When Bill met Tim...a GUD story

By Tim Brulia and Bill Schaefer

On Monday, September 7, 2009, 8:46 PM, Tim Brulia sent this email (edited) to Bill Schaefer:


Ken Crippen (then-president of the Professional Football Researchers Association) sent me your info on what you have done.

Please contact me IMMEDIATELY when you read this either by email or by cell phone...Would like to discuss and see some of your work. I do like what I've seen of your Bears in the 1930's!!

Looking forward to connecting with you!

Tim aka Timmy B"

The next day (September 8, 2009, 3:35 PM), Bill replied (edited) as follows:

"Hi Tim.
Just got your email after I got home from school - back in session for a third week already. As you can tell, I kept busy this summer. Like I told Ken, I have done everything that was written up (NFL) from '33-'58 including the defuncts. I am currently in the middle of the AAFC with about 4 teams to go.  I have no problem getting my work included... I have borrowed some images from a few sights in order to complete the '33-'58.  I also redid many of the images from  "Past and Present" to include records, patches, and playoff performances as I was using them for screensavers.
Let me know what you need from me.
Bill Schaefer"

And thus were sown the seeds of the origin of what would become the Gridiron Uniform Database. Perhaps it is a bit pretentious to toast the anniversary of this connection that led to what we believe is the go-to site for the full history of Professional Football uniforms since 1920, but we'd like to share with you our take and the pre-GUD origins of research and correspondence between us.

From Tim's end:
I had been hoping that after Uni Watch printed my research on uniforms from 1933 through 1958 in February of 2009, I would be able to find someone who could render the descriptions into graphics, and then someone who could create a website to share our findings with the world. Several came forward, but the one who was willing to take on the challenge and...me...for the long run was Bill. 

We started by going through each season from 1933 to 1958 to dissect each and every uniform; striping, color, hue, trim, sleeve length, everything but the fabric of the uniform (wait, yes, even that!). Then, in part II of the research, we went team by team to bring our research current from 1959 to 2009, which melded into 2010. Part III was a complete re-check for everything. This was done before we even thought of the search for someone (eventually, Rob Holecko) who could cram all of this into a website that eventually became the GUD. 

Today, as we have just begun the 2014 season, Bill and I continue to perfect as much of the site as possible. No matter how major or how minor, we research every claim that either one of us may find, our talented webmaster Rob may find, our ace assistant Larry Schmitt may find, or any of our faithful followers may find. Before it makes its way to the GUD, Bill and I must be in agreement that changes or additions are to be made. We feel that after viewing countless photographs of football uniforms, we can make pretty good assessments of what makes it to the GUD. 

Speaking for myself, Bill is absolutely the right man to be our graphic engineer. I doubt that anyone else would have put up with me and my finickiness for the nearly two years of pre-GUD research. His graphic skills have increased a thousand fold since 2009, likewise his knowledge of football uniforms and yes, I believe he has become every bit the stickler for detail as I am, and perhaps more. Bill, thanks so much for answering the call. Without you, and eventually Rob, we'd all still be at ground zero in the realm of pro football uniform research.  

You're a good man, Bill Schaefer (and Rob, of course, but that's for another story)!

From Bill's end:
I don't know if I have much more to add to what Tim has already summarized or that we have already included in our "About" section. I guess the thing that gets me is the irony of everything that led to the creation of the GUD.

If my Dad hadn't had season tickets to the Steelers since 1977.
If he hadn't gotten me a team helmet magnet each game we went to that started my interest in football and the uniforms.
If the school I began working at in 2002 hadn't put a computer (my first) in my classroom.
If I hadn't have discovered Craig Wheeler's FUPP website.
If I hadn't started using those images as screensavers.
If Craig hadn't stopped updating the site in 2003 forcing me to make my own updates to his images.
If I hadn't stumbled upon the original artwork of an unknown artist who had created the basics of what would be our 2D template.
If I hadn't discovered my latent artistic abilities I never knew I had. (Maybe I'm really a Jedi knight, too, and just don't know it!)
If I hadn't first reached out to Ken Crippen who put me in touch with Tim.
If we'd never found Rob to do the rest of the dirty work for us.
If my wife had said at some point "For crying out loud, uniforms again?"
...(wait, that DOES happen at least once a week. Bless her heart.)

Finally, I guess the thing to marvel at the most is that all of this has been accomplished without Tim or I ever standing in the same room.

Here's to Tim and Rob. Five years of 'just getting it right.' 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mention, I am humbled.
    The GUD is one of the best sites anywhere on the internet, and I am thankful for having been invited to play a small part.



Blog Archive