By Phil Hecken
It’s that time of year again, folks: the day of the annual Army/Navy Game, and once again (as they’ve done for basically the past decade), both teams have new and special unis created just for the game. I’m generally averse to the one-off, “costume” look that has been so prevalent in college football, but since 2008, when swooshie first created new and special unis for that game for both teams, the A/N tilt has been doing the one-game-one-offs. And since they kinda-sorta invented the whole special rivalry uni game-within-a-game, I’m fine with it. In fact, I look forward to seeing the new unis just for the game almost as much as I enjoy the game itself.
With Army as the “designated” home team, Navy will this year again be wearing white. This being 2018, and the Great War having ended 100 years ago last month, there’s a bit of that angle to the unis for Army, while Navy celebrates a mascot. And of course, there’s always a story behind both teams’ unis. Let’s start with the visitors (for all photos below you can click to enlarge):
This year’s Navy uniform celebrates its mascot Bill the Goat. According to Under Armour:
The Navy Goat mascot came to be in 1893 when officers from the USS New York, a United States Naval transport ship, gifted a goat named El Cid to the Naval Academy. The Naval Academy appointed El Cid the honorary mascot for that year’s Army-Navy game, the fourth ever, in which Navy beat Army in a momentous victory. To commemorate the win, the goat was appointed team mascot and became a valued symbol of the Navy football program.
Sixty years later, one of of El Cid’s successors made headlines after a group of cadets from West Point kidnapped it ahead of the 1953 Army-Navy game. The media storm that ensued prompted then President Dwight D. Eisenhower to order that the goat, by then renamed “Bill,” be returned back to the Midshipmen. Since this historic kidnapping, Navy has protected their goat diligently and with great pride, keeping close watch for weeks leading up to the game against Army each year.
One hundred and twenty-five years after El Cid’s arrival in Annapolis, the Navy Goat uniform tells the mascot and academy story through an assortment of distinct design details.
For more on the bizarre history of the US Naval Academy’s mascot, ‘Bill the Goat’, click that link.
Bill the Goat also decorates the midshipmen’s gloves and cleats.
Nick Billiris, the Senior Design Director of Team Sports at Under Armour, remarked, “The Naval Academy has such a rich history, we knew we needed to make a uniform that could uniquely tell their story and convey their exuberant spirit. The Navy Goat is the perfect symbol in which to understand the school’s longstanding excellence and traditions. We wanted the powerful narrative around the goat to shine through as a way to build enthusiasm from both the players and the fans.”
The sleeves of the jersey are navy blue in color and feature two stripes on the outside with the Navy logo in the center. This color-blocking look was inspired directly from the trim of the blanket popularly worn by Bill the Goat. Bill the Goat is depicted on the sides of the helmet, charging forward and wrapped in its blanket.
To match the jersey, the pants were designed in the same shade of navy blue with a stripe down the panel featuring six breaks. This same design is echoed on the helmet, since the United States Navy was founded by Congress with six frigates. The one consistent element that this uniform shares with Navy’s current standard uniforms is the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, the official emblem and insignia of the United States Marine Corps, which is seen on the pant hip.
A motto of the United States Navy, “Don’t Give Up The Ship,” is stitched onto to the lower front side of the jersey.
Here’s how the unis look “on the field.”
Army will be back in black (as it were) for the A/N game this year. As mentioned above, the angle for this year’s game is the end of World War I. But not only WWI. The Army uniforms have some stories behind them as well.
2018 marks the 100th anniversary of World War One so it only made sense the Black Knights would debut their Army-Navy game uniforms to commemorate the occasion — honoring the legacy of the U.S. Army’s first combat unit.
Traditionally, the uniforms of the Army-Navy game acknowledge a military event or specific unit. This year, Army stunned us again with a black and red combination that gives a great nod to the history of the 1st Infantry Division, also known as “The Big Red One” and “The Fighting First.”
Clad in all black with red details, the uniform color honors 1886 graduate of West Point, John “Black Jack” Pershing. A famed individual within the military community and those who consider themselves military history buffs, Pershing became the first four-star general in the country was and commanded the American Expeditionary Forces during WWI.
For the specific details on the Army Uni, click here.
The Fighting First
President Woodrow Wilson promised the Allies he would send “a division” to France immediately, but the Army had no such divisions. The United States quickly ordered four infantry and three artillery regiments from the Mexican border in Texas to Hoboken, N.J., to board transports to France. That group of seven regiments joined together to officially form the “1st Expeditionary Division,” later the 1st Infantry Division, under Brigadier General William L. Sibert on June 12, 1917. With more than 28,000 men, the “Big Red One,” as the division was later nicknamed from its shoulder sleeve insignia, was twice the size of either the allied or German divisions on the Western Front.
The Black Lions of Cantigny
The shoulders of the jerseys showcase a black lion acknowledging the Black Lions of Cantigny and disks on the collar feature cross rifles and the acronym “U.S.,” insignias worn by enlisted soldiers in the unit. The back of the helmets, also blacked-out, feature a subdued WWI-era American Flag. The front of the helmets feature a replica of the unit patch which was used to identify the country’s vehicles from allies and enemies. It’s notated with the number “1”.
The collar insignia replicate bronze collar disks worn by enlisted soldiers in the First Division.
Origins of the First Division Insignia
The origins of the “Big Red One” patch are disputed. One legend says that First Division supply trucks were painted with a red “1” to distinguish them from other country’s vehicles, and the practice carried over to shoulder sleeve patches.
A more colorful tale about the origin of the patch involves an exchange between a general (or colonel) and a lieutenant over red underwear. According to this version, the general, thinking that the 1st Division needed a shoulder sleeve insignia, cut a crude red “1” from an old pair of flannel underwear. Upon seeing the patch, the lieutenant, whom some accounts name as Herbert M. Stoops of the 6th Field Artillery, then remarked “The general’s underwear is showing!” In reply, the more senior officer said something to the effect of, “All right young man, if you’re so smart, come up with something better!” The lieutenant took up the challenge, producing a patch with a red numeral “1” on a gray or olive drab shield using cloth from a captured German uniform.
The design, approved with a red “1” on an olive drab five-sided shield, was codified in a November 23, 1918 order officially announcing the format of the patch as we know it today.
Despite official specifications, many variations in size and shape for the “Big Red One” are found on uniforms from the era.
Back of the helmets — WWI era flag
The flag on the back of the helmet is accurate for the World War I era featuring 48 stars for the number of states during the time (Alaska and Hawaii were officially added as states in 1959).
Here’s a couple more looks at the hat and shoes:
And nothing would be complete without the hype vid:
Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane at the uniforms worn during the past ten games:
Army went back to its “normal” look, while Navy went with a blue jersey version of the previous years’ set.
Army again remained largely traditional, while Navy again went with a custom uni.
Another beautiful snow game took place in 2017 and Army (victorious for the second straight year) definitely had the premonition for a “camo” look figured out well in advance! A review of the game and the uniforms can be found here.
ND “Rush For Gold”
Yesterday, and probably unsurprisingly, Notre Dame introduced “new” uniforms for their Cotton Bowl (part of this year’s NCAA College Football Playoff”) matchup versus Clemson. As many have already pointed out, Notre Dame is not outfitted by swooshie, making this the first NCAA Playoff Game (since the 4 team playoff was instituted in 2014) where all four teams do not contract with Nike for their unis. UA has the pleasure of dressing Notre Dame.
The uniforms were unveiled and they’re not that different from their current set. But hey, when you make the playoffs, you get to make a slight tweak to the current unis and call them new (and if you’re UA/ND, hopefully move a bunch of units). Below are some shots of the new uni (click to enlarge)…
I got a chuckle out of Notre Dame/UA’s corporate speak describing the (literally) tweaks to the uni:
The football team wears their iconic gold helmets as an homage to this international symbol. A mixture of lacquer and gold dust collected from the Golden Dome when it was re-gilded makes up the second coat of paint on the team’s helmets.
The gold doesn’t stop at the helmets – it will run prominently throughout Notre Dame’s playoff uniform.
The jersey features gold trimming on the numbers, the “Notre Dame” monogram on the shoulder and the “Cotton Bowl” patch on the chest. “Rush 4 Gold” and “God, Country, Notre Dame”— in gold text, of course — are embroidered into the jersey.
The team’s UA Spotlight cleats also include a gold plate, highlighting the eye-catching upper of the footwear. The Irish will be wearing the suede UA Spotlight cleats in Kelly Green, marking the first time a suede version of the UA Spotlight cleat will hit the football field. The team will also be wearing Kelly Green UA gloves.
So yeah — they basically added a shiny gold outline to the numbers and threw some phrases onto the jersey (where they won’t, of course, be seen, unless the jersey is untucked), and gave the team green gloves and shoes.
The “Rush 4 Gold” is embroidered into the inside of the collar, and the “God, Country, Notre Dame” is stitched way down on the bottom right of the jersey, opposite the jock tag:
Here’s a look at the whole setup:
And of course, what would a uni reveal be without a hype video?
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) December 7, 2018
New Logo For The Phils…
This one almost slipped under the radar. In a post by the Phillies Majestic Clubhouse Store on Twitter, the team announced a new primary logo for the upcoming season.
The new logo was briefly seen in a four second video, where if you blinked, you missed it:
— @PhilliesMCS (@PhilliesMCS) December 7, 2018
Fortunately, it was easy enough to get a screen grab, so here it is:
So what is this “new” logo replacing?
In terms of uni news, or logo news, this is one of the most minor we’ve reported on. But it is a change for 2019. So there you have it.
Our pal Chris Creamer, based off the same tweet seen above, has taken his best guess at how the new logo will really look when displayed graphically. It will likely look very similar to this.
A little birdie just sent me the OFFICIAL version…
… along with this:
“(T)his logo is the official version. As you can see, the shade of blue is more in line with the Phils’ existing blue. (It looks darker in the T-shirt photo.)”
So there you have it. Your new Phillies logo.
Heads up! Big cap savings on tap: Paul here, with news on how you can use your head and save some dough on some quality headwear.
First, our friends at Ebbets Field Flannels are offering free shipping this weekend with the checkout code SHIPIT. You can use that on any of their products, including our Uni Watch Classic Cap, which you can order here.
In addition, in case you missed it on Friday, we’ve lowered the price on our flex-fit Uni Watch Alternate Cap back to $19.99. You can order yours here.
While we’re at it, you can see all the rest of our Uni Watch products, including some that you may have forgotten about, here.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled Phil-fest.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: Newest Cardinal Paul Goldschmidt has chosen No. 46, because it’s the closest uni number available to 44 that wasn’t retired or already taken by another player (from Mike Chamernik). … Speaking of the Cardinals, P Daniel Ponce De Leon is changing his NOB to read as “Ponce De Leon,” as opposed to “Poncedeleon” as it was last season (from Erik Spoonmore). … @NFL_Journal noticed differences in Paul Householder’s NOB from the mid-1970s to the early-1980s, despite there being no notional changes in the Reds’ unis from the era.
NFL News: New Chiefs WR Kelvin Benjamin will wear No. 81 (from @DrSoup_MD). … Sam McKinley noticed in this video that Eagles DE Chris Long has a Saints Color Rash jersey, and maybe also a Giants jersey in his locker.
College/High School Football News: UT’s official equipment Twitter account posted a photo gallery of the Sugar Bowl patch application process (from Griffin Smith).
Hockey News: The New York Post has a fantastic history on the Islanders’ fishsticks logo — which is a logo and uni set I’ve always loved. Highly recommended (from Al N. Kreit and Johnny Garfield). … Also from Al N. Kreit: the official Blue Jackets Twitter account changed their avatar to a photo of John Tortorella on the bench in his team hoodie. … Lordy, check out this absolutely gorgeous 1957 Simpsons Catalog that Chris Mizzoni just purchased. … The ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays wore their cream-colored third sweaters, as the visiting Jacksonville Icemen wore their white unis, creating an indecipherable display (from Thomas Hill). … The WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings held their teddy bear toss last night, and wore these awesome unis to celebrate it (from @grfox8).
NBA News: Reader Gavan Bruder may have discovered — and subsequently leaked — the new Jazz alternate jersey at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Employees quickly removed it from the sales floor and refused to let Gavan purchase one. … Speaking of leaks at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Rodrigo Donor found these Warriors jerseys on sale. … The new Heat alternates were also leaked last night (from @seff561). … Recently-promoted Suns PG Jawun Evans will wear No. 0 (from Etienne Catalan).
Soccer News: During the December 1 Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town, both of Brighton’s usual kits clashed with Huddersfield’s home kit, so Brighton pulled out their 2017 yellow alternate kit. The yellow alternate kit also had the old American Express logo as the primary advertisement (from Tyler Armstrong). … The Canadian Premier League’s newest team, Pacific FC, has released its crest (from Josh Hinton).
And on another note…
Apologies to anyone who had expected SMUW last weekend — and thanks to Paul for pinch-hitting for me after my MacBook Air crashed. I took it to the Genius Bar this week, and after a VERY helpful but ultimately unsuccessful assist from technician Steve, he was unable to affect a repair. I was even willing to have him wipe the entire hard drive and do a reinstall, but (due partly to age — I got the laptop back in December 2012) she was unsalvagable. *Sigh*. The bad news is now I have no laptop, but the good news is I won’t be traveling for the foreseeable future (and thus, won’t need a new one immediately). This has just been a real rough month for me … still wondering what *else* will go wrong. Let’s hope nothing.
Thanks for your understanding and to everyone who’s offered words of encouragement and support! Trust me, I greatly appreciate it.