By Phil Hecken
Greetings and Good Sunday Morning. Chag Sameach to those observing Passover, and a Happy Easter to all those celebrating. What better way to celebrate a holiday weekend than to (re)introduce professional Spring football, better known as the USFL (Part Deux).
Last evening, the new league played its first game, with the New Jersey Generals “visiting” the Birmingham Stallions — I put that in scare quotes because every game for this USFL regular season will be played in Birmingham, Alabama. In fact, there will be three games today, if you so desire, and each will be played on a different network. (Last night’s game was played on both NBC and FOX, the marking the first time since Super Bowl I that two different networks have broadcast the same football game.)
I’ll try to keep this short. While there is a lot to get to in terms of the league, its innovations, and how its rules differ from those of the NFL, I’ll try to keep those to mostly links for now. I’ll also take a quick look at the unis worn by the Generals and Stallions last night, but I plan on doing a full review (with opinions/hot takes) next weekend of all week one games with perhaps the USFL’s biggest fan, Jimmer Vilk. I’m not sure of the format, but it should be pretty entertaining. We’ll mostly focus on the unis, but I’m sure other things will crop up too.
Before we get to the unis, the league (especially with major networks carrying games) seems intent on surviving more than a season. In order to make their product more entertaining (I’d say the quality of last night’s game was somewhere between college and pro, with teams using — at least for now — mostly college-style offenses), the USFL has introduced some rule changes unique to the league, and a couple of (IMO) hit-or-miss “innovations” which may end up as trial balloons for either college or pro (or both) games going forward. These include the helmet cam and numerous (sometimes great, sometimes almost nauseating) drone footage of plays.
But onto the unis. I’ve reserved judgment (and will continue to do so for today) on the USFL unis until seeing them on the field. But first impressions were good. The Stallions wore tan/gold helmets, red jerseys and tan/gold pants, while the Generals countered with red hats, and white jerseys and britches.
Interestingly, neither team featured any visible makers marks on their uniforms, including on the helmet bumpers. Both teams jerseys had the red/white/blue “USFL” logo located beneath their collars…
…a black gold “USFL Inaugural Season” patch on the right shoulder…
…and the “USFL” logo on the nose bumper:
Neck bumpers contained each teams’ name:
As far as the unis — they pretty much looked just like the press photos.
New Jersey Generals:
The Generals have red helmets, with side logo showing two wreaths and five stars, with a white facemask…
Being the designated road team, the Generals wore their white jerseys. Those have five gold stars arranged circularly on the shoulders, with red front and TV numbers, outlined in navy. Sleeves have thin red stripes at the hem. The collar has a white front and red stripe around the back and sides, reminiscent of Nike’s “flywire” design from the early-mid 2010s in the NFL.
Jersey backs have solid red NOB, and red numbers outlined in navy.
The pants are white, with a solid thick red stripe bordered by two thin blue stripes. Most players wore red undersocks with low whites. Like the NFL, lower leg stylings varied widely by player.
Overall a very solid look, not unlike their original USFL uniforms.
The Stallions wore a tan/gold helmet, with white/red stallion logo on the sides, and a red stripe that started thick at the nose bumper, eventually tapering off as it reached the neck bumper.
Like the Generals, the Stallions have updated their helmet from their USFL original. Like the originals, the facemasks were painted red.
The Stallions home jersey is red, with white/tan/white Northwestern-style striping on the shoulders. White TV numbers are located on top of the shoulders:
Front numbers are white with gold/tan outlines, rendered in a custom blocky font:
The back of the jersey has solid white NOB, with rear numbers rendered in the same style as the front:
Pants are tan/gold, with a solid, wide red stripe down the sides.
Like the Generals, most players wore red undersocks with white lows, and lower leg stylings were just as varied:
While both teams’ primary color is red, the game did not have an “overly” red feel (since neither team wore red pants, and the Stallions helmet color is tan/gold).
You can see hundreds more photos here. As mentioned above, I’ll have plenty more to say about all the USFL uniforms next weekend, along with Jimmer Vilk, but if all the games are as solid looking as last evening’s tilt, we will be in for a very aesthetically (if not athletically) pleasing USFL season!
Guess The Game…
from the scoreboard
Today’s scoreboard comes from Kate Carson.
The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).
Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):
Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.
The gentleman you see pictured above is Luscious “Luke” Easter, a prodigious slugging first baseman/outfielder who played in both the Major and Negro Leagues. He is also the only professional baseball player with the surname “Easter.”
He was an excellent player with a ton of pop, and his home runs were colloquially known as “Easter Eggs.” If you’ve never heard of him (or only have a passing knowledge), you should check out his SABR biography. Both on and off the field, Easter’s career was filled with ups and downs, highs and lows. A very interesting man with quite the life story (including his life ending in murder). If you have a few minutes, give his bio a read — you’ll enjoy it, I promise!
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: The American Association’s Chicago Dogs are rolling out new jerseys on Opening Day and giving fans in attendance replica t-shirts of said jerseys. Submitter Matt Lindner adds, “The new duds, and I’ve only seen the black ones on their website so I don’t know if there will be other colorways, are a huge upgrade over what they’ve worn the previous four seasons of their existence.” … Definitely not new old stock: “Spotted this at Wegmans in the Rochester, NY area. Perrys is western NY ice cream company,” says Joseph Bailey. “This was the same package.” … The University of Iowa has quietly rolled out new alternate home whites featuring script lettering across the chest along with a new white cap (from Kary Klismet). Here’s what they’ve worn the last few years for comparison. … Did you know that the precise location of home plate at the Washington Senators’ old Griffith Stadium is commemorated inside Howard University Hospital, which now sits on the site? Here’s a slideshow that shows it (also from Kary). … The Boston Red Sox wore their City Connect unis yesterday and will wear them again today. Monday they’ll wear their home white “Boston” unis. … Speaking of City Connect, the Houston Astros will wear their new alternate uniforms on Wednesday. … The Red Sox Tanner Houck wore a City Connect version of the prophylactic logo yesterday (from Molls). … At yesterday’s Guardians home opener, actor Tom Hanks was reunited with Castaway co-star Wilson (from Paul). … Speaking of the Guardians, The Onion had a great piece poking fun at their previous name and iconography (from Andrew Wagner). … We’ve seen the “First Name Last Name” goof before, but the Toronto Blue Jays took it to a new level, even adding new letters and diacritical marks (from Andrew Welch). … Looks like home plate umps are sporting a new type of cage on their masks this year (from Paul). … Triple-A teams get championship bling too (from Durham Bulls). … Kev O’Content, Jr. noticed some seriously weird logo creep going on here. … The Arizona Diamondbacks have not worn their black on black caps yet this season. These were their primary caps at home and on the road the last couple seasons (from Dbacks Stats & Info). … Topher Davis noticed LA Dodger Gavin Lux was using the glove of former Duluth Huskies infielder, Andy Burns, on Friday night. … Tweeter Ryan Swift is “dying to know the story behind @Starlingmart’s Mickey Mouse necklace.” … Reader Zach Gibson noticed last night in the bottom of the 9th inning that Nathaniel Lowe’s (of the Texas Rangers) helmet decal is almost completely gone.
Football News: The Tennessee Titans have released a rendering of what their proposed new stadium could look like (from Kary Klismet). … The Houston Texans social media team may want to rethink making religious jokes that some don’t find humorous. Or not. … THE Ohio State Buckeyes paid special tribute to its fallen former quarterback during Saturday’s spring game with a special decal on the back of the team’s helmets and Haskins’ initials painted on the 7 yard line — an homage to Haskins’ number Ohio State. In that same game, QB CJ Stroud wore Haskins’ jersey as a tribute.
Hockey News: The Belleville Senators played last evening at the Utica Comets — with a Roaring 20’s jersey for Utica (from John Scagliotti). … Lucasfilm executive and producer Dave Filoni has designed Star Wars night uniforms for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (timecode: 3 minutes 40 seconds). From Texas Trev.
Basketball News: With the NBA Playoffs (full series) officially starting yesterday, here’s one of those awesome progressive timelines showing accumulated playoff wins since 2003, when all 30 current franchises were active (great graphic from Greg Harvey). … A little chyron trouble last night on NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Sixers postgame. Tweeter Michael MPH wants us to “Also please note Doc Rivers’ comments are sponsored by Rivers Casino.”
Soccer News: Brazil’s Atlético Mineiro is holding its annual contest to allow a fan to design a shirt for the team (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: San Francisco City FC of USL League Two has unveiled its new shirts for the 2022 season. … The amazing Kevin Cearfoss has done it again with this Chelsea FC wall art. … Here’s a nice look at the Borussia Dortmund crest over the past 100-plus years (from Lucas Stoller).
Grab Bag: Goshen College, an NAIA school in Indiana whose teams are known as the Maple Leafs, is unveiling a black squirrel as its first-ever sideline mascot. More info here (from Kary Klismet). … The sports teams for the new West Field High School in Utah will be known the Longhorns, and they’ll wear burnt orange and white as their main colors. Here’s their proposed logo (also from Kary). … New athletics logos for Simpson College in Iowa (from Kary again). … One more from Kary: This story explains why Jean-Luc Picard’s father wears a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine-style uniform in Star Trek: Picard. … Check out this AAU boxing robe with advertiser name (newspaper) on back (from James Gilbert).
And finally… that’s it for today — a Happy Passover and Easter to all those celebrating. Everyone have a great week and I’ll catch you back here next Saturday. Till then…