Don't Move My Number

     Today here at The Gridiron Uniform Database we have a few new changes to update, as well a discussion about the proper placement of Steelers' shoulder numbers, or as they have also been called, "TV numbers".

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     In the late 1950s and early 1960s, when NFL games were first being televised regularly, teams added numbers to the sleeves, to help the viewers at home identify players when they were at the line of scrimmage or the front or back numbers were otherwise un-viewable.

     Most teams that have these shoulder numbers have traditionally placed them either way up high, on top of the shoulder (like these in the Terrell Owens pictures), or down low on the sleeve, like the Colts do in this picture of Peyton Manning.  So that is how we have depicted these numbers, either on top of the shoulder, or down on the sleeve.

     It has come to our attention, however, that the Pittsburgh Steelers' 1968-96 uniforms (along with apparently some years of the St. Louis Cardinals) employ a third option, which places the numbers somewhere in between, right around the apex of the shoulder.

     While we had considered this before, in the words of our graphical engineer, Bill Schaefer:

"...if we put the numbers 'right there,' there'd be no way to make them look right. One of the limitations of the 2-D template is, along with the omission of helmet numbers, that TV numbers MUST be placed on the shoulder pads facing up or on the sleeves. I was never able to crack 'wrapping the one' from the top down around to the side and make it worth it."

     Numbers in this location, even more so than in the higher or lower locations, don't always appear in the same place on all players:

     Says Bill: "...Franco's numbers are clearly facing up on his shoulder pads. If Swanny or Terry had any kind of shoulders, their's would likely be facing upwards, too."

     So for the time being, that project was shelved, and we were content to just depict the numbers on the top of the shoulders (right), after we were unable to find a suitable location to more accurately depict them.  But with some help from The Jeff in the forum, we have decided to take another shot at this.  Here are six options that Bill and the guys have come up with as to how we could depict these numbers better.  Your input and feedback in the comments below will be most welcome.

Which graphical Steelers sleeve number representation do you like best?


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     We have added to the database the memorial arm sleeve that the Chicago Bears wore for their December 23, 1979 NFC Wild Card playoff game at Philadelphia in memory of George "Mugs" Halas, Jr., who died of a "massive heart attack."  Halas was the team president and the son of Bears' founder George "Papa Bear" Halas.   Another change we have made is to the 1961 Giants, we have removed the white center stripe on two red-striped pants model and replaced them with the matching grey on all eight versions of the '61 Giants.
     Finally, with the 1968 and '69 Vikings, we have made some adjustments to the uniform numeral, and the proper depiction of the "one".  Thanks to bigbluelarry (Giants) and Mako Mameli (Vikings) for these submissions.
1979 Chicago Bears
1961 New York Giants
1968 Minnesota Vikings

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     Tomorrow we'll mark one week since we've launched the website, and we'll tell you all about some of the most surprising websites that have referred traffic to us, including one website that isn't even in English.  And beginning Monday, we'll start a five-part series looking back and discussing the past uniforms the Buffalo Bills have worn, as they get ready to launch their new look on Friday.

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