Relocation Mania – How Teams moving can change unis for better or much much worse

In case you didn’t know, the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers are ditching Hotlanta after 11 years and moving to Winnipeg. Now this begs an important question, will the franchise be the Winnipeg Jets reincarnated? The team that played in Winnipeg from 1972 to 1996 before moving to Phoenix and becoming the Coyotes, or will the NHL choose a brand new franchise name? Rumor has it that TNSE, the group who bought the team, may name them after AHL Affiliate the Manitoba Moose, as the Moose are planning to be moved to Saskatoon by TNSE. I for one say bring back the Jets name, history and those classy uniforms. However, this got me thinking, there are a variety of teams that have moved locations, changed names, and in doing so, recieving brand new uniforms, today, we’ll take a look at six major relocations during the past two decades and if the teams looked better in their new, relocation gear more than their old uniforms.

1995 – Cleveland Browns become the Baltimore Ravens

The city of Cleveland was screwed as usual (see: The Drive. James, LeBron) when Art Modell packed up the team and took them to Baltimore, the new team would leave all of their history in Cleveland for a new franchise in the not so distant future (Browns 2.0 opened shop in 1999.) The team that moved to Baltimore would become the Ravens in 1996 and see almost immediate success (Super Bowl win in 2000-01 season) When the Ravens debuted their first uniform set, it was a breath of fresh air to a then-still old school NFL. Purple and Black was a radical new color scheme, but the team’s first uniforms were by far their worst, but interesting fact – wearing purple and black made the Ravens the NFL’s first team to wear dark colors from head to calf. The Ravens uniforms have vastly improved and were a big step in how modern NFL uniforms would look (many teams now wear monochrome or all dark colors at home.) Did they improve by moving – YES

1996 – Winnipeg Jets become  Phoenix Coyotes

The Jets were a great classic NHL team with the likes of the Nordiques, Whalers and North Stars. They uprooted to Phoenix in 1996 and were given uniforms that were an atrocity to everyone’s eyes. The coyote was not only resembling a bull/robotic coyote, but the color scheme was absolutely terrible. Second, the team was placed in the US Southwest, which is a TERRIBLE location for a hockey team. Hopefully the former Thrashers will be bringing back the Jets name to make up for this horrendous blunder of a uniform set. (PS. In 2003, the uniforms were made a good amount better. Did they improve by moving? NO

1997 – Hartford Whalers become Carolina Hurricanes

The Whalers were my favorite old NHL franchise, a great logo, great players (Pat Verbeek, Shanny, Ron Francis) and a devoted Connecticut fan base. However, the team sadly up and moved in 1997, leaving for Raleigh, NC. The team also shed itself of one of the NHL’s best logos for what is basically a target logo on speed. Old school hockey fans still remember the Whalers and their short run in the NHL. The ‘Canes have seen success, but they are hardly as folklore-ish as the Whalers were.

Did they improve by moving? NO

1997 – Houston Oilers eventually become Tennessee Titans

 – team was the Tennessee Oilers from 1997-98

Oh it was sad to see the Oilers leave Houston, a simple logo – a blue oil derrick in Oil rich Texas, the perfect logo for a team led by a stereotypical Texan coach – Bum Phillips. The team left for Tennessee in 1997, and became the Titans in 1999 (no need to explain how weird it was to have a team called the Oilers in Oil-less Tennessee, not like the Titans says much anyway.) The Titans uniform has stayed unchanged for the most part since 1999 (other than some color-flipping) and isn’t terrible, but nothing compares to the AFL throwbacks the Titans broke out in 2009 to celebrate 50 years since the start of the AFL, these Oilers throwbacks were gorgeous

2005 – Montreal Expos become  Washington Nationals

The Expos were an absolutely atrocious team by the time they left Montreal, wallowing in the NL East cellar for the better part of a decade and failing to sell out Olympic Stadium, attendance was so poor they shifted some games to Hiram Bithorn stadium in Puerto Rico just to survive (note the team was owned by the league at this point.) Upon moving to DC in 2005, they were given some of the dullest uniforms in baseball, and likewise, have been playing dull and foolish baseball, finishing with a losing record every year in DC. Did they improve by moving? NO

2008 – Seattle SuperSonics become Oklahoma City Thunder

The Sonics were kind of anonymous existing in the Pacific Northwest, and then Gary Payton arrived. Injecting a big dose of crazy and enthusiasm into basketball in Seattle. Kevin Durant was expected to do the same when drafted in 2007, but shifty business man and new owner Clay Bennett picked up the team and decided to decieve the Seattle fan base, taking them to Oklahoma City, much like Washington, they were given fairly dull uniforms, but the color scheme works well, and Durant, Westbrook, Harden and the rest of the young Thunder are starting to make an impact on the rest of the NBA. The Sonics, also did not have the greatest uniform scheme in the NBA, but it was a classy look.

Did they improve by moving? Jury is Out

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Posted on June 6, 2011, in Basketball, Hockey, NFL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Good article. Do you mind if I use this on my blog. I really enjoyed it.

  1. Pingback: Debut of Thunder Links | Welcome to the Thunderdome!

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