the endzones having something other than the home team painted — but no mention of the endzone in the Northwestern picture?

    Actually, the article from last week was specifically about the visiting team being acknowledged in one end zone — not about other design options. But your point is well taken.

    While likely true that NW rarely filled the stadium – 1970 was a bit of a high mark for the Wildcats. 6-1 in the Big Ten behind RB Mike Adamle.

    Re: new Leafs backup goalie’s bucket…
    I wondered if it was actually just white tape over the CBJ paint job & then Leafs decals applied? The CCM (makers mark) logo above the cage was left exposed, and you can see some of the CBJ design around the edges there. Probably could have been a bit more precise with paint (even a quick job). There also appears to be some faint striping that could be caused by the layers of tape overlapping (can’t find a McElhinney Columbus mask design that would suggest it’s from the CBJ paint job beneath).

    MLK was truly a great American, but not the greatest.
    George Washington is the greatest American and always will be, there’s absolutely no doubt about that at all. Without him, there would be no America.

    I think you could make a compelling case for Lincoln as well. It would be hard to rank if you ask me. Founding fathers. Ben Franklin. FDR. MLK. All top 10. They rose to the challenge at the time. I do think MLK should be on money though.

    With the internet being what it is today (full of trolls), I’m pretty sure the LA logo would’ve gotten blasted regardless of what the Chargers did or didn’t say about it.

    In regards to the perhaps missing Division Playoff logo on the field…

    With all the TV generated images these days, why don’t the networks just make all the logos, divisional playoff logos and such appear with computer generated images, like the 1st down line and the down and distance? Or, gasp, advertisements? Hockey and baseball do this now. You could have a plain turf field with enough stuff on it to look like a European hockey sweater.

    (sigh) has the Buffalo Braves with a blue B with feather. They kept the logo black and orange, even when they switched to Columbia blue.


    That blue logo looks to be an NBA fauxback logo.

    King was a relentless pursuer of justice of all kinds. The thought of getting another 30-40 years of his energy, organization, and eloquence is something we were all robbed of.

    That temporary tape-job Leafs mask looks far superior to the airbrush catastrophe designs used by most goalies these days.

    It’s a little bit of a stretch to say the Charger’s LA logo would “never appear on field.” No plans to be on field doesn’t necessarily mean it never would. I could see it paired with “CHARGERS” in an endzone, on a goalpost pad, etc. I’m sure they would have thought of something to use it for eventually. I think they still need some kind of “LA” logo.

    Side note – the new stadium should totally use lightning bolts as the yard marker arrows. There’s probably an NFL rule against it but I don’t care, it would be awesome.

    When I said it wouldn’t appear on-field, I meant it wouldn’t be part of the uniform (which it wouldn’t have been). Apologies for the sloppy wording.

    Side note — the new stadium should totally use lightning bolts as the yard marker arrows.

    Not an option, considering the Chargers will be co-occupants with, if not tenants of, the Rams.

    Paul – Being that it’s MLK Day and per our discussion a few months ago I wanted to say again, thank you. I think Dr. King, 40+ years later, would be pleased to know his influence is still finding ways to change peoples lives.

    Interesting that when we speculate what could have been with regard to Reverend Dr. Kings life, his autopsy showed he had the heart of a 60 year old man. We’ll never know if its cause was stress, poor diet, alcohol or just bad genetics.
    Either way it seems Reverand King would not have lived a full life and died a young man.

    By coincidence, I was reading some Chicago Tribune archived articles last week pertaining to the Bears and their attempt at finding a suitable home in the 1970s and early 1980s. The Bears departed Wrigley Field because the Cubs wanted the temporary bleacher section the Bears placed in right field reduced in size due to concerns it was causing too much damage to the outfield grass. The Bears viewed any reduction in the NFL capacity at Wrigley Field as untenable. The Cubs also wanted to increase the rent. George Halas felt that after playing there from 1921 to 1970, the Bears no longer had a home and began looking seriously at other options.

    Dyche Stadium, as Northwestern’s home Ryan Field was then known, had a suitable capacity and sightlines that were more advantageous for football. However, the inability of the Bears to move there as they hoped to for 1971 was about more than just a lack of alcohol sales. Northwestern was pressured by other Big Ten schools, especially Michigan, not to let an NFL team on campus. Citizens of Evanston were hostile to the idea of 50,000 plus NFL fans entering the suburb for games on fall Sundays, particularly since parking on campus was difficult and would fan out into the nearby residential neighborhood. City officials, taking a cue from the populace, were not welcoming either, seeing the Bears as nuisance.

    The White Sox made a play for the Bears to become tenants of their at Comiskey Park, but the Bears settled begrudgingly on Soldier Field which was then considered a cavernous relic. In the late 1970s city of Chicago officials viewed the necessary renovations to keep Soldier Field open as a potentially unwise use of funds and told the Bears to seek a deal with the White Sox to play at Comiskey Park where Bill Veeck very much wanted the revenue. Ultimately a renovations were approved and took place in 1979 and 1980, but the Bears and the city didn’t come to an agreement for the Bears to play there until nearly the eleventh hour despite the work having already occurred. The Bears nearly went to Notre Dame for home games before a suitable agreement was reached.

    I assume lights would had to have been installed at Dyche Stadium…which would have been another huge can of worms.

    The fact that Evanston was a dry city, and therefore the Bears would not have been able to sell beer, was likely a factor as well.

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