Week 8 Weekly Uniform Rankings

Before we get started, we at the GUD are thinking of those who were slapped this week by Sandy. Here at the Pennsylvania office of the GUD, we did get punched by the 5" of rain and 50+ MPH winds. We were very fortunate not to lose power at any time during the storm. Apart from a little water in the basement, we made it through OK. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many hundreds of thousands of others. We wish for those folks and families a speedy recovery.

#14. Dolphins-Jets: MIA in all white, NYJ in green/white. With the Fish staying all white all the time, was hoping the Jets would have whipped out the all green machine. Alas, no. Down the list this one goes.

#13. Colts-Titans: IND in all white, TEN in light blue/dark blue. Again for the Titans, it's a blue world. This week, I'm in a forgiving mood, so I can dig on this matchup. To a point.

#12. 49ers-Cardinals: SF in white/gold, ARZ in red/white. Was really hoping the Big Red would have gone big red, like in all red. Nope. It would have red overkill if they did, but on the Cardinals keep it low key with the white pants. A subpar matchup.

#11. Patriots-Rams: In the London special, NE in white/navy, STL in all dark blue. Both teams wear the rather rudimentary red "International Series" patch. So now we know wear the Rams' blues were last week. In the equipment trunk packed for the plane ride to Heathrow Airport. As I can and do get dulled by too much white, I am a bit dulled by too much deep blue. The Rams should have gone with the white pants here. Would have definitely notched up a bit in the food chain.

#10. Jaguars-Packers: JAX in all white, GB in green/yellow. The ever dulling Jag unis can't save this matchup, even with the Pack in the luverly green jersey/white pants combo. But when the sunshine hits the Jags lids, and the teal undertones come out, it does help.

#9. Falcons-Eagles: ATL in all white, PHI in alternate black/white. This is a dilemma, I normally hate the black for black's sake (BFBS) jerseys, but if there's one good thing about Philly's BFBS top, it makes the green pop. But really, that's all the good it does. Falcons away look is not doing me any favors this year.

#8. Giants-Cowboys: NYG in blue/gray, DAL in white/mint. Not a surprising matchup by any means. A lot of blue and various shades of gray offset only by the blips of red on the Giants helmets and pants. The familiar white at home for Dallas, and the familiar blues of NY. Just once, I'd like to see this matchup reversed by the Cowboys going dark at home...in my lifetime.

#7. Raiders-Chiefs:  OAK in white/silver and KC in red/white. So much tradition with this matchup and traditional rivalry. On a color scale, it may not be much, but basic works here. The silver, black, red and yellow means only one thing, Raiders-Chiefs. Basic.

#6. Buccaneers-Vikings: TB in white/pewter, MIN in purple/white. No surprises here and I'm glad. Bucs could have broken out the white pants, but chose not to. And I think it worked well here. Vikes in the purples and I liked this matchup.

#5. Panthers-Bears: CAR in all white, CHI in throwback navy/white. Bears rock the 1941-1947 era navy jerseys (straight block orange numbers and stripes). To get more of the feel, the Bears peel off the iconic wishbone C of their helmets. Sidebar: the Bears make no changes to the pants. Why? The pants (white with a navy/orange/navy side stripe) haven't changed a lick since 1941. These pants are the NFL's longest running unchanged design on a uniform. Anyway, it is a refreshing look coupled against the Panthers silver, black and bright pale blue hose.

#4. Saints-Broncos: NO in white/black. DEN in orange/white. Was talk of the Broncos going to a return to blue for this one. Didn't happen. And that's a big plus. This matchup has a load of different colors and that - as you know by now - is what I am after in these matchups. Black, gold, orange, deep blue = sweet.

#3. Seahawks-Lions: SEA in white/navy, DET in honolulu blue/silver. Seahawks made the right move by wearing navy as I would have likely griped about too much silver/gray. This looks good, with that pale blue for the Lions bouncing well off the Seahawks nice new look.

#2. Chargers-Browns: SD in white/dark blue, CLE in brown/white. The Browns mis-led us with this one. They had said first four home games in white, the last four in brown. One game early, but you, I'm glad. To me, this is a great matchup. A lot of color and done right. white, dark blue, yellow and powder blue trim, orange, brown and white. Brownies, I know you love your all whites, but bust this look because I like your brown jerseys so much more.

#1. Redskins-Steelers: WSH in white/yellow, PIT in throwback black-yellow/khaki. Shameless plug, in case you missed it, the GUD did an exhaustive 10/27 blog on the aegis of the Steelers throwbacks on uni-watch.com (link). Seeing this outfit in action was very disconcerting. But as the game progressed, this became very eye appealing. There is no middle ground with these babies. You either love them or hate them. I happen to love them. These jerseys are so far outside of the football box, that it works! Just a dandy look! I didn't forget you, Redskins. You should have gone with the burgundy pants. If you had, I would have likely labeled this uniform matchup the greatest in NFL history. Seriously. But, #1 for the week will have to do.

If Now Was Then...(Part 7)

With one more week remaining next week, I bring to you the penultimate division for your consideration.  The AFC West began with these same four teams back in the inaugural AFL season in 1960 and the teams have remained together ever since. That is heritage. These are rivalries spurred on by decades of blood, sweat, tears, and maybe even a little bit of hatred mixed in.

How would these teams have looked back in the days of long-sleeved jerseys and leather helmets?

You are about to find out...
The AFC West
DENVER – When Denver began in 1960, they were blah (except for their socks!). Brown and yellow…er…um…no. Swooshes wouldn’t have been around yet so I went with the opposite color cuff-to-cuff stripes and the current number font. To make the helmet a little more aerodynamic/racy, I went with the striped flying wing helmet model.

KANSAS CITY – Several months ago, Tim asked me to indulge him and create current mono-color images for San Diego (navy), Cleveland (brown), and Kansas City (red). I loved the look of mono-red for KC then and I love it here as well. Even with the overdose of red, the yellow numbers pop off the red jersey. But when I went to do the reverse color scheme for the secondary jersey, the yellow jersey didn’t look right with the red pants so I went with the white one instead.

OAKLAND – Literally no change was needed here. I only added some black to the collars and cuffs of the white secondary jersey because, otherwise, it would just be too much white.

SAN DIEGO – Powder blue instead of navy was an easy call. The lightning bolts would not have been there so I basically added the looped shoulder stripes. The team had its roots in Los Angeles and these combinations scream UCLA.

Well, there you go. Next week, our journey 'back in time' comes to a conclusion as we tackle our final division, the AFC South.
Bill Schaefer

London blitzed by the Brady Bunch – an English perspective

Here at the Gridiron Uniform Database, we are proud to offer special guest blog today.  As you may or may not know, the creator of our wonderful banner graphics, Mark Young, lives in England and he was in attendance at the Patriots-Rams game Sunday.  He graciously offered to recount the experience for us in today's blog.  Bill Schaefer will be back on Thursday will his usual segment on 1940s versions of today's uniforms as he takes on the AFC West, and Tim Brulia, as soon as he recovers from the winter hurricane storm, will be along later in the week with this week's uniform matchup rankings.

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London blitzed by the Brady Bunch – an English perspective
by Mark Young

So much anticipation going into my second International Series game after breaking my duck1 for the Bucs v Bears game last year. After leaving early for the 3 hour drive to Wembley, nothing makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up more than seeing the Wembley arch in the distance, followed by the walk up Wembley Way. My fourth visit to the new stadium, looking forward to what we hoped was going to be another great advert of how the UK can welcome and host the NFL's finest.

Seeing such an array of NFL shirts amongst fans arriving is always going to make the IS game more of a neutral spectacle – a love of the sport – rather than a passion for the two teams playing. Although a big UK following for the Patriots would make this more of a home game for them against the promotion of the Rams as ‘our’ home team to follow.

The tailgate was somewhat disappointing compared to last year’s… other than the field stage, there was little on offer other than food and drink. Not a bad choice I guess! But one thing the UK fan is not happy with is the extortionate cost of everything in ‘London prices’. So, after buying my £10 beast of a programme, my son and I entered the stadium.

Now I’m afraid I’m a neutral too… So despite wearing a Bengals jersey (only bought because the colours match that of my beloved ‘soccer’ team ‘Wolves’ -- that's me in the picture at the top, with my lad Scott in the Buccaneers jersey), I can honestly say I’ve never been to, nor will ever go to a Bengals game…unless of course they came over here for the London game… But the same can be said for the majority of those that turned up. Many fans have particular teams they support/follow, but we just love the game and all we want is to enjoy seeing it played on our home shore.

The Brady inspired Pats were simply outstanding, despite the impressive first, and only, score of the Rams with Bradford’s 50 yard pass to Givens giving us false hope of an actual competitive game on show. But the Pats signaled their intent from their opening play when a simple Brady pass to Lloyd leveled the game up. You sensed then that this game was only going one way. And that it did.

The UK crowd can often be subdued, and with constant reminders on the screens to ‘cheer for the Rams,' it was pretty obvious we had been duped into following a non-starter, and the crowd would have none of it. We always like an underdog, but as much as we are grateful for this one game a year, we DO want to see a contest. The only bonus from this is seeing Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski on fine form… It was a great sight to see these two players on the same wavelength. A simple mixture of rushing and passing from the Pats left the Rams defense with no answer. Brady had so much time to pick his receiver with every passing play it became embarrassing – even Bill Belichick had a smile on his face… Oh hang on, no he didn’t.

On the positive side of things, this is NFL, and it’s in England, and that is something all us UK fans are so grateful for. The 84,004 attendance (8,000 up on last year although the planned lockout may have caused the lower crowd last year) is our big selling point. Wembley Stadium is simply magnificent, regardless of its fantastic history, seeing the stadium packed sends a massive signal to Roger Goodell that we want to keep hold of NFL. Also want to praise both the NFL and Wembley. As I work for a sports Governing Body in the UK dealing in sports presentation as one of my roles, the organising and attention to detail was outstanding – nothing but praise to all concerned.

On the negative side, ever since the announcement that the Rams would be the home team, we always knew this would be a miss-match, sending those fans who had specially bought Rams jerseys and merchandise feeling a bit cheated, wondering why they had bothered. Also disappointing was seeing how quick the stadium emptied. During the fourth quarter, about three quarters of the ‘fans’ had gone, leaving Wembley looking very empty. I know the contest was over by then, but at £50 - £100 a ticket you would have thought people would stay till the end. Oh, now this maybe a British thing, but when you are watching a game in the States, do you get people constantly wanting to come past you every five minutes?! It infuriates us! Look, if you want to drink beer then great, but remember it means every 15 minutes you will need a pee! These people hardly see the game, and makes the rest of us so pissed off when we have to stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down all the time! Sorry, rant over. Apologies for Boris Johnson too… This guy really is a tool and never let’s us down with outrageous comments… Again he delivered.

The second half seemed to have way too many yellow flags tossed in… with collective groans of ‘not again’ from those of us left, frustrating us for the remainder of the game. We are used to fast action of soccer here and a lot of fans are not used to the stop/start of NFL.

Overall another great IS experience. Two games next year? Hmmmm…. The Vikings v Steelers will be a probable sell out, but not sure about the Jags v 49ers game. With only a month between them, it will take some ticket deal for both games to ensure they both sell out. It’s an expensive game watching NFL at Wembley, as seeing the England soccer team is about half the cost. My fear is the Jags game will get about 50,000 unless they strike a deal to attract more people. I hope I’m wrong. I doubt I can afford both games, so naturally I will take in the Vikings/Steelers game as it’s the first one. It’s a bold move to have two games here, I hope and pray it doesn’t backfire.

UK Jags franchise in the future? That seems to be the rumours. I’m not sure it will work. We are either fans of the game, or have teams we already follow. A UK based franchise would be a bold move. To succeed they need to be challenging, and not whipping boys like the Rams were - people won’t want to see a side losing every week. Also cost… prices would need to be reduced to get a sell out each time, and with that we would lose a lot of the razzmatazz that goes with it. That, to me, is another great selling point. We are not used to all the pre match build up that whets our appetite before the IS game. That is part of the spectacle and attraction too. The cheerleaders and Train were simply a delight that kept us happy. You really feel like you’ve been to a great event, from a sporting and entertainment point of view.

Thank you NFL… September 29th 2013 cannot come quick enough.

1- 'Breaking your duck' is British slang for "doing something the first time." See More

A Head-to-Head History: The New York Jets and The Miami Dolphins

The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins renew one of the most spirited division rivalries that has produced some of the most memorable moments in the post-merger NFL history.

Miami entered the AFL as an expansion franchise in 1966 just as New York was ascending on the arm of quarterback Joe Namath. The Dolphins appropriately displayed colors of their surroundings and new to professional sports - aqua and orange. The Jets, who were a charter member of the league in 1960 as the Titans, wore kelly green and white. As expected, the established Jets dominated the early series between the teams, winning the first either meetings. The 1967 meeting in New York indicated a sign of things to come as Namath struck through the air with 415 passing yards and three touchdowns. Receivers George Sauer and Don Maynard both had 100-yard receiving efforts.

The AFL-NFL merger in 1970 saw a new era begin for the Dolphins. New coach Don Shula, who had lost Super Bowl III to the Jets as the head coach of the Baltimore Colts, immediately established a winning tradition with a 10-win season and playoff berth, sweeping New York in the process. After splitting the season series in 1971, the Dolphins won 11 of the next 12 games from their AFC East rivals. Included was the worst game of Namath's career, an eight for 24, 96-yard, six interception nightmare as the Jets lost at home 43-0.

Fortunes reversed in 1978 when the Jets revamped their uniforms. The white helmets and green football logo were replaced with green helmets and "JETS" spelled out. New York's new aerial connection was Richard Todd, throwing three touchdown passes, and Wesley Walker catching two of the scores and totaling over 1oo yards receiving in the opening day victory at Shae Stadium, the Jets first victory over Miami in New York since 1969. As the players who lead the Dolphins to three consecutive Super Bowl earlier int eh decade retired the balance of power swung, and the Jets swept the season series through 1980. Entering the new decade, the Jets - Dolphins games became a premier event.

The October 1981 game in Miami saw a back-and-forth offensive circus in which the teams combined for nearly 1,000 yards. Todd threw four touchdown passes, and again Walker was his primary target with another 2 touchdown, 100 yard game. Don Strock took most of the snaps under center for Miami, sharing time with David Woodley (Miami fans referred to this combination as Woodstrock). Nat Moore had a career day with 210 yards and two touchdowns on just seven catches. Neither team scored in overtime and the game ended in a 28-28 tie. The rematch in New York in November was a more defensive controlled game as the Jets came from behind on a late touchdown pass from Todd to Jerome Barkum for a thrilling 16-15 victory that saw fans storm the Shea Stadium field. Miami won the AFC East whit an 11-4-1 record and New York finished second at 10-5-1.

Miami won the first game in New York big, then had a dramatic come-from-behind victory of their own in December in the Orange Bowl. Strock relieved Woodley in the second half and led the Dolphins to a deciding field goal by Uwe von Schamman at the gun for a 20-19 win after Jet kicker Pat Leahy missed afield goal of his won (he also missed an extra point in the first quarter.) The teams met for a third time in the AFC Championship Game on a rain soaked quagmire in the Orange Bowl. Jets head coach Walt Michaels complained the Shula had left the field uncovered to slow down New York's high powered offense. Aside from their dangerous passing game, halfback Freeman McNeil lead the NFL in rushing in 1982. Both offenses struggled and combined for nine turnovers. Miami made the most of the Jets mistakes however, as linebacker AJ Duhe intercepted Todd three times and ran one back for a touchdown in the dolphins 14-0 win. Michaels was controversially relieved of his duties on the flight back to New York, and Miami lost to Washington in Super Bowl XVII.

New faces at quarterback for both teams in 1986 began a new era of offensive fireworks. Week 3 in the Jets new home Giants Stadium (where they now wore their white jerseys under head coach Joe Walton.) Ken O'Brien and Dan Marino put on a remarkable display of passing, combining for a record 884 yards. Walker caught touchdown passes of 65 and 50 yards in the second quarter to give the Jets a 31-21 halftime lead. Marino brought Miami back with a 17-point third quarter for a 38-31 lead. The teams traded touchdowns before O'Brien brought New York down-field and connected with Walker again on a 21-yard scoring pass with no time left on the clock to force overtime. Walker caught his fourth touchdown pass in the extra period to give the Jets a 51-45 win, propelling them to a franchise record nine-game win streak. The 10-1 Jets met the 5-6 Dolphins for a Monday Night Football rematch in November, and the result was shocking, dramatic and reverberating, but also incredibly one sided. Marino was sharp again for the Dolphins, with 288 yards and four touchdowns. Lorenzo Hampton added 148 yards on the ground and two more scores, and the Miami defense forced four takeaways. The end result was a 45-3 loss for New York and the start of a five game losing streak to close the regular season. The Jets did qualify for a Wild Card playoff berth, where they defeated Kansas City before dropping a double-overtime contest to Cleveland in the Divisional Round.

Offensive fireworks were on display again in 1988 when Marino became just the fifth person to pass for 500 yards in a game. The 521 yards were the second most at the time, but unfortunately Marino also threw five interceptions one of which was returned my Erik McMillan for a touchdown, and Miami lost 44-30. Marino and O'Brien again tried to out-duel one another in September 1989 at Dolphins Stadium. O'Brien threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns in the winning effort. Marino was again valiant in defeat, out-compiling his counterpart with 427 yards and three touchdowns, but New York scored the last 14 points of the game in the 40-33 win.

In November 1994 the teams met with first place of the AFC on the line. The 6-5 Jets led the 7-4 Dolphins 24-6 late in the third quarter. Marino again had a prolific effort against New York, totaling 359 yards and four touchdowns (all scores to Mark Ingram.) Back-to-back scoring drives cut the led to 24-21. One last drive by Marino had the Dolphins on the Jets five-yard line with 30 seconds left and the clock running...Marino motioned at the line as if her were going to spike the ball to stop the clock, but instead lofted a pass over cornerback Aaron Glenn to Ingram for the winning score. The Jets then fell into a tailspin, dropping the rest of their games to finish 6-10.

In December 1998 the teams met again with first place on the line. The 9-4 Jets visited 8-5 Miami. New York's defense was up to the challenge this time, as they sacked nemesis Marino five times, intercepting him once and returning a fumble for a touchdown in the 21-16 prime time win. The Jets went on to win their first ever AFC East title with a 12-4 record, while the 10-6 Dolphins qualified for the post season as a Wild Card.

Another prime time match-up occurred on a Monday Night in October 2000 between the two 5-1 teams in Giants Stadium. This game would go down as one of the biggest comebacks in NFL and would come to be known as the Monday Night Miracle.  Miami led 23-7 at the half, with the Jets offense totaling a measly two first downs, and 30-7 after the quarters. Seventeen unanswered points cut the deficit to 30-23. Following a three-and-out by Miami, Vinny Testeverde hit Wayne Chrebet for a touchdown to tie the game 30-30, fans who had been walking down the rotundas out to the parking lots rushed back in to their seats. Jay Fiedler responded with a one play drive - a 46-yard touchdown pass to Brock Marion to regain the lead 31-30. Testeverde responded with a 70-yard drive, capped off with a juggling catch by tackle-eligible Jumbo Elliot to send the game to overtime. Miami received the overtime kickoff and drove in New York territory, but a Fiedler was intercepted and John Hall won the game for the Jets with a 40-yard field goal.

Eight years later the teams met again in Giants Stadium with first place on the line, this time in a Week 17 winner-take-all showdown. Adding a little extra drama to the mix was the Dolphins being quarterbacked by long time Jet stater Chad Pennington, who had been released after the Jets traded for Brett Favre prior to the start of training camp. On opening day in Miami, Pennington had nearly lead the Dolphins to a come-from-behind win against his former team, but a pass into the end zone with three seconds remaining was intercepted, giving New York a 20-14 win.  Neither quarterback compiled impressive statistics, but Pennington played a turnover free game, compared to Favre, who had three passes intercepted. Pennington lead the Dolphins from behind with 10 unanswered points spanning the third and fourth quarters for a 24-17 win and division crown.

Ronnie Brown and the Dolphins wore orange (see picture at the top) in a Week 5 primetime home game against the Jets (a 31-27 Miami win) in 2009.  They met again three weeks later in the Dolphins final visit to Giants Stadium and Tedd Ginn Jr. had a remarkable game. The Jets, who went white-at-home in the navy blue and gold Titans of New York throwback uniforms, broke a 3-3 third quarter tie with a 55-yard Jey Feeley field goal. Ginn subsequently returned the kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. Jason Taylor returned a fumble for a touchdown before Mark Sanchez scored a one yard touchdown, cutting Miami's lead lead to 17-13. Ginn struck again, returning the kickoff 101 yards, and became the first player to return two kickoffs for scores in a single quarter of play, and the Dolphins held on for a 30-25 win.

Big plays and big performances highlight the Jets-Dolphins rivalry, and there are certain to be more to come.  Look for the officials to use pink penalty flags in Sunday's game as Breast Cancer Awareness month comes to a head.


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