football

Merry Christmas from Pat Patriot / Silver Wings / Monochrome White Sox

Here's a nice Christmassy football photo featuring a couple favorite uniforms, the  Patriots and Bills of the 1960s...



What makes this picture so special is the very rare occurance of a snow-covered football field on a sunny day. Since they keep the fields covered until game time, any snow on the field has to fall after the game starts. So snowy games are a rare occurence to begin with and  it's infinitely more rare to get enough snow to blanket the grass and then also get sunny conditions within the same game. This happened for least a brief period during the 1963 AFL East playoff, won by the Patriots 26-8 on Dec. 28, 1963.

We were living in Delaware at this time and got a rare white Christmas that year. Pictures from this Christmas week game sure take me back to what snowy days looked back then.

I really didn't start rooting a lot for these two teams until they went into decline in 1967 and beyond, but I now have great nostalgia for their battles that decided the AFL East title in '63, '64 and '66, in part because I remember decorating the Christmas tree one year when they were playing a vital game late in the AFL season.
football

Minneapolis Timberwolves Re-Design

Here's an entry that's much-delayed from last summer, when ESPN.com held its most recent uniform re-design contest, this time a challenge to overhaul the Minnesota Timberwolves (who I re-named the Minneapolis Timberwolves since I much prefer teams named after cities rather than states of regions).

This one was more of an adventure than usual for various reasons, but more on that in a minute. First I'll show you what I came up with, starting with the road uniform...



And then the home uniform...



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football

An Honorable Streak

At the risk of tooting my own horn, it occurred to me during the last espn.com sports-uniform re-design contest that I'd had a decent streak of being named either a "winner" or at least getting an "honorable mention" (HM) in several of the contests.  It seemed to me like it had been as many as four or five in a row. So when I got another HM in this week's Detroit Lions re-design contest, I tried to figure out how long my winning/"honorable" streak might be.

And based on what I've posted on this journal, it looks like (going backwards in time), I was either a winner or HM for contests to re-design the Lions, the L.A. Rams, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the LA. Clippers, an aniticpated Las Vegas NHL team, the Portland Trail Blazers, the Charlotte Hornets, the Minnesota Vikings and the Miami Dolphins.

To my surprise, if my method of counting is accurate, my streak is up to nine contests in a row. Further, as near as I can tell, I've entered a total of 12 contests and been a winner or HM 11 times (striking out only with a Cleveland Browns design [that I thought was actually one of my better entries considering the limitation that you had to keep the team's current helmet -- and therefore couldn't change the color scheme]).

Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one to notice that I'd been getting a lot of attention in these contests.  Another  participants in the Lions contest, one who didn't get a mention, posted the following comment:

While it is in-line with how you run the site, I find your redesign contests very frustrating (and not just because of how I used the vertical stripes in a unique way and didn’t get mentioned. Well, that’s part of it.)

There were some really, really nice designs that did not get mentioned in the article at all. I imagine people put in a ton of time creating beautiful logos and uniforms and you just mentioned Tom Bierbaum’s work for the millionth time instead (no offense, Tom.) Again, I get it: you’re quirky and the site and the contests reflect that.

I enjoy seeing your winners, but I would also like to see a contest component where people other than you could vote on the designs to validate the designers’ efforts, kind of like those that Phil used to run.


The ESPN sports-uniform authority who runs the contests, Paul Lukas, responded:

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football

Detroit Lions Re-Design

There was another re-design contest run by the Uni Watch colum on espn.com, this time re-designing the NFL's Detroit Lions. Word is the Lions are going to overhaul their uniforms, with possibly new colors, in 2017, hence the contest. So I took as my starting point an imaginative and approrpiate new color scheme for the traditonally blue-and-silver Lions and came up with a combination of authentic lion colors -- tan/gold and brown -- combined with a light blue/silver hue as an homage to the team's traditional colors...



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...


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football

L.A. Rams Re-Design

Backtracking a bit, in January, the great Uni Watch column on espn.com ran one of their re-design contests to come up with ideas for a new look for the NFL's Rams for their move back to L.A.  As usual, I had zero spare time to devote to the contest but managed to put in a few late nights and got something in...



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.

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football

Toronto Maple Leafs Re-Design

It was just a couple days ago that I learned the distressing news that hockey’s Toronto Maple Leafs are reportedly re-designing their uniforms for next season as part of a celebration of the team’s100th anniversary. I found this distressing for two reasons – first their uniform is my favorite in the NHL by a mile and it will be crushing to see any sort of trendy re-design of a truly classic uniform, and second because the news motivated ESPN.com’s Uni Watch columnist Paul Lukas to announce a Maple Leafs re-design contest and it seemed impossible that I could participate.

In addition to having little enthusiasm for re-designing a uniform I love, the demands of my job have been pretty brutal the past couple of weeks, leading to a condition of physical exhaustion that’s put me behind on all kinds of commitments, including just about any holiday activities this Christmas season.

So a couple of times I made the firm decision to just skip this contest, but nevertheless found myself still kicking around ideas and sketching potential logos. Things like an impossible deadline and an unappealing assignment can sometimes really unleash the creative impulses – what have you got to lose? -- and before long, I found I had enough interesting ideas ratting around that I had to invent the time and get those ideas down on paper.

So here it is, my reluctant re-design of the Toronto Maple Leafs…



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football

Spokane Specters Design

A month or two back, reading the Uni Watch blog, they mentioned that the Spokane team from the Indoor Football League was in need of a new team name after switching leagues. Since this was literally over the days when my sister was moving from Western Washington to a small town in Eastern Washington where Spokane would be the nearest city, and since a team name immediately presented itself -- the Spokane Specters -- I decided I should enter their contest.

And while they clearly weren't especially interested in anyone's uniform designs (saying only that if you wanted to suggest a logo to go with your team name, that would be OK), I pretty immediately started imagining what I would do with a football team named the Specters and decided I should carve out some time I didn't have to work up a couple designs.

The team's site said they were planning to keep the teams colors of navy blue and orange, and as non-Specter-ish as those colors were, I thought it worked for the best, since I was thinking in terms of a monochrome gray uniform and the idea of using navy and orange to bring to life a gray background appealed to me.

And thus, I came up with this incarnation of the Spokane Specters...



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football

L.A. Clippers Re-Design

Here are designs I came up with last June for a Uni Watch contest on ESPN.com to try to top the recent actual re-design of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers. As usual, my schedule at that time was impossible, but I'd had a Clippers design in mind for a couple years, so felt like I had to find the time and make sure I tossed my idea into the Uni Watch mix...


And for you "Legion of Super-Heroes" fans out there, read on, ther's a Legion reference coming...

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football

Brooklyn Devils Design

The great website Uni Watch is running a weekend uniform context, this time to suggest a team identity if the Tampa Bay Rays end up moving (as had been rumored a few months ago).  I've always thought it would be cool for baseball to return to Brooklyn, so I decided that's where I'd re-locate the team and found in the borough's history that it supplied a decorated unit to the Union cause in the Civil War that was known as the Brooklyn Red Legged Devils. And since the original pro baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds, was earlier known as the Red Legs, this seemed like a bit of baseball-compatible Brooklyn history that needed to be resurrected.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, your Brooklyn Devils...


A few notes:

Those jersey are true vests, not the awkward equivalent we've been seeing in recent years, when teams wear sleeveless shirts rather than actual vests.

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football

Las Vegas Silver Six NHL Design

The Uni Watch column at ESPN.com had another uniform-design contest, this time to come up with a team name and uniform for the rumored Las Vegas NHL expansion team.  What I came up with was a reference to Nevada being the "Silver State" and the fact that a hockey team generally has six players on the ice at a time (barring penalties) -- the Las Vegas Silver Six.


As usual, I wanted some striking colors that would really stand out and be unique within the league's current palette, so the Silver Six uniforms are gray / silver with burgundy and a gold / orange color.  Also as usual, I wanted a fun mascot kind of characxter, so their logo / chest emblem is a silver knight playing hockey with his sword fashioned into a hockey stick.



I was having trouble coming up with a team name / identity that I was especially happy with, but when I started toying with a Roman numeral "VI" with the "L" from Las Vegas turning into a hockey stick and the dot of the "I" turning into a puck, I decided the "Silver Six" was meant to be.

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