To this distinctive color scheme I added a cartoon Lion mascot featured on the helmet and shoulder patch. I searched the Internet for intersting, nostalgic styles, including good old Fred from the Super-Chicken cartoons, and found my inspiration in the cat "Choo Choo" or "Chooch" from "Top Cat," so I worked toward his style and added a mane, lion-shaped face and rounded lion ears...
I couldn't settle on a name for this guy, with probably the favorite of the ones I was kicking around being "Rory."
It's, of course, hard to imagine an NFL team these days going with something so irreverent and fun, but more's the pity. I can only imagine how many young kids -- to whom current NFL visuals offer so little -- would be drawn to this kind of logo. And imagine the costumed mascot you could get out of this design -- as well as animation for team commericials, promotions and scoreboard graphics. I, for one, would love to buy merchandise with these logos. Yes, I understand the path to piles of cash with licensed gear these days is to appeal to macho young males who want "tough" designs, but if I were the NFL, I'd like to shoot for a broader audience that's more likely to be dranw to the sport if it's more fun and less a celebration of machismo.
As usual, I went very conservative with the striping, since I thoroughly dislike the fairly random "designer" splotches that have replaced tradtional stripes on many of the recent NFL re-designs. My stripes and number font are meant to recreate the feel of what to me is the definitive Lions design from the early/mid 1960s...
The contest required one more design, a "color rush" monochrome uniform for the NFL's rather misguided program of outfitting teams for their Thursday games in a single color from shoes to shoulder pads. I haven't liked the results much and decided in my NFL, these uniforms would keep the white "sanitary socks" that I think are absolutely required for a football uniform to look "right" to my eye. Also, to me, a uniform isn't "monochrome" uness the jersey and pants match the helmet as well. For my tastes, that's partly what the definition of monochrome ought to require and partly what aesthetics ought to require. To me, white is the only "color" that looks right on a football uniform if the pants and jersey match but the helment doesn't. So my "color rush" Lions would be all light blue/silver to match their helmets...
And while rules require that the teams stick with the same helmets through the season, there's no reason they can't change the sticker logos for individual games, so I played a little with my design, in this case using the traditional Lions logo on the helmet here and moving my "Rory" helmet emblem to the sleeve patch. (I was thrilled to draw the traditional Lions logo as well as I did here. I've tried many times through my life to get that logo right and never before come nearly this close.)
BUCCANEERS: My "color rush" opponent is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, allowing me to go one step further with a design I tried with my L.A. Rams submission, designed to take full advantage of the Bucs' pretty promsing color combo of red, "pewter" and orange. I really like the look of this all gray/pewter uniform with the brilliant red and orange offsetting the dark base color.
CHARGERS: The opposing team facing my Lions home design is a concept for the Chargers if that teams happens to relocate to L.A., which is a possibility. It's hard to see here, but I designed a lightning-bolt emblem that includes the letters "L.A." in it. Otherwise, it's pretty close to what the Chargers wore in their glory days in the early-mid 1960s, truly one of the greatest sports uniforms of all time.
SEAHAWKS: The original artworki to this one looks great, but the green color I used doesn't quite come across electronically. In any case, I love the combiantion of kind of a lime green and gray trimmed in navy blue. I've also always like the "epaulet" stripes that Ohio State briefly used on their white jerseys in the mid 1960s and think that design fits for a marine-themed team like the Seahawks.
As for the contest, once again I didn't make the list of "winners" but did manage once again an "honorable mention." Here are the comments of ESPN uniform authority Paul Lukas:
As usual, the most intriguing things about Tom Bierbaum's renderings were the designs he came up with for the opposing teams, including a solid-pewter look for the Buccaneers and a new Chargers helmet with the lightning bolts spelling out "L.A.," in anticipation of the team's potential move to Los Angeles. And in case you can't make out the details of Bierbaum's helmet logo for the Lions, it's another one of his endearingly goofy mascot characters.
Check out the espn.com column -- as always, some truly fantastic, completely professional submissions. The link is http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/15046433/uni-watch-contest-results-how-redesign-detroit-lions.
TO THE SUPER-COOP!: The day after the contest results were posted, a Uni Watch reader, George Miller, submitted a late entry that was a real favorite for me...
I have to say, I'd be even more eager to buy merchandised goods with this logo than my own "Rory." And for those who don't recall, this is faithful Fred, companion to Super-Chicken from the George of the Jungle cartoons from the Jay Ward studios in the late 1960s. I'm a big enough fan of that series that the license plate on our Mini Cooper is "SPRCOOP" afdter the "Super Coop" that Super-Chicken and Fred used to fly around in.