Honoring our past. Always evolving. pic.twitter.com/BBWqIG7p6p
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) April 13, 2020
With no advance warning, the Colts announced their uniform and logo changes yesterday. The video shown above isn’t bad (although I’d recommend muting the sound, which is annoying), so that’s a decent place to start.
Let’s take a closer look at the
four five uniform changes (for all of the visuals, you can click to enlarge):
1. The New Helmet Logo
As you may recall, there was speculation that the Colts were going to tweak their helmet logo by making the horseshoe a bit more open, more rounded. That appears to have been confirmed by the photos that were released yesterday. My understanding is that the more open version is what’s shown in the NFL Style Guide, and somehow the shape of the on-field horseshoe morphed a bit over the years, so now they’re going back to the official specs.
The weird thing is that this change was not mentioned in any of yesterday’s announcements by the team. They did mention the horseshoe itself (“The horseshoe remains our most iconic and timeless mark, worn by some of the greatest players in NFL history and loved by some of football’s greatest fans, Colts Nation”), but they didn’t say anything about it being tweaked. I happened to be looking for it, due to the earlier speculation, or otherwise I wouldn’t have noticed. I asked a team spokesman for confirmation, and he said he couldn’t get an answer from the team’s equipment staff because nobody’s on-site due to the pandemic. I expect we’ll hear more about this later on.
As for the change: It’s fine. I like both versions and don’t have a strong preference. Here’s a comparison of the logos themselves, without the helmets:
@UniWatch @PhilHecken @sportslogosnet I didn't know (or forgot) until PL pointed it out today Colts had a different helmet logo. To compare I traced old helmet logo (from picture) and primary logo from Colts website and overlaid them (same width for comparison only). pic.twitter.com/BY5kaQKICP
— James Gilbert (@jamesleegilbert) April 14, 2020
2. The New Number Font
Probably the most significant change out of everything the Colts unveiled yesterday. Interestingly, they didn’t mention that the new font is the same one they’ve been using on their Color Rash jerseys. (It’s also what they used to wear back in the Unitas era. It’s not clear to me when they moved away from it. Unfortunately, all of the mockups on the mighty Gridiron Uniform Database use No. 11, which is the worst possible number for showing typefaces. Does anyone out there know when the Colts changed number fonts?)
But here’s another wrinkle: In recent years, they haven’t swapped out the helmet numbers to match the Color Rash jersey font. Now that they’re making that the primary jersey number font, however, they’re changing the helmet numbers to match:
Personally, I love this font on the jersey and am less fond of it on the helmet. But jersey numbers are way more important than helmet numbers, obviously, so it’s a net plus in my book.
3. The New Maker’s Mark
In a move that makes exactly zero sense and may hint at some seriously awful things to come, they’re changing the maker’s mark on the white jersey from blue to black. Technically speaking, it’s not BFBS, because they’ve also added black as a new team color, but that itself is a BFBS move, of course. In any case, however you choose to categorize it, it looks absurd, since there’s no other black anywhere on the uniform.
(I’m assuming the Nike logo on the white pants will also be changing to black, but that logo isn’t visible in any of the photos the Colts released yesterday. I asked a team spokesman about this and, again, was told that he doesn’t currently have access to the team’s equipment staff.)
You have to wonder what this addition of black to the team’s color palette could portend. A black alternate jersey? A mono-black uni with a black helmet if the one-shell rule is lifted? Let’s hope not.
4. The New Bumper Logo
The Colts have a new primary wordmark (we’ll get to that in a second), so they’re putting it on their nose bumper. If you scroll back up a bit and look at the photo I posted of the new helmet numbers, you can see that the same change has been made to the rear bumper.
The new mark lacks the charm of the old one, but whatever — it’s not a big deal either way.
5. The New Inner-Collar Logo
The Colts also have a new “C” logo (again, we’ll get to that in a sec), which they’re putting on the inner collar. This isn’t really a uniform change, since it won’t be visible on the field. It’s just a cynical merch move — something to make people more willing to spend a few hundred bucks on a polyester shirt. Pfeh.
You can see lots of photos here. The reality is that most fans won’t even notice any of these changes (which I don’t mean as a criticism of the team — there’s nothing wrong with tinkering with the details). Arguably the biggest news here is what hasn’t changed: They appear to be sticking with the old jersey template (but have ditched the Flywire collar). With the Bucs and, presumably, the Browns both transitioning to the new template with their new uniform sets, I think that leaves the Colts and Ravens as the last holdouts (and of course the Packers still wear the old Reebok template, but that’s a whole separate category).
Okay, so those are the uniform changes. Now let’s look at the logo changes:
1. The New Primary Wordmark
According to the team, “With this new design, our traditional wordmark becomes a classic mark and will be used primarily for historical or throwback campaigns and gear.”
This new mark feels completely characterless to me, but I don’t really care that much because its only on-field presence will be on the uniform (and I suppose maybe in the end zones, but that’s not a huge deal to me either).
2. The New Secondary Logo
Before I say anything else, I want to mention that I have never seen the nail holes in a horseshoe referred to as grommets (granted, I’m not a horseshoe expert, but I do know a thing or two about grommets). Can someone with some horse knowledge tell us more about this?
As for the logo: I think this looks really forced. Again, it’s not a big deal because it’s not part of the uniform (cynical inner-collar retail ploy notwithstanding), but it doesn’t feel like a good piece of NFL design. Longtime reader/pal Jay Braiman points out that it looks a lot like the old Houston Gamblers logo (which also felt forced). Moreover, it appears to be very similar to the logo used by Cathedral High School, which happens to be in Indianapolis, so you’d think the Colts would be aware of it:
— Cathedral Football (@CathedralFBall) February 1, 2017
I actually prefer the Cathedral version to the Colts version, because at least Cathedral didn’t include
grommets nail holes in their design.
This is the second time in three weeks that an NFL team has released a logo with a troubling similarity to a pre-existing logo. The first instance, as you may recall, involved the Rams:
Who did it better, the Rams or Angelo State University? pic.twitter.com/EtPa3mBTN8
— Taylor Jenkins (@TJenkinsTampa) March 23, 2020
Do I think NFL teams are deliberately poaching high school and D2 logos? No. Still, while I don’t much care for the phrase, “Not a good look,” it would seem to apply here.
3. The Bucking Colt
Aw, who doesn’t love the old bucking horsey? It’s sort of floated on the perimeter of the team’s visual program for the past few decades, but now they say it will be officially “tied to historical or throwback campaigns.” Good! I’m a little surprised they didn’t clean it up a bit, but I’ll take it however I can get it!
And there we are. When I sat down to write this, I thought, “Oh, this’ll be quick — it’s just a few tweaks that most fans won’t even notice.” Turned out to be a surprisingly lengthy assessment!
Next up: The Browns will unveil their new set tomorrow at noon Eastern. In case you missed it yesterday, I had an exclusive look at what they were planning for this set as of 18 months ago. Have they made any changes since then? We’ll find out tomorrow.
Uni Watch Haiku: Here’s another Uni Watch haiku, one of several that I’ve been writing in my head while out for my daily exercise bike ride:
Strasburg and Thome
Great players? Sure, but also
All-time great blousers
I’ll keep doing these every day or two until I either run out of ideas or get bored with the project.
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By Brinke Guthrie
Growing up, I loved the books from the terrific NFL Punt, Pass & Kick Library. I don’t know when I started reading them, I do know I bought and read ’em all. And when I came across the 1966 title Great Pass Receivers of the NFL, something clicked. I loved that Eagles green/silver color combo and the wings on the helmet, but what really caught my eye were the double stripe sets on the sleeves. It was a key moment in my Getting It™.
Incidentally, the Eagle shown on the cover is Ray Poage. Not exactly a household name, but hey — he got to be on the cover of a book!
Now for the rest of this week’s picks:
• Speaking of the Eagles, here’s a 1963 drinking glass with green/white team logo, and gold leaf league shield.
• In almost 10 years of Collector’s Corner, I have never seen this NFL thermal mug before. It was for the league’s 50th anniversary in 1969 and includes the black Saints helmet and an orange bucking bronco for Denver.
• Couple more NFL/50 items for you, including this golden anniversary medal, a membership card for the Campbell (soup) Grid Kid Club, and this San Francisco “Forty-Niners” 1949-1969 20th-anniversary ashtray.
• Here’s an entry form for a Tang/NFL Sweepstakes from 1966. Twenty-five winners each get a pair of seats to their favorite team’s 1967 games. If you miss out on those, no problem; there are also 225 valuable NFL-approved prizes.
• Never seen these before, either: This is a set of MLB mini-batting helmets and they come with a green/brown playing field. Has to be 1960s-1970s for these.
• Curve, fastball, slider, knuckler: Chicago White Sox fans will be able to throw any type of pitch with this 1970s Soapy Slider.
• This set of 1970s MLB pencils is still in the package!
• Here’s a really nice-looking cream-colored NFL Alumni sweater for the Green Bay Packers.
• This 1970s Seattle Seahawks scarf and stocking cap set is made of “Hi-Bulk Orlon®!”
• And from reader Paul Ricciardi, here’s something you don’t often see: a game-used 1986 Philadelphia Phillies St. Patrick’s Day uniform!
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Meet the Uni Watch Team
By Alex Hider
Each Tuesday, including today, your Uni Watch Ticker is compiled from Uni Watch’s Cincinnati bureau — aka the living room of my apartment, which I share with my fiancée, Libby.
I’ve been putting together Tickers for about four years now, so my routine is pretty set. After sifting through emails and tweets throughout the day, I put together the Ticker from my couch. If it’s spring or summer, I’ll likely be doing this while Libby and I watch our beloved Redlegs (although we’ve been reduced to 2019 reruns for now — sigh). If it’s autumn, we’ll probably be watching Monday Night Football.
My Ticker work station looks a lot different than my temporary work-from-home station for my day job (I’m a national digital producer for Scripps National News), which is in our spare bedroom (see below). I don’t know if I’d be able to put together the Ticker in that space — I find Tickering an escape from my day job and the news world.
I don’t consider myself an apparel collector — I’m more of a hoarder. So, while I’m here, I figured I’d share a few of my favorite jerseys and caps from my closet. Libby got me this 1997 Deion Sanders road jersey (the same one I wore to the Cincinnati Uni Warch Party two winters ago) for my birthday a few years back — the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten:
I got the jacket at a Redsfest over a decade ago for, like, $5. I grew out of it a long time ago, but it fits Libby — so I guess you could say I traded the jersey for the jacket.
My Dad is from Akron, so he raised me to be a Browns fan. Because the team is an endless carousel of silliness and shit draft picks, any Brownsaholic like me probably has the jersey of at least one stinker in their closet. Here’s my collection — at least there’s one future Hall of Famer in there:
I also have waaaaay too many baseball caps, most of which I don’t wear often enough. Here are a few of the best, my favorite being the early 2000s A’s spring training cap I found on eBay:
Paul here. Alex is our longest-tenured Ticker assistant, with his fourth uni-versary coming up next month. In that time, he’s become a good friend. After finally meeting him in person in Cincinnati two Decembers ago, I also had the pleasure of hosting him and Libby here at Uni Watch HQ when they visited NYC last fall. Wonderful people!
In addition to doing the Tuesday Tickers, Alex has also done several “Gone Too Soon” entries. He’s also volunteered countless times when I or anyone else needs to swap Ticker days due to a schedule conflict, and is generally super-reliable and positive. He’s a major asset to Uni Watch — thanks, Alex!
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Looks great with a cloth mask: We’ve sold so many Uni Watch Classic Caps during the pandemic (thank you!) that I’m almost ready to name it the Official Cap of the Pandemic™. We still have all fitted sizes in stock, but we’re running low on 7-1/8, 7-3/8, 7-5/8, and 7-3/4, and Ebbets Field Flannels’ production is currently shut down (apparently making Uni Watch caps is not an “essential business,” go figure), so it might be a while until we’re restocked. In short: If you want a cap, these’s no time like the present. And remember, the price has been reduced to a very pandemic-friendly $35.99 (down from our usual $39.99).
While we’re at it:
• Uni Watch seam rippers are now only $4 (down from $6). At present, the only colors I have in stock are red and white — and red is almost gone. I ordered new inventory nearly a month ago, but it’s coming from China, so who knows when it’ll arrive.
• A custom-designed Uni Watch membership card is now only $20 (down from $25). Happily, there’s no way for us to run out of these!
Finally, if you want to help support Uni Watch via a donation instead of a merch purch, here’s how you can do that.
My thanks, as always, for your consideration. We’re all in this together, and together we’ll get through it!
ITEM! More memberships to raffle off: Readers Matt Kirby, Lindsay Resnick, and Steve Fidrych all recently purchased Uni Watch memberships for me to raffle off, so we’re going to give away all of those today.
To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the three winners tomorrw. Thanks to Matt, Lindsay, and Steve for sponsoring this one!
Speaking of the membership program, six new designs have been added to the membership card gallery, including Carl Hacker’s. He had a brilliant request: As longtime readers may recall, when Yankees reliever David Robertson appeared in Game Three of the 2010 ALCS, his jersey had the wrong number font. Carl asked for that one-of-a-kind Yankees motif for his membership card — genius! Even better, he owns Robertson’s game-used jersey from that game (!), so this was the obvious membership card request for him. I really love this one!
Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, as a gesture of comm-uni-ty solidarity, the price of a membership has been reduced from $25 to $20 until further notice.
Language is a (corona)virus: One of the interesting things about coverage of the pandemic is that different media outlets have different ways of styling the term “Covid-19.” I’ve seen at least four different versions: initial cap (which is the format I’ve used here on Uni Watch), all caps, all lowercase, and small caps. Here’s an example of each (click to enlarge):
The AP, whose style guide is used by most newspapers, is going with all caps. But some newspapers and most magazines have their own style guides. So do most book publishers, so we may see a similar lack of uniformity when books about the pandemic begin appearing.
Over time, perhaps a consensus styling of the term will emerge. Until then, it’s interesting to see how a brand-new newsworthy term can be interpreted in different ways by various media outlets.
By Alex Hider
Baseball News: MLB published a new video that explains how ballparks evolved to have different dimensions (from Andrew Cosentino). … Tomorrow would have been Jackie Robinson Day. In MLB: The Show’s Jackie Day, all players wear high cuffs and blue socks emblazoned with Jackie’s signature, so maybe that was the plan for on-field hose this year (from Mikhail Herrera). … The Taiwan Baseball Summer League is playing games without fans, but the stands aren’t empty — they’ve been replaced with cardboard cutouts (from Germán Cabrejo). … Jerry Wolper found a 1950 story in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about baseball players wearing shorts. … It’s easy to hate the Mets’ old black jerseys. But Mets Police blogger Shannon Shark thinks the team’s dreaded black drop shadow was even worse. … This is great: Clay Billman spotted a cardinal in his backyard that looked awfully familiar.
Football News: Noah Hallet, a DB for McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, arranged his merit decals in the shape of a cross on the front of his helmet (from Wade Heidt). … The XFL has filed for bankruptcy. … During a 1992 tour stop in Dallas, the band Genesis received a set of Cowboys jerseys from the team (from John Chapman). … Thomas Stavely was watching the TV show JAG and noticed that they showed a televised football with college players but an NFL scorebug. … Minnesota published an interview with their Director of Equipment Operations, which discusses, among other things, the 12 helmet designs the team wore in 2019.
Hockey News: CCM is repurposing its factories to make protective hoods for health care workers treating Covid-19 patients (from @OlegKvasha). … Matthew Algeo found this photo of Chicago guitarist Terry Kath wearing a Chicago Cougars WHA jersey in 1977.
NBA News: Designer Peter Rogers gave every NBA team a makeover (from Antonio Losada). …. Good catch by @coachmays: In an episode of Parks and Recreation, disciplinarian Ron and burnout Andy coach competing basketball teams. The numbers on Team Ron would all be legal by college basketball standards, Team Andy includes a No. 8 and a No. 9. “Perfect for the two teams’ approaches to the game!”
Soccer News: Scottish League One team East Fife released their first shirt for next season (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Also from Jamie: Two members of England’s National League North, Altrincham and Alfreton Town, were to wear memorial shirts on March 28 in memory of Jordan Sinnott, the midfielder at Matlock Town who died in January and received several hundred shirt-based tributes from around the world. Sinnott previously played for both teams. … New goalkeeper shirts for Forward Madison FC of USL League One (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh: New 2020-2021 home jerseys for French club Olympique de Marseille. … New home uniform for Belarusian second division club FC Krumkachy (from Ed Zelaski).
Grab Bag: The Athletic has a story about how college sports’ live animal mascots are handling social distancing during the pandemic (from Kary Klismet). … New uniforms for the Japanese men’s volleyball team (from Jeremy Brahm). … Here’s a top 10 list of designer Marc Blanchard’s best motocross uniforms (from John Flory). … The reception desk at the headquarters for pet supply delivery service Chewy is shaped like the company’s iconic boxes (from Jason Hillyer). … The New York Times published a piece on the history of the Rolling Stones’ tongue logo, which debuted 50 years ago (from Kary Klismet). … Here’s how you know the pandemic is serious: The Unicode Consortium, which oversees standards for emojis, has decided that there will be no new emojis in 2020 (from our own Brinke Guthrie). … Possibly the most Florida thing ever (at least until the next most Florida thing ever comes along, probably by this afternoon): WWE has been deemed an “essential business” in the state and is resuming live shows.
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What Paul did last night: One of my favorite things about the front porch, oddly enough, is being out there when it’s raining, as was the case yesterday. There’s something nice about feeling sheltered and safe while the weather huffs and puffs and does its worst to be unpleasant.
Bud Copper for me, seltzer for the Tugboat Captain (she had a class right after our porch session), smoked almonds for both of us.
Just as we were wrapping up, the rain stopped and the sun suddenly came out. I was sure there would be a rainbow, so I walked down to the corner, where the view is less tree-obstructed, to take a look. What could be better, I thought, than a pandemic rainbow?
But there was no rainbow. Dang.