A Bit of Nostalgia

 Hello, out there in GUD-land. Today I have a surprise for you and it's not about something on GUD.

...Well...actually...it is, but only as a side-effect.

Let me explain.

If you've ever taken the time to read our 'About' section, you've become familiar with our story of how I 'found Tim' and we began working together to hatch what would become GUD. However, there's a part of the story that tends to go unnoticed, itself having been forgotten by many and an afterthought to everyone else. We sought to rectify that.

When I moved to Florida to begin teaching at a new school in 2002, I was presented with a desktop PC in my classroom. During lunches, I would surf the internet. One site became a frequent location of my visits...Football Uniforms: Past and Present (FUPP)

Even back then, I was a football nerd. Doodling helmets and logos. Coloring them in with colored pencils. It was therapeutic. It relaxed me. Having a website that had NFL uniforms? I was in heaven.

Shortly after discovering the site, I noticed a few short-comings. Using the 'Contact' tab, I wrote to the site's creator, Craig Wheeler. Growing up the son of a Steelers' season ticket holder, I knew that the Steelers had worn a 50th anniversary patch in 1982 that wasn't being shown on FUPP. I found some photos online and sent them to Craig. About a week later, Craig posted the update. I was so proud of myself and my contribution!

Over the next few months I found other instances of improvements that could be made and kept sending them to Craig. I can only imagine what Craig was thinking every time one of my emails popped up in his inbox.

But all good things must come to an end. After the 2003 season, as we say around the GUD, "Life happens." Craig could no longer put forth the effort to maintain the site on a yearly basis. 2003 would be the last year of additions to FUPP. The site remained in stasis for a number of years. At some point, the address for FUPP changed slightly to include the name "Weirdwolf." FUPP and its domain were taken control of by Lynn "Weirdwolf" Schmidt who kept the site up and running, but not updating, for several more years, until finally, the site disappeared off of the internet for good.

Past and Present was truly the first of its kind, dedicating images and research to maintaining an important aspect of NFL history. And now it was gone. 

It has now been 10 years since the Gridiron Uniform Database first appeared online. We've consistently improved and built into something bigger than any of us ever imagined. But everything we've become we owe to Football Uniforms: Past and Present for paving the way and opening the door for us. And that is why a decision was made.

We, at GUD, decided we wanted to honor the 'founding father of NFL uniform history' by displaying his graphics here within the Gridiron Uniform Database. With the help of Donovan Moore, creator of ColorWerx - now known as TruColor, we were able to reach out and gain permission from Mr. Wheeler to display his work on our site.

When Craig stopped updating FUPP beyond 2003, I was annoyed. I had downloaded his images and was using them as screensavers. What was I to do in 2004? It was then that I first began my graphic efforts to update Craig's images to suit the changes to uniforms made in 2004 and beyond. Oh boy were they bad. But I didn't worry because no one else was ever going to see them. But I made one tremendous mistake. When I made the changes and altered images like darkening the Patriots' and Broncos' navy blues from the shade Craig had used, I saved them by over-writing the originals. Gone was my 'vintage set' of Craig Wheeler originals.

For months I searched online even going into Chris Creamer's Forum where people had displayed Craig's images from time to time. But those entries were so dated that I was unable to make contact with the guests who had posted them there.

Finally, last week, I had a breakthrough. I found Lynn "Weirdwolf" Schmidt on Facebook. I made contact with him and asked, in his capacity of having taken over the domain of FUPP years before, did he ever take the opportunity to download the images for safe keeping?

He had, with one caveat.

"Weirdwolf" downloaded the images in July 2003, before the 2003 season began. Craig Wheeler had posted images for the 2003 season after its completion. But not to fear, I still had the 2003 images like the 'new for 2003 Falcons' uniforms,' the Texans in red jerseys, the Dolphins in orange jerseys largely untouched in Craig's template as he designed them.

"Ww" made the images and all of the key technical components available to us. However, coding from a 2000 website obviously has fallen a bit behind the times. But our own tech-master, Austin Snelik, is a miracle worker. In short order, he was able to get FUPP back up and 99% viewable as part of GUD. 

Thank you, "Weirdwolf," for your contribution to this project. Like us, I know you wanted Craig's work not to disappear forever. And thank you, Austin, for taking the time to resurrect FUPP for us old guys and placing a link to FUPP's new home on GUD's 'Links' page.

A single small problem still exists with our recreation. One image, the 1966 Houston Oilers, shows up as 'unavailable.' I'm not sure why that appears that way. The 1965 Houston Oilers image should also be the one posted for 1966, as well. We are working to get that corrected.

While Past and Present will stand as a gallery of Craig Wheeler's work and will not be updated any further, the largest omission from this 2021 version is the missing 2003 season. I will fill in that gap by posting Craig's original 2003 images within this blog entry. Of note, Craig never included 'Preseason Only' combos and he hardly ever included patched jerseys as separate combos. In order to consolidate space here, I have removed the sectioning lines and placed all combos on a single image.

2003 Arizona

2003 Atlanta

2003 Baltimore

2003 Buffalo

2003 Carolina

2003 Chicago

2003 Cincinnati

2003 Cleveland

2003 Dallas

2003 Denver

2003 Detroit

2003 Green Bay

2003 Houston

2003 Indianapolis

2003 Jacksonville

2003 Kansas City

2003 Miami

2003 Minnesota

2003 New England

2003 New Orleans

2003 NY Giants

2003 NY Jets

2003 Oakland

2003 Philadelphia

2003 Pittsburgh

2003 St. Louis

2003 San Diego

2003 San Francisco

2003 Seattle

2003 Tampa Bay

2003 Tennessee

2003 Washington

As the first of its kind, FUPP was ahead of it time. But life happens. We all understand that. It's just that, as history buffs with a pro football inclination, we hated to see Craig's work disappear from the digital landscape and be lost to time. Now, we can be assured that Craig Wheeler's contribution will never, ever, be forgotten again. 

Thank you, Craig.

Bill Schaefer

Tim Brulia here to add some thoughts.

I echo Bill's sentiments on FUPP 100%. Until this post by Bill, I thought I was the main P.I.T.A. for Craig, with my numerous emails for revisions! Our official 10th Anniversary will be June 12. But without question, FUPP was the spark and inspiration to continue the journey to compile the best and most accurate uniform history of  "America's Game." 

We feel that Craig planted the seeds of visual pro football uniform research and turned into a strong sapling. From there, we took to takeover the nurturing of the tree to a full grown tree with many branches; the teams, the years and the games with the help of so many contributors. 

Without Craig laying the foundation of FUPP, the GUD likely would never have gotten off the ground. That's why when the GUD launched in 2011, we dedicated this site to Mr. Wheeler. Craig, we hope we done ya "GUD!"



It's Just 'Bad,' So Don't Call It 'Clean'

Ten years ago, back in June and July of 2011, I contributed to a blog post by Rob Holecko in which I ranted about the shortcomings of mono-white uniforms. But up until that point, teams still had the dignity to wear colored socks with their white pants and jerseys.

Who could have predicted that in just four short years, in 2015, the League would unleash upon its fans...the Color Rush? A misnomer for sure, in just the second year of the Color Rush program in 2016, 12 of the 15 games promoted as 'Color Rush' games featured a team in all-white.  Things had gone from bad to worse.

In the five seasons since, fourteen teams 'semi-regularly' trotted onto the field wearing white jerseys, pants, and socks - Color Rush or otherwise. Eight of these teams have since been nice enough to offer us a visual comparison...proof that the mono-whites can look better simply by adding colored socks.

For your viewership...


Cincinnati (2020 versions)




NY Jets

(Honestly, these would look even better with 'midnight' green socks instead of black.)


Not one, single all-white combo with white socks provides a superior look above the same uniform with colored socks. It's just that simple.

The other six teams have not, as yet, granted us an on-field look at the superior 'colored-socks' uniform. In my capacity as the 'graphics guy' here at GUD, I am taking it upon myself to provide that look for you...



Green Bay

New Orleans (twice)

(If only the Saints would change their helmets to this shade of gold and make this their full-time template. If only.)

NY Giants

San Francisco

The pre-2021 Bengals possessed one of the more tolerable all-white Color Rush uniforms, but even it could have been improved by the addition of non-white socks.

Oh, and let me throw out one more in which NEITHER combo has yet to make it onto the field. Presenting the first graphic representation of the new Cincinnati Bengals' all-white combo for 2021...

On a related (but not related) topic, I have to say that the recent trend of teams going 'sani-less'...it's really starting to grow on me in a good way.

As the season nears towards the end of the Summer, I will again be publishing the 'Season Preview' highlighting the complete set of new uniforms for the upcoming 2021 season. Be on the look-out.

Bill Schaefer



It is my hope that this particular number has sparked your curiosity. 

No. It is not a new rushing record.

No. It is not an amount of money paid to Tom Brady each time he sits on the bench between possessions.

It represents something else. Something we, here at the GUD, have been tracking literally since we broke ground on this site 10 years ago. Something that had become a 'white whale' for us. Something that we had almost given up hope on.

When we began adding preseason games to GUD, one historical tidbit caught our attention. Prior to the 1976 season, the St. Louis Cardinals played the San Diego Chargers in Japan on August 16. It was the first professional football game played outside of North America. A few clips showing footage from the game floated around the internet and eagle-eyed GUD visitors noticed that not only were the Cardinals wearing the American Bicentennial patch on one shoulder, but they were wearing some other patch on the the opposite shoulder.

It both infuriated and frustrated us at GUD because we could not get a clear, close look at it. Further confusing matters was the fact that newspaper photos showed the Cardinals wearing the same 2 patches for 2 other games that preseason. One game before Japan and one game weeks after Japan.

8/7/76 - OAK v STL at Tempe, Arizona

9/3/76 - KC @ STL

What was this patch? Was it an advertisement? The image seemed to somewhat resemble the logo of Japan Air Lines. One clip in the video footage showed the Cardinals disembarking a JAL jet upon arrival in Japan. Perhaps it was some sort of sponsorship for the game and a mid-70s version of the JAL logo.

Late 1960's Japan Air Lines logo

Was it a memorial? Had someone in the Cardinals organization passed away and the franchise sought to memorialize the person with a jersey patch? It seemed unlikely since the patch only appeared on the Cardinals' red jerseys and not the white ones.

8/21/76 - STL @ CHI

8/28/76 - DEN @ STL

Because the Cardinals were no longer in St. Louis, there really wasn't anyone to go to there to ask for help and the 'Arizona' Cardinals did not respond to our requests for assistance, likely wanting to remain distant from their pre-Arizona heritage.

Online searches in 2015 had led us to an image of a jersey possessed by the Pro Football Hall of Fame donated by Cardinal Terry Metcalf alleging to be from that specific game in Japan. However, the photo of the jersey the HOF published online showed only the back of the jersey and not a single glimpse of the patches.

Over the years I twice attempted to contact the Hall of Fame Research Center by mail (as they, themselves, recommend on the HOF website) asking for a look at the front of the jersey to see the patches. I never heard back from either of my attempts in 2015 and 2017. I began to think that the Hall was simply saying the jersey was from the game but didn't want to show the front due to not actually having the patches present which would prove it was not from the game in question at all.

One week ago, I found myself watching a somewhat longer collection of video clips from the game and the ceremonies involved. After the game ended, fans, reporters, and cameramen took to the field  as the players attempted to leave. A few Cardinals were cornered by these reporters and cameramen as in the Jim Hart photo posted above. But the new video clip offered something I had not seen before.

Defensive lineman Charlie Davis leaned close to the camera with his right shoulder. The same shoulder burdened with the patch in question. I managed to pause the video at the specific point in which the patch was the closest and most visible. I then enlarged it and rotated it.

From what I could make out, the letters "B U M A" were visible. This was the first lead we'd had in this search for years. But what the heck was BUMA?!?

I sent the photo to everyone else here at GUD hoping for some additional input and opinions. Within an hour of sending out the photo, I received word from our Tim Brulia. 

He had solved the riddle.

The letters were not BUMA but rather SUWA. Not wanting to wait for the other shoe to fall, I continued to read from Tim's brilliance. Prior to the game in Japan, the city of St. Louis had established relations with the city of Suwa, Japan, as 'sister-cities.' The patch was meant as a tribute from one city to the other. Tim also provided an image of the Suwa city flag and it perfectly matched the logo seen on the patch.

April 11, 1976 - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

August 17, 1976 - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

We now had everything we needed so I set myself to creating a graphic version of the patch to use on GUD as all of the photos were still far too grainy.

I added the revised graphic to the Cardinals' 1976 team image and jersey and uploaded it onto the site. However, I waited to add this find to our site's Update Blog. As our viewers know, we typically post separate blog entries in our Update section describing changes to images that we make and showing the evidence detailing the reason for the change(s). Instead of doing so in the Update blog, I decided to display the update here due to the amount of information and the scale of its importance. I also wanted to wait because of the possibility that something else was brewing. Something big.

In the early days of GUD, a fan from Dublin, Ireland, named Alan Kennedy, frequently contacted us with information regarding a personal hobby of his. Alan collects NFL patches. Anniversary patches. Memorial patches. Captaincy patches. If it's been worn on an NFL jersey, Alan either has one already, he's in the process of getting one mailed to him, or he's bargaining with someone to get one. Alan has been a great asset in helping us differentiate between an authentic patch worn in League play and a reproduction, generally those produced by Willabee & Ward.

By pure coincidence, when I included Alan in the distribution of the raw 'BUMA' image, he informed me he had just days earlier launched his own request with the Hall of Fame Research Center for an image or two of the front of the Metcalf jersey. I shared with Alan my past failures at soliciting aid from the Hall over the years, but Alan maintained a positive attitude and continued to hope for positive results.

On January 29, 2021, at 11:28 AM while eating my lunch, my email alert chimed that I had received something new. Indeed, I had.  

The man Alan had made contact with at the Hall of Fame, Mr. Jason Aikens, had come through -- BIG TIME. He sent Alan several photos including those you see here.

Finally, our long wait was over and we could now fill in this gap of NFL uniform history that had so nagged us - taunted us - for years. I was amazed at how the true colors were so different from what we had expected based on the grainy, video stills. Orange instead of yellow. Blue instead of black. The truly astonishing part was that the patch appeared to be made of denim. Just. Simply. Awesome.

The patch now takes its permanent place on our site never to be puzzled over again.

Furthermore, having reached out and making contact with Mr. Aikens, myself, I thanked him profusely not only for the photos but also for allowing us to use the image of the patch on our site. As it turns out, Mr. Aikens had informed Alan that not only was he aware of the GUD, but had, in fact, used our site as a reference on several occasions. Mr. Aikens informed me that he would be happy to look into some of our most notable instances where we had not, as yet, been able to produce photos from games in the 1940s and 50s thereby enabling us to remove a few more 'gaps' currently present on GUD. 

Things continue to look bright for the future of the Gridiron Uniform Database. Stay tuned!

Bill Schaefer

Oh, by the way, in case you were still wondering about that number - 23,158???

10,338 miles from Japan to St. Louis.

544 miles from St. Louis to Canton, OH.

5,577 miles from Canton, OH, to Dublin, Ireland.

6,699 miles from Dublin, Ireland, to my email inbox here in Bradenton, FL.

In all, 23,158 miles. Nearly one complete circle of our planet, Earth.

Rest Easy, SUWA, you deserve it.

- BS


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