Thursday, September 24, 2009

"G" Whiz

Today in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jim Stingl's column features an interesting article on a proposed overhaul of the Packers' iconic helmet logo from Charlie Radtke (pictured) of Milwaukee's own Phoenix Marketing Group:

Pitch for new Packers logo faces tough defense

The Green Bay Packers are not - I repeat, are not - thinking about changing their logo or tweaking the team colors.

But Milwaukee marketing executive Charlie Radtke believes it couldn't hurt.

"I think a little freshening up, a little face lift, might be a good idea," he said.

That's probably what Cher and Joan Rivers said in the beginning, too. I cautioned Charlie that this could be like depicting Jesus with a new hairstyle.

"I don't want to see torches and pitchforks, angry villagers, that kind of thing. It's just really an idea I've had for a few years," said the longtime owner of Phoenix Marketing Group, who is perhaps best known for the Sprecher beer logo.

He drew up some Packers designs and sent them to mostly sports writers and announcers. No one paid much attention until I called him back.

He asked me to let you see them. Feel free to tell me what you think. Or you can give feedback to Charlie directly at

Central to his idea is adding a B to the iconic G, which showed up on Packers helmets in 1961 and remains there today.

"The G that everybody is familiar with, it really doesn't stand for Green Bay. It really kind of stands for Green. Like the New York Giants don't have an N and the San Francisco 49ers don't have an S. They've got both letters on there," Charlie said, as we looked at his designs on the dining room table of his south side home.

Then there's the green and gold. Charlie would like to see a bluer green, something closer to the Philadelphia Eagles hue. And he favors a true gold over the current mustard, or, if you prefer, and I'm pretty sure you don't, baby-poop yellow.

Ron Wolf, the Packers' former general manager, proposed messing with the colors in the mid-1990s, but it went nowhere. You may know that the Packers used to wear blue and gold many decades ago.

The Lambeau Field denizens don't think anything is broken or in need of fixing.

"As you know, the logo is one of the most recognizable and passionately followed team logos in all of professional sports," said Packers spokesman Aaron Popkey.

Over the years, hundreds of fans and entrepreneurs have approached the Packers with ideas for new logos, colors, jerseys and products, he said.

Charlie is quick to point out that he's a Packer fan and well aware of the team's deep-down tradition around here.

"If the fans say no, absolutely not, I'll respect that," he said.

The video is here, and here are Radtke's three designs (click for larger):

So he wants fan response, does he? Well, this is as good a place as any. Please leave your comments, and I'll see what we can do about joining the conversation.

For my own part, I'm completely in agreement with Radtke on a few points, such as the single "G". "GB" just makes more sense. Of these, I'm rather partial to the bottom version, being the most similar to the current logo. It also fits the oval better - the other two have too much green space above and below, the initials not being fully integrated into the design. And is that middle one Copperplate?

I'd rather use the club's 1960s secondary logo as a springboard:

Hard to improve on Dad Braisher's original designs.

And while I've no problem with metallic gold replacing the athletic gold, I couldn't disagree more with changing the green. To my eye, the Eagles lost something when they moved from kelly green to their current ugly midnight-ish shade. There's an historical precedent for the Packers in bluish green going back to the 1950s, but forest green is a strong, bold color and ought remain.

So there you have it. Not opposed to a re-design, like the idea of using both initials, but not sold on these. But then again, take my opinion with a grain of salt. I'm probably the only Packer fan who was disappointed when Ron Wolf pulled the plug on his 1994 uniform redesign.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Guy Hankel recently posted an excellent article about a game-worn 2002 Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila jersey on his blog White Mesh and Green Durene. Well worth checking out.

His knowledge of recent Packers jerseys is unmatched. There's always a lot to learn from his posts, in this case some of the ins and outs of player customization.

His blog also offers this little tidbit:

I've received word that a nice, 1950's game used Jim Ringo jersey will be offered at auction this fall. 1950's Packers jerseys are very scarce, and if this is the one I've seen before, it's a home jersey dating from 1956-1958. Stay tuned.
Can't wait.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Subtle Changes Redux

Well, there they go it again.

Last year, it was black cleats instead of white. For this season, the Packers have made an even more subtle change to the uniforms, adding player numbers to the back of the helmet.

Here's a closer view from the preseason:

There is a certain logic about it; there are situations when you may wish to make it easier for players to quickly identify their helmets.

Although the Packers have gone without helmet numbers for the past fifteen years, they were a part of the team's uniform for decades before that. In the early 1950s, they were hand-written on the front of helmets:

By the Lombardi era, the team was marking helmets with military-style stenciled numbers, as seen here on Bart Starr's helmet (post-quarterback sneak in the Ice Bowl):

I have read that these numbers were made by running a marker over the stencil, but haven't seen any conclusive evidence to confirm this. Judge for yourself.

In the 1980s, the Packers switched from stencils to green Dymo tape, seen here on a Mark Shumate 1985 gamer:

The Dymo tape was in use as late as 1993 or early 1994, as we can see on Ty Detmer's helmet in this photo with Mark Brunell:

It appears to have been dropped by the 1994 season.

Since then, no numbers. Until now.

The new helmet numbers use the same font as those on the jersey, and appear to be printed on a clear decal laid atop the white stripe.'s Paul Lukas believes this is the first time a team has ever put two-digit numbers in the center of a helmet stripe. In the Lombardi era, double-digit numbers straddled the stripes while single-digits were placed within the white center stripe:

I like the numbers, but the back of the Packers' helmets are getting ridiculously cluttered. Part of the reason that the numbers look so sharp on the Lombardi-era helmets is that they were alone back there.

I guess I can understand the NFL logo, but think it's time that the flag be removed. Nobody doubts the unfaltering and boundless support that the NFL, the teams and the players have for our troops. And do we really need the warning label? Can't they move it to the inside, or can't the players just sign some sort of waiver and free up all that space?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Crying Uncle

Okay, I officially give up.

If I try to keep track of all the misleading Favre "Game Issued" 1994 throwback auctions on eBay, this blog will consist of nothing else.

Nothing wrong with buying and selling these Grey Flannel throwbacks, so long as everybody is aware of what they're getting. Too many of these listing omit or obscure the details.

Suffice it to say that if you are presented with the opportunity to buy a Brett Favre team-issed 1994 throwback, home or road, it isn't. The real ones are so rare, relative to the fakes, that you're never going to actually see one.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Auction Gold: The Caped Crusaders

Picking up from an earlier post, this is an exceptional look at one of the Packers' sideline capes which saw service for years, making its debut as early as the late 1940s (but no later than the early 1950s), in the Packers' then-proud blue and gold colors, and continuing to see game action through the middle of the 1960s:

1950s/60s Green Bay Packers Game-Worn Sideline Cape

The Green Bay Packers are one of sport's feel good stories. When the NFL first assembled, it was created with town teams in mind. Big cities didn't start gaining clubs until a few years later. Nobody believed the small town of Green Bay, Wisconsin would have enough to keep a professional sports team. Well the state banded together and helped the Packers become the smallest professional franchise in sports.

This oversized yellow and navy blue Packers sideline cape was used in the 1950s and also during the beginning of the Lombardi era. Since the capes were not player specific any number of legends may have slipped it on. Babe Parilli, Jim Taylor, Bart Starr or Ray Nitschke are just a few of the Packers who may have worn this offering. Heavy wool lining is featured on the inside to help combat those cold Wisconsin winters. "PACKERS" is proudly displayed across the back in single-color mustard yellow tackle twill. A Wilson manufacturer's label is into the collar along with a suspended "Large" size flag tag. It appears that "20" is written on the collar although we cannot confirm who it was issued to. To our knowledge the Packers did not issue capes to specific players at the time this was worn.
This cape was auctioned off by American Memorabilia just about two years ago. It drew only one bid, for a hammer price of $1,902. A fantastic bargain for this piece of Packers' history.