Monday, December 14, 2009

Bearing Down

In honor of this season's sweep of the Bears, we get a peek at a 1940s game between Green Bay and Chicago at old City Stadium:

Before television broadcasts became commonplace, it was not unusual for both teams to take to the field wearing the same color. Although the Packers had a white alternate as early as 1938, this kind of navy v. navy "color clash" with the Bears continued until the Packers adopted green uniforms in 1950.


Tom said...

Great photo, Chance! I haven't seen too many placekick shots from this era at this angle.

I've often wondered why the league didn't mandate contrasting jerseys before TV. It had to be confusing to the passers when the jerseys were, essentially, the same color.

Chance Michaels said...

I'm guessing that the helmet and pants colors were enough to tell the teams apart, although I'd agree that it must have been extremely confusing. That's why the Packers added their first white jersey in 1938 - to avoid a color clash with the Rams.

So it was an acknowledged problem, but not enough of one to address for decades.

Interesting how things come full circle. White jerseys were mandated by black and white televisions, but HD opens up whole new realms of possibility. Now we see color on color back in college football (so long as the colors are sufficiently contrasting).

Of course, college is college. There's a far wider spectrum of team color than in the NFL, where the rush for merchandising is pushing more teams to navy and black. But still, I could see a day where the Packers take the field in green against the Lions in Honolulu blue or Chiefs in red.

Anonymous said...

Chance, why are the arms up on the ref before the ball went through the goal posts?

Chance Michaels said...

I wondered about that myself. The best I can figure is that the two officials are each looking for something different on the kick. The official with his back to us is judging height over the bar - and as the kick clearly has the distance, he can signal it. The second official, at the left of the picture, is waiting until it goes between the uprights before signalling.

But if anyone knows more about the games' rules of the period, please let me know.