Thursday, April 26, 2012

"With the 28th Pick in the 2012 NFL Draft..."

Jason DeCrow / AP

The first round of the 2012 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Packers have selected USC's Nick Perry to bolster the defense.

The Draft has become an entertaining piece of theatre, with a prime-time presentation at Radio City Music Hall in midtown Manhattan. I attended with my brother a couple years ago, and found it to be a combination of chaos (mostly from the facepainted fans whooping and/or booing) and formalized ritual.

The ritual begins with the Commissioner under the lights, announcing each pick in turn. The player ambles onstage and poses for a standard draft photo in his draft cap and holding a jersey with his name on it.

Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces defensive end Nick Perry (Southern Cal) as the 28th overall pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall.
In previous years, many teams used to take standard draft jerseys to Radio City. They would Velcro new nameplates on for every pick, or pose draftees with the front of jerseys, resulting in photos like this one of Rams' first-round acquisition Chris Long in 2008:

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Looking at the interior tagging (with its YEAR-SIZE designation), we see that the jersey he's holding was five years old at the time.

This year, Nike set up a heat press backstage to customize each draftee's jersey moments before he walked out on stage to hug the Commissioner.

Darren Rovell

The turnaround time was reportedly 90 seconds, so they were covered even in the case of last-minute trades. Good thing, considering how quickly the first round sped by and the amount of movement we saw between teams.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Packers/49ers at Old City Stadium, 1950

In honor of the Packers' 2012 schedule release, the Press-Gazette published this amazing photo of their first opponent, the San Francisco 49ers.
Green Bay Packers halfback Larry Coutre is upended by San Francisco 49ers cornerback Lowell Wagner during the Packers' 25-21 victory at old City Stadium on Nov. 26, 1950. Others in the play include Packers guard Chuck Drulis (18) and fullback Tony Canadeo (3) and 49ers middle guard Visco Grgich (34) and defensive end Gail Bruce (54). It was the 49ers' first game in Green Bay, and it was played after a blizzard had hit the city. Press-Gazette photo from the Tom Pigeon collection
Amazing. That was a color-on-color matchup; the visiting 49ers wore red jerseys with silver pants and helmets while the Packers took the field in a variation of their "Astroturf camouflage" green over green:
Looks like a heck of a game.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The 2012 Schedule, and the Death of the Blues?

The Packers unveiled their 2012 schedule tonight, and created this wonderful graphic of the first four opponents to accompany the release.

I love it, partially for the prominent Braisher stripes but mostly for the uniform renderings. They make text superfluous: home to the Niners and Bears, then at Seattle, then home again to play the Saints. Bonus points for using the new Nike templates.

I wish they would give the full schedule this treatment, but they're using the same basic format as last season:

The Packers have five games in prime time, which is good news for us out-of-market fans.

There was also some Packer uniform news released yesterday, in this case from the schedule's accompanying Dope Sheet:

This little bit of news was buried down at the bottom:

That's a shame. I was looking forward to seeing them with the rubber NFL shield instead of the EQUIPMENT patch. Wonder if the Pro Shop will still be carrying them, or if the blues are done for good?

Saturday, April 7, 2012


I just noticed a very subtle detail in Nike's new Packer uniforms:

Uni Watch
The swoosh and NFL shield have switched places on the front of the pants.

Here's how it appeared from 2002-2011:

From 1997 until the "NFL EQUIPMENT" patch was introduced in 2002, players wore an NFL shield patch on their left hips:

The manufacturer's logo, at that time Starter, was first added to the Packers' pants in 1993, as seen on the cover of the 1994 Yearbook:

That's a very minor change that most fans won't ever notice. I wonder what the thinking behind it was?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Emperors' New Clothes, Part II - No Glove...

Follwing up on yesterday's unveil, Nike's website has this to say about the Packers's new uniforms:
The Green Bay Packers have chosen to stay with their traditional design aesthetic as well as their former uniform fabrication for the coming season. In addition to serving as the Packers on-field supplier for uniforms, sideline apparel, practice wear and baselayer, Nike will provide both men’s and women’s fan wear apparel. Athletes will now also be able to wear the Nike Vapor Jet 2.0 Glove featuring the interlocking team logo on the palms.
Here's a picture of the gloves (which were unveiled back in January):

That mugging-for-the-camera hand gesture is going to get very old very fast.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Emperors' New Clothes

The Nike/NFL uniform unveiling is happening right now in my home borough of Brooklyn. The Seahawks have taken advantage of Nike's design department, opting for a total-overhaul with nothing left untouched. Other teams accepted minor changes, mostly appearing to be influenced by Nike's standard design template and construction considerations.

Here's our first glimpse at what your Green Bay Packers will be wearing in 2012:

Uni Watch

And a glimpse of the back, as seen through the rows of display mannequins:

Uni Watch

Wow, huge changes, huh? The Reebok vector has been replaced with the swoosh, and the "NFL EQUIPMENT" patch is gone. And... that's about it.

I'm relieved to see that there are almost no changes. The Braisher stripes still run all the way up to the top of the pants, Forrest Gregg's collar stripes are uninterrupted by the Nike Flywire design, and the general construction seems to be very similar to previous jerseys, unlike the new jerseys of many teams.

As we thought, the swoosh now faces the players' front on each side, resulting in this "backwards" logo.

The best news so far is that they've scrapped the silly "NFL EQUIPMENT" patch, returning to a simple NFL shield at the throat and on the right hip. A massive upgrade, if for that alone.

The backwards swoosh on the right sleeve looks odd.

Nike's website has this to say about the Packers:
The Green Bay Packers have chosen to stay with their traditional design aesthetic as well as their former uniform fabrication for the coming season.
The Packers were one of five teams to so decline Nike's makeover (the others being Atlanta, Philadelphia, Carolina and Oakland). And good for them all.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The New Stuff is Here!

The new NFL league-wide merchandise contract took effect yesterday, and already the Packers are hawking their wares.
Featuring bolder Packers designs as well as traditional collections, the launch date for the team’s initial product lines with new partners has arrived and the Packers Pro Shop has unveiled the new performance gear, t-shirts, sweatshirts and headwear for men and women.

Nike, New Era and Forty Seven Brand are three of the new official apparel and headwear suppliers to the NFL. Each has brought the latest details and design philosophies to their products and these are now available at the Packers Pro Shop at Lambeau Field and Each product line will develop and grow throughout the season with new offerings.

"These companies have brought fresh ideas, new expertise and new designs, but they also understand the history and tradition of the Packers," Packers Director of Retail Operations Kate Hogan said. "There has been a lot of planning involved by the team and the companies in creating these products, and we’ve brought everything to the table – performance, fashion and durability."

Nike takes over as the NFL's official on-field provider and also offers a wide variety of performance and lifestyle gear. Hogan said the Packers authentic jersey the team has worn for decades won’t change when the official jerseys for every team are unveiled by the NFL in New York City on April 3, but the initial replica jerseys – available from the Packers in mid-April – will have mild alterations in fit and design.

Hogan said Nike has created several innovative styles for fans in t-shirts, sweatshirts and other outerwear.

"Nike customers are already excited about being able to get a brand they are loyal to with Packers logos," Hogan said. "That's part of the brand power of Nike. They have also brought progressive designs and their performance expertise to the table. You’ll also see some of the classic slogans from previous Nike advertising campaigns used in some of their collections."

New Era hasn't produced NFL hats in more than a decade, but their iconic 59Fifty fitted cap is the official hat of Major League Baseball. The company's hats will be part of the authentic gear worn on the sidelines, but they will also feature a fashion line with bolder, graphic-rich designs.

"New Era brings more than 90 years of expertise to the NFL, so they have a legacy of quality in the business," said Hogan. "New Era's team collection will be all structured hats that are fitted, adjustable or with snap backs. They have focused their designs on both the sports heritage of teams and fashion."

Forty Seven Brand, a company titled at its founding in 1947, also supplies NFL headwear, as well as Packers casual wear. They will have a large selection of baseball-styled caps that are more lifestyle-themed, including relaxed hats that aren’t structured.

"This is just the kickoff from these new manufacturers," said Hogan. "This hasn’t been a quick transition without a lot of thought by the Packers or the companies. The Packers are special to our fans and they wear these colors with pride, and we put a lot of appreciation into that with the designs we created."
That cap display with the footballs is pretty clever. I'm also intrigued by these offerings:

There - fifth cap from the right - Lombardi's classic "GB" cap. They haven't offered that one in a little while, except as a snapback from Mitchell and Ness (who insist on slapping their name on each one). I'm presuming that's what we're seeing here, but could we see a new version, possibly from New Era? Still holding out hope for a version from '47 Brand.