Pomp and Circumstance of Super Bowl XLVI

Mario Manningham made the key play for the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday. Photo by Chris Faytok/The Star-Ledger

First of all, I’d just like to apologize for my absence on here in the last week. With the Giants in the Super Bowl and their subsequent victory, I’ve spent most of my time involved in the coverage (and celebration) of that.

The Super Bowl never looks like any other football game. Although the game is always played at a stadium used throughout the NFL season, like Lucas Oil Stadium this season, the setting does not resemble that of an ordinary game.

The most glaring aspect of the field that differentiates it from the norm is the end zones. Each teams gets a distinct design in an end zone, which to me is one of the most exciting aspects of the Super Bowl (when my team is not playing in the game.)

The middle of the field now features the NFL shield with the plain Super Bowl logos on the 25-yard line.

Perhaps the biggest difference from the regular season is the huge crowds on the sidelines. From the photographers, to friends and family, to the lucky people that get a spot on the sideline who have nothing to do with either team. The sideline on the Super Bowl is insanity.

Sports Illustrated spliced together photos of Lucas Oil Stadium this Sunday to create this very cool pan shot. Have fun with that, I did for about a half hour.

Week 5 NFL review: Not much to say

Victory Cruz had some pink socks on as he made this great catch in an otherwise horrible game for the Giants. Photo by The Star-Ledger

This week’s NFL games really did not offer much in terms of uniform excitement. While I spent much of my Sunday baking in the sun at MetLife Stadium and watching the Giants play their worst game of the season, the NFL decided to go conservative with the uniforms.

Besides the Patriots who went with throwback uniforms that we discussed earlier in the week, the Giants made a bit of an impact with a shocking amount of pink for their loss to the Seahawks.

The end zones had a pink outline around the Giants in the middle and it seemed like every single player for the Giants had some form of pink for the game.

That’s all there is to talk about at the moment, hopefully the NFL can give us a little more to talk about next week.

End Zone Designs: Painting on the Field

The Super Bowl always does a good job of matching the importance of the game with good end zone designs.

Every player on the football field wants to reach the end zone. Those special ten yards on each side of the field create the most excitement of any game, and therefore, it should be no coincidence they look better than the rest of the field.

While there might be a few exceptions (Boise State and Eastern Washington), football fields stick to green to cover the 100 yards of the playing field, probably because that is the color of natural grass.

As it is with uniforms, it seems like college football has more freedom with end zone design than the NFL.  Two designs in particular that stand out to me are Tennessee and Maryland. The Vols have stuck with the same orange-and-white checkered pattern for many years now.

The pattern works very well for me. It goes away from the usual lettering that goes in an end zone. Everyone knows Tennessee is the home team, so it is a good move by the Volunteers to go outside the box with this.

The other cool feature of this end zone is the pattern does not cover all 10 yards of the space. The yard or so of green showing on all sides of the pattern adds a bit of classiness to the design.

Maryland takes its cues from Tennessee when it comes to their end zone. In similar fashion to their pride uniforms that got everyone’s attention, Maryland’s end zone pays homage to their state flag.

Bowl games are some of my favorite fields because each zone is totally different from the other. Some games like the famed Beef O’Brady’s Bowl decide to keepboring end zones telling everyone what city they are in, which is clearly necessary for those who have made the trip to support their school.

A few other collegiate end zones that stick out are Penn State, who uses a yellow goal line, which is nice. Notre Dame sticks with the stripes in the end zone, keeping with tradition. I’ll throw in Syracuse here too since I have a weakness for blue and orange and the Orange have gone with that since switching over to FieldTurf in the Carrier Dome.

When it comes to the NFL, there is not as much variety form year-to-year, but I will focus on the local teams here.

Since moving to MetLife Stadium (or New Meadowlands Stadium as it used to be known), the Jets and Giants have greatly improved their end zone designs. The move to natural grass for the 2000 season turned out to be a disaster in terms of keeping the grass lush and end zone design.

In the first year, both teams decided to paint the end zones at Giants Stadium, making for a good look, especially for the 2000 NFC Championship victory for the Giants. However, as time went on and even as Giants Stadium went to FieldTurf, the end zones got much more boring. Without any paint in the end zones, it looked like a preseason game for the entire season.

For the last few seasons at the old stadium, the Giants did paint the lettering in the end zones, but it still left much to be desired because of what the field used to look like with AstroTurf.

Now, with MetLife Stadium, the end zone have gone back to their exciting past, and I think we can all say we are glad to see it. They have even added a logo and conference logo at the ends which makes for a nice touch.

That’s all for today’s display of obsessiveness. We’ll take a bit of a break until this weekend’s football action, unless something exciting happens in the uniform world.

NFL Week 2 Review: Remember the (New York) Titans

Quarterback Mark Sanchez and the Jets rolled in over the Jaguars yesterday in these stellar throwback New York Titans uniforms. Photo by The Star-Ledger

This week in the NFL did not have too much action in the way of bold fashion statements. The NFL has restrictions on uniforms, keeping teams to only two games in their alternate uniforms per season. This makes sure there are no teams like Maryland or Oregon in the league where they play ……. for pay (thanks, Mike Francesa).

The one team that did make people notice them for more than just their stellar play on the field in a dominant performance over the putrid Jacksonville Jaguars was the New York Jets. As they have done in the past, the Jets went with these New York Titans throwback uniforms.

Overall, these uniforms are pretty solid considering they are throwbacks. I would not like them as permanent uniforms for any team.

I am always a fan of stripes along the shoulders, which adds some solid detail to this otherwise simple uniform. The same could be said for the white and blue stripes along the side of the gold/yellow pants (I really can’t decide what color they are).

The best feature here is the decidedly gold numbers. They are simple and effective. The absence of any kind of outline on the number helps it almost fade into the blue of the shirt and makes it clear these are throwbacks.

Looking at the helmet also makes it clear the Jets have become the Titans for this particular game. Again, the stripe is definitely gold which helps with the helmet. Also, the lack of any writing on the sides of the helmets gives a clear indication it is a throwback.

While the uniforms were stellar, the look of the field at MetLife Stadium and the surroundings all pointed to this being a Jets home game. While I understand the New York Jets were actually the ones facing the Jaguars, I wish the people at the Meadowlands would have changed the end zone from the usual green coloring with white letters to a blue coloring with gold letters saying “Titans”. It would have completed the day and made everything about the uniforms work.

The Chargers make some changes to their end zone when they go with the powder blues and it completes the entire look of the game. The difference here is the Chargers play on natural grass while the Jets are on FieldTurf, which I imagine might cause some problems for a brand new end zone for just one game, but it would help immensely.

Bills running back Fred Jackson had a strong game and looked good while doing it in Buffalo's new home uniforms. Photo by Getty Images

That’s all for the New York Titans, a few other teams made some uniform news so here are a few quick hits:

  • The Tennessee Titans went with white uniforms at home in their victory over the Ravens, one of my major pet peeves if you’re not the Dallas Cowboys or Miami Dolphins.
  • The Saints and Panthers also went with white at home. I understand the move for the Panthers because it can be hot in North Carolina this time of year, but I still prefer the usual black uniforms or their alternate light blues. However, the Saints choice just bothers me. They play in a climate-controlled dome, why do you have to wear white at home?
  • The Bills debuted their new home uniforms in a thrilling victory over the Raiders that saw them score a touchdown on every possession in the second half. I really like these uniforms for the most part, the only thing I could do without is how the stripe on the helmet gets wider at the back. Why is it like that? It ruins a nearly perfect uniform.

All right, enough for today. Here’s a little preview of what is coming for the rest of the week, including what I hope to be a usual Tuesday staple of reviewing the uniform history of the teams featured on Monday Night Football:

Tuesday: A look at the Rams and Giants uniform transformations

Wednesday: End Zones, the chance for freedom in field design

Thursday: What’s Maryland wearing this week?

Friday or Saturday: What uniforms have to do with the Red Sox collapse