A Christmas Message from the Gridiron Uniform Database

A Christmas Message from the Gridiron Uniform Database
by Tim Brulia

This is our first Christmas at the Gridiron Uniform Database.

I have been doing the serious research on NFL Uniforms for nearly 10 years.

Bill Schaefer and I connected in September of 2009.

Rob Holecko made contact with Bill and me on May 14th. So the research man, the graphic artist and the web-meister all came together. And, with Rob working feverishly, we were able to officially launch gridironuniforms.com on June 12th. That is our Christmas gift to all of you, the fans of pro football, history and uniforms.

Since our launch, we have numerous corrections, made even more discoveries, and have put up, literally as they trot on the field, the uniform matchups for the 2011 season.

For 2012, we hope to maintain the same standards that we have set for 2011. We will do all we can to continue to be as accurate as possible on uniform detail.

We want to thank those of you who have made contributions to that accuracy with your finds and discoveries. We may ask some of you to help contribute to our blog in the coming weeks and months. We also wish to thank those of you for simply visiting our site and hope you find it of value and enjoyment.

We also take this time and opportunity to give special thanks to our friends at Uni Watch, namely Paul Lukas and Phil Hecken for their help and support, first to send the word out to help with the graphics in 2009 and then earlier this year for the call to enlist help for the website. It goes without saying that without Bill and Rob answering those "calls," I would still be sitting on a pile of valuable historical information, without anyone to share it with. I owe them every morsel of gratitude.

So, on behalf of Bill and Rob, we'd like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and the Best of the Holiday Season.

Peace on Earth.

The Gridiron Uniform Database

Now here's Rob with today's "On This Day..."

~ ~ ~

"On This Day..."
by Rob Holecko

On Christmas Eve 1977, like yesterday's Immaculate Reception game, the Raiders and Colts played another memorable AFC Divisional Playoff game.  This game is fondly remembered as "Ghost To The Post."  In 1977, Christmas fell on Sunday, so the NFL played the two AFC Divisional Playoffs on Christmas Eve, and the two NFC games on Monday.  The Raiders were the defending champions, coming off of  Super Bowl XI victory, and the Colts were an aging team seven years removed from their Super Bowl V victory, and were looking to bring a championship during the Bert Jones years to Baltimore.  The Wikipedia write-up is as follows:

Ghost to the Post is a significant play in NFL history. It refers specifically to a 42-yard pass from Ken Stabler to Dave Casper, nicknamed "The Ghost" after the cartoon character, that set up a game tying field goal in the final seconds of a double-overtime playoff game played between Casper's Oakland Raiders and the then-Baltimore Colts on December 24, 1977. Casper also caught the last pass of the game, a 10-yard touchdown pass. The game is currently the fourth-longest in NFL history, and has become synonymous with the play that made it famous.
To this date, the game is still the fourth-longest in pro football history. The game marked the last playoff appearance for the Baltimore-based Colts. The Raiders would go on to lose the AFC championship game that year to the Broncos 20-17. Hall of Fame coach John Madden has called the moment one of the most memorable of his coaching career. Dave Casper has been named one of the best Tight Ends in NFL History and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and this catch is cited as the most memorable in his career.

The Raiders won the game, but lost the following week in the AFC Championship to Denver.  Ken Stabler would not see another championship, as the Raiders, in the coming years, would go on to win Super Bowl XV and, after moving to Los Angeles, XVIII, but they would be with Jim Plunkett under center.  The Colts would never again play a playoff game or have another winning season in Baltimore, posting records of 5-11 (twice), 2-14 and 0-8-1 in the following years, before leaving in the middle of the night for Indianapolis in 1984.

You can see the NFL Films show on this game on Hulu here.

We are proud to add this game to Gridiron Uniform Database's collection of randomly added single-game matchups.

You can view other randomly added past games here.

The Immaculate Reception

Today for our "On This Day..." feature, we are taking a look back at the December 23, 1972 Immaculate Reception of Franco Harris:

In this memorable game, after forty years of being a perennial loser, the Steelers trailed 7-6 in the final minutes after a Ken Stabler touchdown run.  On fourth-and-ten from their own 35, Terry Bradshaw's pass down the field for Frenchy Fuqua was deflected by either the Raiders' DB Jack Tatum or Fuqua, and it was "caught out of the air" by Harris, who raced down the sideline for the winning score.  (See above video.)  After some debate by the officials, (had the pass only touched Fuqua it would have been a foul, as NFL rules at the time did not permit an offensive player to catch a forward pass that had been touched only by another offensive player.  That rule was rescinded after 1978) the play was ruled a touchdown and Pittsburgh won 13-7.  They went on to lose to the undefeated Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship Game, but this was the beginning of their dynasty, as they went on to win four of the next seven Super Bowls.

The game was not broadcast in Pittsburgh.  1972 was the last year that all home games were blacked-out in home cities, and since the beginning of the 1973 season, every Steelers game has sold-out and has been televised locally.

The NFL Films footage of the play may have led
to speculation -- was the play legal?
The clip you see above was from when NBC re-aired the original footage at halftime of the 1997 AFC Championship on January 11, 1998.  When they aired this, I believe they promoted this at the time as being the first time that the footage had been aired since the game.  Many people, including Gene Upshaw and John Madden, believed that the play should have been nullifed for being an illegal catch.  The NFL Films version of the highlight (this still to the right is from that footage), which had been seen repeatedly over the previous twenty-five years, did not show the collision, and that may have added fuel to the fire.  This NBC footage, which many people were seeing for the first time in 1998, however, I believe ended the speculation.  It is clear that Tatum must have touched the ball, for I don't see how, with the direction that Fuqua was running, his momentum alone would have caused the ball to ricochet back that far to Harris.  It doesn't matter if Fuqua touched it or not, only that had Tatum not touched it would it have been illegal.  (Unless, of course it was Tatum's momentum into Fuqua that caused Fuqua to hit the ball hard enough.)

The only remaining dispute was whether or not Harris cleanly caught the ball before it touched the ground.  Again the NFL Films version of the replay doesn't show that clearly, either.  But upon viewing the NBC replay, it is fairly clear that the catch was clean as well.

We are proud to add this game to Gridiron Uniform Database's collection of randomly added single-game matchups.

You can view other randomly added past games here.

Week 15 Uniform Rankings

Week 15 Uniform Rankings
by Tim Brulia

Week 15 and we start to separate the men from the boys, on the field and on the body (er, uniform wise!)

Jaguars-Falcons: Jag rock white/black and the Falcs go red/white. Lot of blackness here. Falcons red saves this from being total blah from my standpoint.

Cowboys-Buccaneers: Cowboys in the standard white/green-blue-silver and the Bucs go red-pewter. This may be just a bit of metallic color overload for me. I think had the Bucs worn the white pants here, it would have made the red jerseys pop a little more. But, this is not really all that bad.

Panthers-Texans: Panthers in the white-white get up and the Texans go with navy-white. A lot of white, but the Texans navy jerseys just look good and make this one a pretty good feature.

Redskins-Giants: OK, I accept that the Skins yellow pants are mothballed for 2011. And doing that, I can deal with this matchup well. Much more traditional and a heaping amount of color, with white, blue, burgundy and gray, trimmed with yellow and red. Soothing to the football eyes.

Dolphins-Bills: Dolphins in white/aqua, Bills in blue/white. White helmets aside, I'm not sure why, but whenever the Dolphins rock an aqua jersey or aqua pants, I get fired up. And the Bills in their very sharp blue jerseys, I find myself quite attracted to this matchup. Satisfaction.

Seahawks-Bears: Hawks in all white with the Bears in navy/white. For whatever reason, this matchup appeals to me. Normally I'd hanker for the Seahawks to go white/seahawk blue here, but not now. I'm quite pleased with this on field look.

Saints-Vikings: Saints go white/gold and the Vikes in standard purple/white. Another time where I might said, gee, I wish the Saints would've black pants here. But the gold works, with black as a nice accessory color. Vikes purple goes well with the color mixture. May not be one of the better uni matchups, but not a yucky one, either.

Bengals-Rams: Bengals go white/black and the Rams in their second time in throwback blue/yellow. Oh do I like this one. Color abounds. Orange, black, blue, yellow, white all come together in fine fashion. It's all good in my neighborhood.

Titans-Colts: Titans in white/columbia blue and the (winning!) Colts in blue/white. There once was an instrumental hit (when I was a kid, hundreds of years ago) called "Love Is Blue," and such is the case here. columbia (light) blue, royal blue, navy blue with a wisp of red on the Titans helmet logo. Somehow, this all comes together in fine form.

Packers-Chiefs: Packers in white/yellow with the Chiefs in red/white. A little seasonal as the Packers green trim goes up against Chiefs red. But a little heavy on the white and yellow for it to be truly Christmasy. Traditional looks by these two. But I'm to be Scroogeish and say it's not working for me today.

Lions-Raiders: Lions in white/silver, Raiders in black/silver. "Silver Bells" anyone? Silver helmets and silver pants for both squads. silver on both jerseys, too. Some contrast with the black and honolulu blue, but I'm not feeling it.

Patriots-Broncos: Pats in white/navy and for the third home game in a row, Broncs in all navy. Loads of navy here. Perhaps too much? Remember, while a home team has to let the NFL know by July 1st what color jersey they will wear, they don't have to tell anyone about what color pants they will wear. Perhaps the Broncs on their hot streak with the all blue decided to give one more shot.

Jets-Eagles: Jets in white/green, Eagles in green/white. Much of a role reversal here, from head to foot. Jets white lid, Eagles green lid. Jets white jersey, Eagles green jersey! Jets green pants, Eagles white pants! Jets white socks, Eagles - um - black socks! For that alone, I give this a plus!

Browns-Cardinals: Browns heading for a full season of WAY (white all year). Cardinals, just like the Broncos, with a hat trick of all dark at home, going red/red. This so deep a contrast (all white vs all red) that I happen to dig this, man.

Ravens-Chargers: Ravens in all white and the Chargers with their second showing in powder blue/white. Ravens haven't worn black pants since week 7 and I think they would have played nicely off of the Bolts POWder blues. As always, the Chargers ratchet up the chart whenever they break out these babies. Just a thought...powder blue tops and navy blue bottoms??? Shock factor: HIGH!

Steelers-49ers: Steelers in white/yellow and the Niners in red/gold. Niners are so hot this season that the transformer blew at Candlestick! This is actually a sharp looking matchup here and shows beyond the shadow of a doubt when we talk about the difference between yellow and gold.

Summing up, I think Week 15 was one of the best weeks for uni matchups for 2011, even if all 16 games featured all dark at home.

Here's the hit parade:

1) Bengals-Rams
2) Browns-Cardinals
3) Dolphins-Bills
4) Ravens-Chargers
5) Steelers-49ers
6) Jets-Eagles
7) Patriots-Broncos
8) Titans-Colts
9) Saints-Vikings
10) Redskins-Giants
11) Packers-Chiefs
12) Panthers-Texans
13) Seahawks-Bears
14) Cowboys-Buccaneers
15) Lions-Raiders
16) Jaguars-Falcons

Check in next week for further review!

~ ~ ~

Thanks, Tim.  And now for our new regular feature, "On This Day..."

On December 21, 1974, thirty-seven years ago yesterday, the two time defending Super Bowl Champion Miami Dolphins played an AFC Divisional Playoff Game in Oakland, losing on the final play, a miraculous pass from Ken Stabler to Clarence Davis.  

We are proud to add this game to Gridiron Uniform Database's collection of randomly added single-game matchups.

You can view other randomly added past games here.

According to Wikipedia:
With 24 seconds left in the game, Raiders RB Clarence Davis somehow caught the game-winning touchdown pass among "the sea of hands" of three Dolphins defenders. This game eliminated Miami from the playoffs after they had made it to the Super Bowl in each of the last 3 seasons. Also known as the "Lost Game" due to both NBC and NFL Films losing their English copies of the broadcast. It was thought until recently that the only remaining copy was NBC's Spanish version, when NFL Films found their copy buried deep in storage, which they thought was lost in a move in the early 80's.

Back When A Bucs' Primetime Game Was Exciting

For those of you who watched the Bucs dismal performance on NFL Network against the Cowboys last night (not talking to those of you who have Time Warner or Bright House) it may seem like a long time since the Bucs played an exciting primetime game.  Earlier this year the Bucs beat the Colts on Monday Night Football, and while a win is a win (and was much better for Buccaneers' fans than the historical 2003 MNF collapse to the same Colts) it was a boring game.  But if we go back eleven years to a Monday Night game between the Bucs and the Rams, you will recall one of the most exciting primetime games in recent memory, as we go... "On This Day..." back to 2000:

"On This Day..."
On December 18, 2000, the Bucs and Rams played a thrilling Monday Night game, so good in fact, the fact that Dennis Miller was announcing it didn't even detract from it.  In the crowded NFC playoff chase, the two teams from the previous year's NFC Championship met in a game they both needed.  The winner would clinch a spot, while the loser would be in danger of missing the playoffs altogether.   Trailing 35-31, with under 2:00 to play, RB Warrick Dunn caught a screen pass and was wrapped up fifteen yards behind the line of scrimmage on a key third down and it seemed like the Bucs hopes were dwindling.  Just before being whistled down, however, Dunn lateralled the ball back to QB Shaun King who improbably ran thirty yards for a first down, and the Bucs drove down the field for the winning score.

The Bucs went on to miss a field goal on Christmas Eve at Lambeau Field the following week and had to settle for a wild card, where they lost to the Eagles, and the Rams beat the Saints the next week and made the playoffs anyway, but then lost to the Saints in the first round.  The Rams made it back to the Super Bowl the next year, losing to the Patriots, while the Bucs (after another wild card loss to the Eagles after the 2001 season, fired Tony Dungy and hired Jon Gruden and got their Lombardi trophy the following year.)  But for one exciting December night in 2000, these two teams played an epic MNF battle.

To read a complete recap of the game, click here.

We are proud to add this historic Monday Night football game from eleven years ago today to our matchup database.
~ ~ ~

Speaking of yesterday's dismal Bucs-Cowboys game (well, dismal if you are a Bucs' fan anyway), what was up with the bias on the NFL Network's coverage?  While this was the fourth consecutive year that the Cowboys have been on NFLN's Saturday Night special broadcast, this was the first time the Bucs have ever been on NFL Network, I believe.  It would have been a perfect time for them to showcase the Bucs.  I know they are playing awful -- in the midst of a seven-game (now eight-game) losing streak, but that was no excuse for the bias-ness of the NFL Network's coverage.  Yesterday on their network they aired, leading up to the game: "America's Game: 1992 Cowboys", "America's Game: 1995 Cowboys", a replay of the Cowboys-49ers game from earlier this year, "Tom Landry: A Football Life", and Top Ten Dallas Cowboys of All-Time.   C'mon, is this a national network, or am I watching a local Dallas-Fort Worth station?  They could have at least mixed in an "America's Game: 2002 Buccaneers" instead of 10 straight hours of this Cowboys-love fest.  The game was all-Cowboys, at least they could have shown the Bucs a little love during the programming all day leading up to it.  Even FOX News thinks that violates equal time guidelines!  Even ESPN is less biased when showing a Red Sox-Yankees game!

And then to top it all off, they rubbed salt in the wound at halftime, the Bucs were trailing 28-0, and they put the Bucs' score not just as "0", but "00":

What, one "zero" wasn't enough?


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