By Phil Hecken
Hallowe’en’s not for another week of course, but that doesn’t mean we’re not in the spirit here at Uni Watch. I’m back today with John Pulsinelle, who you may recall worked with me for a couple of fun posts on fire-themed helmets and again on the Professional Indoor Football League.
Today, we have a Hallowe’en-themed post (don’t worry, I have another one in store for next Saturday, which is actually Hallowe’en) with a football helmet/logo/uniform twist.
I think you’ll enjoy! (Some of the photos below can be clicked to enlarge.) Here’s John with…
By John Pulsinelle
For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has always been synonymous with football (turkey, Detroit Lions, and Dallas Cowboys). However, my thought for this article is the football link to another fall tradition. How about Halloween? Many notions of Halloween (monsters, beast, fright, etc.) are reflected in the game of football. Frightening defensive nicknames like “Monsters of the Midway”, “The Fearsome Foursome”, and “The Purple People Eaters” come to mind.
My inquiry, and content of article, takes the Halloween theme a bit further by exploring pro football’s direct use of monsters, beasts and fright. Use of this theme revealed some novel insignias, great color schemes, secondary logos, and some very cool mascots. As in previous articles, I had to reach out to the more ”˜non-mainstream’ pro football leagues to uncover such examples.
Most of my findings were included with Pro Football Indoor Leagues. The Arena Football League offered some great Halloween associations. Let’s begin with the New Orleans VooDoo.
The Arena League’s Toronto Phantoms offer another ”˜daunting’ logo. Webster Dictionary defines a phantom as “something apparent to sense but with no substantial existence (apparition or ghost)”. As a side note, this was the Arena Football League’s one and only attempt to expand the AFL into the Canadian market.
My Arena Football League search concludes with what I consider the best of all; the Texas Terror. Arguably the king of Universal Studio monsters, the Terror employed the Frankenstein monster as their theme. If the logo doesn’t grab you, the official team colors are midnight black, sinister silver, powerhouse purple, and ghastly green. Of additional note, home games were played at the Summit in Houston, Texas. It was cleverly nicknamed the ”˜Summit-tary’ for Terror home games.
My investigation continues into other competitive Indoor Professional Football Leagues. The 2012 Missouri Monsters of the UIFL employs a more ”˜cartoonish’ and friendly-looking creature.
The ”˜Monster’ nickname continues with a find in the PIFL (Professional Indoor Football League). The Minnesota Monsters (1998 PIFL) played their home games at Warner Coliseum on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.
The Bayou Beast was also a member of the ’98 PIFL. The Beast played their home games at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. Team colors were black, red, white, and yellow. Of note, the Bayou Beast won the first (and only) PIFL Championship game against the Madison Mad Dogs. Notable players included Michael Lewis who went on to become an NFL Pro Bowl selection from the New Orleans Saints.
My research uncovered another take on the Phantom logo. The Florence Phantoms were members of the AIFA (American Indoor Football Association) in 2006 through 2009. Although I wasn’t able to confirm, I assume their mascot (appropriately named ”˜Doom’), looked similar to their logo.
My final ”˜Indoor’ football find are the Carolina Ghostriders. A ”˜ghostrider’ typically references an apparition or vision of a deceased horseman. This more modern version includes an apparition riding a ”˜steel’ horse. The Ghostriders were members of the AIFL (American Indoor Football League) in 2005 and 2006.
The only representative I found for the ”˜outdoor game’ is the San Francisco Demons of the XFL. Expanding my Halloween horizon, inclusions of witches, devils/ demons is certainly fair game. Of special note, the Demons participated in the one and only XFL Championship AKA Million Dollar Game played in 2001.
Thanks, John! Great stuff!
OK readers — that’s quite some research there — any other football (or any other sports) teams that would make additions to this list?
[NOTE: For next weekend — I’ve been compiling a list and photos of Hallowe’en-themed or colored uniforms worn by both pro (NFL) and college (NCAA) FOOTBALL teams, along with my buddy Clint Richardson. If you have any teams who have worn special unis or colors for Hallowe’en, please shoot me an e-mail at Phil.Hecken@gmail.com. Thanks!]
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards
I’m pleased to continue with a favorite weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” which are created by Gary Chanko. You probably know Gary best for his wonderful colorizations, but he has been a solid contributor for many years, and this is his new project. This segment will appear every Saturday on Uni Watch.
Here’s Gary (click on image to enlarge):
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards – Series II
by Gary Chanko
In this edition of Classic Football Scoreboards we visit the University of Michigan for a retro look at the stadium’s scoreboard beginnings, including an unexpected college football first.
Michigan Stadium (1930)
Football Home of: University of Michigan Wolverines (1927-present)
Opened: First football game October 1, 1927
It is better known among college football fans by its nickname, The Big House. You might not guess its size from outside the stadium – most of the seats are below ground! The Big House is, in fact, ginormous. It is the largest sports stadium in the United States (official capacity: 107,601) and the second largest in the world! (You may be surprised to know the location of the largest stadium, see below.)
The history of the planning and construction of Michigan Stadium is extensively documented, including construction photography, by the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library. You may also enjoy this historian’s perspective on the uniqueness of the Big House. Also check out this video clip of a 1930s game in Michigan Stadium.
The manual scoreboard from Michigan’s prior home, Ferry Field was transplanted to the new Michigan Stadium when opened in 1927. In 1930, electronic scoreboards were installed at both ends of the stadium. Electronic scoreboards were in use in college stadiums as early as 1926, with the University of Wisconsin reportedly the first.
But Michigan’s scoreboards included an electronic game clock, making the stadium the first in the United States to use them to keep the official game time. The actual operation of the scoreboards is described in the Bentley Historical Library link above.
That first ever game with the electronic game clock is the subject of the scoreboard illustration, Michigan’s 14-13 victory over Purdue on October 11, 1930.
A Few Things to Know
• As noted above, for offensive plays the scoreboard display provided the uniform number for the RUNNER. Why Runner? In this era of college football the passing game was not widely accepted among the old school coaches. In fact rules were added in 1926 that resulted in a penalty of five yards for each “incomplete pass after the first during the same period of downs.” The rule lasted 8 years before being repealed!
• Michigan opened the 1930 season at home with a double header. Yes the team actually played two games afternoon games.
• The largest sports stadium in the world is currently the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium located, surprisingly, in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Many thanks to Greg Kinney, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan for research assistance that greatly aided the completion of the illustration.
If anyone is interested in purchasing a digital copy of these posters, Gary is working on an online purchase option. In the interim you can contact him directly at Classicscoreboards@gmail.com.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Just one this week, and comes from our friend Bruce Menard, who has been posting a bunch of colorizations over the past month on Twitter, but this one he sent in specifically for Uni Watch.
Click photos to enlarge.
Good morning Phil,
Here’s that before/after colorization of the ’39 Bears training in New Jersey. I love that 1939 NYC World’s Fair jacket on Musso, it’s what inspired me to add color to this particular photo, even though I typically stick to baseball.
“Sid Luckman & The Chicago Bears Train For Their Upcoming Giants Game”
~ (Wire Tag for October 19, 1939) “Newark, N.J. – Members of the Chicago Bears pro football team working out at the School Stadium in Newark for their game with the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds Oct.22. That’s Sid Luckman, former Columbia star, throwing the ball and Joe Stydahar (13) blocking George Musso.”
That’s it for today. Great job B!
Paul’s Latest on ESPN
In case you missed it, Paul had two pieces published over on the mothership.
On Thursday, it was his annual NBA Uniform (and more) preview. Lots of stuff (not just unis) on there — good readin’ if you didn’t see it.
And on Friday, Paul had his latest “Friday Flashback” column, which takes an in-depth and the New York Mets’ BFBS period, including a nice interview with the guy who came up with the whole idea. More good stuff.
DESIGN CONTEST LAST REMINDER!
Two weekends ago, in combination with Uni Watcher Daniel Secord, I announced a new design contest — one that really is probably the craziest design contests ever — an ambulance. It’s actually pretty simple (although the execution may be tricky), and there are prizes!
If you missed it, please read the entry here for all the rules, downloads, graphics, deadlines, etc.
I’ve only received FIVE total entries so far (and one goof — thanks Goblin) — a ridiculously low number — so it’s time for you designers to step it up! I know you can do this one some justice (and there are prizes!). There is still a few days until the deadline (October 29th), so you’ve got a couple days left.
Hope we can get our designers (and non-designers alike) to really give this one a shot.
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: With the World Series now set (yes, it’s Mets vs. Royals), here’s Conrad Burry’s updated circle bracket. … According to this since deleted article, the Minnesota “Twins will have a NEW alternative home jersey that is RED. He didn’t give much details but there will be a TC logo over the heart and the news will be announced early next week,” (thanks to Shane Drahota). I didn’t screenshot it and I don’t remember all the details, but it apparently won’t be like the short-lived 1997 alternate. Shortly after that article that was released, the website unpublished it (at the Twins’ request). … 50 years ago yesterday, there was a proposal to put a dome over Shea Stadium (from Bruce Menard). … Tweeter Patrick Thomas sends this picture of the “2016 ASG Ball” (from the MLB shop) — not sure if they’ll use one with the blue & gold stitching, but it’s definitely consistent with the 2016 ASG colors. … The New York Mets helmets now have World Series stickers — so now it’s offical! (thanks to Mike Nessen). … The New York Times (from 7/14/70) says Mets skipper Gil Hodges wore Reds uni when his own was missing (h/t Paul). And here’s a photo!
NFL News: Did you ever want to know what the five most popular NFL player jerseys are in Europe? Well, you’re in luck (no real surprises there either). … Did you ever want to know which NFL jersey is most popular amongst the ladies? Now you know. … And speaking of NFL jerseys, here’s an article on personalized jerseys. … Crossover alert! What if NFL Teams wore NBA-themed jerseys? … The New Orleans Saints will again be going white over gold when they play the Colts — the really should NEVER wear the black pants again. Ah, shit. … Patrick O’Neill thinks the splash photo from this article featuring a Carolina Panther logo on a visor “has to be photo-shopped, right?” … 1970s book of trademark designs shows a Chicago Bears logo Paul has never seen before (or me either, for that matter). … Here’s a look at some GI Jokevember merch for the Philly Eagles (from Frank McGuidan).
College/High School Football News: Belhaven in Jackson MS, is apparently the “Oregon of D-III football”, according to Mike Kennedy, who adds, “My grandson plays for them and I always look forward to the different looks they have. His name is JC Lacy. A radio announcer in San Antonio said he had the best football name he had ever said.” … The Illinois Football team will be wearing their “Galloping Ghost” unis (aka GFGS) today — here’s a look at their uni tracking so far for 2015 (from Illini Football). … Mississippi State will be wearing black jerseys against Kentucky. … “Wow,” writes Cassian Wykes, “Take a gander at home (sic) long the Princeton sleeves are in this photo from 1985.” …. Oooohhhh, check out this nice historical display of all Northwestern football helmets at Becks Book Store in Evanston (h/t ChiTownTiger). … Speaking of Northwestern, they’ll be in all white today against Nebraska, who, if you didn’t know, will be wearing fucking clown suits. … On the other hand, Georgia Tech will be wearing awesome honeycomb helmets. … Possible throwbacks in the works for ASU (h/t Joey Artigue). … Here’s some odd pinktober unis (via Seahawks Unis). Looks like the NOBs were personalized (h/t Kurt Witten). And here’s the full story (from SoonerRoby).
The Orlando Magic were holding voting on a 6th Man Design A Tee-Shirt Contest — not sure if it’s still going on, but a couple of them are interesting, and the winner will be revealed Monday — well the voting ended, but here’s what they looked like (h/t Dave Doop). … Ads on game uniforms are a crucial topic on the NBA Board of Governors’ agenda. … The Orlando Magic may be a force to be reckoned with this season, judging by that first-quarter point total (nice grab by A.J.).
Hockey News: Today, the Boston Bruins will unveil their jerseys for the 2016 NHL Winter Classic at the Seaport World Trade Center (200 Seaport Blvd., Boston, MA 02210) at 1:30 p.m. (thanks to Matt Chmura). … Check out these past NJ Devils uniform quirks. Says submitter Neil Vendetti, “Lots of good Lou Lamoriello facts in here, many related to uniform numbers (he didn’t allow #13, he hated high numbers, etc.).”
Soccer News: If you care about such things, Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has second best-selling jersey in MLS, Chelsea great Frank Lampard trails in seventh.
Grab Bag: “My alma mater (and current employer), Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Livonia, Michigan is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year,” writes Craig Barker. “As a logo lover and UniWatch member, I pushed for a commemorative logo for the event and a 50th patch for our athletic teams. We got both!” … You’ll never guess why the iconic Coke bottle has these curves (thanks Brinke). … Pinktober even affects the gods of rock ‘n roll — here’s Sir Paul sporting a pinktober bracelet (from Dylan BOO). … Wow — check out this excellent repurposed scoreboard. Submitter Paul “Too Tall” Deaver says that is located at The Garage (South) burger restaurant in OKC. … Here’s an interesting “Uniform” change in NASA rocket design (from Chris Zagorski).
And that’s it for today! Big thanks to John for that interesting (and well-researched) lede, Gary for the Scoreboards, Bruce for the Colorization, and everyone who tweeted or e-mailed for the ticker. Everyone have a great Saturday and I’ll catch you guys tomorrow with the usual SMUW crew and shenanigans.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“(The) best acronym of all time came out of Canada. During a weekend convention in 2000, right-wing activists met and named their new party the Conservative Reform Alliance Party. …(F)or two glorious days, Canada actually had a major political party that called itself CRAP.”
— R. Scott Rogers