Week 12 NFL Review: POWDER BLUES!!!

The greatest thing to happen on Sunday was when Patrick Crayton and the rest of the Chargers wore their powder blues. Photo by Getty Images

It was what we were all waiting for all season … the appearance of the best uniform in all of sports. The San Diego Chargers wore their powder blue uniforms!!

I’m sure we all heard the roars in the streets across the nation at 4 p.m. Eastern Time when the Chargers took the field in these wonderful uniforms. Unfortunately, San Diego’s play on the field couldn’t match how sharp it looked.

The uniform originates from the jersey introduced in the 1968 season and has evolved into an alternate when the Chargers went back to a white helmet in 2007.

The primary difference between the alternates the Chargers wore Sunday and the throwbacks are the numbers on the helmets that are featured prominently in the throwbacks. The alternates also feature a sleeker bolt that are places lower on the shoulders than the throwbacks.

Both looks are extremely stellar because of the combination of the powder blue with the yellow bolts on the pants and on the shoulder pads. The games is just enjoyable to watch when San Diego decides to go with this combination.

San Diego also goes a great job of adjusting their field to go along with the uniforms. Their end zones are painted the same powder blue as the uniforms. They also change the end zone design to go along with the logo used in the 60s.

What’s the best about this game is it featured another Tim Tebow comeback so it is sure to be played over and over again on ESPN for the rest of the week.

Now, we’ll move into our quick hits:

Tony Romo seemed to be pretty pumped up to be wearing these throwbacks on Thanksgiving. Photo by Getty Images

  • The Cowboys went with their traditional Thanksgiving throwbacks. These feature white helmets and white pants to go along with a blue uniform. Unlike the Cowboys usual dark blue uniforms (which are awful) these work well and are especially good for Thanksgiving.
  • The Ravens went with black jerseys for their Thanksgiving victory over the 49ers. I usually like the black for the Ravens, but they look much better with black pants instead of the white they went with on Thursday.
  • The Lions did not go with their usual Thanksgiving look. Maybe that’s what Ndamukong Suh was so angry about.

 

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Week 13 College football review: Who are they playing?

Andrew Luck and Ryan Hewitt had a moment in this all-red look against Notre Dame Saturday night. Photo by Getty Images

It’s never a good thing when that question has to be asked at the start of a game. Usually that means the uniforms for one teams have failed in doing their jobs of identifying the team.

For two game played on the West Coast Saturday night, this question was brought up in The Star-Ledger newsroom. The first instance came when Stanford took the field in an all-red Pro Combat uniform for their easy victory over Notre Dame. The second was when UCLA abandoned the best uniform in college football for a sloppy white look that matched its play on the field.

We’ll start here with the Cardinal.

For Andrew Luck’s final home game, Stanford was, as one friend put it, “looking like they were going to a burgundy party.” I’ve personally never been to one of those, but if everyone looks like Stanford did last night, count me out.

The black, matte finish helmet made Luck look somewhat mean on the field, but it must have worked for the Cardinal, who probably locked up a spot in the Fiesta Bowl and their second straight 11-win season.

The look for Stanford was not nearly as offensive as what UCLA went with.

UCLA's Shledon Price played and looked miserable in a blowout loss to USC. Photo by Getty Images

I have said this for a long time and I will continue, UCLA has the best uniforms in all of college football. The powder blue home jerseys with gold stripes on the shoulders to go along with the gold helmet just looks regal.

For some reason, the Bruins decided to abandon much of the gold in their uniforms and switch to an unrecognizable look. I understand the game was on the road, but the Bruins could have still stuck with their stripes on the shoulders, gold helmets and gold pants that make their uniforms so distinguishable.

I was sorely disappointed in the Bruins for this, their play on the field in a 50-0 blowout to archrival USC was perhaps their punishment from the uniform gods.

Week 11 NFL review: That’s all I can say

This was the perhaps the quietest week in NFL uniforms all season. The only changes came from the small details, that I’ll just discuss in short form here.

Maybe if the Redskins had stuck with yellow pants, Graham Gano would have felt inspired to hit a potential game-winning field goal in overtime. Photo by Getty Images

  • The Redskins who have gone with yellow pants to match their red home jerseys went with white pants in an overtime loss to the Cowboys on Sunday. I loved the yellow pants and was almost as sad to see them go as I was to see the Cowboys beat Washington and move into a first-place tie with the Giants.
  • The Rams looked sloppy again in uniforms and on the field with this all-blue look against the Seahawks.

Week 12 College football review: What in the world?

South Florida offensive tackle Mark Popek sported a confusing look on Saturday against Miami. Photo by Getty Images

Supporting our troops is a great thing. They put their lives on the line for our country, and do things that most of us don’t have the bravery to do.

This sentiment has made its way into college football in a big way this season, and it came to a head on Saturday with South Florida.

The Bulls came out with some helmets that better resembled a zebra than a football uniform. There was not even an indication of the usual South Florida logo on these helmets.

I will admit I did not get to watch any of this game, but just from looking at the photos, I am taken aback by these helmets. Other teams like South Carolina and Texas Tech have used these Wounded Warrior uniforms in the past, but there was never a huge change like this to the helmet.

The Bulls committed a cardinal uniform sin by stunning the viewer with their uniforms. The pattern on the helmets was very different to figure out, and it’s very tough to be aware of what exactly they were going for with the design.

The original prototypes for these helmets did have the South Florida logo on them, but when they were brought out on the field, they were gone. A swing and a miss here.

After that debacle, let’s move to our quick hits:

N.C. State's Tobias Palmer and QB Mike Glennon had their best game of the season in an all-red alternate on Saturday, Photo by Associated Press

  • N.C. State, who never goes outside the uniform box, went with all-red in a huge upset of Clemson. The look is pretty basic, and would be something the Wolfpack might consider going back to considering the success they had with it on the field.
  • Texas Tech went with all-white against Missouri. Again, nothing too exciting here, just a uniform change.
  • Oregon went with all-black in a loss to USC, but it was somewhat sloppy. Instead of going with the neon on black like they did in the season opener against LSU, these silver numbers with yellow outlining didn’t have the same look to them.

What’s Maryland wearing this week? Week 12

The most exciting thing about the Maryland uniforms and the entire team for that matter is the multi-colored numbers.

At this point, the Terps really need to do something on the field for this to continue being relevant.

Maryland will visit Wake Forest on Saturday in these pretty basic uniforms. There is nothing to say here. They are very basic and look like what the Terps used to wear on the road.

Classic Mets

Lucas Duda, left, David Wright, middle, and Ike Davis will likely be the headliners for the Mets in these new, but classic uniforms in 2012.

Meet the Mets new uniforms … well, at least that’s what the team is saying.

The Mets will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this upcoming season, and what better way to mark the milestone than with new, well old, uniforms. New York will go back to the look of its inaugural 1962 season for 2012. (Of course that team had a record 120 losses.)

The biggest difference in the uniforms from the past decade is in the road uniforms.

In 1998, black was added as the third official Mets color to go along with blue and orange. From that time on, black dominated the road hat, whether it was accompanied by a blue bill or not. Now, the Mets will go with a blue hat on the road as they did prior to 1998, with the exception of one road game against the Yankees in 2008.

This is a fantastic move. Blue and orange should always be the colors of the Mets, the black uniforms never really felt like they belonged, although they will still be used as a road alternate in 2012.

The other adjustment from last season’s look is the loss of the drop shadow behind the lettering on the home jersey. Honestly, that drop shadow was only noticeable for the detail obsessed so the change makes the uniform cleaner, but is too subtle to make much of a difference.

As a a Mets fan, it is nice to see these changes. My favorite uniforms have always been the pinstripes with the blue hats, especially for day games. The more I see this uniform, the better. Hopefully, there will be some uniform karma transferred to the field for the Mets in 2012.

Miami Marlins: Not that bad … but pretty bad

We showed you a bit of a preview of what the Miami Marlins might look like when they take the field in April a few weeks ago. Well, now the official uniforms have been released and some of the most offensive features are gone, but there’s still enough there to make you cover your eyes.

Most of the uniforms here are only slight variations from what the Marlins used to wear (and no we are not talking teal.) The only one that really caught my eye was the orange home alternate.

How could one possibly think this would be a good uniform for a game played outdoors and in the summer. It’s just so bright and wrong.

At least Miami had enough sense to not use an orange hat with a yellow brim to go along with this, the black hat at least offsets the loudness of the uniform just a bit.

One last thing, I always find these sports fashion shows pretty hilarious. Really, why doesn’t Ricky Nolasco walk the runway all the time, he’s clearly found his calling based off this video.

Week 10 NFL review: When will they learn?

Mark Sanchez and the rest of the Jets had a very tough time in their biggest game of the season while wearing white at home. Photo by The Star-Ledger

Last week, the Buffalo Bills tried to pull off a uniform stunt by wearing white at home for a big game with the Jets. It failed … miserably.

So when the Jets were faced with their own big home game against the Patriots of course they wouldn’t fall into this same bad uniform karma, but no, they did.

The Jets came out of the tunnel at MetLife Stadium wearing all white, and from the outset, it did not work.

Granted, the Jets did defeat the Patriots in white at home in 2010, but that came early in the season when many teams choose to go with white at home. This one came in the middle of the season, and was clearly an attempt at creating more hype because of the uniforms.

One would think the Jets would have seen the disaster this move caused for the Bills, who still haven’t recovered, but their stubbornness caused problems in their biggest game of the season. For big games like this, it is my belief that a team should stick with the uniform that got it there.

No need to change things up just for the start of these games. Try to treat it as business as usual at least externally, teams that admit they are in big games with their uniforms usually have a tough time living up to the hype.

Bad job by the Jets all-around. Now, quick hits:

Quarterback Josh Freeman and the Bucs had a very tough time getting anything going in a sloppy look against the Texans. Photo by Getty Images

  • The Bucs looked sloppy in their uniforms and on the field with white pants to go with their red jerseys. The gold on red look is much more solid.
  • The Rams also had a very poor look of blue-on-blue in a close victory over the Browns. Still always hoping they go with their gold pants.
  • Atlanta broke out their awesome throwbacks for a loss to the Saints. By far the best uniforms the Falcons have ever worn.

Logo Nostalgia

Here is another contribution from Alex on his fondness for logos from the past.

Soccer greats like Pele made the New York Cosmos one of the most popular NY teams in their time.

A few weeks ago, I received a call from a friend in Oklahoma.  While visiting relatives in Michigan, he came across this pennant at a garage sale.  For $5, he said, it could be all mine. I told him to jump on it, and a few days later, it was at my doorstep.  I have always an affinity for pennants from defunct teams and in addition to the Indianapolis Racers, I own pennants from the defunct Toronto Toros of the World Hockey Association and the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League.

The significance of the Indianapolis Racers  begins in 1978, as they became the first professional hockey team to sign and up-and-coming young star named Wayne Gretzky. Although the Racers were not one of the four teams absorbed from the WHA into the NHL when the league folded, their logo is a favorite of mine. After purchasing the pennant, I began to think about the WHA and the NASL, two seemingly forgotten leagues, and about how, even if they were not financially sustainable, produced some of the best and worst logos in pro sports.  Below, I highlight some of the best logos from these leagues of yesteryear. It may be pointless nostalgia, but since when is that ever a bad thing?

The  World Hockey Association (born 1972, died 1979) featured some confusing team names/logos, including the Miami Screaming Eagles (why “eagles” in Miami and why are they “screaming”?), the Minnesota Fighting Saints (since when are saints violent people?) and the New York Golden Blades  and New York Raiders (the former looks like it could serve as a logo for a low budget figure skating event, while the latter features neither a raider, nor the cityscape of New York).  Other logos were just flat out lame. They include the Michigan Stags (why does the deer only have three legs?), the New England Whalers (note the smiling whale and the addition of “ers” next to it), and the Baltimore Blades (a deformed hockey stick forming the shape of a “B”).

Some pluses from the WHA: The aforementioned Indianapolis Racers (I like how they incorporate the city’s racing tradition in the logo, and not just the name), the aforementioned Toronto Toros/Birmingham Bulls (Check out that bull. He’s tough, fierce, and I love the added detail of the smokey snort), the Quebec Nordiques (having visited Quebec City, I can honestly say they deserve their team back.  A team needs to relocate there immediately), and the Winnipeg Jets (see this previous article on how the current Jets spit on their own tradition). With the overall lack of popularity for hockey, it is no surprise a competing league to the NHL never survived.

The Indianapolis Racers were the first professional team to sign Wayne Gretzky.

Speaking of sports that lack popularity, let’s turn our attention to soccer and the NASL (born 1967, died 1984).  First the gassers: the Atlanta Apollos (for obvious reasons), the Cleveland Stokers (for obvious reasons), the Hartford Bicentennials (ripped straight from the nearest men’s bathroom room door) and the Montreal Manic (not necessarily bad, just boring).  Then there are those teams who didn’t even attempt to create a logo. The wall of shame includes the Denver/Washington Darts (two cites, same crummy logo), the Seattle Sounders and Team Hawaii (who ripped off who?).

However, it wasn’t all bad in the NASL. The Cosmos (an iconic team with an equally identifiable logo) and the Vancouver Whitecaps were  beacons of light.  Speaking of beacons, the Boston Beacons was pretty creative, especially after it followed this previous Boston soccer logo.

While these leagues no longer give us the thrills and chills associated with their respective sports, there are certain logos from the NASL and WHA that can live on in our collective memories.  Or in my case, in the form of old pennants in my apartment.

Week 11 College football review: Uniform games

Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd sported the Irish's new green look as Maryland's Trenton Hughes and the rest of the Terps didn't show much Maryland Pride. Photo by Associated Press

As the college football regular season begins to wind down, most of the games do not mean all that much to the national title picture.

As much as it pains me to say it, Notre Dame has participated in many of those over the past years, and Saturday night against Maryland was an example of that irrelevance (unless you’re into placing for the Champs Sports Bowl.)

Instead, this game was about the uniforms.

We had known for about a week the Irish would be wearing a Shamrock helmet with a different background than the helmets they wore against Michigan earlier this season. We also found out last Wednesday that Maryland would be going back to their Pride uniforms they wore earlier this season to defeat their only FBS school in Miami this season.

Clearly, most of that Maryland Pride has worn off for a 2-8 team, that got absolutely no lift from these special uniforms. In my humble opinion, special uniforms like these only work once a season, if even that often. When the Terps came out on the tunnel on Labor Day in those special uniforms, the home crowd got pumped up, and it helped Maryland pick up one of its two victories this season.

However, Saturday night’s game was more of a Notre Dame home game even though it was played in Maryland. The team is down and if these uniforms are used too often, they will have little to no effect on the team.

The same goes for the Irish who wore green uniforms last night. Wearing green at Notre Dame used to be a very rare and special occasion. Usually, this coach would not say anything about the uniforms until the team came out on the tunnel for the game. It was special.

After wearing green against Army last season, and again Saturday night, it’s no longer as special.

Besides the green, the helmets were a little offensive. First of all, with the reflection of the lights at FedEx Field, the helmets looked like golf balls. The facemask was also black instead of the usual gray for the Irish. That bothered me.

The look as a whole was seemingly very futuristic, a departure from what the Irish are usually all about.

Now, let’s move to our quick hits:

It was a tough night for Boise both on the field and in the uniform department. Photo by The Idaho Statesman

  • Boise State had some blinding orange alternates in an upset loss to TCU. The Broncos went with these all-orange uniforms before, but this time, they went with a white helmet to compliment it. They looked very strange, and obviously it didn’t help them in the loss.
  • Texas Tech went with a very patriotic uniform for Veterans Day. The stars and stripes on the helmets were a nice touch to go along with the camouflage on the shoulders.
  • Oregon’s uniforms were very interesting for their victory over Stanford. The helmets looked black from one angle, but when the lights hit it in a certain way, you could see the green. The Ducks also chose to have their names on the back of the jerseys in white so it takes ultra concentration to see. That’s weird.