Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ol' Blue Eyes is Back

Well, after all the waiting, the third jerseys (and related merchandise) have arrived at the Packers Pro Shop.

Jerseys are currently being offered in two flavors, Authentic and Replica. Authentic jerseys have cuffed sleeves and tackle-twill numbers:

Replicas have loose sleeves and silk-screened numbers:

Also available, as one might suspect, is a whole range of merchandise and casual wear. From helmets to genuine authentic sideline gear, casual wear to tchochkes galore.

As a fan of the blue and gold color scheme (and pretty much anything which helps raise awareness of the Packers' long and glorious pre-Lombardi history), I approve, although it's a little disappointing that much of the throwback merchandise is wholly inauthentic, designed entirely in the 21st Century for a modern audience and bearing little to no resemblance to anything actually found in the period.

There is a certain justification for this; as the concept of "brand identity" was not yet in vogue in the 1920s. Teams never foresaw the merchandising boom which drives and defines the modern game, and consequently many of today's hallmarks have no historical antecedents.

To that end, I understand the decision to conflate elements from different points of the 1920s into one identity system. The 1929 jersey doesn't carry with it a contemporaneous logo, so we reach back to 1921, and "ACME PACKERS" side sits by side with the much-later jersey.

Still, there's no reason that the Packers couldn't have used the actual period wordmark. The original, as we've seen, was a bold sans-serif, gold letters across the navy jersey.

The contemporary merchandise uses a few different wordmarks, none of them particularly close to the original.

There is one product, however, which is worth special mention.

This Acme Jersey Tee, from throwback jersey manufacturer Mitchell & Ness, is "designed to replicate the original 1929 jersey." Aside from their annoying tendency to slap their logo on everything they can, it's a pretty good throwback.

The number on the front is comprised of two letters of felt appliqué:

This could be the first commercially available 1929 throwback jersey. Pity they don't offer number customization; there are four members of that 1929 Blues club in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Curly Lambeau's #20, Johnny Blood's #24, Cal Hubbard's #39 or Mike Michalske's #36 would be so much better than the generic double-zero.

Beautiful. And as close a replica as you're likely to see of the actual jersey, worn by the Packers when they captured their first World Championship eight decades ago.

You might not be able to play like Johnny Blood, but at least you can dress a little like him.


Anonymous said...

notice that the circles are smaller than the ones that were on the jereys at fan fest, thank god

Chance Michaels said...

Looks that way, but I'm very cautious about drawing any such conclusion from those images.

Even if the photos accurately represent the mass-produced jerseys available for sale, the on-field product may vary. We'll see.

Anonymous said...