By Phil Hecken, with Jimmer Vilk
Greetings, and a good Saturday to all readers!
Last weekend, the USFL (Mach Deux) began its (new) inaugural season, with four games between the League’s eight teams kicking off. In case you missed it, on Easter Sunday I provided a look at the uniforms worn by the Generals and Stallions (you may need to refer back to that post for reference).
Today, I’m joined by quite possibly Uni Watch’s biggest USFL fan, Jimmer Vilk, and he and I are going to review all the uniforms (or at least the eight uniforms worn this past weekend) for the eight teams comprising USFL 2.0. Jim will kick things off by comparing how the unis of the original USFL compare to the “refreshed” versions (I’ll also show graphics of the old vs. new helmets, since in many cases there are big differences from the originals), then we’ll discuss the new unis.
Differences in Unis
All uniforms shown below were worn in USFL I (1983-1985)
Very similar unis, with the biggest difference being the helmet logo. The five stars are inside the wreath instead of on it, and the stars have been added to the shoulders.
The helmet and pants are more tan than gold. The helmet logo is a white horse head instead of a red full horse, the stripe starts wide in the front then tapers down to almost the back of the helmet, and the jersey numbers have a rectangular block font.
No helmet stripe or sleeve stripes this time. Pants have gone from gray to charcoal, with a solid black stripe that goes up the side of the white jersey (black jerseys have charcoal side stripes).
Head of the panther is outlined in plum instead of solid plum. Numbers are not outlined and (same as most teams) thinner and non-serifed.
Helmets and pants are a brighter yellow instead of gold, with diagonal tiled red/yellow striping that also appears on the jersey sides. No lettering on the logo, no sleeve stripes and a rounded/angular number font.
Slightly different helmet logo, with a big light blue wave on the sides and a swell of darker blue in the back. The wave replaces the sleeve stripes on the jerseys.
The horse on the helmet logo is outlined in black instead of solid, with a red tail. Striping is black/red/black, dropshadow numbers are red on the white jerseys, collars are red on both jerseys, facemasks are red and bandit head logos replace sleeve stripes.
Helmet logo has a smaller mauler with a white background. Same logo appears on the sleeves instead of stripes, jerseys have shoulder yokes (orange on the purple jersey, purple on the white jersey), number font is serifed, and there is a solid purple pants stripe.
The game ball is also different:
While the original ball had a great lighter color to it, I prefer the starry “stripes” and the colorful logo on the new ball. The Nerf people need to make a version of this so I can kick it around the back yard.
Now that we’ve looked at the differences between the old and new USFL (thanks, Jim!), we’ll go on to the new uniforms. Once again, please refer to this article for pictures of the Generals and Stallions. For those teams, I’ll just include one photo below for reference.
JV: As with all the teams, the numbers could be bigger. The first Generals had *really* visible sleeve numbers, which I quite enjoyed. I do like the new uncluttered logo and the addition of the five stars to the jerseys.
PH: I love the new helmet, and I’m generally very pleased with the Generals “new” look. I didn’t really have a favorite uniform in the old USFL, but I think this one is my favorite now. Of all the unis, this one seemed to stray the least from the original.
JV: I don’t dislike them, however they are the biggest disappointment for me. I do not like that blocky font at all. The horse head brings back memories of the CFL’s Baltimore Stallions, which was nice, but I miss the red full horsey.
PH: It seems all the USFL teams have bespoke fonts, and the Stallions’ squared-off fonts are a downgrade from the original look. The helmet logo is a slight improvement, but that center stripe (which tapers from fat in front to thin in back) is a disappointment. I’m not a big fan of the fat pants stripe, but I do like the Northwestern striping on the shoulders.
JV: The only thing I don’t like is the number font. It’s too squished together, so from a distance I thought the QB was wearing a single digit number (same with the Bandits QB). I really like the pants.
PH: Overall it’s a pretty solid uni: normally I like helmets and pants to match (or helmets/jerseys), but the black hat/blue-gray pants look good. Fonts could be better, but even those are nice. My biggest complaint, and it’s not unique to the Gamblers, is the unnecessary jersey side panel, which seems to neither match the helmet nor pants shade. Those should have stayed in the 90s where they belong.
JV: Not an exact copy of the original uni, and just as easy on the eyes. I honestly don’t know which version I like better. The Lions could learn a thing or two about seamlessly updating a classic look.
PH: The helmet is a slight downgrade from the original, as is the uni, but overall it’s still solid. My biggest complaint is the non-matching striping pattern on the jersey sleeves and pants. The maroon/powder/maroon pants stripe is great and the team should have used that on the sleeve and helmet. The fonts could be less squared-off and I wish guys would get their sock stylings more uniform.
JV: How could they radically change the look of the original league’s most successful franchise? Like this… I was shocked at first, then I quickly realized I like this SO much better. I love the colors and the font and I’m always a sucker for tiled striping.
PH: This came so close to being a great upgrade. They get muy props from me for switching from metallic to athletic gold, and I dig the helmet logo. Fonts are great too (might be the best in the league). But…WHY OH WHY did they did they have to go with a traffic cone-esque striping pattern? I could handle it just on the helmet, but when they added the tiled stripes to the jersey side panel and the pants, they lost me. Another dated look for a league I hope survives more than one season.
JV: The original flowing, beautifully-proportioned breaker wave made for one of the best helmets ever (if not THE best). This helmet…well…the light blue wave looks more like a shark fin and the dark blue looks like an automotive headrest. I do like the waves on the sleeves, though.
PH: My favorite jersey and pants combo of the whole league (Generals come close) — I love the mix of royal, powder blue and silver-gray, and there are no unnecessary do-dads (like side panels) to detract from the look. I really like the wave pattern on the sleeve caps. But that helmet. Ugh. If they could just have used the sleeve cap as the helmet logo, it would be perfect…but no…they just had to wrap the wave around (like the original) but for some reason added a giant royal shape that could best be described at the St. Louis arch filled in with solid blue.
JV: With only two teams having sleeve stripes, I would have preferred this being the third. If the numbers were bigger I’d love the drop shadow even more. I like the collar, facemask and striping, and the new logo is growing on me.
PH: Another uni with so much potential ruined by the stupid side panel. I mean, how good does this look straight on? The block shadow numbers aren’t a deal-breaker, but a simple black outline would have been better. Still, it’s a good overall look. It could just have been better.
JV: Either the Stars or the Maulers are my favorites when it comes to the unis. I’m glad to see a team with shoulder yokes, and they show off those great colors in a simple way. The serifed font helps keep the numbers properly spaced apart from each other.
PH: Unlike a certain someone, I don’t hate purple and I like the new, lighter shade the Maulers are using. But one thing I really don’t like are shoulder yokes, and this one is almost eye-searing. What makes it worse is the two-color collar (not unique to the Maulers), which reminds me of the Nikelace or “flywire” collar common to NFL unis in the early 2010s, after Nike took over the contract. It never looked good. On a yoke, it looks terrible. It may be my least favorite new USFL uniform — but considering the direction the league could have taken design-wise, it’s still decent.
And there you have it. Apologies on the length (believe me, this could have been twice as long), but I think you get the idea. Of all the post NFL/AFL merger leagues, the USFL was arguably the most poised for long term success, so keeping the spirit of the original uniforms mostly intact was a smart move — and for the most part I think they have succeeded; I’m not sure any individual uniform is quite as good as the original, although there are many individual aspects of the new uniforms that are improvements.
Big thanks to Jimmer for jumping on board for this one. Let’s hope were still talking about the USFL in 2023, when the league hopes to actually play in more than one city (for this season, all regular season games are played in Birmingham, Alabama). Perhaps teams will even get a second pair of pants or alternate jerseys. But for now, we’ll settle for two jerseys, one helmet and a single set of pants.
Uni Concepts & Tweaks
Time for more Uni Tweaks from the UW readership.
I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).
Today’s concepts come from John J. Woods:
I don’t know if you’re getting a lot of Cardinals feedback from last weekend’s post [Editor’s Note — here’s the article to which he refers].
If you are, let me pile on.
The team uses AZCARDINALS as their web address, so I emphasized that.
The profile logo is made up of a navy letter A with a navy letter Z.
The Z not only creates the mask on the face but a shoulder pad curve.
The logo could also use black instead of navy, on either a copper, white or red helmet.
The lower right shows the yellow edge directly on red without the white outline.
This logo customizes the bird logo into AZ instead of using an identity from St. Louis or even Chicago.
I think a lot of designers like copper helmets based on the old USFL Wranglers but the combo of red, black and a copper/tan on a jersey gets close to the Bucs old putty color scheme. Be careful!
– Johnny Woods
OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.
Guess The Game…
from the scoreboard
Today’s scoreboard comes from ojai67.
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.
Purp Walk reminder: Paul here. In case you missed it this past week, we have some big plans afoot for this year’s Purple Amnesty Day (which, as always, will be on May 17), including a live event in Denver where I’ll be dressed head-to-toe in purple. If you need to get caught up on the Purp Walk plans, everything’s spelled out here.
Also: Another big piece of news from this week is that our new line of Uni Watch Baseball Bats, produced by the great folks at the Pillbox Bat Co., are now available, and they look sensational. Available in green, yellow, BFBS, and miniature. Check this out:
Nice, right? You can order them here.
Okay, now onto the Ticker.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: The Red Sox wore their navy blue away unis last night in St. Pete for the first time this season. Traditionally, the Red Sox wore their alternates on Friday nights only but in recent years the Red Sox have been using their alternates more than their primaries. … We’re probably not far away from this in the majors, eh? (from Paul Dillon). … New logo for the Plattsburgh Thunderbirds of the Empire Baseball League (from John Cerone).
Football News: WVU is the latest team to adopt the rugby scrum cap-style helmet padding for practice (from Dan Matthews).
Hockey News: The Bruins say they’re going to wait for “the right fit” (Boston Globe link paywalled) before signing on with a uni ad. Insert “Dunkin Donuts” joke here (thanks, Phil).
Basketball News: The Jazz’s new unis have leaked, and they’re as boring as they had been previously described. A downgrade from one of the NBA’s best identities to one of its worst.
Soccer News: Here are the first kits for the League1 Ontario’s (Part of League1 Canada) newest club, Electric City FC, based out of Peterborough, Ontario (from Wade Heidt).
Ukraine News: Snooker player Jack Lisowski said he wasn’t allowed to wear a Ukrainian flag at the ongoing world championship in Sheffield, England, since he’s not from Ukraine, even though he has worn one for other tournaments (thanks, Jamie).
Grab Bag: Here are a couple of Anzac Day designs for the Australian Football League: Collingwood, Hawthorn, and Melbourne (thanks, Jamie). … Did you know that the original logo for UT-Arlington after it chose “Mavericks” as its team name in 1971 was a horned horse? Like a unicorn, but tougher, I guess (from Kary Klismet). … In regard’s to Paul’s post yesterday, Aaron Hoak notes that the retro microphone motif isn’t limited to sports, but is also used in tech.
Uni Tweet of the Day
This would probably look better than their future “City Connect” uni will…
Next Friday: Reds unveil new uniforms to remind fans of better times. pic.twitter.com/Q5n2Rhd5wb
— Josh Ewald (@ewald_josh) April 21, 2022
And finally… that’s it for today. Big thanks to Jim Vilk for his contributions to the USFL section!
Everyone have a good Saturday and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow.