Week 5 Uniform Matchup Rankings (and R.I.P. Alex Karras)

 Getting to the uni rankings, but first...

The referees yet again change the uniforms. We started the season with replacement officials who wore positionless numbers on their backs. Then followed the normal refs with the position restored to the back. And THEN, we saw yet another change to the officials shirts this past Sunday, complete with a new font for both the position and numerals. On top of that, since we entered October, the NFL broke out the pink accessories, and this includes the officials. The referee caps for the month will feature the NFL shield superimposed over a pink ribbon and pink soutache stripes. The other officials will feature the same alterations to their black caps.

Meanwhile, many of the players will be suiting up with all sorts of pink accessories, such as sweat bands, pads, chinstraps, doo-rags, cleats and socks. We at the Gridiron Uniform Database will not be monitoring the pink players, but the normal uniforms as man intended.

#14. Falcons-Redskins: ATL in all white, WSH in burgundy/yellow. You know I dig on the 'Skins rockin' that burgundy and yellow mixture. But the Falcons dullish white whites drop this matchup for a loss.

#13. Bears-Jaguars: CHI in white/navy, JAX in black/white. Yup, the Jags make good on their announcement with their first appearance in the black jerseys. Ditching teal for this is a shame. Adds nothing to this matchup and thus, a drop in the standings. Sorry, Bears.

#12. Cardinals-Rams: ARZ in all white, STL in all blue. Lot of straight shot color here. Cardinals could have and should have broke out the red pants. Meanwhile, the Rams could have shot out the white pants. Not impressed with this one.

#11. Dolphins-Bengals: MIA in all white and CIN in all black. So, the big question is: have the Fish dumped the aqua pants for 2012?? After two away outings in white, sadly, that appears to be so. The Bengals help to compensate with their sleek all black threads. But not enough.

#10. Texans-Jets: HOU in white/navy. NYJ in green/white. Strange, but while these two in and of themselves have moderately good looks, when matched together, I find them rather dull. Plenty of nice color in navy, green and red, but I'm not getting that oomph feeling here.

#9. Broncos-Patriots: DEN in all white, NE in navy/silver. Both teams that overhauled in the late 90's/2000 era and haven't changed hardly at all since (Broncos switch to orange this season notwithstanding). Not that they should of course, but...just sayin.' A healthy dash of Bronco orange in some form would really appeal to me. As such, a rather average matchup.

#8. Ravens-Chiefs: BAL in white/black and KC in red/white. Ravens break out the white/black combo for the first time this season with the Chiefs in the predictable red and white appearance. The Ravens black pants saves this matchup from the abyss, but not enough, I'm afraid. The "Art" patch makes its debut on the Ravens white jerseys.

#7. Chargers-Saints: SD in navy/white, NO in white/black. I guess these interconference matchups perk up my intrigue meter. But again, this rare pairing has me in a positive funk. The Chargers navy, yellow with a sprinkle of powder blue against the vegas gold, black and white works for me.

#6. Packers-Colts: GB in white/yellow, IND in blue/white. In a similar vein to the Browns and Giants encounter, this pairing hearkens back to the days of Starr vs. Unitas. The unis remain similar and perhaps it's the sentimentalist in me, but these colors, while in a rather conservative mode, really work smoothly. Blues, green and yellow blend well here.

#5. Browns-Giants: CLE in all white and NYG in blue/gray. Close your eyes and visualize Jim Brown crunching against Sam Huff, Jim Katcavage and the gang. Open them and see virtually the same thing today, except it's MetLife Stadium and not Yankee Stadium. It's a good, classic, clean matchup.

#4. Eagles-Steelers: PHI in white/green, PIT in black/yellow. Two teams that share a commonwealth, a similar heritage and even - for a season - the same team. But alas, those days are long gone. Today, they share a good looking uni matchup. Green, white, yellow and black. Very nice, Keystone Kids!!

#3. Seahawks-Panthers: SEA in navy/gray. CAR in all white. First time the Seahawks have paired up this combo in these new unis and the first time the 'Hawks have done a non-monodark combo since 2005, and it's a refreshing change. Sharp get-up and works well with the Panthers all whites.

#2. Titans-Vikings: TEN in white/columbia blue, MIN in purple/white. I am quite surprised that I quite like this pairing. Purple, navy, columbia blue and they way they are used here just pleases my palette. Perhaps it's because this is a very rarely seen matchup. I dunno. I just have my thumbs up for this one.

#1. Bills-49ers: BUF in all white with SF in red/gold. One minute I'm thinking the Bills all whites looks drab against the sharp red and gold Niner clothing, but on second thought, that sharp Blue hue on the Bills really plays well off that Niner scarlet. I like this!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In closing, the Gridiron Uniform Database would like to recognize the passing of a great non-Hall of Famer, former Detroit Lions defensive stalwart Alex Karras. He was 77. Alex was an All-American at Iowa and played for 12 years with the Lions, several of those seasons as an All-Pro. In the midst of his career (1963), he was suspended along with Paul Hornung by Commissioner Pete Rozelle for gambling. After his suspension, he continued to have a well above average career. He had very bad eyesight, but chose not to wear contact lenses. His opposite number on the offensive line was usually a visual blur to Karras, but that did not him from being a ferocious pass rusher. During his playing career, in the off-season, Alex dabbled as a pro wrestler.

"Mongo just pawn in game of life"
After playing his last season in 1970, Alex took on an acting career, with a notable role being "Mongo" in the Western-Comedy "Blazing Saddles." Karras also ably filled in for three years for Don Meredith on ABC's Monday Night Football. My favorite recollection of Karras in the booth was when the camera zoomed in on the clean-shaven steam filled head of Oakland Raider defensive lineman Otis Sistrunk on the Raider bench. Alex simply said, "That's Otis Sistrunk. He's from the University of Mars." Alex had a sharp sense of humor. Another familiar Karras quote was his mocking teammate kicker Garo Yepremian, "I keeck a touchdown!"

Karras was married to actress Susan Clark for many years. Together, they played the adoptive parents of the title character "Webster," played by Emmanuel Lewis.

'Webster' Theme Song

Karras was in poor health the last few years of his life, suffering from dementia and dying of kidney failure.  His health problems may or may not be attributed to his football playing career, and he was part of the lawsuit that 3500 former players have brought against the NFL.  Many consider Karras' career to have been of Hall Of Fame caliber, however the gambling scandal that led to his suspension may have also led to him never being enshrined in Canton.

Karras was a character in the best sense of the word and will be certainly missed by the football community.  R.I.P.  #71.

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