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.

NFL Review Week 4: Real men wear pink

San Francisco wide receiver Josh Morgan flew through the air with pink accents to make everyone in Philadelphia aware of breast cancer on Sunday. Photo by Associated Press

The past three Octobers have brought a once unfamiliar color into the NFL … pink.

I’m not sure when October officially became Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but the NFL certainly has done a great job of making fans aware of that fact for the past three seasons with different types of pink all over the field. Whether it comes in the players’ gloves, towels, shoes, mouth guards, wrist bands or chin straps, pink becomes the dominant color in the NFL in October.

Now, I know that I have never been more aware of breast cancer than when I’m watching the NFL for the month of October so the league has definitely accomplished what it hoped to with the pink accents all over the field.

When it comes to the look of the uniforms, it generally doesn’t have too much of an impact, at least for me. The pink is definitely noticeable, but now that this is the third season of it, the impact isn’t as shocking as it once was.

If anything, I believe it adds a bit of excitement to the games to see what each team will look like while wearing the pink accents. It also leaves it up to the player to wear as much or as little pink as they want.

Overall, the idea is great because it is all for a good cause, and since the trend will seemingly continue for the rest of the month, it gives every stadium around the NFL multiple chances to make those in the stadium fully aware of breast cancer.

Besides the pink all over the NFL, the league also saw black come into play for teams that usually go with another color scheme, and with that we’ll go to our quick hits.

Ray Rice looked nice in an all-black uniform for Sunday night's blowout of the Jets. Photo by Getty Images

  • The Ravens took on the Jets on Sunday night and completely dominated in an all-black look that is more than solid. For the Ravens, I think this is the look they should always go to in night games. The black pants and black jerseys work well because Ravens themselves are actually black. It is also intimidating to see Ray Lewis coming at you in all black.
  • The Cardinals also went with a black jersey for their controversial loss to the Giants. For Arizona, the black seems very out of place with the white helmet and white pants. Seems to me like they only make these jerseys to sell a few more Larry Fitzgerald shirts at the gift shop. Also, a cardinal is red, not black.
  • The Rams went back to their sloppy blue-on-white look for a home game and it was reflected in their play in a loss to the Redskins.
  • The Jaguars went with white pants and a white jersey at home. Nobody cares about Jacksonville (even people in Jacksonville) so it didn’t bother me that much.
  • The Chargers went with white at home again … SIGH.
That’s all for this week, like always, let me know if you see anything I missed or any comments you might have.

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.

Nice Pants

The Giants' Domenik Hixon made a nifty catch against the Rams Monday night. Photo by The Star-Ledger

I know I promised a bit of history on the Rams and Giants uniforms, but it turns out I don’t have the time to get all that done before work today, it will come some time this week though.

The Rams and Giants played a truly ugly game Monday night at the Meadowlands that saw the Giants come out on top, 28-16. As a good friend of mine who was there said, it was the most underwhelming victory in recent memory. Now I know how Penn State fans felt after that Temple win on Saturday.

Anyway, we’re not here to talk about the actual games that would be silly, let’s talk uniforms!!

I was glad to see the Giants went back to their usual home pants after going with their away pants for preseason home games this season. The panic that had swept through the Meadowlands for much of the preseason had nothing to do with injuries, but the concern that the home pants had gone away forever. Another friend informed me these away pants featuring thinner stripes were for cost-saving reasons, let’s hope so.

While I was pleasantly surprised by the Giants choice in pants, the Rams continued to disappoint in that department. The white-on-white look St. Louis displayed last night was as bad as their red zone offense.

Some of the Rams’ best days in recent memories (after they abandoned the uniforms they won a Super Bowl with) came with gold pants no matter if they were home or away.  Since then, the people in St. Louis have gone a little nuts by wearing blue and white pants with both the home and away uniforms.

It is absolute madness and I have no idea who thought this would be a good idea. The Rams have seen little success with these uniforms, and if they want some good karma going back in their direction they should go back to the gold pants. St. Louis has not totally abandoned this look, last season was a brief return to the gold pants at home, but that was quickly gone for white and blue pants with the uniforms.

There was even a time when the Rams went with white at home with blue pants, I was shocked and appalled. Hopefully, they can come to their senses soon in St. Louis and realize their up and coming team should look good while winning the atrocious NFC West.