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Entries in Uniforms (4)

Saturday
Jan262013

Uni Analysis: The 2012-13 Wildcats (From The NUni Tracker)

An historic season is in the books for the Northwestern Wildcats. The third 10 win season in school history, the first bowl win since 1949 and Coach Fitz moved into sole ownership of the title of winningest head coach in Northwestern history.

As I have done over at the Hoosier Tracker the last two years, I have decided to go element by element and analyze which uniform elements and combinations were the most successful for the 'Cats this past season. So let's get to it and start with the uni combinations:

Purple/Purple/Black: 4-0 33 PFPG 16.5 PAPG

This combo was the most worn combination all season. Of the combinations worn more than once, this one had the most stout defense and was second in points for per game. What is truly amazing, though, is the disparity in points for and against, especially considering that the Vanderbilt and Illinois wins were not in this combination. While it is a solid, winning look, I would still like to see some Purple/Purple/White next season.

America/Purple/Black: 1-0 23 PFPG 13 PAPG

Behold the Vanderbilt game. The first home game in the uniforms and Coach Fitz has to go and slap a flag themed logo on the helmets because it's early-middle September. Listen, I get that you have a relationship with some military members and you go do that training session in Wisconsin every year, but September 11th was not a military attack and probably barely directly affected anyone on this particular football team. What you do to honor servicemen and women at halftime and during games is commendable, this silly decal? It feels like a gimmick - something well beneath what people who serve deserve.

Black/Black/Black: 0-1 28 PFPG 29 PAPG

1. The first all black uniform in school history.

2. The first black helmet in school history.

3. The first helmet to feature a logo different from the 'N' since 1980(The Adidas one-off helmet had no logo, only numbers).

This set will be known as a history making set for many reasons. Unfortunately, it'll be best known for being worn when Northwestern blew a two score lead in the fourth quarter against Nebraska. All black? Not a good look for the 'Cats...

Black/Black/Purple: 1-0 50 PFPG 14 PAPG

I believe Northwestern played a high school this game. What's that? Illinois? Sheesh, I hope they fired that guy who got two sideline interference penalties. NO‽ See you in Champaign, Illini!

But in all seriousness, this look would be GREAT, with the normal helmet. It would be a nod to the success of the mid '90s and early aughts and would still be part of this great modern Under Armour set. Also, please don't ever wear that helmet again, the logo just doesn't work like that and the silver and black makes it nearly invisible.

 

Black/Purple/Black: 1-0 34 PFPG 20 PAPG

The first bowl win since 1949 and the Wildcats wore a purple jersey with a strongly featured Northwestern Stripe, what could be wrong?

A: The helmet. Now, let's be clear, I don't even mind that they wore the matte black helmet again - Black/Purple/Black, in and of itself, is not a bad look - but the logo was damn near invisible again and while I'm glad it was the iconic 'N', Had it been purple or white, I would've been in love. This uniform is a nice change from the norm, but I like the idea of Purple/Black/Purple even more.

 

Purple/White/White: 1-2 33.7 PFPG 39.3 PAPG

The only uniform set with a worse points against average than points for, there is just one, simple, undeniable take away: Don't wear the white pants with the white jersey anymore. That should be an easy concept, as Northwestern has - in the past - rocked both purple (think Darnell Autry) and black (think Zak Kustok) pants on the road to great success.

 

Purple/White/Black: 2-0 22 PFPG 16.5 PAPG

The clear road uniform leader in the clubhouse. I still hope to see purple pants on the road next season, but the black is a nice look with ties to the successful recent past.

Purple Helmet: 7-2 30.8 PFPG 24.1 PAPG

The classic, standard Northwestern helmet had a helluva season. Not the most successful on offense or defense, the helmet had a somewhat unremarkable season. However, it's still the best lid the 'Cats wear, in my book.

America Helmet: 1-0 23 PFPG 13 PAPG

As said above, this was the Vanderbilt game. It's just not a good logo. Please dump it.

Black Cat Helmet: 1-1 39 PFPG 21.5 PAPG

In it's two appearances, the outcomes could not have been different: A blown lead against Nebraska and blowout against Illinois. The 'Cats were going to beat Illinois if they came out of the locker room naked, so really this helmet should be judged by its performance against the Huskers. Not good. Retire it.

Black 'N' Helmet: 1-0 34 PFPG 20 PAPG

You can't argue with the first bowl victory in 64 years, can you? It's not a bad helmet, but it isn't as good as it could be. Helluva win though...

Purple Jersey: 6-0 31.8 PFPG 16.5 PAPG

Both undefeated and the best defensive jersey. The purple jersey is both successful and one of the best new jerseys of 2012. Highlights include the bowl win, two victories over SEC teams and a points for to points allowed ratio of almost two to one. Tough to beat out the Purple as Northwestern's best new jersey.

Black Jersey: 1-1 39 PFPG 21.5 PAPG

While the most offensively explosive jersey, the black jersey was a mixed bag this season. Just like the Black Cat helmet, this jersey was there for a season high and a season low. Now, if the 'Cats were to pair this jersey with the purple helmet and pants, I could almost root for that to be the dominant home set, but alas, we'll have to wait until next season to see if my dream comes true.

White Jersey: 3-2 29 PFPG 30.2 PAPG

Worn for every road game, I think any 'Cat fan can take away a few lessons:

1. The black pants saved this jersey's record.

2. If at all possible, don't play road games.

Obviously, the points for to points against ratio is bad, but it's tough to win on the road. This jersey should be commended for it's boldness, unlike the other jerseys, the Northwestern Stripe is so bold it cannot be ignored. It's a great look and I can't wait to see it with the purple pants.

Black Pants: 8-1 29 PFPG 17.9 PAPG

Worn nine time, these pants have an amazing record. Their only loss is the Nebraska game, but we can blame that on the Black Cat helmet. This amazing record should be taken note when it comes to road games. I love the black pants, but they still aren't my favorite.

Purple Pants: 1-0 50 PFPG 14 PAPG

This is the Illinois game. The only time they were worn, the 'Cats played their most dominant game. Take note Fitz, the purple nickers need to be worn more often. These are the best pants of the bunch.

Purple Pants: 1-2 33.7 PFPG 39.3 PAPG

Worn only on the road, I wish we could've seen these at least once at home. Perhaps next season I'll get my wish...

 

 

 

Well, that's 2012-13 in a uniform. It was an amazing season in which things I hadn't ever seen from a Northwestern team seemed to happen every week - even before the season started - and that culminated in a dream come true: A Bowl Victory.

Go U Northwestern.

Monday
Aug132012

I Am Uni Tracker (And So Can You!)

I've been uni tracking for a while now. Last year, in the wake of the release of Indiana's white helmets, I began the Hoosier Tracker. Soon thereafter, I began my collaboration over at the Basketball Uniform Database.

This year I have decided to track Northwestern's new duds and have been given the honor and task of being the third iteration of the Duck Tracker.

The Duck Tracker brings new challenges with the position.

Obviously Oregon's many uniform combinations and frequent one-off uniforms present challenges in getting the most up to date documentation up as quickly as possible. With the Hoosier Tracker, once I had set it up, it basically took me five minutes to make the changes and upload the new picture. On many weeks, I had the Hoosier Tracker updated by the opening kickoff (just in time for the irish coffee...).

This is my goal for the Ducks this year, but my muti-tracking means this might not be the case every week. But the previous three season of Duck Tracking have been excellent and popular - very popular - and the need to keep up with the precedents they set is a challenge I hope to live up to.

And this is the challenge of breaking into uni tracking: The seemingly daunting task of tracking. This is why, today, I call on anyone with some free time and the will and the tenacity to pick a college football team and track them.

It's for the greater uni-nerd good.

The task will not be as hard as it may seem, as almost anyone can do it. All you need is a .blogspot.com address and a way of tracking your team.

The great thing about tracking is that the way in which you can track a team can vary from person to person, team to team and it can also reflect something about the tracker. For my Hoosiers, last season I used a 3D template that I had created with a background that changed based on the location of every game. This personified what I've been known for over at Uni Watch (the 3D templates) while actually putting them to good use.

But I wouldn't expect Rick Pearson to track like that. Knowing how Ricko used to track, I wouldn't want him to track like me.

And that's the point. Some people will hand draw, some might just use game photos and some might use templates like I plan on using this year - in some fashion - for the three schools I'll be tracking (If you are a person who may want to use a 2D or 3D template of mine, you can find and download them here).

For anyone willing to take up my challenge, I will add a link to your website to all of my tracker sites and together we can start a revolution. Hell, if you are really going to join me, I am even willing to make you a header logo that fits the theme of the three headers I will be using this year.

Rather than taking on a whole league or a whole history, let's start small, together, and we might be able to accomplish something collectively great.

Saturday
Jun092012

Meet My BUD

Some of you may have been wondering, "Why hasn't Tim posted anything here in a while?"

Well, this is why: The Basketball Uniform Database.

Over the past few weeks and months, I've been working on something big. I volunteered to to work with some of my fellow uni-nerds on creating a database of NBA uniforms. The goal is to go back to the '40s but as of today, our coming out party, we have 2011-2012 finished and are beginning to work our way backward in time.

In my position as the graphic designer, it has been my job to create the templates, recreate the jerseys and do anything else graphically I can for the project. I've been working with tons of images, logos and color swatches to try and come up with as accurate a depiction of NBA jerseys as I can, no matter if it's the '60s, '80s or the tweens.

Now, I'm not perfect (though I'm damn close...). That being the case, if you ever see something on there that's a glaring error, feel free to drop me an email (See: sidebar) and let me know.

And it turns out, NBA uniforms aren't perfect either.

In my personal research I've discovered two bizarre uni-quirks that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere else (though, perhaps I just haven't looked hard enough...). Let's start off with the quick one.

Philadelphia, before this season, introduced a brand new alternate uniform. It was pretty standard fair, a blue version of their current jersey template. Not bad. Not great, but not bad.

Unfortunately, Philadelphia never wore it.

You can do - as I did - and go through all of daylife's 76ers images, it doesn't appear once. Or you can go to their team website and watch game recaps. No sight of it. Or go to ESPN. I think you know what you'll find.

It's truly bizarre. The Sixers don't even sell the jersey in their online store. What makes it even more bizarre is that fans seem to love the blue jersey.

So the phantom alt of Philadelphia remains a uni-mystery. Who killed it? Why was it killed? Will it ever make it on court? We may never know.

Finally, we come to a case of, "Wait, why wouldn't they just change that?"

The New York Knickerbockers broke out new unis - their current unis - for the 2001-2002 season. Other than a collar change, the uniforms have remained unchanged for more than a decade.

Except for on thing.

Look at these pictures from the Stephon Marbury era of the nicks: Home Road and St. Paddy's Alt. See how the Knicks logo on the shorts is on the right short leg, placing the NBA logo on the left pant leg? Well, at some point during the Starbury era, the Knicks switched their logo to the left leg (where it remains today).

Except on the St. Paddy's Day alts.

For some reason, the Knicks have never switched the shorts patch on their green alternates. Never. It's very bizarre.

The Knicks changed the logo location years ago, so it's not like these are jerseys created before the change and they just never got around to it. The materials and cuts of the jerseys have changed over the years and most - if not all - of the current players on the Knicks roster have never worn the old home and road unis with the logo on the right pant leg.

It doesn't matter the occasion (Christmas, St. Patrick's Day, dunk contests, etc.), the patch is on the other pant leg. It's a very strange uni quirk that I would love to hear the rationale behind.

Though, I suspect the the explanation will be less than satisfactory.

"It's just a logo on a uniform, who cares?"

Friday
Mar302012

The Swootchover

The Nike Football League is official and I feel the need to make a few comments.

In general, I don't care about what happened in Brooklyn yesterday but I do care greatly about football, my Bears and uniform design. Since the only real redesign to speak of from yesterday was the Seahawks, that's what I'll be covering.

First, let's talk about the Nike aspects that affect football:

Flywire Collar: Call it whatever you want - Flywire, Nikelace, Colombian Necktie, etc. - but I'm torn on this uni element. I feel like collars creeping up on people is an issue that bugs football players, it bugged me as a kid and I see a lot of players holding the collar back. Hell, Jay Cutler violently pulls on his collar, but perhaps that's to adjust his pads.

Listen, if it makes jerseys more comfortable, I think it might be worth it. But on some of the jerseys, it ruins the flow of the collar design. If you can't make the collar uniform all the way around, don't bother with this 'technology'.

New Jerseys: The main issue here is that the jerseys have different materials and when players begin to sweat, these different materials react differently and begin to appear as though they're two different colors, AKA the Sweatbox.

Basically, I don't really care. Listen, it's hard playing at your maximum output when you're starting to overheat. If this helps, I'm okay with it. What's the difference between this and pit stains on Gayle Sayers back in the '60s?

New Pants: This is a bit of a twofer.

First, the new pants feature a belt loop that includes padding at the hip that players might otherwise not wear. Now, this design infringes a bit on the pants stripes on many teams but if this prevents one player from missing one half of football on your team, the pads are well worth the small infringement on the pants' design.

There’s a lot of reasons to hate Nike, but I don't think this is one of those reasons. This sort-of mandatory hip padding could be a great thing since most players would rather go without any hip padding due to a comfort issue.

Next is the same issue with the Jerseys: Different materials in different places. Pretty much the same as above, the issues seem negligible and the benefits are noticeable.

Now lets get to The Bears:

When I first saw the new Bears unis, I was mad. I was mad because the numbers on the new Nike jerseys are now on the shoulders rather than the sleeves. But now that I've had some time to mull it over I now think that it was a bit of an inevitability. Otherwise the sleeve stripes would've really suffered. It's not perfect, but it's understandable.

But I have a dream that one day sons of stripes and sons of TV numbers will be able to fit together at the table of uni-hood (specifically on the sleeve). All sleeve elements are created equal. I have a dream.

Other than that, the uniforms are pretty innocuous. They'll look primarily the same from a distance and that makes me happy. The 'GSH' is slightly bigger, but as long as it's there but not overwhelming, I could care less.

Finally, let's get to the Seahawks new designs:

I'm more surprised than any of you might be when I say this: I kinda like them.

Now, there's a bit too much going on on the jerseys (I don't need the triangle surrounding the swoosh, the asymmetrical 'Seahawks' and these green things around the collar need to go away) but there's some good stuff to work with.

And while I think the number font is stupid, that pants design is brilliant. I mean genius. It's a classic stripe with a unique take and local flavor (Haida art inspiration).

I think my biggest qualm with the helmet is that the helmet isn't gray. And if the helmet is gray I think they should only use the gray pants.

With some minor modifications, these uniforms might be some of my favorite modern uniforms in any sport.

A lot of the reaction is quite negative but I think these unis have potential. They're not great as of yet, but perhaps they will be, just like the great Titans' unis.

Well, those are my thoughts and I'm glad the NFL still looks like the NFL and I'm glad there's still room for me and my concepts to improve the NFL's image.