Good Saturday morning, Uni Watchers! I hope everyone has had a pleasant week!
I’m on the road this weekend, curling in a bonspiel in Connecticut (with lodging in Massachusetts), and in fact, by the time some of you read this, I’ll likely be at the club and on the ice. Depending on how my rink does today, it’s possible I’ll be curling in a final tomorrow…and of course, it’s also just as possible we will have been knocked out of the tournament at some point today. Either way, there will be a smaller-than-usual SMUW tomorrow, since we’ve reached that point on the schedule where most schools in the FBS are either done with their regular schedule, or are playing in Conference Championships (plus there are playoffs for some FCS schools). Depending on how things go, how many games we play, and how late I’m at the club, I may (or may not) have a ticker tomorrow.
I’m pleased to welcome back graphic designer Chris Diamond, whose work (not just uni concepts) has graced the Uni Watch blog several times before. Today, Chris begins the first of what will be a three-part project — a “What If…” — and this one should be a lot of fun. I’ll let Chris take it from here…
by Chris Diamond
Of all cities with “big four” sports teams, Pittsburgh is famous because its teams (mostly) sport the black and gold (yellow) that are the colours of the City of Pittsburgh. The city flag and colours come from the arms of William Pitt, whom the city is named after. The NHL Pirates were the first in 1925, followed by the Steelers in 1933 (also as the Pirates) to don the black and gold. Ironically at the time the baseball Pirates wore navy and red, only changing to black and gold in 1948. The Penguins also didn’t start in black and gold, only changing in 1980, although their logo from 1967 featured the black and gold skating penguin.
Finally, although they aren’t major league, the ABA’s Steel City Yellow Jackets also chose the black and gold (as well as the USL Riverhounds). I’m a Steelers and Pirates fan and have always liked the fact that they share the same colours, and it got me wondering why other cities aren’t the same?
And if they were, what would it look like? UW of course already has form in this area! “Our own Phil Hecken” wrote a couple of great pieces waaay back in 2010 which considered what would the American League and National League be like if the teams all wore city colours? Sadly all of his graphics are lost now, but you can still read his descriptions and the comments, where certain of the “usual suspects” were around 😊
The City of Philadelphia’s colours are blue and yellow which come from the area’s Swedish heritage. Blue and yellow are about as far away as you can get from the current teams’ unis, but two of them have history with the scheme. In 1938 the Phillies wore those colours for one year to celebrate the tercentennial of the Swedish arrival in Philly. And blue and yellow was the Eagles original colour scheme which they did a throwback to in 2007. The Flyers have never deviated from black, orange and white, and (apart from their BFBS flirtation in the 90/00s) the 76ers haven’t strayed much from red, white and blue (not surprising given their patriotic name!). The teams were reasonably easy to translate to the new scheme apart from the Eagles where I had to do a bit of jiggery-pokery to exorcise the black!
New York’s colours are blue, white and orange and come from the city’s Dutch heritage. Of course the Mets, Knicks, and Islanders already use this colour scheme, and the Giants wear blue and red which is not too far away. But having a double set of teams poses a problem for this concept. All the teams in each sport started out in different leagues (Giants NFL, Jets AFL, Rangers NHL, etc.) so having the same colours wouldn’t be an issue initially. But all have ended up in the same league, so at some point each would want to distinguish themselves from their cross-town rival. So I have assumed the older teams stuck with blue as the primary and orange as the secondary and the younger teams vice-versa. Giving us the “blue teams” — the Giants, Yankees, Knicks and Rangers and the “orange teams” – the Jets, Mets, Islanders and Mets. Of the blue teams because of the current use of orange/red and blue, most don’t look that different anyway. Only the Yankees in Mets colours is likely to set both teams’ fans teeth on edge! The orange teams also mostly look sane for the same reason – the Islanders and Mets unis look like alternates and the Nets could almost be a regular uniform (note I used the old style logos rather than the modern minimalist look they have in Brooklyn). The Jets in orange really stand out though. Given how disliked the current unis are, I don’t know if this is better or worse!
Miami’s flag is green, orange and white. It was chosen in 1933, but there is no official explanation as to why, although Miami U has been using similar colours since 1926. All the Miami teams use a three colour+white palette so I’ve added a darker shade of the green to the scheme to make things flow a bit smoother and not look forced. The Dolphins already wear aqua and orange (originally called coral by the team) so the unis don’t look that different. And in fact sometimes, especially on old TV broadcasts, the jerseys can look quite green anyway! The only change I made was a thin dark green outline to the numbers and stripes as the orange and green shades are close in value so they need something to separate them. The Marlins originally had aqua (aka Marlin blue) and orange in their scheme but over the years have become more black-outed until now the other colours barely get a look-in! In the city colours, I feel the Marlins’ look is closer to their origins, and at least the cap logo is easier to see! I also couldn’t resist putting Marlins on their home jersey (as it should be), making sure to #RespectThePlacket! The Panthers and Heat have never had any truck with the city’s colours (apart from the Heat’s bLaCKmAiL [sorry, City] edition jersey). For the Panthers I swapped out their Florida Flag based sleeve patch for their palm trees one as the former makes no sense in green! For the Heat I used the same thin outline as for the Dolphins to separate the orange and green.
That’s it for Part 1, I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did creating them and thanks for looking!
Readers? Your thoughts?