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How the Vikings Got Their Horns

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In January of 1962, cartoonist extraordinaire Karl Hubenthal drew a cartoon about how he had designed the Minnesota Vikings’ uniforms. If you’ve never heard of Hubenthal, and/or if you had no idea that he’d created the Vikes’ inaugural look, I have a treat for you today over on ESPN — the lost story of how a guy from Los Angeles created the design that’s now synonymous with Minnesota. It’s a lot like my recent piece on the untold story behind the Astros’ rainbow design. Check it out here.

This ESPN piece, incidentally, would not have happened if not for reader Lukas Hoffland, who tipped me off to a key clue that helped me piece the story together. Big thanks to him, from one Lukas to another.

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Winter Classic teasers: The Rangers and Sabres are set to unveil their Winter Classic jerseys this afternoon, and the Sabres gave some hints by releasing some teaser images yesterday afternoon. Looks very promising, no? Looking forward to seeing the whole thing.

Also, kudos to the Sabres for including an image of the pants, and thereby acknowledging that there’s more to uniforms than just jerseys.

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Terry Glenn follow-up: In yesterday’s post I mentioned that former Cowboys WR Terry Glenn, who was an Ohio State alum (and who died in a car crash earlier this week), managed to sneak a buckeye decal onto the back of his helmet for a game in 2006.

After yesterday’s post went live, I shared that photo with Jason Priestas, founder of the OSU-centric Eleven Warriors site, because I thought he’d get a kick out of it. He did, and then he showed the photo to another OSU grad who played with the Cowboys at the time, linebacker Bobby Carpenter. According to Priestas, “Bobby said [coach Bill] Parcells brought out a sheet of [the buckeye decals] prior to the game and said, ‘Go earn one of these today, Terry.’”

So wearing the decal wasn’t actually Glenn’s idea, as I had long assumed. It was actually a motivational tool by Parcells. All very interesting, especially since Glenn is the player Parcells once referred to as “she” when they were both with the Patriots.

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Looking ahead to Friday: In keeping with the spirit of the season, we’re going to have a new Uni Watch shirt that will only be available from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Much like this year’s Purp Walk shirt, it will have lots of extra bells and whistles (including a magnet!). Trust me, it’s really good. Details coming on Friday.

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New advertiser shout-out: Despite the spread of Google Calendar and other online datebooks, printed calendars are still a big industry. If you still use them, I suggest that you do your calendar shopping with Asgard Press, which offers a slew of very cool-looking college football-themed calendars, like the Auburn design shown at right. (They also have some cool pop culture-themed calendars, if you’re more into that.) And as you can see from their new ad in our right-hand sidebar, you can use the checkout code “UNI25” to get 25% off your order.

And as long as we’re talking about our advertisers:

• In case you missed it last week, you can get a free two-week subscription to Rep the Squad, the company that lets you rent jerseys instead of buying them, here.

• You can get 3-D uniform templates for your uni concepts”>from

• And you can get all sorts of cool sports-related gift items (wallets with linings made from game-used jerseys, cufflinks made from baseball leather, etc.) says:

This is a great article, that I really enjoyed reading. Thanks for sharing.

On a side light, Karl Hubenthal, (Hubby as he was known to us cartoonists), was, indeed, an amazing cartoonist and artist. My understanding is he created the (then) Los Angeles Chargers football uniform as well as the Vikings.

Thought you’d like to know.


Not saying you’re wrong, but what are you basing that on? As you can see in the interview I conducted with his daughter, she said she was not aware of his having designed any other uniforms.

BTW, Paul, great job on the Vikings article. This is the kind of stuff that only UniWatch can provide and it’s appreciated by those of us who Get It.

As for the Vikings, I’m admittedly not a huge fan of the helmet design, but its staying power in a uni-verse where teams are constantly “updating” their logos and helmets is worth admiring.

The history behind the Vikings uniform design is one of the most fascinating pieces you’ve done. What a great journalist. Thanks for doing this!

For the ESPN playoff machine, it isn’t just the Dolphins. The Panthers’ and Jaguars’ logos are clearly inconsistent as well. I would bet the Vikings and Browns are different as well, though that is harder to tell.

Color on color high school games are legal in Texas. The University Interscholastic League plays by NCAA football rules, which allow color vs. color if there is sufficient contrast. Under National Federation of State High School Associations, which are the rules used in every state except Texas and Massachusetts, the visiting team must wear white and the home team a contrasting color.

If the participants of a particular sporting event are not going to appear for the playing of the anthem, then it would seem time to consider dropping the entire ritual. Now I am in no way anti anthem, but what’s the point of playing it for a stadium full of people minus the actual event participants?

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