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And Now For Our Next Uni Design Contest…

USFL splash

By Phil Hecken, with Jim Vilk

Hot on the heels of Paul’s ESPN contest to design an NHL team for Las Vegas (see details below), I’m back with the esteemed Mr. Vilk to announce the next design contest. I think you guys will enjoy this one a lot too.

I’ll let Jim explain below, and then I’ll be back with the rules and parameters:

. . .

The USFL As Inspiration
By Jim Vilk

Back in my football-loving days I had myself a torrid three-year affair with the USFL. It was loads of fun and extremely easy on the eyes. Many readers have also expressed their fondness for the gone-too-soon spring game. So, when there was talk of a revival in recent years, hopes were raised, only to be dashed again and yet again. Even the proposed A-11 League, which acquired the names and logos of several USFL franchises, is on hold at best. If I were a betting man, I’d put a good chunk of money down on “Not Gonna Happen.”

In the meantime, there are numerous franchises in other sports that are in serious need of rebranding. I say, let’s free up the great names, colors and logos of the USFL and reuse them there. Paul’s “Design a Las Vegas NHL team” contest got me thinking, why not turn my idea into another contest? Phil will have the details, but first, I have three proposals:



1. If there’s any team that’s screaming “Rebrand me!” it has to be the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. Most people associate that name with losing and with Donald Sterling. With new ownership and some quality players, the Clippers seem to be on the expressway to bigger and better things. Might as well rename them the LA Express then.


wranglers baseball

2. Major League Baseball has lots of great uniforms, but there are some clunkers, most notably the Arizona Diamondbacks. The whole “D-Backs” thing isn’t working for me, and the new color scheme is less Arizona-y than when they started. Why not go full Arizona with some copper caps and rebrand as the Wranglers?



3. Back to the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies have one of my favorite modern uniforms. There has been talk of a new color scheme for the Griz, though, so just go all the way and bring back the Showboats (great name for the NBA, eh?).


Now, let’s see your ideas. Pick a league, any league and have some fun. Oh, and for those entering Paul’s contest, have you considered the Las Vegas Gamblers?

. . .

Thanks, Jim — clearly those designs won’t be eligible, but you guys get the idea. We’ll break it down into five four categories (the Four Three Major sports, and then one for any other sports, like hockey). So: Baseball, Football, Basketball, Soccer and Etc. You can design for any team (pro, college, fantasy, etc). After all the designs are received, we’ll run them down by sport and have reader voting on each design.

UPDATE: After consultation with Jim and hearing reader feedback, American Football will NOT be included in this contest. Because the USFL is a former football league, it makes no sense to include it. All other sports leagues will be eligible

The Rules:

I’ll keep the rules basically the same as Paul’s rules for the LV redesign contest, with a couple of small differences:

• Your entry must include a team name, a logo and uniform(s). It would be VERY HELPFUL (but not required) if you could include everything in one single submission (so, one single ‘page’). If you must include separate attachments, that’s ok.

• Your designs can be created in any digital or analog medium (Illustrator, Photoshop, crayon, whatever) and can be submitted in any standard digital format (JPG, PDF, TIFF, etc.).

• The file(s) you submit should list the following in the subject line: USFL Design Contest (“name of sport”) — So if you’re submitting a baseball design, please put in the subject line “USFL Design Contest Baseball”

• You can submit multiple entries for a single sport and you can also submit entries for any or all of the sports. Please send each one separately, using the Subject Line guide above.

• Email your entry to me (

• Deadline: Wednesday, April 15, midnight ET. Just like your taxes.

OK — you guys know what to do. If you need to see any of the uniforms and logos of the USFL for inspiration, you should visit the USFL Uniform Database (run by the GUD guys) or the USFL page over at Chris Creamer’s site.

Big thanks to Jim Vilk for the idea and inspiration. I’m looking forward to this and you guys never disappoint, so…GET CRACKIN’!


all sport uni tweaks

Uni Tweaks Concepts

We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.

So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.

Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.

Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.

And so, lets begin:


First up today is Brendon Wolfe with some Patriots concepts:

Patriots Concept Home - Brandon Wolfe

Patriots Concept Away - Brandon Wolfe


I have a uni tweak for the New England Patriots.



. . .

And we close today with Stephen Scheffel with some new looks at the Colorado Avalanche:

Colorado Avalanche - Stephen Scheffel

Hey Phil,

I think the Avs have one of the worst uniforms in the NHL but they also have some of the best logos and a great color scheme.

The third is a fauxback. The Rays did a great job with their fauxback and I think the Avs could wear something like this as a permanent third or even for a winter classic game.

I’d love to hear some feedback from my fellow uni-watchers!

Stephen Scheffel

. . .

And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.


ESPN contest reminder: Remember, Paul is currently accepting entries for an ESPN contest to name and design a team for a prospective NHL expansion franchise in Las Vegas. Details here.


Too Good For the Ticker

Too Good…

for the Ticker

Got an e-mail from Hugh Golden, and while it’s not particularly long — it’s got some very interesting pics with it.

You can click the images to enlarge:

. . .

Hi Paul/Phil,

Found these MLB logo pop-tarts at our local supermarket. I also had the Giants and Cardinals, but I was hungry and couldn’t find my camera. Had never seen them before and have not seen them again.


Hugh Golden

Jamestown, NY






. . .

Cool! I’m not a breakfast (or pop tart) guy, so this is news to me. Thanks for sharing

OK, now onto the ticker…


Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: Check out the picture of Miguel Cabrera at the top of this article. Says submitter Mike Engle, “(S)pecifically Miggy’s bat knob. Looks like he’s got an 11 there, which could only be for Sparky Anderson as a Detroit Tiger. But then look at his batting gloves. There is some hi-viz neon green piping, which I feel like has only been “a thing” for a couple of years, and not as far as 2011, which would have been the memorializing year with the Sparky patch. (He died in Nov. 2010.) Interesting.” … This is a really tremendous picture gallery of Tiger Stadium. Jeffrey Sak adds, “I know there’s a lot to go through in this gallery but I highly recommend it. Pictures dating back to the late 19th and early 20th century. The picture of Ty Cobb using a huge camera is awesome.” … ThaChadwick notes “Minor change in #Astros orange cap: 2-tone blue star.” Is this new? I seem to recall they had the two-tone star before, but I could be misremembering. … Check out this great photo of the Phillies from Spring Training in 1915 — that comes from this article (submitted by Andrew Hoenig), and highly recommended reading. … Great photo of Pete Rose on top of the dugout steps of Crosley Field in 1967 (via Lost Ballparks). … The Washington State University Cougars have added a memorial cap patch for Bobo Brayton, who recently passed away. They also went with pinstripes and “pants up” for him (thanks to Michael McLaughlin). … The Peoria Sports Complex, where the San Diego Padres of the Cactus League enjoy Spring Training, have special jerseys on sale with a cactus print on the back (thanks to Elan Bradford). … The Charleston River Dogs have unveiled their Red Shirt Friday jerseys for the upcoming season (From Minor League Promos).

NFL News: Here’s an interesting 1985 Raging Rapids Commercial with Jack Lambert in uniform and Myron Cope (found by Douglas Ford). … There is really no way to make the Tampa Bay Bucs unis any less awful than they already are. But that doesn’t mean some people won’t try.

College Football News: Apparently the Oklahoma Sooners have upgraded to the new Mach Speed uniform template (thanks to Hunter Ginn). … Even though one of the FSU helmets was (thankfully) never worn this past season, concepters are still having fun tweaking them (via JVince11).

NBA News: What’s in a number? A lot. Here’s the story behind the TrailBlazers’ numbers and why the players wear what they wear (nice find by Harvey Lee). … The Utah Jazz will honor Hot Rod Hundley by wearing a black memorial jersey stripe for the remainder of the season. They wore the stripe beginning last night.

Hockey News: The Utica Comets wore this digi-cam specialty jersey last night against the Ice Hogs (thanks to Comets Army). … In yesterday’s ticker, I had an item about Henrik Lundqvist’s new mask. Here’s the story behind that. … “I was at the Penguins-Coyotes game and the in game score board listed Arizona still as Phoenix,” writes Yancy Yeater. … Boston Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa was forced into backup duty yesterday, and he got a uniform without a last name (thanks to Stephen Hayes.

Soccer News: Here’s a leaked render of the rumored 2015-16 third kit for Paris St. Germain (via Conrad Burry). … Due to the snow and wind yesterday, the Revolution and Quakes broke out the neon ball (via Mike Slavonic). … In yesterday’s match with Montreal, an Orlando City player went NNOB and N#OB (blood jersey?). Grab sent in by Matt Philpott). Here’s another shot. And apparently yes, it was a blood jersey.

College Hoops News: Here’s some video of the Final Four court being built at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis (from Chris Flinn). … Looks like some bad NOB arching on Terry Rozier III in Friday night’s Elite Eight game for Louisville (good spot by Mike Engle). … I’m not even sure what this uniform is, but it’s pretty awful.

Grab Bag: Whittier College Rugby has a new crest (via Whittier Poets Rugby). … I cannot explain this Cleveland Indians shirt with NFL apparel tag (via Andrew Payne).


And that’s going to do it for this weekend. Thanks to Jimmer for the new contest idea (and samples), and to the concepters as well. And all you who submit or tweet for the ticker. Back atcha next weekend.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“The Fuck jersey story was a feature on today’s ‘Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me’ True or False quiz. Knowing that information allowed me to defeat my wife in our play-along-at-home contest.”

— KC


Comments (55)

    Shouldn’t football be not allowed for the contest? We’re not re-designing the league, right? Simply replacing the Houston Texans with the Houston Gamblers doesn’t make for much of a contest.

    After consultation with Jim, we agree — football makes no sense (since the USFL was itself a football league), so we’ll eliminate that as a category.

    All other sports/leagues are still good to go.

    The Avs “fauxback” a la Nordiques?

    Speaking as a Nordiques fan who’s converted to following the Avs, and wants that number font to get fixed, I must say:

    This is better than I ever could wish. It should be in the regular rotation, not just a fauxback.

    Please take my money!

    PS Now we have to unpack the term “fauxback”, as the Rays didn’t exist in the fauxback era, but the Avs sorta did, and that set is a direct link to their earlier incarnation.


    Good word. I’m stealing it!

    (Insert Hamburglar “mrobblemrobblemrobble” here.)

    From what they said on the Bruins radio broadcast, Essensa’s NNOB jersey was Malcolm Subban’s (who is currently down in the AHL) with the name taped over.

    I saw somewhere that they gave Essensa a Malcolm Subban jersey, explaining the #70, and the nameplate was taped over. I can’t find a clear image showing it, though. Interesting stuff regardless.

    Cheers to the Seminole helmet tweak

    Jeers to that Bucs helmet/uni tweak. They turned them into the reason the AZ Cards need a makeover.

    Astros Hat:
    Isn’t the 2 tone look only because of the shiny thread used to make the logo? I’m guessing if shot in the right light it is still just one blue color.

    It’s the angle you shoot it from. Despite the original twitterer’s ignorance this isn’t a new feature on the Astros caps. They also have silver beveling on the “H.”

    There was talk of a two-tone Astros star on the orange caps last year, but I’m not sure they ever made the field. They certainly weren’t for sale.

    And, no, it’s definitely two different blues because the orange stars are two-tone on the blue caps. I have both of the Astros’ blue caps and those stars have two different tones of orange regardless of light.

    Interesting Patriots concept. It has been a long time (Seahawks in 1976?) since a team had a plain silver helmet.

    Oh Stan, you’re back…and so is your same old line. Don’t you get bored with it?

    Eat it. By doing so, you’ll eventually turn it into what you believe is its true form.

    Shouldn’t football be not allowed for the contest? We’re not re-designing the league, right? Simply replacing the Houston Texans with the Houston Gamblers doesn’t make for much of a contest.

    For some reason my device won’t let me respond directly to The’s question…anyway, he brings up a good point. I wasn’t even thinking football when I came up with the idea. Even arena football would be a little too easy.

    That reminds me…was there ever any discussion amongst the USFL owners about joining the Arena League? If they could have played the ’86 season, I think some of them could have made the switch in ’87. Sure would have been cheaper than fielding an outdoor team.

    Arena Football came into existence in 1987 as a four-team league, and all four teams may have centrally owned. If it was an alternative at all for USFL owners, it wouldn’t have been an attractive one.

    Agree. Love the idea of going back into a franchise’s history for design elements. Maybe the Nationals can go back and grab some of the Expos’ elements as well. Nice job.

    Disagree. The Expos design elements were Canadian, French, almost European. None of which is appropriate for a team from Washington. Leave them for a future new Expos team (whether by expansion or relocation).

    Just curious, can one do uniform re-designs on a smartphone app or does everyone do them on computers?

    I’m sure with some smartphone apps and capabilities, you could do a uniform redesign. But I think most people use macs/PCs for their redesigns.

    That Hot Rod tribute is how memorials should be done. No gimmick, no special graphic designer bullshit, just a uniform version of a moment of silence. Well done, Utah.

    RIP Hot Rod.

    I love the Memphis Showboats concept. What a great name and would make a sweet basketball team name.

    Thanks. Glad I went with that number font…it seemed to fit a lot better than the block numbers I originally envisioned.

    The lines on Miguel Cabrera’s bat knob aren’t 11, it’s a Tigers’ team weight code used on bats. Vertical lines represent ounces over 30, horizontal lines represent half ounces, and dots represent 1/10th of an ounce. If the dots are to the left, you subtract, if they’re to the right, you add.

    Two vertical lines on that bat mean that it is 32 ounces.

    That’s an awesomely obscure system! Is it designed that way, to keep it secret from outsiders, or do they use tally marks so as not to accidentally have player #30 picking up a bat that he thinks is his but is in fact just a 30-ounce bat?

    I don’t think they tried to keep it a secret.

    I guess some guys have bats of different weights, and probably choose what to use depending on the speed of the opposing pitcher’s fastball. I would rather just always use the same weight and not have different weights that could interfere with my timing, but some guys apparently change.

    The Tigers only mark the bat if the bat manufacturer doesn’t already label the weight on the knob, but a lot of teams are now using decals on their bat knobs with the players’ numbers on them. This would cover any markings that were on the knob, so if someone has bats of different weights, they would need to write the weight on the decal. I don’t think the Tigers use decals, but if they ever do, they’ll need to put markings on them.

    There’s some more info here: link

    I should mention that Jim Schmakel is the one that came up with this system of marking bats for the Tigers.

    Question on the contest: does it have to be within the same city (as in the three examples), or can you apply a USFL team name to any city or sport?

    I’m thinking as long as the name fits the city, or if it’s a generic name, you could use a different location. The Minnesota Breakers or Cleveland Wranglers wouldn’t make much sense, but the LA Stars would.

    No need to use the same city (although that would probably be more appropriate) but if you wanted to rebrand the New Jersey Generals to something else (as an example), I’m sure it could be done.

    That was close…. I got all excited about a USFL redo like the WFL one last summer but I didn’t have the free time. Now that I see it’s about other sports I don’t have to worry about it because football is really my only sport. Kinda sad though…. I’d been looking forward to a football redesign (and i assume this will negate that ever happening)for a long time, just was hoping it wouldn’t happen during my busy time.

    Your designs from last time were really good, plus you have a really original style. Why don’t you give another sport a try? I’d love to see the results!

    The site continues to hijack my smartphone and send it to the App Store for an ad. It’s extremely annoying. Is the need for advertising revenue so great that it’s worth irritating your readers and
    — more importantly — knocking them off the site?

    I appreciate that Vee63….. I’m not downplaying the event, I just don’t have the time now….. but if it was football I think i would stay up nights trying to get it done anyway :)

    I really like the Avalanche concept. Only thing is a white sweater should not have white numbers. The Nordiques nod is pretty sweet.

    I agree with you Brent. On the concept they look more visible than they would on the ice. Burgundy blue would look better.

    That’s twice in a few months that reading this site would have assisted in winning of Bluff the Listener on Wait Wait.


    Of course, last time Paul himself appeared on the program.

    You know you’re a Uni Watcher when you see the Final Four set, and you just think:
    1) Anything but Duke v. Kentucky. Would look like an intramural at Nike Presents Generic Blue University.
    2) Duke v. Wisconsin though, that would be a great color-on-color red v. blue.
    3) If Paul cares, he’s rooting for Michigan State. In which case, I definitely wouldn’t want color-on-color. Blue v. green would be too dark to distinguish, and red v. green would affect the colorblind (no, I’m not, thanks for asking).

    Avalanche concept 3rd jersey logo looks like a change from the Igloo ‘n’ of the Nordiques to an ‘A’ who’s shape evokes a teepee to me. Which in turn reminded me of the St. Catherine’s Teepees.


    Wonder if the Cubs Pop Tart tastes like stale beer and a century’s worth of disappointment?

    What’s with the Brewers throwback logo on the Pop Tarts box? They haven’t changed the logo from last years on their website. Did I miss a memo or did Pop Tarts screw up?

    Those Washington State baseball unis are outstanding! I can see that being an every day use.

Comments are closed.