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Pat Patriot, Silver Wings and Monochrome White Sox

Discussing the Best and Worst of Sports Uniforms

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Cincinnati Bengals Re-Design
football
tombierbaum
A few months late, but here are the entries I came up with for a Cincinatti Bengals Uniform Re-Design challenge conducted over the summer on the Sports Illustrated website (note that the Uni Watch blogger Paul Lukas, who runs these contests, has moved from ESPN to SI).


This is a design inspired by a made-up team called the Trenton Tigers that has a long, long history among the Bierbaum brothers.

Somewhere at about the age of 7 or 8, drawing in my very first drawing pad that I got for Christmas probably in 1961 or '62, I came up with the gag of a football team called the Tigers that was actually tigers wearing football uniforms. We'd probably seen the Army-Navy game on TV so I had them "playing" against "Army," except the other team was literally an army with guns and tanks, etc. At that time, if I made up a team, I tried to come up with an aliterative team name and the only city I could think of that started with a "T" to combine with "Tigers" was Trenton (a familiar municipality in our family because my parents and older brother were going multiple times a year to the Indy car races at the Trenton speedway [where I eventually attended my first of many Indy car races in July of 1964]).

A few years later we started looking for teams to help populate a made-up football league we'd come up with, and it made sense to just convert the Trenton Tigers from a visual joke into one of the teams in our made-up league.

We naturally gave them a color scheme of orange with black trim and based their jersey stripes on what our favorites, the Philadelphia Eagles, were  wearing at that time (two stripes over the shoulder, two on the sleeves, with the "TV" numbers positioned between the sets of stripes).



Here's a drawing of that Tigers uniform from when I was about 12 (playing against another made-up team, the Indianapolis Mustangs)...



By 1969, brother Johnny was really impressed with how the Pittsburgh Steelers looked in the uniforms they'd adopted in 1968 (same as the Steelers wore through their glory days in the 1970s) and was inspired to change our Tigers to black jerseys with orange trim (while also giving them cleaned-up, more standardized stripes). Here's a picture I drew at about the age of 20 in the mid 1970s of that Tigers design (playing here against the Newport Nuclears).



Years later I kind of retroactively applied Johnny's cleaned-up design and gave it to the team's earlier years with orange as it primary color and came up with the basic design I gave the Bengals in the re-design challenge.  This is a drawing I did in my 40s one New Year's Eve when sonQuinn and I stayed up late drawing as we awaited the New Year. I went back into my football drawing pads from back in the 1960s and added an updated version of the old Tigers uniform (playing here against the Phoenix Thunderbirds)...



So as you can see, that's basically the look I gave to the Bengals in my re-design, though as a nod to the cartoonish origin of our family's Trenton Tigers concept, I came up with some pretty aggressively lighthearted logos for the Bengals...



So the home jersey is up above, and here are the road and "color rush" versions...





As always, I've included opposing teams, which are always a lot of fun to play with. The home Bengals are facing a re-named Washington Redskins team called the Senators, with uniforms based on visuals for the early-mid-20th century baseball Senators.  And note I took one of the old baseball logos and adapted it to football...



The road Bengals are squaring off against the San Francisco 49ers in uniforms that combine two very different shades of "gold."

And the "color rush" Bengals are facing the Dallas Cowboys in a design that salutes Dallas' original uniforms and the light-blue color featured on what I still think is their best uniform, the 1964-65 set that featured a metallic blue that was more sky blue than silver.

And here are some of those original "Trenton Tigers" drawings from about 1963 or '64...



And here's older brother Johnny's better-rendered version (note that he anticipated the tiger-striped helmets of the real-world Bengals by about 16 years)...



And kind of hard to make out, but here was my whimsical depiction of the Trenton Tigers playing against Army...