Week 4 Uniform Matchup Rankings

Welcome back for the weekly uniform matchup rankings (Week 4), but first a couple of items we want to bring to your attention:

We recently added a couple of things to the GUD's research tab. They are:

1) A descriptive listing of the uniform history of the Chicago College All-Star Game. For the uninitiated, the College All-Star Game took place each year (except for 1974) from 1934 through 1976.  The game pitted the NFL (or Super Bowl) Champions from the previous season against the the most talented Collegiate all-stars.  It was almost always held at Soldier Field and was always played at night.  In the game's early days, it was a huge deal.  In fact, attendance for the game was always strong, but in particular, in the 1940's.  During this decade, the average gate was in excess of 90,000 and on three occasions, topped 100,000.  We are pleased to add this chapter to the GUD.

2) A graphical history of Helmet Decals.  With the capable and talented hands of Bill Schaefer and the help of you, the faithful GUD followers, we have been able to compile - to our knowledge - the most comprehensive single source of helmet decals to be found anywhere.  The decal history portrays all known commemorative and memorial decals that have been found on the backs of the helmets and in some cases, the front bumpers of the helmets for every team - and player - that wore them.  The only decal I know that isn't shown is the Warning sticker (that tells the wearer not to use the helmet as a spearing weapon, among other things).  We strongly urge you to look them over and if you happen to find any that we're missing, please contact us with pictorial proof and dates that the decals were used.  We thank those who helped Bill with this tremendous addition to the GUD.

And now, to the review:

#15. Dolphins-Cardinals: MIA in all white with ARZ in red/white. You don't know how disappointed I was when I heard - and saw - the Dolphins ditching the wonderful white/aqua away look for their dullish home all white duds. This one goes down numerous pegs for that alone. hey, at least the Cardinals returned to their red roots or this could have been a disaster.

#14. Titans-Texans: TEN in white/columbia and HOU in dark blue/white. Another two-toned blue affair that doesn't dull the senses. However, like the NE-BUF pairing, lots of blue, but only a hint of red. A little more red would make this even better.

#13. Patriots-Bills: Pats in white/navy and the Bills in blue/white. A traditional rivals game with some nice color. Silver, navy, red and blue. While it works, I think a red Bills helmet would have been icing on this cake. While it still has some good taste, I am just not stoked for it.

#12. Panthers-Falcons: CAR in all white with the ATL in throwback black/white mode. Falcons also go full throttle with the 1966 throwback with the red helmet. The Falcons get a lot of love for this particular throwback and while I do like it, I like the '67 white falcon jersey better. Panthers answer with their normal all white visitors scheme. It's nice, but not a knockout.  (I personally prefer the 1981 red jersey with gray pants Steve Bartkowski era throwback look for the Falcons.  -RH)

#11. Redskins-Buccaneers: WSH in burgundy/white and TB in white/pewter. Darn! Skins rocking the white pants for the first time this (regular) season and the Bucs in the early season WAH look. I could have let the Skins go if they had pulled off wearing the striped socks, but...A little downer. Bucs still look nice, but I really think those red jerseys should be always the home jersey.

#10. Browns-Ravens: The Thirsday nighter featured the Browns in all white with the Ravens in purple/black. The perfect Ravens uni against the classic Browns model. With the orange helmet on the Browns, it makes for a nice look. This happens to be my favorite Ravens combo.

#9. Seahawks-Rams: SEA in white/gray and STL in all dark blue. If the Rams stayed with gold pants, this matchup would be flirting with #1. The Seahawks continue to impress - yes, impress - me with these 2012 uni combos. I can get into this one, but not enough for a top 5 berth.

#8. Bengals-Jaguars:  CIN in all white, JAX in teal/white. A little explanation here. It was announced before this game that the Jags would wear teal tops for the last time effective with this game and then switch to black (yawn) jerseys from here on for 2012. Some of the folks out there asked how could the Jags get away with a mid-season change when the NFL requires a jersey schedule by July 1? Simple. The Jags, most likely, MADE that decision the proper way. And the teals this year became the alternate jersey! As I understand, a team can wear an alternate or throwback a maximum of three times during the pre and regular season. JAX likely informed the NFL of their jersey schedule properly by the deadline. The decision simply wasn't leaked to the public until the last week or so. Basically, much ado about nothing. Oh yes, the matchup. Bengals could have given us black pants, but with the teal farewell, no points deducted.

#7. Chargers-Chiefs: SD in white/navy and KC in red/white. After two weeks in all white, the Chargers revert back to current form with the navy britches. And it plays much better than if they had stayed all white. The offset stripes on the Chiefs sleeves may be only a little change, but a much needed one. Makes the stripes pop a bit more. Well played.

#6. Raiders-Broncos: OAK in white/silver, DEN in orange/white. The way it's supposed to be. After many years with the Broncos in dark blue and sometimes ALL dark blue, this is a quality, traditional look with flair. Sweet.

#5. 49ers-Jets: SF in white/gold, NYJ in green/white. I guess a little too early in the season for the jets to go Gang Green? Niners in the uni that makes the gold pop. Still, while conservative, this is a good uni matchup. The reds, golds and greens have a good feel.

#4. Vikings-Lions:
MIN in all white with DET in honolulu-silver. As expected as any game would be. Very traditional, and actually a good contrast. The purple trim works well with the palish blue and silver trim. with a touch of black.

#3. Bears-Cowboys: As always, no major jaw-droppers here. Normal looks for these two, CHI in navy/white and DAL in white/mint. Good solid looking football uniforms and colors, the multi-silver hued Cowboys actually plays sweetly off the navy and orange Bears. I'm tellin' ya, though, the Bears are one of several squads that seem to have noticeably larger back numbers with the new Nike jerseys than under the old Reebok system.

#2. Giants-Eagles: NYG in white/gray. PHI in green/white. Boy, the Eagle green doesn't seem as dark to me these days and if true, that is a plus. Two old line teams with nice colorful contrasts. red, blue, green and the customary black. Good show! 

#1. Saints-Packers:  NO in white/black and GB in green/yellow. Yep, I might be one of the few who jack up the rankings here for the Saints going with the black pants, but so what? Packers always look marvelous in the green/yellow combo.

That's it for Week 4. Again, please do check out the new additions to the GUD's research page. We trust and hope you will find them of interest. 

If Now Was Then...(Part 3)

Over the last 2 weeks, I have been displaying a brainchild that came to me while watching a Titans preseason game month ago. The thought had occurred to me that if this were the era of long-sleeve jerseys and leather helmets, what would each of the current League teams look like as they took the field?

Having already displayed the teams from the NFC North and NFC East, I now turn to the "Left Coast" and...

The NFC West

ARIZONA – After scrapping everything black, I looked at their current design. With the colors tapering around the sleeve area, it looked to me that they deserved the cuff-to-cuff sleeve and shoulder stripe treatment. I kept the same font for the numbers, minus the unnecessary black outlines. With a bird as their logo, I went with the red flying wing logo on a white helmet. A reverse scheme white secondary version was added as well.

ST. LOUIS – I just couldn’t resist putting ram-horn 'stripes' on the shoulders and reverting to the royal blue and yellow. In the late-1940s, mono-yellow was the look for the Rams. These are easily identifiable as no other team.

SAN FRANCISCO – These are pretty much a set of AAFC-style Niners. I like this flavor of gold better than today’s khaki.

SEATTLE – The original color scheme of Seattle would have never been removed. I made the sleeve stripes to mimic the bi-color pattern of the original Seahawks' logo but made the stripes a single color only and reversed the entire color scheme for the green secondary jersey.

Within this division, it is obvious that the secondary jerseys are quite the necessity. Possessing two teams who have red primary jerseys as well as two teams with blue primaries, the secondary jerseys would get worn every year. Such is the life in the "If Now Was Then" NFC West.

Next week, we wrap up the NFC as we turn to the South...
Bill Schaefer

A Head To Head History: The Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans

Visions of Earl Campbell running over defenders in Houston Oilers Columbia Blue still resonate whenever the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans engage twice each season in AFC South match-ups.

The Oilers abandoned the city of their birth following the 1996 season. After spending two seasons as the Tennessee Oilers, they were rechristened the Tennessee Titans in 1999. The accompanying complete uniform makeover included the iconic Columbia Blue changing to “Titans Blue”, though it was still similar.

The Houston Texans filled the void left by the Oilers in 2002, dressed in the colors of the state flag: navy blue, red and white. Their first game was against their in-state rival Dallas Cowboys, and the Texans started in style with a surprising 19-10 upset victory.  Coach Dom Capers seemed to have a sense of history, as he had the Texans wear their white jerseys at home, forcing the Cowboys to wear their “bad luck” blue jerseys.

The Texans first meeting with their new division rival Titans came in Week 10 at Tennessee. The Titans wore their standard Navy Blue jerseys with the Titans Blue shoulders and white pants. The Texans wore the white jerseys that had brought them the opening day win, but fell to the Titans 17-10.  Houston welcomed their estranged team back in Week 17. The Texans wore their home navy blue jerseys with white pants and Tennessee wore their white jerseys with navy blue pants and socks. The Titans won to sweep the season series between the two clubs and would do so again in 2003.

In the game at Tennessee that year the Titans broke out their new Titans Blue alternate jerseys, which gave them a bit of an Oilers feel, and wore them over their navy pants. Steve McNair had a prolific game for Tennessee with 421 yards passing and three TD’s in a 38-17 win. The game in Houston was closely contested as McNair lead a 4th quarter comeback for a 27-24 victory.

The Texans finally found the win column against their rivals in 2004. The Houston defense gained a measure of revenge as they intercepted McNair four times in a 20-10 win in Tennessee. As in 2003, the Titans wore their alternate jerseys over navy pants. The rematch in Houston saw the Texans sweep the season series in their “Battle Red” alternate jerseys and white pants as they overcame a 21-3 deficit for a 31-21 win.

Tennessee began a seven-game win streak over Houston in 2005, with some of those wins coming in dramatic style. swept the season series the next three years. The first meeting in 2005 saw the Texans wear white-at-home over navy pants and  in the titans in their navy blue jerseys and white pants.  At Tennessee the Titans wore their now familiar alternate Titans Blue jerseys over navy blue pants. 

The same was true for the 2006 game at Tennessee, but at Houston the Titans wore their new Titans Blue pants with their white jerseys. This game was hugely anticipated as Texas Longhorn alumnus Vince Young returned to play in his native Houston. Many Houston fans had wanted the Texans to draft Young, but they instead chose DE Mario Williams. Young’s passing day was unremarkable (218 yards with an INT), but he won the game in overtime with a 39-yard touchdown run, sending the Houston fans home with mixed feelings.

In 2007 the Texans again went white-at-home, but this time the Titans wore an all-navy blue ensemble in a thrilling 38-36 shootout. Entering the 4th quarter, the Titans owned a seemingly secure 32-7 lead over the Texans, who were under the guidance of QB Kerry Collins who filled in for an injured Vince Young, and six Rob Bironas FG’s. Sage Rosenfels (who took over for Matt Schaub during the 2nd quarter) tied an NFL record with four TD passes in the 4th quarter, and gave the Texans a 36-35 lead with just 0:57 remaining. Collins then led the Titans from their own 20-yard-line to the Houston 11 in five plays, setting up Bironas for the game-winning and record-setting 8th FG.

The Texans ended their frustration with the  Titans in their second meeting in 2008. Andre Johnson registered the only touchdown in a game that saw Bironas and Kris Bown exchange six FG’s for a 13-12 Houston final score. The Titans again harkened back to their Houston routes for the occasion by wearing white jerseys and Titans Blue pants.
The following season, Houston registered their first road win in the series since 2004. The Titans wore white-at-home and their now standard Titans Blue pants for the September match-up. The Texans wore their Standard navy blue jerseys and rode the passing combination of Schaub (357 yards, four TD)  and Johnson (10 catches, 149 yards, two TD) to a 34-31 win. Kris Brown decided the outcome with a FG at 2:58. 

Brown would not fare as well in the rematch at Houston on a Monday night in November. The Texans wore their red alternate jerseys with the Titans in the same uniforms they wore in the first game. Bironas broke a 17-17 tie with a 53-yard FG with only 52 seconds remaining in the game. After the kickoff, Schaub moved the Texans from their own 38 to the Tennessee 31, but Brown’s 49-yard attempt sailed wide left.

The Texans won the first 2010 meeting handily, 20-0. However, the game is remembered by fans around the league for the fisticuffs between the NFL’s #1 instigator Cortland Finnegan and the normally mild mannered Johnson. Midway through the 4th quarter with the Texans ahead 17-0, Finnegan and Johnson exchanged words after a succession of running plays. The second time, Johsnon shoved Finnegan, who removed his helmet and shouted back at Johnson. At the snap on the following play, Finnegan jabbed at Johsnon’s facemask, who tore off and flung Finnegans helmet and landed several blows before players from both teams and officials intervened. Both players received $25,000 fines.

The Titans won the much more civil rematch in Tennessee in Novmber 31-17. The only change in uniforms from previous years was the Texans now wore navy socks with their navy pants, and the Titans featured what has now become their standard home uniform: Titans Blue jerseys over navy pants.

Houston won a 41-7 blowout in Tennessee in 2010 on the strength of their rushing attack and defense. Both Ben Tate and Arian Foster topped 100 yards rushing while their defense limited the Titans to just 53 yards on the ground and 11 total first downs.

The Week 17 rematch in Houston was a closely contested game that saw both teams with winning records and their sights set on the post season tournament. the first three quarters saw Bironas now exchanging FG’s with Neil Rackers. Titans QB Matt Hasselebeck broke a 16-16 tie with 4:39 left in the 4th quarter on a 23-yard pass to Nate Washington. Jake Delhomme (filling in for the injured T.J.Yates) responded with a TD of his own with only 19 seconds remaining. Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak eschewed the conventional PAT and attempt a 2-point conversion to avoid overtime. Since the Texans had already clinched the AFC South Division Title and were locked into the AFC's #3 seed there was nothing to be gained by extending the game into an extra period. The pass failed and although Tennessee finished with winning 9-7 record, they were eliminated from the playoffs via conference tie-breakers later that day when Kansas City defeated Denver. 

These teams renew their spirited rivalry in Week 4 with the undefeated Texans playing the unfamiliar role as an AFC powerhouse, but the Titans have an uncanny tendency to surprise the Texans with memorable performances in the clutch. 


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