The Men against the Boys. The GUD presents the College All-Star Game (1934-1976)

Once upon a time, when the NFL was young and college football was the king of football, a man named Arch Ward, who was a sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune, created the idea of an annual charity game that would be played under the lights of massive Soldiers' Field.  The game would pit the defending National Football League champions against the previous season's consensus College All-Americans, complimented with honorable mentions.  Ward's idea was to have the best of the professionals take on the best of the college players.  It was also intended to show many of the skeptics that the pros were just as good and maybe better than the college stars and put out as high a quality of play as the best of the collegiate players.

1935 All-Stars
The Chicago Charities All-Star Football Game was the formal title of the game, but it came to be commonly known as simply, the College All-Star Game.  Early on, the game was quite competitive, with the All-Stars and the NFL Champs playing on somewhat even terms.  But as the years went by, and the Pros became more sophisticated and two-platoon football became the accepted form of football, the Pros began to dominate.  By the 1970's, the game became a glorified scrimmage for the Super Bowl Champions.  Finally, after the 1976 game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the All-Stars, which was called into the third quarter due to a cloudburst and unruly fans invading the field, the College All-Star Game was laid to rest.

At its peak, the College All-Star Game was arguably as big a football game there was on the calendar, rivaling both the Rose Bowl and the NFL Championship Game in terms of spectacle, importance and popularity.  Radio, and then later, TV ratings for the game were large.  Crowds of 90,000+ were not uncommon, with even a few games featuring over 100,000 fans in attendance!

The Gridiron Uniform Database is pleased to add the Uniform History of the CASG to the site.  Let's do a little synopsis of the uni history of first, the All-Stars, and then the pro champs through the years.

For the All-Stars' first few years, the uniforms were a yellow-gold shade, mainly to represent the "golden" image of the collegiate stars.  
1939 All-Stars
By 1937, the Stars had begun the switch from a "golden" persona to a more patriotic image.  The jerseys changed from yellow-gold to blue with shoulders that had white and red stripes, though the helmets and pants retained the gold.  In 1938, the All-Stars changed to a red jersey with blue shoulders that featured 10 white stars on each shoulder and the pants featured rear stripes with alternating red, white and blue stripes.

By 1939, the All-Stars changed to what would be their signature jersey, a style that would virtually be unchanged for the next 30 years.  The jerseys were royal blue, with white (later silver) shoulders with 10 red stars on either shoulder.  Large white numbers on the front and back, with a rather unique side panel striping that featured sets of red, white and blue horizontal stripes.  The side panel stripes would continue onto the sides of the silver pants from top to bottom, to form a continuous pattern from the armpit to the bottom of the pant leg.  Also in '39, the helmets changed from gold to silver.  

1950 All-Stars
A notable change with the helmet design occurred in 1950.  With the switch from leather lids to plastic, the helmet went from silver to blue, adorned with 4 white stars on either side of the helmet and 2 red stars on the crown of the shell, a rather snazzy look.  The Wilson brand was prominently stamped on the front of the helmet.  

For a couple of years in the late 50's, the All-Stars wore their college helmets from the previous season, before switching to a rather generic white helmet with blue stripes.  In 1969, the side panel/stripes were gone.  The pants went to a rather normal blue/red/blue side stripe.  The shoulders returned to white and were modified with smaller and less red stars.  In 1971, TV numbers were finally added to the sleeves.  In 1972, stars returned to the helmet, and by 1973, nameplates were at long last positioned on the jersey back:
1973 All-Stars

As for the pros, for the most part, they wore their standard jerseys in the early years, and by 1954, the pros would wear their white jerseys for the duration of the CASG.  But there are a few interesting uni items to highlight.  

1937 Green Bay Packers
In 1937, the Green Bay Packers debuted a new design for the CASG, a classic look that would define the Pack for the next 12 years.  The navy jerseys were trimmed in satin and the pants also featured the shiny, shimmery material.  

Only thing is that satin becomes heavy when wet, which can cause a lot of perspiration and on a warm, humid mid-summer night in Chicago, the Packers sweated a lot of collective pounds off.  Legend has it that Packer star back Clarke Hinkle claimed to have lost 30 pounds that night!  The following year (1938), the Redskins sported burgundy jerseys with enormous numbers, perhaps the largest ever seen on a football uniform, gold with white outlines with, of course, satin materials.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1954 Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions in 1954 wore a uni combo in CASG that they never may have worn before or since, a blue helmet, white jersey and silver pants.  In 1961, the Philadelphia Eagles sported white jerseys with green northwestern stripes and TV numbers on the shoulders and gray pants, which was certainly not their standard look in 1961. 

1969 New York Jets
And in 1969, the New York Jets took to the dimly lit Soldier Field (so bad was the lighting that the ABC telecast was in black & white rather than in color) not in their normal contrasting sleeve numbered jerseys, but instead in a lightweight generic white jersey with green numbers on the sleeves, without names on the backs (NOB's). 

It would be the following season when the Kansas City Chiefs took the field in their normal away combo that NOBs would make their debut in the CASG.

Credits to our graphic engineer Bill Schaefer to compile the visual history of the CASG, the Chicago Tribune archives, the New York Times for verification of the dates and scores of the CASG, and the excellent website which features a detailed history of the CASG.

While the College All-Star Game did not live happily ever after, it certainly served its purpose quite well in its day.  And because of its importance in establishing professional football as the dominant form of football and eventually, the dominant spectator sport in the United States, we welcome the College All-Star Game uniform history to the Gridiron Uniform Database.

Week 9 Uniform Matchup Rankings

Before we get into it, just a reminder that you can find the new United States Football League Uniform Database at:  We also have a link at the the top of  Just click on the red "USFL UD" icon.  We think you'll like it!

Onto Week 9.

13) Chiefs-Bills:  KC in red/white, BUF in white/white.  So the Bills do a WAH, once a rarity, but now the third season running that they have done at least one game in the WAH.  And sadly, this in the all whites.  The Chiefs with the red jerseys at the Ralph, does add needed brightness for this uni clash.

12) Eagles-Raiders:  PHI in white/white, OAK in black/silver.  Eagles surprise with the all whites against the Raiders black & silver standard.  I think the green pants would have certainly been better here, it just makes the Raiders classic unis a bit better by comparison.

11) Saints-Jets:  NO in white/gold, NYJ in white/green.  Saints decide on gold pants instead of black, and likewise, the Jets decide to keep the trunks on the white side.  That doesn't really hurt this matchup, but I would have preferred one of these two squads in dark pants.  But, for a matchup we seldom see, it looks fine.

10) Vikings-Cowboys:  MIN in purple/white, DAL in white/mint.  Rather predictable, but with the Vikings in a more sweet shade of purple than of recent vintage, this becomes a better looking matchup.  Not really a bad pairing, as seen here.  Silvers, purples, blues with a touch of yellow.

9) Falcons-Panthers:  ATL in white/white, CAR in alternate carolina blue/silver.  Falcons in the rather unremarkable all white combo, but the Panther arrive in the awesome carolina blues, a look that desperately needs to be the primary look for them.  It really makes the Falcons dour whites look better.

8) Ravens-Browns:  BAL in white/black, CLE in brown/white.  This is the best possible uni matchup for this game.  All brown would have looked ugly against the Ravens, whether in this combo or in all white.  So, orange, brown, black and gold makes this one actually more halloweenish than the earlier CIN-MIA game.

7) Buccaneers-Seahawks:  TB in white/pewter, SEA in navy/navy.  While I do like the Seahawks in the all navys, I think a shock change to either the white or (preferably) the gray pants would have moved the uni meter firmly up.  Still, the pewter, black and red of the Bucs are a good contrast to the navy, green and light blue of the 'Hawks.

6) Colts-Texans:  IND in white/white, HOU in alternate red/white.  The Texans do it right with the "battle" reds against the Colts rather mundane whites with the solo blue trim.  Texans in navy would have set the snooze button on high,  But the reds set this one off very nicely.

5) Bengals-Dolphins:  CIN in white/white, MIA in aqua/white.  This is one night (Halloween) where the Bengals should have had free reign to wear their orange alternate jerseys with black pants.  But alas, the Bengals wore all white, with orange socks.  At least we got to see the Dolphins rock the brilliant aqua tops for the second time this season.  A good matchup, but boy, what this could have been...

4) Steelers-Patriots:  PIT in white/yellow, NE in navy/silver.  Memories of when these two would seemingly constantly bebattling with high stakes.  Not so much with the Steelers woes this season, but as far as uni pairings go, this is still playoff caliber.  Sharp blacks, yellows, navys, silvers a pinch of red makes this a nifty one.

3) Titans-Rams:  TEN in white/navy, STL in throwback blue/yellow.  The Rams decided to celebrate their 1999 championship team by going to the era-specific togs.  So it's a reversal of what the two squads wore in that memorable Super Bowl XXXIV game.  This was also the debut of the Bud Adams memorial patch, honoring the recently deceased founder/owner of the Titans. The unis looked fine, the blue and bright yellows of those Rams beauties tease us on what once was.  Good to see them again, and it makes the Titans look good as well.

2) Chargers-Redskins:  SD in white/navy, WSH in throwback burgundy/khaki.  because the NFL decreed earlier that teams can only use one color helmet shell for the season, the Skins were forced to go with their burgundy lids go with the throwbacks.  So, the Redskins shed their stripes, leaving the logos go solo, sort of.  But these ace jerseys look oh so nice, with the bold gold, trimmed in white.  Couple with the Chargers in white and navy, this is one of the better pairings.  Only issue is when the Skins face left, you have the Native American facing one way on the helmet, and the other way on the jersey sleeve.  I'm just as confused as he is!

1) Bears-Packers:  CHI in white/navy, GB in green/yellow.  NOT ashamed to admit that this is probably my favorite uni matchup of all.  Just an abundance of tremendous colors and done so well.  The navy helmets and pants of the Bears, with the perfect dosage of orange, while the Packers rock yellow helmets and pants, with the perfect green jerseys and trim.  Doesn't matter if these two play for first in the standings or first in the draft, it is soooooo gooooood!

A great week of great uniforms for a great game.  See you next week!

Ladies and Gentlemen...The United States Football League! - *UPDATE*

*** - UPDATE - ***
Several inquiries have been made over the last few days due to the recent addition of the USFL uniform collection. The most requested of which has been, "Does this mean that we will be seeing the WFL, CFL, NFL Europe, Arena Leagues, and the early incarnations of the AFL?" To answer these in order, "Maybe, not without several minor miracles, no, definitely no, and not for a long time."

Of the other leagues, the WFL is the most likely to get added eventually.
Without a flawless resource to Canadian newspaper archives, it is likely that this will not happen.
Our feeling is that NFL Europe was run as a developmental (minor) league and so therefore should not be included with those leagues currently displayed.
The Arena Leagues are a completely different sport.
The early AFLs from the first half of the 1900s rivaled what became the NFL. The only problem is finding enough images of the teams to be able to construct versions for the site. Very difficult.

The GUD has a few upcoming projects on tap. However, each is only in the planning stages currently. Our advice to our viewership - be patient and let the surprises happen when they do.
Bill Schaefer

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, it's currently a difficult time to be graphic engineer at a football uniform website especially now when the NFL has decreed that teams will no longer be allowed to wear throwback uniforms UNLESS they adhere to using their current helmet gear. Goodbye, Pat Patriot, Bucco Bruce, and the likes of Falcons and Cowboys throwback designs that incorporated different helmet shells than the typical sets.

On a lark, I took it upon myself to see what I could do developing images from those wonderful three years of American history – 1983, 1984, & 1985. Those were the years in which millions and millions of Americans parked themselves in front of their televisions for that weekly showcase of professional athletic talent known as the United States Football League.

Yeah, me neither. I couldn't keep a straight a face myself.

But let's face it. A number of NFL 'greats' and even Hall of Famer's Like Reggie White, Jim Kelly, and Steve Young all got their professional starts in the USFL.

Until now, however, the uniform history of the USFL was limited to a few small sites utilizing 'Wikipedia-style' uniforms. That was going to change.

I began by doing some research. This venture would be for not if I couldn't find some decent quality/sized logos with which to work. The problems I ran into were enormous.

The file qualities were substandard and grainy. Very early in the GUD's history I learned the hard way that logos in jpeg format do not retain the quality needed for crisp designs. Even if I were to fix the blemishes, when I would save the changes, blemishes would reappear throughout the image when kept in jpeg format. To maintain quality, images must be kept in png or bmp file types. The images I found required a great deal of enhancement and sharpening.

Two other problems with the images were that they were incomplete and often inclusive of the wrong shades of colors. For instance,  let's refer to the Philadelphia Stars logo. Most of the versions of this logo that I came across were those from early in 1983. By the start of the 1984 season, viewers, both live and in person along with those watching on TV, decidedly could not make out the design of the helmet logo.  A few weeks into the the 1984 season, the team conceded and added a white outline around the majority of the logo to increase visibility. The Pittsburgh Maulers did the same thing that year by adding white outlines into their helmet logo midseason. Not only would it be required that I add these outlines where needed but I then was forced to re-color the entire background of most logos to match the true color of the helmet or jersey upon which they were to be placed.

This was just the beginning. For a seemingly modern era football league, there just aren't that many online resources available dating clear photos or footage. This makes claims like the next one very difficult for people to document accurately.

The Helmet Project, , lists two footnotes beneath their illustrations of the Michigan Panthers helmets. One man claims that silver helmets were worn early in the Panthers' first season while another maintains that they were ALWAYS champagne-colored. Due to the inability to confirm either at this point, the first draft of Michigan's 1983 yearly team image includes both varieties.

Shuffling of the franchises was another characteristic that made franchise continuity difficult to follow. Stay with me if you can...

The Philadelphia Stars played for two years before moving to Baltimore. The 1983 Arizona Wranglers and Chicago Blitz essentially traded teams with each team becoming the other for 1984, but in 1985, Arizona merged with the Oklahoma Outlaws and became the Arizona Outlaws. The Boston Breakers (1983) moved to New Orleans (1984) and Portland (1985) in consecutive years, luckily never moving somewhere landlocked like Las Vegas. After two years of calling Michigan home, the Panthers merged with Oakland, continuing to be called the Invaders. The 1983-84 Washington Federals moved south in 1985 to become the Orlando Renegades. Whew!

A situation also developed during the handling of a fairly stable team – the Tampa Bay Bandits. I uncovered a photo of several Bandits players, mostly linemen, and they were wearing jerseys made by Speedline (as opposed to the rest being manufactured by Champion) that did not include the Bandit sleeve logo. Since we, at GUD, had decided back in the beginning to model the jerseys worn by 'skill' players, this jersey option was not included. However, I did include a footnote on the yearly image that mentions those jerseys were, indeed, worn. Speedline was also the manufacturer of choice for the Orlando Renegades in 1985.

My final hurdle in producing these images was that I wasn't much of a follower in the first place. As an eleven year-old, my first reaction was "Hey Dad, look! Football's on."  My Dad, who's been a Steeler Season Ticket Holder since 1977, shook his head back then and said "That's not football." Much later he elaborated that back in the 1960s, he had felt the same way about the AFL. At this point, I have to admit that I know more about 1960s NFL uniforms from watching NFL Films despite being born in 1972 than I do about the three years of the USFL. I am sure, now that these images are posted thanks to the abilities of our webmaster, Rob Holecko, those in the know will be more than happy to enlighten me as to changes and additions that need to be included by accessing the GUD Forum as they did when we first went online years ago. Remember, viewers, we need photographic proof to make the changes.

Bill Schaefer


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