Its that magical time in early January, the snow is flying, people are taking down their Christmas trees, and the next significant holiday on the calendar is Valentine’s Day (or in my case, my birthday, in 25 short days). How will we ever pass the time? Simple answer, the NFL PLAYOFFS HAVE ARRIVED! This season we have had 50% turnover in postseason teams, with the Falcons, Packers, Saints, Patriots, Ravens and Steelers returning, joined by the 49ers, Giants, Lions, Bengals, Broncos and Texans. The team I’m most excited for on that list is obviously my Lions, making their playoff return for the first time in TWELVE years. This weekend, we’ll run through the wildcard weekend matchups and I’ll pick them by uniforms, specifically by which uniforms the teams will be wearing for the specific game, as opposed to their uniform set as a whole.
#6 Cincinnati Bengals @ #3 Houston Texans – 4:30 PM Saturday, January 7
The Bengals will definitely be wearing their white road jerseys, but the question is about the pants. The black pants are considered the team’s “standard” road attire since this uniform was introduced in 2004, but the team frequently wears their white pants on the road as well. In my opinion, the white on white look is much better even though white on black provides more contrast. For the Texans they will be in their standard home blue and whites, which is one of my favorite home looks in the league, so I am gonna go with Houston here.
#6 Detroit Lions @ #3 New Orleans Saints – 8 PM, Saturday, January 7
The picture above is from the Lions vs. Saints game from December 4, 2011, however, common knowledge dictates that the Saints will wear their standard black and gold (pictured below) as they have for their past few home postseason games. Regardless, this is a probably the most asthetically pleasing matchup of the first round. You have the Saints intimidating black complimented nicely by their varying shades of gold, and the Lions very bright away uniforms of white and silver, complimented by their trademark Honolulu blue. Now as a Lions fan, I do love our uniforms, and I will be cheering on my Motor City Kitties on Saturday, but its hard to top the look that the boys from Bourbon Street have. Black and gold makes for a classic, yet still intimidating look, especially with an offense piloted by one of the most prolific QB’s in NFL history in Drew Brees. I am going with New Orleans here even though it hurts me to.
#5 Atlanta Falcons # #4 New York (Football) Giants – 1 PM Sunday, January 8
Ah yes, there is always one of these matchups in every playoffs, the shite vs classic look. You’ve got the Falcons, who back during the Michael Vick era, felt the need to modernize their uniforms from the 1990’s into what you see above. Now I was, and still am a fan of those older uniforms, especially because the old Falcon seemed a bit more intimidating than his modern brethren. Now the Giants have not messed with success and have kept a look similar to what you see above for their entire history. If I were to make any tweaks, I would replace the “NY” on the chest with a GIANTS logo like the team had from 2000-2004, because the only problem is that nowhere on the uniform does it say “GIANTS” just a few New York logos. Regardless though, I am taking Big Blue here, give me the Giants.
#5 Pittsburgh Steelers @ #4 Denver Broncos – 4 PM Sunday, January 8
Ah yes the final round, Denver is back in the playoffs, and literally backed in as they have lost their last three. The Steelers only lost out on the number 1 seed in the AFC due to tiebreakers. The Broncos have worn the same uniform since the end of the John Elway days but it is a look that has worked for them, especially with the orange striping going down the side. The Steelers probably have the most timeless look in football after the Bears, very simple black and yellow, nothing fancy. Now here as a uni-head I am almost torn, but the navy blue and orange is a bit more forward, but has become modern classic, so I will take Denver here.
Roundup: So there you have it, my four picks (uniform wise) are Houston, New Orleans, New York and Denver
- For the first time in the Super Bowl Era, there is not a white-helmeted team in the NFL Playoffs this season
- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will be wearing a Spanish-themed jersey tonight for their game against Lamar
- Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch was fined $10,000 for wearing his unique skittles cleats on Sunday.
- The Michigan Wolverines won the Sugar Bowl wearing their one-off jerseys. Could not help but notice how skinny the numbers looked.
- Last Sunday at the Chiefs Broncos game, Ann Colquitt, mother of KC Punter Dustin, and Denver Punter Britton, wore this hybrid jersey to support both of her sons.
Ah the beauty of cross-sport references. They can be executed quite well when done right, and the examples below are just the tip of the iceberg.
Foccer Shirts – NFL Team themed Soccer Jerseys
Sponsor: Dallas based American Airlines
The pinstripes on the away look excellent, and the home I would have added two Cowboy stars a la mid-90’s Juventus
Sponsor: Philips – who sponsor the home of the Atlanta Hawks, Philips Arena. My choice would have stuck with the local company and gone with Delta Airlines, but that sash and one red sleeve look awesome.
Green Bay Packers
Sponsor: Green Bay based Miller Brewing Co
New England Patriots
Sponsor: Stadium sponsor Gillette.
I like how they used the old NE logo instead of just the Flying Elvis logo.
Sponsor: Stadium sponsor Qwest.
These are my favorites, and I especially like the clash lime green and navy blue hoops, a look similar to their stadium brethren the Seattle Sounders
Sockey Jerseys – NHL Team themed Soccer Jerseys
Sponsor: Arena sponsor Honda
I think the best part about these is the use of the wild wing logo instead of the new stylized D, and the fact that the change uniform pays homage to the teams original uniforms
Sponsor: Arena sponsor United Airlines
I think these look pretty good, especially the home due to its homage to the Blackhawks barber pole designs of the early 20th century.
Sponsor: Arena sponsor and Dallas based American Airlines
The home looks good, if not a bit plain, but the away I am not a huge fan of with the striped sleeves and plain body.
Detroit Red Wings
Sponsor: Detroit based Chrysler
I think these do look good, but resemble polo shirts more than anything, I know that the Wings have very simple uniforms, but there could be some striping or something on these, too plain for me.
All these crossover jerseys are just a taste of what a sports fan who is a graphic designer can do, if any of you have designs like this you would like shown off, please contact me and send me the images and I’ll be glad to post them.
Teams these days introduce new logos and uniforms so often that often fans will forget about the historical logos or ones used for only a short period of time, but today, I salute these old logos, some ridiculous, some classic but forgotten, and some that I think deserve more credit than they received from the public (these are in no specific order)
2003 Toronto Blue Jays
This logo only stuck around Canada’s largest city for one year before the team went through a complete rebranding in 2004, and it was a nice way to send off the Blue Jays older, more classic uniforms. Admittedly, this is probably the most ridiculous uniform on this list, but that is one of the reasons I like it, so many people derided it as silly, but I think that a one armed (and a fairly buff armed) Blue Jay hiding behind a large T is comical, but an innovative logo, and in hindsight, it probably was good that it was only there for one year (before the novelty could wear off) but I definitely think other teams should show this kind of creativity when designing new logos.
1992-03 San Diego Padres
Now this Padres logo holds a special place for me for two reasons, A. in Little league my team was the Rockies and we always played the Padres, so I was familiar with the team name and colors, and B. Tony Gwynn was one of my childhood heroes in baseball, and this was magnified when I watched the 1998 World Series as the Padres lost to the Yankees and I saw a a set of uniforms I particularly liked. I also enjoyed that the team incorporated the pinstriping into their logo. The team has since modernized their logo and uniforms, ditching the pinstripes for plain white, but no one should ever forget the uniforms that Tony Gwynn wore in his final World Series appearance.
Extra: also how can you not like a team hat that uses two different colors for one logo?
1990-2002 Atlanta Falcons
Crisp and Classy define the old Falcons logo, worn by the likes of Falcons greats such as Primetime Deion Sanders, Jessie Tuggle, and Jamal “I invented the Dirty Bird” Anderson (Although it was OJ Santiago that did it first) The Falcons went all futuristic with the logo in 2003 and the dawn of the Michael Vick era, and to me, it lost some of its venom. This logo looks like a Falcon that could swoop down and attack at any point, whereas the new one really lacks that tenacious bite, and looks like it could be in a children’s action cartoon. Thankfully the Falcons have resurrected the old logo with their 1966 throwback uniforms introduced in 2009 (The team is 4-0 when wearing them)
1978-1993 Milwaukee Brewers
Another optical illusion of a logo. At a distance, it looks like a baseball mitt, but up close, you can tell that its an ‘m’ stacked on top of a ‘b’. I was not aware of this logo until the Brew-Crew introduced their alternate uniforms in 2006 that they started to wear more and more frequently over the past few years. I think its a great logo and more baseball teams should go for the optical illusion idea like Milwaukee has embraced.
1994-96 Detroit Tigers
Being “From The D” (Ok fine, Ann Arbor is 35 miles outside of it) there was no chance in hell I was leaving this logo off the countdown, I still wish the Tigers would bring this back in some capacity (alternate caps for road games?) and it was worn on a little used alternate jersey the team had from 1994 to 1996, but it was quickly scrapped. I hold nothing against the Tigers regular old English D or the script Detroit, but I think bringing this back in some capacity on the uniform would be welcomed by the fans.
2000-Present Minnesota Wild
This logo is awesome because it is two logos in one, if you look from the left side, you see a Wild animal, but straight on, it looks like a landscape shot of the environment. Now its true, the Wild do absolutely nothing to justify how good of a hockey hotbed Minnesota is, having only made four playoff appearances in eleven seasons, and they are nothing like what the North Stars were to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, but they can say they rock one of the league’s finest home and alternate uniforms (not classic, but definitely Top 10 unis)
Anaheim Mighty Ducks 1993-2006
This hockey team was formed after a Disney movie with the same name (just no Anaheim) – Enough Said (and their new logos SUCK)
1968-1993 Milwaukee Bucks
Besides the fact that this mascot looks more like a reindeer than a buck (and espeically christmasy with his green sweater) the first Bucks logo holds significance due to one man, Lew Alcindor ( who would become Kareem Abdul Jabaar) played for the team from 1969 before departing for Los Angeles in 1975. This was a logo I had not seen until I was watching some old Jabaar footage and it showed his old Bucks’ gear. I think it looks incredibly cartoonish but is still miles better than any other logo the Bucks have had since.
1971-1992 Hartford Whalers
This one makes me all nostalgic inside. The Whalers were not the best of NHL teams (No Cups, Fringe Playoff Contender) but they remind me of old school hockey, players like Pat Verbeek, Ron Francis and a very young Brendan Shanahan all played for the Whalers in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The team was the definition of small market, but had devoted fans until the end, when they were moved to Carolina and given a Target symbol on crack as a logo – #smh
1995-2001 Vancouver Grizzlies
The Grizzlies were not in Vancouver for a very long time, but this logo was miles better than when the team rebranded itself in 2004. A grizzly is supposed to look fierce and intimidating (not that the team exactly played that way) but its the thought that counts. I was fairly annoyed when I learned the team would not only ditch Vancouver for Memphis, but keep the name (there are a lot more Grizzlies in BC than the Western region of Tennessee.) The team made their ill-fated dull switch before the 2004-05 campaign to this. Sir Charles will finish this