Thursday, March 29, 2012

Would You Call This a 'Hsoows'?

This blurry cameraphone photo was Tweeted earlier today. It shows what appears to be the Jacksonville Jaguars' new Nike jerseys.

Nothing much new here. Looks like the Jags are keeping the same basic design next year, with the addition of a black jersey in the same template.

There is one point of interest to us, though. Look at the left sleeve of the white jersey: is that swoosh backwards?

If this photo is genuine, that would be a significant departure for Nike.

In the past, they have always noted in their style guides that the swoosh is never to face right to left (except, of course, for every right shoe they sell). And when they outfitted the Packers (and others) before Reebok assumed the league-wide conract, the swoosh always faced the same way on each sleeve.

We'll see soon enough. The Nike unveiling is scheduled for April 3rd in New York City.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Auction Gold - 1946-48 Tony Canadeo Jersey

The folks over at MEARS, who run some amazing Packer-related auctions, have a stunning find in their current offering.

This is one of the most amazing game-used Packers jerseys I've ever seen; a Lambeau-era beauty worn by the Gray Ghost himself, Tony Canadeo.

From the auction catalogue:
Lot #590: 1946-48 Tony Canadeo Green Bay Packers Game Worn Home Jersey (MEARS A10) The Gonzaga Ghost’s Drug Store Jersey –"Only Example in Private Hands"
It is with great excitement we offer the following lot. Nicknamed the “Gray Ghost of Gonzaga” due to the grey hair he was sporting in college, Tony Canadeo epitomized what it was to be a Green Bay Packer. Versatile, hardworking, cagy, and willing to do whatever was needed to help the team, Canadeo set a solid example of what it was to be a Green Bay Packer football player.

Canadeo did not enter the league with a great amount of fanfare. We was selected in the 9th round, the 77th pick overall. But through hard work and determination, under coach Curly Lambeau he continued to build himself into a Green Bay Packer legend.
An all purpose passer, runner, receiver, and defensive back, he led the Packers in rushing five times (1943, 1946-49). For the seasons 1946-48, he would have been wearing this very jersey for parts of all of that time span. He gained 4,197 yards rushing in his Packers career, and at the time of his retirement, was the team’s all time leader.

Versatility was Canadeo’s middle name, becoming the only player in franchise history to have amassed more that 500 yards in each of these five categories: passing, rushing, receiving and the returning of punts and kickoffs

During the years this jersey was issued (1946-48), Canadeo’s productivity kept the team competitive. It is most likely that several documented touchdowns were recorded wearing this very jersey, although there is no concrete evidence to document this possibility. Highlights include:

10-12-47 vs the Cardinals, Canadeo scores to move the team within a touchdown

11-30-47 vs the Rams, Canadeo scores to give the team a 20 point lead and insure a victory

10-31-48 at Detroit, Canadeo scores to give the Packers the lead

12-28-48 at Rams, Canadeo scores to tie the game

Many of the hit marks and team repairs may have been the direct result of the above offensive contributions.

When his playing career was over, keeping with the tradition of supporting the team, Canadeo played a small yet pivotal role in re-assuring his paisan Vince Lombardi that coming to Green Bay from the Giants was the right move.

Shortly after his retirement, Canadeo routinely frequented a local drug store that also featured a soda fountain. It is summarized that his penchant for root beer floats kept him coming back. As a token of his appreciation, this jersey was gifted to the store’s owner. Propped in the corner of the soda fountain counter as a make shift shrine, the jersey was displayed as the local fans discussed Sunday’s results of the Packers game. For the next 50 years, the jersey remained property of the drug store. During 2003 the owner died, and the gifted jersey was sold via an estate auction. The history was revealed at that sale and documented for this lot description.

Style: Issued as a full sleeve length jersey with original crotch piece, the jersey style features the blue body shell with golden shoulder yokes and crew neck trim. Although the basic style was worn from 1940-48, the larger style numeric font was adopted in 1944, thus more accurately dating this jersey from 1944-48. The blue body shell is cotton, with a knitted yoke and crew neck. An additional construction feature is the built in crotch piece cut. The jersey was specifically manufactured to have a crotch piece, and photographic images support the fact that Canadeo used this style. Analysis of the images reveal the jersey remains tightly pulled into the game pants, a direct result of the presence of the crotch piece being utilized by Canadeo. The crotch piece is designed with 2 rows of 3 buttons, and on the attaching piece, two rows of button holes, allowing for player adjustment.

Issuance to Canadeo: The intersection of Canadeo’s playing career (1946-51) during this stage of his career (after injury and military career) and the style of the jersey, 1944-48, allows us to accurately date this jersey as 1946-48 per the data intersection. This is also supported by accompanying photographic evidence.

Manufacturer: Issued by the Sand Knit company, this version of the tag, “SAND KNIT, ATHLETIC KNIT WEAR, SAND KNITTING MILLS CO, CHICAGO” is the version of the tag commonly found on 1940s football jerseys. The next generation of Sand Knit tagging found the size included as part of the Sand Knit design.

Distributor: To the left of the Sand Knit tag is the “Gordon Bent, Green Bay Sporting Goods tag”. With the addition of this city tag, the jersey is supported as being a Green Bay supplied shirt.
Size 42: The size 42 tag is found directly under the distributors tag.

Numbering (3): Canadeo’s retired uniform number is factory zig zag stitched on both the front and reverse of the jersey and is machine cut from a golden satin tackle twill material. This style of numeric font was adopted in 1944.

Game Wear: Jersey exhibits heavy game wear evenly distributed throughout the body shell of the jersey. A vintage team repair can be found on the underarm of the right sleeve. Several deep stresses that have slightly penetrated the side seams are present. Deep wear can be seen on both shoulders, with heavy wear found on Canadeo’s right shoulder. The numerals both show abrasions and severe puckering. All anchor stitching shows fraying from use and wash. Solid wear is clearly present, yet the jersey displays in excellent condition.
The jersey has also been signed on the front numeral in near mint blue sharpie. Signature appears to have signed in the past 10-15 years.

Imagery Analysis: Several images accompany this lot description. Comparisons of jersey to the accompanying photos verify:

Correct sleeve length

Correct style for the era

Proper numeric font style

Correct crew neckline

Verifies fact Canadeo used a crotch piece

Correct number for player

To finish our evaluation, the jersey was submitted to black light, magnified light, and a light table. MEARS examined the jersey for original numbering & tagging, originality of the tagging, and signs of foreign substances introduced to the jersey. Our examination revealed the jersey is all original with no alterations.

An rare opportunity to own one of the finest pieces of Packers memorabilia extant. Final Grade: MEARS A10. LOA Troy R. Kinunen/MEARS
Canadeo himself should need no introduction; for decades he was the prematurely-gray face of the franchise for half a century. Drafted in 1941, he played for the club through 1952 (missing most of the 1944 season and all of 1945 due to a stint in the Army). Upon his retirement, Canadeo's #3 was retired and he joined fellow legend Don Hutson as only the second player to be so honored.

Canadeo stayed in Green Bay, going into business and joining the Packers' Board of Directors in 1958. He was instrumental in bringing then-Giants assistance coach Vince Lombardi to Green Bay, and as a fellow Italian-American quickly became one of Lombardi's best friends in Green Bay.

Canadeo sat on the Executive Committee until 1993, also working for the team as a broadcaster. He remained a director emeritus until his death ten years later. When he passed away, the Packers remembered him with a black helmet decal, the second time (after Commissioner Pete Rozelle in Super Bowl XXXI) that the Packers had done so.

Few people will ever have as long an association with the Green Bay Packers as long and as glorious as Tony Canadeo. That alone makes this jersey beyond compare, and the backstory only makes it better. Seriously, a soda fountain?

I especially love the tagging; we've seen the Sand-Knit tag before, on jerseys from the 1940s through the 1960s, but this is the first time I've seen the "Gordon Bent Green Bay Sporting Goods" tag.

Bidding on this jersey started at $500. Within minutes it had hit $20,000, and after a half-hour it was over $44,000, where it sits now. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime find from one of the greatest Packers to ever pull on the blue and gold.

MEARS Auction #36 ends March 31st, 2012, 9:00 CST with a 15-minute rule. Bid early, bid often.

(photo credit: MEARS)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A New Era for the Pack

New Era has updated its Facebook page to give us a better look at the Packers' sideline and draft caps in 2012.

Looking at them from right, the 59Fifty is the same cap model worn by all Major League Baseball teams. I'm guessing that we'll see the NFL logo on the back. Fitted, it comes in standard cap sizes.

The 39Thirty is a low-profile version. MLB clubs wear it for batting practice. They are offered in stretch sizes: small/medium, medium/large, large/XL.

The 9Fifty is similar to the 59Fifty, but has a plastic "snapback" closure on the back. Very 1980s.

This style has, unfortunately, made a significant comeback in recent years.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Change is in the Air

The Packers Pro Shop has begun teasing the new merchandise contract on its website:
Packers Pro Shop New Apparel Partners coming soon...

The excitement is building. On April 1, the NFL, Green Bay Packers and Packers Pro Shop will welcome new apparel partners with the addition of Nike, New Era and Forty Seven Brand. Like the Packers, these authentic brands have a proud tradition, inspiring history and championship quality.

Whether you like merchandise for fashion, performance, casual Fridays or simply a way of supporting your Packers, you'll find an outstanding collection to fit your needs.

Fans of the Green and Gold trust the Packers Pro Shop to always carry the newest styles and the largest selection for everyone. With Nike, New Era and Forty Seven Brand joining existing partners VF Licensed Sports Group, Outer Stuff and all our partner brands, the Pro Shop has the top apparel available.

So renew your passion with innovative apparel at the Packers Pro Shop. And stay tuned for Nike's jersey launch later in April.
I myself am particularly looking forward to the '47 Brand caps.

The Nike uniform launch will be held on April 3rd in New York City. I hope to have pictures available shortly thereafter.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Capping Off the New Merchandise Contract

Another piece of 2012 Packer merchandise has been unveiled. '47 Brand (formerly known as Twins Enterprise) is making unstructured caps. Here's their preview of the NFC North, posted today on the company's Facebook page:

I love it. I've never been fond of high-dome structured caps, preferring the soft cotton of an unstructured. Nobody makes them better than '47 Brand does. I have several in my collection, including this beauty, my current favorite:

We can expect to see multiple variations in various colors, as seen by this additional Chicago cap:

Sorry for the Bear-heavy graphics, but they haven't posted any better shots of the Packer caps yet.

If history is any guide, we should also see caps with teams' alternate logos. Perhaps the Holstein Heisman among them. Now if '47 Brand will only produce a Packer version with Vince Lombardi's classic interlocking "GB" logo, I'd be happy to buy twenty or thirty.

We can always hope.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Last Chance for Super Bowl Glory

Today, I received this email from the Packers Pro Shop:

If you haven't yet ordered your shareholder ring, season ticket holder ring or one of the many fan rings created in the wake of the Packers' Super Bowl triumph, this is your last opportunity.

Order now!

After March 31st, the line will be closed. Until the next Super Bowl, whenever that may be.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Peek at the (Sizeable) Swoosh.

Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith has posted a picture of his team's orange alternate Nike jersey on his Twitter feed.

This is our first look at a Nike jersey under the new league-wide uniform manufacturing contract. And it doesn't show anything groundbreaking. Set-in sleeve, screened stripes (sure hope the Packers opt for something a bit more professional-looking), Nike swoosh logo. The shoosh looks awfully big to me, but that can't be helped by comparison with the very small Dolphins logo patch.

Most notably, it doesn't appear that Nike has altered the sleeve stripe pattern. Compare with the soon-to-be-former Reebok version:

I know that there have been fears expressed that Nike would run roughshod over the current designs of all teams; I have never believed that, and apparently I was right to be skeptical.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Now THIS Is a Draft You Can Dodge

Today, New Era gave us our first look at the Packers' 2012 draft cap:

This is a standard template - all 32 teams will be receiving the same treatment:

The city name is in the same barbed font, superimposed over a halftone representation of the team's logo. I'm all for emphasizing the city name over team nickname, but the halftone just looks off to me. Lavender for the Ravens, baby blue for the Giants, and kelly green for the Packers. They don't all work very well with the team's primary color.

It appears as though there will be multiple variations of these caps, including one with a white front panel and one with the team nickname and smaller, more traditional, logo:

New Era's caps will go on sale on April 1, the first day of its license to provide authentic sideline caps for the entire NFL.

UPDATED: New Era has unveiled the Packers' versions of all three caps:

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Futuristic and fun", Part II

Not so fast on those concerns about Nike's new Packers uniforms, according to the Journal Sentinel's Tom Silverstein:
Manufacturer switch won't result in Packers uniforms changing

A lot has been made about the NFL's switch in uniform manufacturers from Reebok to Nike and what changes that might bring.

Here's one thing you can take to the bank: The Packers' colors aren't changing.

I've been assured that by someone in the league who has been briefed on the switchover to Nike. It is true that some teams will make drastic changes to their uniforms in the name of marketing dollars, but the only difference you'll see in Packers uniforms is the material from which they're made.

Nike is known for its futuristic color combinations and mesh look (see University of Oregon), so you can anticipate some change when the uniforms roll out April 3, as has reported. But most of it will only be noticeable from close up I'm told and from the stands or TV it shouldn't look that different.

Of course, that's from someone who hasn't seen the Packers' new uniforms but is going on what basic knowledge on the switch is around the league.

One could only imagine GM Ted Thompson's hair going from snow white to on fire if he was presented with a uniform that bore any difference than the one the Packers are wearing now, let alone a flourescent green one like Oregon's. He's such a devoted traditionalist that he would never stand for anything but the most minor of changes - if any.

Back in 1993, word got out that then-GM Ron Wolf was considering changing the base color of the Packers uniform from green to blue, but that created a firestorm of criticism from many different directions and the change wasn't made. Neither Thompson nor president Mark Murphy want any part of that.

The technological changes Nike is instituting should make the uniforms appear a little different, but the word is things will be as status quo as possible for the Packers. We'll know in a matter of weeks what Nike's interpretation of green and gold is, but if you see Thompson's head on fire between now and April 3 you'll know something has gone wrong.
Makes sense. The construction of the Packers' classic uniform will change, as we already know, but I'd be surprised if they allow anything more than the minor aesthetic changes resulting from that.

I think Mr. Silverstein is misremembering Ron Wolf's proposed 1993 change, though. While it was indeed rumored in the year leading up to it that the Packers would change team colors to blue and gold, by the time the Packers announced their new design they had scrapped that plan and instead designed a simplified green and gold uniform.

Green jersey, metallic gold helmet and pants, white numbers outlined in gold. Packer logo on sleeves, and no stripes anywhere. Ironically, the kind of design that would fit Nike's template perfectly, had Wolf followed through twenty years ago.

Friday, March 9, 2012

"Futuristic and fun"?!

Uh, oh.

Matt Barrows, who covers the 49ers for the Sacramento Bee, tweeted this about an hour ago:

My initial reaction is skepticism. Unnamed sources are about as reliable as Wikipedia. But we'll see.

Got to try to wrangle an invitation to the unveiling....

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mark Your Calendars

Nike announced today that it will unveil its new NFL uniforms at a media event in New York on April 3.

The teams themselves will receive their uniforms on April 1, the first day of the new league-wide manufacturing contract.

Can't wait to see what they have in store for our Pack.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Peek Into Nike's Future

Kansas City Chiefs Insider Josh Looney tweeted this today:
One of the few things Nike will let me show u before they take over NFL apparel. Pretty cool.

Interesting look at upcoming Chiefs merchandise. Is that "Just Do It" under "Chiefs" on that tshirt?

We'll likely see something very similar for the Packers, although I'm wondering if the jacket is black because that's a Chiefs color or because Nike will be making black jackets for all teams the way Reebok did gray in recent seasons.

Friday, March 2, 2012