Nike takes the NFL

Nike's Todd Van Horne and the Seahawks' Kam Chancellor helped usher in a new era of Seattle's uniforms at the big Nike reveal yesterday. Photo by the New York TImes.

Now that we’ve had some time to let the Nike uniform revolution wash over us for a day, it’s time to settle down and think about what the NFL will look like come September.

In reality, there is not too much to get excited about here. The changes aren’t as dramatic as many thought they would be considering Nike’s history with crazy uniforms.

For the most part, teams will be changing their collars a bit to accommodate the flywire collars that became a trademark for Nike uniforms during last college football season. I never really understood why these collars needed to be used, but it seems to be a characteristic Nike likes to use for their uniforms.

The one team that went over the edge with their uniforms was the Seattle Seahawks.

There must be something about the Pacific Northwest that inspires teams to go for crazy uniforms, but it all started with Oregon and is now making its way to Seattle.

My biggest problem with Seattle’s news uniforms is the fact that there is just so much going on with them. I am usually in favor of intricacies to the uniforms, but the Seahawks take it too far.

The shoulder pads alone have at least four features to them, it’s impossible to keep track of all that as the game is going on.

The font on the numbers is pretty weak, it makes the uniform look too much like a college team. However, upon closer inspection, you can see the numbers have a pattern on them, but unless you are tackling Marshawn Lynch, it might be tough to notice that.

One feature I do like on the Seahawks new uniforms is the same pattern along the pants. I always thought the Seahawks pants were a little simple and could have used an extra stripe. Now, they have added that despite ruining the rest of the uniform.

Here is the photo gallery the Seahawks posted if you’re interested in exploring the new uniforms any further.

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.

The Super Bowl’s Super Art

Here is another installment from Alex. As we count down the Super Bowl XLVI, we’ll talk a bit about the biggest game in America. Starting with this on Super Bowl logos and program design.

The NFL now only uses this standard logo for the Super Bowl with just the stadium on the bottom of the Lombardi trophy changing.

One of the overwhelming problems in our society (among many many others) is the complete and total absence of creativity. Reading Walter Issacson’s definitive biography about Steve Jobs, I get the sense that Jobs (like him or hate him) was an innovator, an individualist, and overall the Thomas Edison of our time. But what if he had been average, making generic, rather than cutting edge, technology? In other words, what if he followed the lead of the NFL with respect to its Super Bowl logo?

 

One of my earliest memories of the Super Bowl was the ticket/program cover art and logo for each Super Bowl.  More so than the logos, the ticket/program cover art was unique to the specific Super Bowl, and many times, unique to the host city.

 

Last year, before Super Bowl XLV, the NFL announced that it was formalizing the Super Bowl logo. After sampling what I’m sure were thousands of designs, the NFL went with the least imaginative. No color, no design, no thanks. The program cover art, starting with XLII follows a similar pattern. So, we’ll do what we always do on this website: look back to the past, but this time, at the best Super Bowl logos and cover art.

 

While the way I evaluate logos is completely subjective, my criteria for the cover art is more specific: I look at the imagination of the design, as well as how it incorporates the Vince Lombardi trophy with the host city. First the logos:

  1. XXXIII – Love the how the logo is a marquee.  You get a real vintage Miami vibe.
  2. XXXVII – A crummy game but I am a sucker for the lighthouse.
  3. XXXIX – Jacksonville was a terrible host city, but working their famous bridge into the logo was cool.
  4. XXXVI – An excellent tribe to America just four months after the 9-11 attacks.
  5. XXVII – Perfectly understated featuring the three roses.

Honorable Mention: XXVIII – Love the blue ribbon wrapped around the peach

Now cover art:

  1. XXIX – A perfect blend of old Miami, featuring a Model T in front of a hotel, tropical colors, and the Vince Lombardi Trophy towering among palm trees.
  2. XXXV – Even though my team was on the losing end of a blowout, I love the nautical theme. In addition to the Florida-host-city-standard of the Vince Lombardi trophy among palm trees, the sailboats and cloudy sky against the Tampa backdrop is nothing short of picturesque.
  3.  XXVII – I love this cover for a number of reasons. First, Pasadena is my favorite host city (a complete lack of luxury boxes at the Rose Bowl ensures the Super Bowl will never return) and the colors are outstanding. The sky features four colors: midnight blue, pink, orange and yellow, perfectly symbolic of the setting California sun. These colors, along with the blimp and fireworks, capture the excited and anticipation of the Super Bowl.
  4. XVII – Pasadena again. I also like the similarities between this and XXIX.  XVII features again features a marquee and the uniqueness of the colors gives the Vince Lombardi trophy a blue color.
  5. XVIII – What can I say? I’m a sucker for animals.

Honorable Mention: XXV – This is very similar to VI. It features the helmets of all the past Super Bowl winners, and a ton of vintage memorabilia for the silver anniversary Super Bowl. A nice tribute to Pete Rozelle, and the American flag is a subtle reminder of the nation’s involvement in the first Gulf War.

 

Will we ever see these designs again? Not unless the NFL has a stroke of nostalgia.

NFL Week 15 review: Nice to see them back

Kellen Clemens and the rest of the Rams put up a good fight against the Bengals in these throwbacks on Sunday. Photo by Getty Images

There were two major items to discuss from this past week’s NFL action, and they both were of the short-of throwback variety.

Both have been discussed here and fantastic uniforms options that teams have abandoned as their primary uniforms.

We’ll start with the St. Louis Rams went went with their yellow-and-blue throwbacks for a close loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. For the second time this season (the other coming in a victory over the Saints) the Rams played over their heads while sporting these phenomenal uniforms.

There was even a bit of talk on Twitter about the possibility of making these fantastic uniforms the primaries for the Rams in the years to come. That would be a great move for the franchise.

Ryan Mathews looked stellar sporting the best uniform in sports on Sunday night. Photo by Getty Images

The second great uniform move came when the Chargers broke out their powder blue alternates in a dominant victory over the Ravens. While these uniforms always look good, they look even better for night games because of the way the blue shines in the lights.

It clearly helped San Diego on the field as they rolled over the Ravens and put themselves back in playoff contention, just like the Chargers do every season.

Hopefully, that is enough to hold you over until for a bit. Over the Christmas break, I will start to gather information on the BCS of uniforms for when bowl season really starts to kick into gear.

Until then, enjoy the football on Christmas Eve.

Week 13 NFL review: Creamsicles

Tampa Bay running back Mossis Madu, who has an awesome name, looked like the Bucs of old in these uniforms. Photo by Getty Images

As the NFL season starts to wind down, uniform change becomes a thing of the past. Teams have used their alternates earlier in the season, and any change that might have happened in the offseason has lost its novelty.

Therefore, most of the excitement comes from throwbacks, like the Bucs this past weekend, making them pretty iconic throwbacks at that.

The Creamsicle orange uniforms that we saw on Sunday were worn by Tampa Bay from their founding in 1976 until 1998 when the team chose to go away form Bucco Bruce on the helmet and totally revamp their look.

Considering the futility the franchise experiences while wearing these uniforms, the move was understandable. The Bucs certainly displayed that same futility on the field on Sunday in a blowout loss to the Panthers.

These uniforms have become one of the most well-known in NFL history, mostly because of how absurd they look. It is nice however to see them make a return once per season.

Tampa Bay also does a good job of displaying the uniforms by completely changing their field and end zones to match these uniforms. I have talked about this before, and it just makes the game seem more cohesive when watching.

That’s all we really have at the moment, there were not many changes in the rest of the NFL, here’s hoping we see a bit more as the season reaches its final weeks.

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.

 

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 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.

Week 9 NFL Review: When uniforms flop

Marcell Dareus and the rest of the Bills might have had their moments on Sunday, but overall their white uniforms failed in a loss to the Jets. Photo by Getty Images

My apologies for the delay on this. Time constraints call for me to keep this brief, but more will come next weekend.

The Buffalo Bills tried to rally their team and their fans with a white out at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday. For anyone who watched the game, it’s very fair to say, it flopped.

There was more emotion from the fans at the start of the game given this extra boost from a special uniform worn against a division rival.

However, since this idea did not work out as planned in a blowout loss to the Jets, it is likely the Bills will stay away from white at home for a while. Uniform karma could likely come back to bit the Bills if they continue to try something that hasn’t worked in the past.

A Bill friend of mine hopes to never see these again, and I will say I hope the Bills can turn things around as this season holds the most promise in a long time for the franchise.

Bills going with white at home

Ryan Fitzpatrick and the rest of the Bills will wear white at home against the Jets this Sunday. Photo by Getty Images

For this Sunday’s important matchup with the Jets, the Bills have announced they will wear white at home for the first time in 25 years.

This is pretty shocking news. In my lifetime, the Bills have not gone with this look. The Bills uniforms this season are among the best in the league, and the road look is slightly better than the home one.

I’m not a fan of white at home, but let’s see how it works for Buffalo.