As is often the case, I wasn't very interested in any cutting-edge design elements other than a color scheme that would really pop and would grab the eye of viewers as the Sunday highlights were playing (especially potential fans for whom the macho black-and-darker black color schemes and snarling mascots hold little appeal). And there are few color schemes I like more than sky blue and gold, which are not that far off of the team's traditional blue-and-gold/yellow colors and to me seem quite appropriate for a team trying to re-establish its California identity.
One color element I love conceptually and haven't yet quite captured to my satisfaction in actual mock-up execution is the combination of beautiful pastel jersey color with a metallic version of that pastel color for the helmet and pants, which is what I'm shooting for here with the Rams. I didn't have enough time ot keep playing with the colored pencils and get it quite right to my eye, but I do think executed properly, this could be a color scheme that would really blow people away.
As for the striping, I may be the one NFL traditionalist who's never liked the team's current ram horns on the jersey shoulders -- to me, the horns on the helmet are just about ideal -- a shape that looks great on a football helmet and that happens to be placed anatomically right where the horns are positoned on the team's namesake. Given that, it really seems to undermine that perfection to then repeat the pattern on the shoulders, especially since you always get kind of a distorted effect on cloth stretched over the shoulder pads. So I went with the over-the-shoulder stripe of the white jerseys from the excellent late 1960s Rams design, which to me has the feel of the Ram horns while avoiding the actual repetition of the horns.
As for the opposing teams:
BUCCANEERS: I've not much liked anything this team has worn since they switched from their "Creamsicle" uniforms of the 1970-90s, which I thought were excellent. But with the modern designs there has been some promise in the combination of red, "pewter" and orange and I tried to realize that potential in this design, while totally eschewing the unnecessary clutter of black in the color scheme. The biggest challenge of this approach was getting enough orange into the helmet design, so I made the Buc flag half red and half orange. Not 100% sure about that choice, but it's growing on me.
CHIEFS: Occasionally I see a combination of bright yellow and pale gold that I love and tried unsuccessfully to capture that look here. I may try it again sometime because I think there's something there that I've missed in this attempt. Again, if I hadn't been so rushed, I could have experimented a little more with my pencils and probably come closer to what I was trying to pull off.
It's interesting how often I'm drawn to the Chiefs to experiment with, even though they're probably one of the least likely franchises to fiddle with what's generally considered a classic design. I myself have never been too attached to the Texans / Chiefs look and find it a pretty mundane use of what's a truly great color scheme, red and yellow. And in my experimenting with the Chiefs, maybe someday I'll come up with a look that will work for some other team in some other existence where change is more likely.
The last design element required in the contest was a logo "commemorating" the Rams return to L.A., which to me suggested the simple phrase "Back in Town," which feels snappy to my ear based on Bobby Darin's closing to "Mack the Knife," "...now that Mackie's... Back in towwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
As for the contest, when results were announced I wasn't among the "winners" but did manage to get an "honorable mention." Here's the comment by ESPN's sports-uniform authority Paul Lukas:
Tom Bierbaum's Rams concept was so-so, but his hand-drawn submission included a glimpse at what could be a really good redesign for the Buccaneers. As usual, he also included a Joe Cool-style mascot character.
Full results are at http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/14746942/uni-watch-contest-results-how-redesign-rams-return-los-angeles, and I urge you to check out the other entries, some of which are pretty superb and eclipse a lot of what's seen on the NFL gridiorn today.