Butt, (speaking of) stripes...

by Tim Brulia

Back in the days of old in the National Football League, the template of a football uniform was rather simple. A plain leather helmet that resembled more a World War I flight cap (without the goggles) than a football helmet, woollen football jerseys, droll canvas pants and wool socks.

As we focus on the pants, and pant materials became a little lighter and more form fitting, one unique aspect came to the fore.  Namely the contrasting appearance of elastic, running down the rear from the waist, down either, um, butt cheek, down the rear thigh, down to the calf to the edge of the pant leg.

For lack of a more sophisticated term, we at the GUD call them "butt stripes."  As far as we can tell, these stripes first appear as black, and in some cases, seem to contour to players' posteriors accordingly. Meaning that some of the heftier players may have had wider butt stripes than the more thinly built players.  We surmise that the butt stripes actually may have had a function; a more custom and comfortable fit for players. The previous canvas pants were definitely bulky and most were fitted with exposed hip pads.  Likely, these pants would add weight with sweat, and likely mud and other elements of nature found on the hard-scrabbled fields.  When the butt striped pants rose in popularity, with newer materials, the stripes were made of elastic materials that moved with the player and was less likely to be troubled with the aforementioned issues that plagued the canvas pants.  Not every team adopted the butt-stripe approach, but the Giants, Bears, Pirates, Dodgers, Cardinals were among those that did.
1934 Pittsburgh Pirates
Soon after their appearance, several teams began to take advantage of the stripes and utilized them as a design element.  In 1935, the Dodgers came out with white butt stripes on their green pants, and the Bears sported orange butt stripes on navy pants.  The following season,
1936 New York Giants
1936, the Giants added stripes within the butt stripes with a white/red/white combo, creating one of the flashiest looks for the butt stripes in NFL history.  The Pirates/Steelers in 1939 adopted a butt stripe look that incorporated an elastic waistband with the butt stripes, a somewhat unique look.  By 1943, the Dodgers were the NFL team holding on to the look as further advancements in materials made the butt stripes rather obsolete in form as well as fashion.  In 1944, the new Boston Yanks were the last team in the NFL adorned with butt stripes.

 Two years later, butt stripes made an encore performance in the All-America Football Conference with the Buffalo Bisons sporting blue stripes on silver pants and silver butt stripes on blue pants.
1946 Buffalo Bisons vs. Cleveland Browns
After 1946, the rear elastic stripes were gone for good, never to return.  Not even on throwbacks.

Recently, the GUD made adjustments to the teams that wore the rear stripes to better portray the look of these beauties.  In most cases the stripes started in an off-set position just below the belt line. Previously, we had erroneously depicted the start of the stripes at the pant edge.

We hope you enjoyed this look back in time as the GUD looks ahead to the 2014 season.

New For 2014

by Bill Schaefer

It's getting to be that time of year again. At this point we have only one team that is reporting that they will be sporting a new look for the 2014 season - the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Now, obviously, all of these combinations are not likely to get worn this seasons, however, with 2 jerseys, 2 colors of pants, and 3 different colors of socks, each is possible. There has been a rumor that there will be a yet-to-be-revealed orange alternate jersey modeled after these but the rumor has not been confirmed. We'll have to wait and see.

*UPDATE* - Just announced, the Buccaneers will wear a patch honoring former owner Malcolm Glazer who passed away this past May. The patch should first appear Friday August 8 for the Bucs' first preseason game against Jacksonville.

Three teams will be sporting anniversary patches - Carolina, Jacksonville, and the New York Giants. Carolina's 20th anniversary patch resembles the one worn for their 10th anniversary back in 2004.

Jacksonville is reportedly utilizing two separate 20th anniversary logos. One will be used for all banners, media, etc. while the second, without the Jaguar logo, will appear on the team's jerseys. The reasoning appears to be that since the Jaguar logo already appears on the permanent jersey patch on the left collarbone area, putting a second on the right collarbone might be overdoing it. A simple solution might be to replace the permanent patch with the anniversary patch for this season but that might have been too logical.

The New York Football Giants will be celebrating their 90th anniversary with this 'understated' patch.
(UPDATE - It appears that the NY Giants have decided to wait until the beginning of the regular season to add their patch as they were noticeably absent for the Hall of Fame Game Sunday night. - BS)

During this offseason, the NFL has mourned the loss of two owners and a Hall of Fame coach. Detroit Lions' owner William Clay Ford passed away in early March. The Lions will wear this patch beginning in Week 1 of the regular season.

Later that same month, the Buffalo Bills' owner and original member of "The Foolish Club," Ralph Wilson passed away, as well. The Bills will wear a jersey patch in his memory.

In June, former Browns guard/linebacker and Pittsburgh Steelers' Hall of Fame Head Coach, Chuck Noll also passed away. A helmet decal has been revealed for this year as the Steelers' way of honoring the memory of, as legendary announcer Myron Cope referred to him, "Emperor Chaz."
Prior to Noll's passing, the Steelers had revealed that they would be honoring the 40th anniversary of their 1st Super Bowl Championship by wearing a patch for the November 30 contest when they would host the New Orleans Saints - appropriate since that game was played in New Orleans at the now-demolished Tulane Stadium.

The season is upon us and our wait is almost over!

Blast from the Past! 1945 in COLOR!

Now and then, we at the GUD stumble upon some pure visual gold that makes all of this research a visual feast to the eyes.

We discovered this gem on youtube.com and were thrilled to find it.

It's a regular season game from 1945. The teams are the Cleveland Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles. The game is played in Philly's Shibe Park. The Rams are in blue and the Eagles in green. The final score was Eagles 28, Rams 14. This was the Rams lone loss in the season. The Rams, led by rookie quarterback Bob Waterfield, would defeat the Washington Redskins in the NFL Championship 15-14 at frozen Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

This clip falls into the "too good not to share" category.


USFL: Week-by-Week

We felt this was too good not to mention.

As many of you know, the Gridiron Uniform Database pretty much owes its existence to Uni Watch, the website dedicated to all things sports logos and uniforms.

Occasionally, either Bill, Rob or Tim may toss a story in UW's direction, if we feel either we or our contributors have made a notable discovery, or if we have added something major to the GUD.

In this case, we think both have been achieved. To further explain, we direct your attention to this amazing piece by Rob and the generous help of contributor "smith03."

In the meantime, it's only six days until the Buffalo Bills start the 2014 season by reporting to camp in Pittsford, NY and 22 days till the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, OH!!

Hang in there!

Canada Day, NFL Jersey Color Submission Day, Fourth of July

By Tim Brulia

To our many friends in Canada, a very Happy Canada Day and later this week, we wish all of our fellow Americans a Happy Fourth of July.  To both sides of the border, please be careful with the fireworks!

July 1 also marks an important day in the National Football League.  For it is the deadline date in which all teams must submit the jersey colors they intend to wear for their 10 home games (two preseason and eight regular season games) for the coming season.

I would assume that most teams have submitted their choices to the NFL well ahead of the deadline.  And likely, while the color selections may be iron-clad, extenuating circumstances may allow for last second revisions after the jersey submissions.  One example from last season may well be the Dallas Cowboys switching from what was a certain wearing of their recent tradition of 1960-1963 inspired Thanksgiving
Cowboy throwbacks, 2012
Cowboy Darks, 2013
throwbacks to their normal dark blue jerseys.
This was due to the late mandate by the NFL banning the use of two different colored helmets due to worries about potential concussion issues.

Exactly when this edict began is unknown to me, but it has been in place - I would assume - since at least the 1990's, and perhaps well before that.

While the 2013 Official NFL Rule Book does not specifically address the deadline, the 2010 Rule Book did. In a 2010 article I did for Uni Watch, I was able to cite a direct quote from that season's Rule Book:

"...playing squads are permitted to wear only (official team) colors or a combination of those colors for helmets, jerseys, pants, and stockings; provided that white is also an available color for jerseys and mandatory color for the lower portion of stockings."
"Before July 1 of each season, the home team is required to inform the NFL their choice of their jersey color (white or color) for their home games of the upcoming season and the away team MUST wear the opposite.
For any game (Pre-regular-post season), the two teams MAY wear jerseys in their official colors (non-white). As long as the Commissioner OK’s that the colors sufficiently contrast."
So basically, this means that every uniform matchup we will see on the field for 2014, from the Hall of Fame Game in Canton on the night of August 3rd to the last game of the regular season, scheduled to be played on Sunday night, December 28th, will have been known by the NFL and the clubs in question for the games to be played.

Some teams - but by no means all - will make these jersey colors public, either by website, press release, or their social media accounts on Facebook and/or Twitter.

For the most part, we usually know how these will play out.  The Cowboys and Dolphins usually wear white for almost all of their home games, many others will usually wear white at home early in the season when the weather is more summer-like; warm and humid.  Once the autumn winds creep into their environs, the dark jerseys will become the norm.  The rest are normally much more steadfast, and will wear only dark at home. Of course, there will be surprises that will be sprung upon us, as well as alternates and throwbacks.  All of these, as stated above, must be submitted to the NFL's Park Avenue offices in New York City by today.

Pants colors, unlike the jerseys, are exempt from the rules.  So, teams like the New Orleans Saints for example, will make known to the NFL that they will wear white at home for both preseason games, and perhaps their first four home games, then switch over to black jerseys for the rest of the season.  BUT the pants?  Well, they don't have to make know their plans to wear either gold pants or black pants until just before kickoff!  The NFL is only concerned with jersey colors as worn by the home team, and then the visitors must wear the opposite, be it white or dark.

Now you might ask, what happens if say BOTH teams want to wear their dark jerseys?  In such a scenario, a special petition to the Commissioner of the NFL must be made.  If Mr. Goddell believes the request passes muster, in particular, the jersey colors contrast enough (such as green vs. black, or red vs. black), he will likely approve the request.  You might ask, with such high-tech devices like big screen HD TV's being mainstream these days, why don't we see more color on color matchups?  It's my belief that the NFL sees that white vs. color is far and away the preferred choice and most obvious way to tell the teams apart, both on TV and in the flesh at the stadium, it's not really given much of a second thought.  Such is the NFL mindset on this matter that even a request by the Seahawks to wear their "wolf grays" against their opponent in dark has to go through this litmus test request of Commissioner Goddell.

Since we have discussed at length the timing process to determine who wears what and when for the preseason and regular season, what exactly is the process for the post season?  Though not etched in stone, it is likely that the home teams must make known to the NFL their jersey color no later than four days (or 96 hours) prior to kickoff. For the Super Bowl, the deadline for the designated home team is likely 11 days before the Big Game.  Normally, there are few - if any - surprises.  One notable stunner in the past decade was the Super Bowl XL jersey decision by the Pittsburgh Steelers to wear white instead of their customary black jerseys.
Super Bowl XL uniform matchup
The choice was made by Head Coach Bill Cowher as the Steelers had won three straight playoff games, all on the road, all while wearing white. Cowher believed that wearing black would be messin' with the mojo.

One of the more popular features of the GUD is our "White at Home in the NFL" listings by both team and by season, going all the way back to 1957, when the NFL issued, for the first time, hard and fast rules on one team in white jerseys, one team in dark jerseys.  It's a rather handy guide to quickly see the "WWWW" ("Who Wore What When") breakdown for your team or for a season you fondly recall.

So, while this week might be a great celebration of North America's Independence, not to mention the ongoing World Cup, Wimbledon and baseball campaigns, those of us at GUD will mark the decisions made today by the NFL's 32 teams in the weeks and months to come.

Say It Ain't So, Joe...er, George!

by Bill Schaefer

Many of you, I'm sure, have seen at least parts of the collection of Merv Corning's artwork similar to the George Halas image, and others, above. Mr. Corning was commissioned by the NFL to create the images for the book "The First 50 Years" in 1969. Similar drawings of Ernie Nevers in his Duluth Eskimos uniform and Bronko Nagurski in a psychedelic 1936 Bears uniform have been carved into our collective football souls. But never, never, never, did I believe for a single second that, if by chance one of these famous drawings could be incorrect, it would happen to be the above drawing of "Papa Bear" George Stanley Halas. Recent evidence has turned up that this uniform, very likely, was not worn until the following year (1921), when the Bears Staleys moved to Chicago.

This marks the second time in the last few years that we at the GUD, along with the help of our loyal viewers and contributors, have discovered an erroneous, long-standing misconception of a very early League franchise. If you remember back to October, 2012, our own Tim Brulia penned an article posted on Uni Watch explaining how, despite the claims of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the 'bumblebee' uniform that was made into a throwback jersey that the Steelers have worn the past two seasons and attributed to the 1934 season, had, in fact, only been worn in 1933 (along with the equally detestable 'City Seal' jersey).

As THE Bears fan residing in GUD, it pains me to say that it is extremely, 100% likely that the Chicago Bears organization has NOT always worn navy and orange. "Sacrilege," you say? I couldn't agree more. Up is down. Black is white. Cats and dogs getting along. We're talking the seventh sign of the apocalypse here!

How could this happen? All football fans with a shred of League historical knowledge know how George Halas, a University of Illinois alum, purchased the Decatur Staleys and remade them in the image of his alma mater donning the navy and orange that the Bears have worn for almost 100 years. What we have discovered, with the help of a contributor, identified as "LJP," that no fewer than 6 different articles from the 1920 Decatur Review refer to the Staleys as wearing red (or crimson) jerseys.

Two possibilities exist. The first option is that the reporter for the Decatur Review was color blind and his editor didn't notice any of these 'errors.' The second option, and dare I say the more likely of the two, is that the Staleys actually wore red. In hindsight, I guess we should have seen this coming. After all, since the story goes that he remade the team in the image of the University of Illinois, the Staleys HAD to have been in something else besides navy and orange to necessitate that subsequent change in the first place.

While we don't have enough to substantiate the reason for this discrepancy in the history of the Bears' organization, enough is known that we can assemble a viable postulate for the circumstances surrounding what likely happened over 90 years ago...

In 1920, George Halas moves to Decatur, Illinois, to take a position with the A.E. Staley Company, a starch manufacturer. For the sake of argument, let's assume that the Staley Co. bore red in its logo and the team was supplied with red jerseys. The team takes a financial loss in 1920 despite superior play and Halas buys the team in order to move them to the big city, Chicago. There is a suspicion that a condition of the sale, likely an advertising ploy, is that Halas must retain the team nickname of "Staleys" for one year after moving to Chicago. This would explain the single year of operating as the "Chicago Staleys" in 1921. However, Chicago already boasts a professional football team, the Cardinals, who wear...you guessed it...red jerseys (technically maroon but definitely in the same 'ballpark'). That year Halas refurbishes the team in the navy and orange image of his beloved alma mater, the University of Illinois, in order to appeal to local fans and eliminate any chance for confusion with the Cardinals. With the conditions of his purchase satisfied, in 1922, Halas renames his team the "Bears" because football players are larger than the baseball-playing denizens his team will be sharing Wrigley Field with, the Cubs, thus creating a timeless link between the two franchises. 

There is even a distinct possibility, though unsubstantiated at this point, that the Staleys continued to wear red jerseys early on in the 1921 season before eventually changing colors at some time in midseason but that remains unconfirmed at this point.

Here are the snippets from the Decatur Review that have been brought to our attention...

September 29, 1920

October 3, 1920

October 10, 1920

October 11, 1920

October 25, 1920

December 11, 1920

Because of this preponderance of evidence, the GUD is changing the image for the 1920 Decatur Staleys to a crimson/red version of their jerseys, assuming that the general design was correct and the colors, only, were incorrect. We are, however, holding off on changing the 1921 image to include additional red combinations until such a time as evidence is produced proving that they were, indeed, worn after 1920.

Hopefully, my fellow Bears fans can come to grips with this as I have.

Bill Schaefer

It's our birthday!

by Tim Brulia

Please allow us to celebrate ourselves for a little bit.

Sunday, June 12, 2011, the Gridiron Uniform Database (GUD) went live on the web.  We attempted to be the definitive source for pro football uniforms.  Without any attempt at ego boosting, we believe we are achieving that goal.

In our previous birthday blogs, we have cited what we have accomplished over the past 365 (or 366) days. And, we will do so here, because we feel that we have done more than ever before since 6/12/13.

1) All known uniform combinations for all National Football League teams since 1930.
2) The addition of the complete uniform history of the College All-Star Game (1934-1976) to the GUD.
3) The addition of the complete uniform history of the World Football League (1974-1975) as a sister website to the GUD.
4) The addition of the complete uniform history of the United States Football League (1983-1985), also as a sister website to the GUD.
5) The addition of the complete uniform history of the game officials for the NFL, All-America Football Conference and American Football League to the GUD, as well as the WFL and USFL officials to their respective sites.
6) A complete visual uniform matchup for every single regular season and postseason game played since 1949 for the NFL, AFL and AAFC.  While not 100% complete, we also have every known visual uni matchup for the NFL and AAFC from 1940-1948.
7) Continuous corrections, revisions, additions and fine-tuning to uniforms already on the GUD. Conservatively, we figure we have made over 500 additions and corrections to the site since our launch.
8) Adding the 2013 NFL season in its entirety to the GUD.

In the coming days, weeks and months, we certainly will be monitoring the 2014 season as closely as anyone.  BUT BUT BUT, we have a major find unearthed by a contributor that merits a blog of its own! Watch this space this Saturday (June 14) for a blog by Bill regarding this bit of news as well as a word from our friends at Uni Watch regarding this discovery.

As always, we wish to thank all of you who take interest in the GUD and a special tip of the helmet to those of you who have pointed out our goofs and not quite right uni depictions. You are a vital component helping the GUD to be the very best that it can be. We appreciate that beyond words!

Have a piece of birthday cake on us!

Don't forget to watch this space on Saturday!!

The Zebras Are Coming Hooray Hooray, The Zebras Are Coming Hooray Hooray!!

To see Bill's inspiration for the headline, please see this clip.

Yes indeed, the Zebras, are coming, HOORAY HOORAY!!

After several years of hard research, debate, yellow flags, red flags, false starts, coaches' challenges, overturned calls, further reviews, controversy, not to mention illegal use of the hands and "giving him the business", the Gridiron Uniform Database is proud to add the full graphic history of game officials uniforms. We believe this to be the first sports uniform database of any kind to graphically display a detailed history of game officials attire.

This is a project that has been in the making for several years.  Mainly due to Tim's constant pestering and prodding of Bill to go all in.  It took awhile, but Bill, rather than punching Tim in the snoot, relented and we finally started the task during the 2013 NFL season.

The project had its aegis with Tim's research into the chronological history of Game Officials Uniforms, which is still located under the GUD's research tab page.  This listed, on a timeline basis using the NFL's inception in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association (APFA) as a starting point, a detailed description of changes through the years to the palette of the uniform up to 2012.  Included in the narrative was any memorials for deceased officials, special Super Bowl uniforms and patches, and the like.  Also included was the timelines for AFL and AAFC officials threads.  Of course, since this chronology was added to the GUD, there have been many additions and changes made to the graphic renderings, which we will note later in this blog.

The first major challenge for Bill was switching gears entirely and creating a referee template from scratch. So used to using the football player templates that he perfected, this was not necessarily an easy endeavor.  Going from helmets to caps (baseball and "newsboy"), jerseys to cotton shirts and pullover zip-up collar shorts, knickered pants and full length slacks, as well as baseball styled stirrups was indeed a daunting task.  But after several sometimes frustrating attempts, we believe we came up with a rather versatile template that clearly depicts all of the necessary visual elements of the officials' unis.

We can present a general synopsis of the definitive "eras" of the officials' unis as follows:
1920-1937, The DIY era:

In the beginning, likely as a cost-cutting measure, the NFL employed local officials to call football games.  In other words, for a contest between let's say the New York Giants at the Pottsville Maroons, the officials working the game would be from Pottsville's hard coal region.  These officials as well as all others, would have to supply their own uniforms.  The NFL dress code for a referee, umpire, headlinesman (and starting in 1929, a field judge) required a white dress shirt, a black bowtie, white knickers, and black knee socks.  A newsboy style cap, red for referees, white for the other officials, while not required, was encouraged.  Most of these items could be had from a nearby sporting goods store, or in the case of the caps, white dress shirt, black bowtie, and perhaps the socks, were bought at the local haberdasher.  Because these supplies were not furnished by the NFL, there was much variance in what these guys looked like.  We decided to simply use a generic template of uniform for this period.

1938-1940, A transition phase:

At this time, we don't really know when the NFL established a general roster of officials, who would work games across the land.  But in these few years, the officials appeared to be more "uniform" with their clothing.  In 1938, we saw some games  - including the NFL Championship Game - where officials are wearing a blue shirt supplied by the NFL, with a very large NFL shield on the front and a big "NFL" monogram on the back.  The newsboy cap featured soutache stripes.  By 1939, the blue top looks to have disappeared, but the knicker pants were dropped in favor of full length white trousers.  These pants lasted into 1940.

1941-1947, The Candy Striper Era:

The NFL followed the lead of several college conferences and adopted striped shirts for all of its officials, but put their own stamp of look by thickening the stripes and color coding the disciplines, with varying stripe combinations of black/white, red/white, orange/white and green/white.  There is no doubt that the League now employed a full roster, as the uniforms were fully supplied by the NFL and for the first time, the officials wore numbers on their backs.  While caps were still not a must, all that wore them wore white caps, and baseball caps were now a choice to wear along with the venerable newsboy lids.

1947-1959, The Red Numbers Era:

With the addition of a fifth on field official (the Back Judge), rather than adding another color combo to the mix, the League decided to scrap the rainbows and dress all of the refs in black and white stripes and make all the numbers a straight block red on the backs.  In effect, fully ushering in the zebra look.  A tiny NFL shield was sewn on the front left breast of the shirts.  One notable change was that now all officials must wear a white baseball cap, although the newsboys were grandfathered in for those who preferred that look.

1960-1978, The Black Box Era:

While the change was minimal, dropping the red numbered black & white shirts in favor of striped tops with a black box in which a rounded font of white numbers were tucked inside, this change provided the NFL refs with arguably their most iconic look.  Other items of note from this change was that the black socks' stirrups were now exposed over the white sanitary socks and in 1964, the officials were finally supplied with short-sleeved shirts, for those warm/hot early season and Sun Belt games.

1979-1981, The Nameplate Era:

Not drastic, but important and groundbreaking, for the first time since the 1930's, the head official, the referee, now wore a different cap (black) to distinguish him from his crewmates (white).  Also, notable was that the officials each wore a nameplate, not of his surname, but rather his officiating position.  All positions were spelled out across his back in white over a strip of black.  The roster number was also based on position as opposed to the previous practice of being numbered by the general roster.

1982-2005, The Big Numbers Era:

Apparently not totally satisfied with the changes that were made in 1979, the NFL tweaked these elements with dropping the nameplate idea and went with a simple initial or initials to identify the officials' positions.  The NFL also returned to the general roster method of numbering its officials.  The other notable tweak was to significantly increase the size of the back numbers.  Memorial armbands for active officials who passed away were used in several seasons during this era.  Other items of note for this lengthy era was a reversal of cap colors in 1988, the NFL shield - though tiny - returning to the shirts in 1991, a nostalgic return of the newsboy caps for several throwback games in 1994 (in celebration of the NFL's 75th season), a commemorative patch for former Commissioner Pete Rozelle worn for Super Bowl XXXI, the addition of the American flag patch following the 9/11 attacks, and adding The Shield to the front of the caps starting with Super Bowl XXXIX.

2006-present: The Black Slacks Era:

After a generation of relative stability with the officials uniform, the NFL made a drastic overhaul of the garb, impacting the shirts and perhaps controversially, the pants.  The shirt's striping pattern was tricked up a bit and limited to the torso, with the sleeves in black complimented with a white stripe extending from the neck to sleeve edge. In addition, the back position ID/back number was altered by being reduced in size and being black in a white field as opposed to the other way around.  While the white knickers were basically the same as before (though black side stripes would be added in 2008), a new set of full length black pants were added to the wardrobe.  The first time since 1940 that full length pants were worn and the first time EVER that non-white trousers were worn.  The long pants were added specifically for cold weather games so that the officials could hide the additional layers of clothing under the pants.  However, by 2012, the black pants would be worn for all games, regardless of the conditions.  Speaking of 2012, there were no less than three phases of shirts worn; positionless shirts for replacement officials as the regular refs were locked out, the standard shirts as worn from 2006-2011, and then a new set of shirts with a new font just a few weeks later. Another twist to the equation which added to the numerous combinations seen in recent years was the inclusion of pink festooned uniforms for October being designated as "Breast Cancer Awareness Month."

The GUD has left no stone unturned with regards to the American Football League and the All-America Football Conference either.

We have displayed all known combinations of the orange/red and white striped officials of the AFL (and yes, the black and white ones, too) for its full 10 year run and the thinly stripe shirted officials of the AAFC's four year history.

You'll note that the stripes for the 1965-67 AFL shirts that we have displayed have a more reddish glow about them.  We used this "game worn" pic of that era's shirt as a point of reference.  As you can see, from the waist up, the shirt does appear to be more orangey, but the area around the crotch (sorry, anything else I say about this area will spark giggles and guffaws) is easily and certainly more red than orange.  We attribute the orangey appearance as being faded with more daylight exposure that the crotch area that depicts the true color of 1965-67 era shirts, which really literally never saw the light of day...we hope.

And last, but definitely, not least, we have even added the World Football League game officials uniforms here, and the United States Football League here to our respective sister sites, including those nifty USFL black shorts combos when things got hot on those hotter mid-summer Astroturf fields!

As mentioned earlier, here are the more notable changes from the original text chronology on the GUD:
1920-1937: Changed black cap to red cap.
1932-1937: Added white sanitaries to the template.
1938: Narrowed down the wearing of the blue shirt as a shirt as opposed to a jacket and the use of soutache striped caps with further research.
1939-1940: Noted the wearing of full length white pants.
1941-1946: Deleted the note of "mackinaw coat" being worn as their design mirrored that of the normal shirt.
1960: Deleted the notation of the "slicker" being worn for rainy games. Though they were worn during the 60-78 era, we did not feel the need was there to include this accessory.
2002: Added Super Bowl XXXVII patch to left sleeve, which was not noted in the description.
2007-2013: Added Breast Cancer Awareness Month accessories to the graphics, which were not in the descriptions.
2010: Added Bill Lawing memorial patch to caps, which had not been noted in the description.
2011: Added Bill Lovett memorial patch to caps, which had not been noted in the description.
2012: Added more detail to the changes in shirts that occurred during the season.

1960 (AFL): Added the preseason only uniforms.
1961 (AFL): Changed the uniforms to the correct fashion worn. Was previously lumped in with the 1962-64 uniforms, which was incorrect.
1965-1967: Changed the stripes to a more reddish orange tint. Description listed stripes as red.

Of course as always, we would appreciate any additional alerts to any errors or omissions you may find in the officials pages or the usual uniform pages on the GUD.

We are thrilled to bring you this latest and most unique addition to the GUD.  It's also a "gud" way to pay tribute to those unsung gentlemen who keep law and order on the field!

The Zebras Are HERE! Hooray! Hooray!!

The Zebras Are Coming Hooray Hooray, The Zebras Are Coming Hooray Hooray!

They're coming...They're coming...They're coming...

Stay tuned.
Bill Schaefer

Waving the White Flag

By Tim Brulia

As many of you know, from time to time, I will make a journey down to the Library of Congress (LOC) to peruse the treasure trove of the Newspapers & Periodicals Reading Room.  It is here that so much of what you see on the Gridiron Uniform Database (GUD) has made its way.

My journey on May 3, 2014 was twofold in intent.  1) To discover and hopefully close out some TV commentator information for another website (and indirectly, this one) and 2) to try and close the gap in missing uniform matchups from the 1940's.

As you likely know, the GUD has been fortunate enough to have every uniform matchup from every regular season and post season game going all the way back to 1949.  Going back another nine seasons, to 1940, we are not quite as fortunate.  My visit on May 3rd to the LOC to re-visit every one of these games was to hopefully strike gold somewhere along the way.  In some cases, I have researched as many as SEVEN different newspapers seeking at least either a photograph from the missing game, or in the newspaper account of the game something describing who wore what in the game.

I was lucky enough to find ONE game photograph from the Most Wanted list, courtesy of the October 8, 1945 edition of the long defunct Philadelphia Record.  It was from the October 7, 1945 game between the Chicago Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles at Shibe Park.  The Cardinals were in their normal outfit of white helmet, red jerseys, white pants and red socks, with the Eagles in their silver and green helmets, white jerseys with green side panels, green pants and green socks.  Hey, that knocks at least one game off the list!

Some of you out there might find this incredulous, that at least one of the many newspapers in existence in those days couldn't have at least ONE photograph from a professional football game of the local team in the next day's paper.  In 2014, that really would be unthinkable.  But consider how the sports world was viewed in the 1940's:
  • Major League Baseball was truly the National Pastime and easily the most popular and widely followed sport in this era, and newspaper coverage duly reflects that mind-set.  The daily doings of the local ball team, in season and off season, was priority. This held true for even then minor league baseball cities like Buffalo, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  • Most of the missing games occurred in the early part of October during the World Series.  Coverage of the World Series, was as dominant then as the Super Bowl is today. EVERY paper loaded up on WS coverage, big city and small town daily.  If a missing game from our list is from a city whose baseball team was taking part in the Series, you were lucky to find anything on any other sporting event of any sort in the local rags.
  • In some cases, the local pro team took third rank in the football food chain, let alone the local sports chain.  Saturday sports news was dominated by Friday night high school football write-ups and photos.  Sunday's sports pages were hogged up by Saturday college football games; big schools, small schools alike and daytime high school games played on fields without lights.  Monday's papers, yeah, there was the Sunday pro game wrap-up, and if the game was at home, you'd usually get a photo or two from the game.  If however, the game was away, you'd be very lucky to find a picture from that game, no matter what city or paper.  I found lots of instances where high school games that were played at the big league ballparks would have photos in the paper, while PRO games, played at the very same stadium the night before, had NO PHOTOS!
  • Photographs from night games are also quite difficult to procure.  Several reasons could be possible for this, namely poor stadium lighting for decent flash photography, newspaper deadlines for the next day's (especially Sunday's) edition making processing the film a rushed task indeed or, simply all of the staff photographers were elsewhere taking pics at other games/events.
So, after sorting through as many newspaper sources as exists at the Library of Congress, I am waving the white flag as far as using the facilities at the LOC.  While one cannot find a more exhaustive single resource for newspapers as this marvelous library, I think I have gotten as much out of its resources as I can for this particular era (the 1940's).

For the record, these are the games for we which have NO visual record of the uniforms worn during the 1940's:

NFL Games
Saturday, October 5, 1940 - Chicago Cardinals at Detroit Lions (N)
Sunday, November 5, 1944 - Philadelphia Eagles at Brooklyn Tigers
Sunday, November 19, 1944 - Brooklyn Tigers at Boston Yanks
Sunday, November 19, 1944 - Cleveland Rams at Card-Pitt (Chicago)
Saturday, October 9, 1948 - Boston Yanks at Detroit Lions (N)

AAFC Games
Sunday, September 29, 1946 - Los Angeles Dons at Buffalo Bisons
Friday, October 11, 1946 - Chicago Rockets at Brooklyn Dodgers (N)
Saturday, October 12, 1946 - Cleveland Browns at New York Yankees (N)
Saturday, October 12, 1946 - San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Dons (N)
Saturday, October 19, 1946 - Brooklyn Dodgers at New York Yankees (N)
Saturday, October 19, 1946 - San Francisco 49ers at Buffalo Bisons (N)
Friday, October 25, 1946 - Miami Seahawks at Brooklyn Dodgers (N)
Sunday, October 10, 1948 - Brooklyn Dodgers at Cleveland Browns

With the exception of the 9/26/46 LA-BUF game and the 10/12/46 SF-LA game (the Los Angeles Herald-Express was not printed due to a strike), a minimum of four newspapers was researched for each game.  The LOC does not have the Buffalo Courier-Express on file, but an online resource with the Courier-Express in its files were used.

This does not mean that photographs from these games do not exist, but finding same from any of these games will be extremely difficult.  We do see random wirephotos of ancient football games pop up on ebay from time to time and it is likely that either there or a newsreel clip is where our hope will lie to find some sort of evidence as to who wore what and when they were worn.

So the call goes out.  If anyone reading this blog would happen to stumble upon a photograph or two from the Most Wanted list, please either contact the GUD either via the "forum" or the "contact" tab with your finding at the GUD's website.

So we can transform something like this:
                                   Into this!:

The GUD will gladly acknowledge your submission and you can feel a sense of pride knowing that you have made a vital contribution to the cause of  pro football (uniform) history!

Updates and Weeklies News - "Dinner Is Served"

A little while ago, Bill posted a blog entitled, "What's Cooking?"  Well, the answer in this blog is, "dinner is served."

Chiefs before
Chiefs after
Bill alluded to the update to the Chiefs uni history, with the colors, helmet logo and the KC in the logo not quite right.  If we have to uphold our unofficial motto, "just get it right," then do it we shall.  We made the red more to actual tint and and gave the helmet logos a much needed face lift.  We made color adjustments to the Chiefs' predecessors, the Dallas Texans as well.

Eagles after
Eagles before
After this, Tim wasn't really thrilled with how the Eagles helmet wings looked, either.  Bill chimed in with his concern on how the Eagles color looked.  Bill opined that the green looked more of a pea green as opposed to the kelly green shade.  Ever the skeptic, Tim needed a bit more of visual proof, and eventually, Bill was able to sway Tim in the proper direction.  The color modification goes all the way back from 1935 through 1973 (excluding the 1941 season when the Eagles experimented with a black, midnight blue and silver color scheme), including the 1943 Steagles season, when the Birds merged with the Steelers.  The wing adjustment goes from 1954 through 1973.

Chargers before
Chargers after
To top it off, we also made an adjustment to the Chargers' helmets.  Namely, the lightning bolts.  To us, the bolts looked a little fat.  Bill streamlined the bolts a bit to what they actually look like on the helmets.  Again, much needed and long overdue tweaking:

These are just a few examples of the many adjustments and discoveries that have been added to the GUD. in recent days. You can find all of the others here: http://gud-updates.blogspot.com/

And now, dut-da-da!  The GUD is proud to announce the completion of a project that we have been working on in earnest since the end of last year's Super Bowl (Ravens-49ers).

As you know, it has been the goal of the GUD to be able to show you each week's uniform matchups since 1950. We had been working on it bit by bit, piece by piece, year by year.  Finally, this past Sunday, April 13, 2014, the task has been completed.  The Gridiron Uniform Database is now able to show you the uniform matchup for every single regular season game and post season game since 1949!  This includes every National Football League game for the past 65 seasons, every American Football League game ever played and the 1949 season of the All-America Football Conference.  Using Bill's graphics, Tim's research and Rob's entering the fruits of his cohorts' labor to the GUD, this monumental task has achieved fruition.

Want to know what the Patriots at Jets encounter from Week 12, 1985 looked like? Here it is:

Or perhaps, the Niners at Rams game from the first week of the season in 1955?  Looky here:

To navigate to the week of the season you wish to see, please follow these simple rules:
1) On the GUD's homepage, click on the season along the left hand column
2) Below the season banner, example "2002 NFL Teams" is a row of numbers that corresponds to the weeks in that season, plus initials that indicate the post season weeks (in this case, WC=Wild Card, DP=Divisional Playoffs, CC=Conference Championships, SB=Super Bowl, PB=Pro Bowl). Click on the week you desire to see (example: Week 7).
3) All of the week's games will be displayed, with the visiting team on the left side and the home team on the right side, with the uniform the teams wore for that game.  Here is a link to this example's games played that week:  http://www.gridiron-uniforms.com/weekly/2002/2002wk7.html

You can also follow a season's progress of uniform matchups by clicking the << area to see previous week's games or clicking >> to see the following week's games.  With Week 1's games, you can click the << area to go to the previous season, moving backward.  With the Pro Bowl game, you can click the >> to go the following season, moving forward.

Once we get to seasons prior to 1962, you'll note that fewer teams will have helmet logos and thus it may be tough to identify teams the farther back in time you go.  Till then, it may be a good way to hone your detective skills by trying to correctly identify the teams depicted based on color and trim patterns!  Seriously, we hope to eventually have all teams labeled for seasons prior to 1962 for easier identification.  Can we go back even further in time?  We'll do our best, but photographic evidence will be much more difficult.  

As always, if you notice any errors or missing information, please do not hesitate to contact us by clicking on the "Contact" tab found just below the GUD's banner at the top of the home page.

Now that you've had a healthy meal of uni goodness, what's for dessert? Watch this space to find out!


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