Digging Up More Dirt

September 19, 1971 San Francisco at Atlanta
     Yesterday here at The Gridiron Uniform Database, we were continuing our discussion of the pants that the 1964-69 San Francisco 49ers wore.  These pants were made of two separate materials, easily visible in this picture to the left.  (Okay, it's not so visible.)  But this picture was taken opening day 1971, against the Falcons.  We know they wore these definitely from 1964 to 1969, and some of the time, apparently, during both 1970 and 1971 seasons.
     In yesterday's article we were assuming that the pants were definitely worn through the first ten games of 1971, and then not after that point.  We based this on a picture showing John Brodie wearing the two-toned pants, which was from the Week 10 (11/21/71) game at Los Angeles.  We discussed yesterday how this was from the game between the two teams in Los Angeles, and not the earlier game in San Francisco.  But how did we know conclusively that the game was from 1971, and not from 1970?  Here's how Gridiron Uniform Database historian Tim Brulia explains it:

"While I am pretty certain that's a 1971 shot of Brodie and the Niners at L.A. and the shot clearly shows the Rams numerals as shiny (which they definitely were in 1971), there IS a possibility that it could be from 1970. The number fonts used by the Rams on the white jerseys were distinctly different in the two years. The number font used in '70 was very similar to what the Packers use today. The font used in '71 was not as blocky, nor was there a serif on the bottom of the 1's. Likewise the NOB's are cropped off of the pic. The NOB's on the Rams 1970 jerseys were immense. The NOB's on the '71 white were rather normal. Since I can't tell 100% the Rams number fonts nor the NOB font, I am going by the caption that was used with the USPresswire site of 11/21/71."
 Tim then followed up with even more confirmation:
"The Brodie vs LA pic is absolutely from 11/21/1971. The Ram in the pic is #85 Jack Youngblood. He was a rookie in 1971. In 1970, there was NO Ram who wore 85 per pro-football-reference.com."
Okay, so we know that on 11/21/1971 they were still wearing the two-toned pants.  Yesterday we also stated that they absolutely were not wearing the two-toned pants the following week against the Jets.  After analyzing that game again, available here on Hulu, we were more of the opinion that in the Jets game the pants were in fact (left) still the two-toned ones. (More pics from that game here.)  Although we seem to be in agreement that they probably were wearing the new pants for the season finale against the Lions, we aren't certain when they stopped wearing them.  We haven't been able to locate any pictures from the Dec. 6 Monday Night game against Kansas City or the December 12 game against Atlanta.  Or perhaps we're wrong about the Detroit game, maybe they were wearing the two-toned pants for the entire 1971 season, as our Bill Schaefer points out:
The pic from the Lions game (12/19/71)
     I'm looking at the 2 Niners pics (vs Jets & vs Lions) and I think you could legitimately argue that they are both wearing the 2-tone pants.

     In the Jets picture, the Niner laying on the ground definitely has darker material on his hamstring than on his thigh. One would think the surface exposed to the light would be brighter. I think this is definitely the 2-tones working here.

     Now, the Lions pic (right), I could easily get convinced either way. The runner's hammy is darker than his thigh but his 'butt' appears to be the same shade of khaki as his thigh.  Due to the blurry quality of the pic I'd have to go 'inconclusive.'
     But perhaps it wasn't a case of them simply wearing one set of pants until a specific game and then switching to the other.  Maybe they did go "back-and-forth", as Tom, who left a comment on yesterday's entry suggests:

"I wonder if the Brodie vs. Rams photo is a case of the Niners using more lightweight pants because they were playing in L.A. The circa 1968-73 period does have the occasional team wearing a presumably lightweight jersey with no sleeve stripes to beat the heat -- examples that come to mind are the Lions in the '68 opener at Dallas, the 49ers (and surely other teams) at the Dolphins in the '73 opener, the Vikings in a purple jersey with no sleeves early in the '70 season. Maybe the 49ers' shiny pants are a product of the same thinking."
This picture is from Week 7
1970 vs Green Bay -- are these the
two-toned pants or not?
     So there it is.  They definitely wore the two-toned pants from 1964 to 1969, and they also wore them some of the time in 1970 and 1971.  The hardest part of this research is that it isn't always clear, even in color pictures, which pants the players are wearing.  I'd say we still have someways to go to determine exactly which games during those two years were played in which pants.

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     To those of you who have been following along, tomorrow is our official website launch.  We've been trying to get everything ready, but like we said before this website will remain an on-going project, and it will never completely be done.  There shouldn't be any broken links, and we have all of the team yearly graphics in.  You can click on either teams on the right or years on the left and see every NFL (and AFL and AAFC) uniform since 1933.  We will slowly be adding each team's game-by-game head to head matchup page, beginning with the 2010 teams.  We had hoped to have all of the 2010 team season pages done by tomorrow, but that simply won't be possible.  The Steelers and Packers were already in, and on Friday we added the Bears, Vikings and Lions 2010 team pages to complete the NFC North, and we will be rolling out other teams in the coming days.

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     Database Corrections.  Like yesterday's minor adjustment to the 1967 Broncos of depicting the preseason only variations on the bottom of the graphic, rather than the top, we found others that required that adjustment as well, the 1960 Patriots (previous), the 1969 and 1970 Jets ('69, '70 previous) and the 1970 Dolphins (previous).  Another minor change, the 1993 Buccaneers sleeve patch honoring the passing of Bucs' owner Hugh Culverhouse, was only depicted in detail in the white version, and we have added the detail to both versions.  
     Culverhouse was so disliked that they honored his death the year before he died.  Just kidding, although he did die in 1994, the patch was merely to commemorate his life.  He had lung cancer and I guess they just wanted to say thanks for all the years of wonderful team ownership...like not paying Doug Williams money to stay in 1983 and being such a general all-around cheapskate that the Bucs, when they honored Culverhouse with the sleeve patch, were completing their eleventh of fourteen straight losing seasons.   As Joy Culverhouse, his widow, said during the ugly legal fight with trustees for control of his estate when Culverhouse's many extramarital affairs were revealed: "I'd like to dig him up just so I could shoot him."

1 comment:

  1. You'll note in that top screen grab the plain sleeved 49er white jerseys and the Falcons red jerseys. I remember seeing the clips from this game (Week 1, 1971) for the first time on the halftime highlights of Monday Night Football. We still had a black & white TV, but my eagle eye almost popped out of its socket when seeing the generic Niner look and what I knew for sure was a red Falcon jersey (the Falcs had always worn black prior to this game). I recall saying something at school the next day to my fellow football geeks about this game. Most were indifferent. Sigh.



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