Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Get the Red Out

This morning, I received a promotional email from the Packers Pro Shop. Nothing too unusual in that, but this item caught my eye:

Looks like the Packers have redesigned their no-contact practice jerseys:

Product Description: Replica Quarterback practice jersey has ribbing at the neck with miter 'V' construction and NFL Equipment logo, G logo on sleeves, satin neck taping, double needle construction, dazzle fabric side panels and sleeves, extended drop tail and side vents. Jock tag and Reebok logos finish the piece.

Unless perhaps the replicas are being spun off from the authentics into fashion jersey territory?

Contrast the above picture with this one, from last month's minicamp:

Same neck and shoulder construction as the game jerseys, no sleeve logos. But I guess those didn't move as much product?

UPDATE 08/02: False alarm, it's just a fashion thing. These pictures from minicamp clearly show the quarterbacks wearing the standard-cut red no-contact jerseys. The NFL shop is selling the exact same fashion jersey for all teams:

Friday, July 17, 2009

New Sheriff in Town Means New Badges for All

Edited based on comments, please see end of post.

On this date in history, July 17, 1959, the Packers announced that incoming head coach/general manager Vince Lombardi would be unveiling new team uniforms to mark the start of his tenure:

This was fairly unremarkable back in those days. Each successive Packers coach between Curly Lambeau and Lombardi attempted to put his own visual stamp on the organization.

Gene Ronzani scrapped Lambeau's traditional blue-and-gold color scheme, announcing "We are the Green Bay Packers." Ronzani would create a whole mix-and-match series of uniforms, including, in no particular order:

  1. solid blue jerseys with gold numbers, gold helmets and pants
  2. kelly green jerseys and pants with gold stripes on the sleeves and down the pants, gold numbers, metallic gold helmets
  3. bright gold jersey with green numbers
  4. white jersey with green numbers and pants
Under Ronzani, the uniforms were anything but uniform.

Four years later, new head coach Lisle Blackbourn decided to clear the slate and brought back navy as the Packers' primary color. His preferred uniform was a navy jersey with dark gold numbers and sleeve stripes, dark gold helmets and pants with single navy stripe.

Blackbourn also introduced the first Packers uniform without any gold whatsoever: navy jerseys with white numbers and Northwestern sleeve stripes, white helmets and pants with single navy stipe, seen here in action against the 49ers in Kezar Stadium.

(click for additional views)

In 1958, Scooter McLean chose to go with a "throwback" for his single year in charge, adopting Blackburn's 1956 season-opening green jersey as his primary home look.

And then, after all this mix-and-match chaos, Vince Lombardi came to town. And that was that. One classic green home uniform, one classic white road jersey. One helmet, one pair of pants. Simple, classy, elegant. The Packers finally had an identity, their first since Lambeau stalked the sidelines.

Although he couldn't have intended this, Lombardi's legacy with the Packers effectively put a stop to the practice of new coaches overhauling the uniforms (although one GM would be tempted).

UPDATE 7/22: Following up on Tom's comment, I have a larger picture of Gary Knafelc wearing #44 instead of his customary #84.

While it would have been possible for Knalfec to wear such a low number (the NFL's numbering system not being formally codified until 1973), according to Packers by the Numbers, he wore #84 exclusively throughout his tenure with the Pack. So, what to make of his photo?

Tom believes that he is modeling the new uniforms. Could be. The uniform is about right. Anybody else care to venture a guess?

Getting Ugly, Chapter 3: Uglier Still

If you missed the preliminary posts on the new high-tech next-generation jerseys the Packers have been testing in practice, including video, see my previous posts here and here.

Long story short, the new jerseys are skin-tight, made from a super-stretchy elastic material (including the numbers and elastic thread used to sew the numbers to the jersey). They have been designed so all players can wear the same template, unlike the three various cuts in use now, and so each jersey is made from a single type of fabric, as opposed to the several types in current jersey construction.

The Packers have been using them in practice, but the New York Giants have actually been testing something which sounds just like them in games.

Man, not a lot of room for sleeve stripes on the Saran Wrap jerseys. Hint, hint....

And as before, it's the New Yorkers who give us a rare window into the process. Paul Lukas of Uni Watch and recently took a tour of the Giants new training facilities with equipment director Joe Skiba, and while he was sworn to secrecy he did offer these tidbits:

Remember how some Giants players had a different jersey cut last season (no nameplate, lower placement of the NFL Equipment logo, etc.)? All Giants jerseys this season will feature that cut. One problem last year was that some players’ sleeve stripes looked sort of curvy instead of straight, but that has been addressed and should no longer be an issue.

These new jerseys will be made of a new high-tech fabric. I usually roll my eyes at this kind of thing, but the new fabric really does look and feel different than the standard NFL material (or at least it does in person — I doubt you’ll be able to tell the difference on TV). Interestingly, the fabric is being made is Israel, which means the team’s game jerseys will carry “Made in Israel” tags — probably a first for an American pro sports team. And that’s all I can say about it for now.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You Still Don't Look a Day Over Eighty-Nine

Following up on my Packers 90th Birthday logo post, the Packers have started selling branded merchandise, including a patch.

The design reproduces pretty well in embroidery.

Still no word on whether the patch will make the uniforms, but now that they're selling them I'm leaning towards believing that it will.