Saturday, December 26, 2015

Infographic - Packers at Cardinals Preview

As the Packers make their push for the playoffs, let's take a look at's infographic for the upcoming game in Arizona.
In addition to a breakdown of the Packers-Cardinals all-time series and the two playoff-bound teams’ season rankings, this week’s infographic takes a closer look at Julius Peppers’ place on the NFL’s all-time sack list and the rookie season of CB Damarious Randall.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Seasons Greetings From Gene and the Pack

Heritage Auctions

This card was sent by the Packers in the early 1950s. It recently came up for auction at Heritage.
Early 1950s Gene Ronzani Signed Green Bay Packers Christmas Card - Only Example Known!   Offered here is an original Packers team photograph Christmas card from the early 1950s signed by head coach Gene Ronzani. Signed in 6/10 green ink, it measures at 4.25x5.5". VG quality exhibited throughout.
That's a new photo for me, showing the Packers in their early 1950s green-over-green combination.

Season's Greetings to you and yours!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Infographic - Packers at Raiders Preview

This week's infographic is up at
In addition to a recap of the all-time Green Bay-Oakland series, this week’s infographic breaks down in great detail the Packers’ defensive success in recent weeks and the work of RB duo Eddie Lacy and James Starks last week vs. Dallas.

Canaries in the Coal Mine?

The St. Louis Rams played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last night, in the last of the league's Thursday Night Football "Color Rush" events. I haven't been terribly interested in these games, except in as much as next season they move from optional to mandatory, and they might give us a peek as to what the Packers will be wearing.

These uniforms are a modification of their regular throwback; the jersey body and number colors inverted and the shade darkened from royal to navy.

I do love the bright shade of athletic gold. The Braisher stripes are a little bit odd here, since there's no other white anywhere on the uniform.

So what does this mean for us? There's historical precedent for the Packers wearing gold jerseys and pants, and even though I think it's more likely that the Packers will end up in mono-green this could be a very interesting look for our Pack.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Bears Feeling Blue in 2016?

Paul Lukas at Uni Watch is reporting some interesting news about Chicago's entry in the league's "Color Rush" promotion next season.
“I’m a member of the Chicago Bears Season Ticket Advisor Group,” says a reader who’d prefer not to be named. “At our meeting on Wednesday night, they informed us that every Thursday-night game next year will be a ‘color rash’ game [which we already knew, of course — PL], and that if the Bears play on a Thursday Night, they will wear mono-navy, not orange.” To my knowledge, the Bears have worn mono-navy only once before, for a Monday-night game against the Packers in 2002. They lost, and the party line since then has been that they’d never wear mono-navy again because of the loss. I think that type of superstitious thing is silly, and I can certainly think of other, better reasons for them not to go mono-navy (for example: looks like total fucking shit), but it’s nice to know that they can scrap their superstition in order to conform with a silly corporate costuming initiative.
Here's a photo of that mono-navy uniform in action:

Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher (L) and safety Mike Brown (R) close in on Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver (C) after Driver caught a Brett Favre pass in the first quarter, 07 October 2002 in Champaign, Illinois. AFP PHOTO/Tannen MAURY
There was one other time the Bears dragged out this particular uniform combination; the last game of the 2006 season, as the Packers beat them 26-7. The Bears were at less than full strength that evening, having already clinched the top NFC playoff seed on their way to the Super Bowl.

Running back Ahman Green #30 of the Green Bay Packers tries to break free from the grasp of Cameron Worrell #44 of the Chicago Bears as he runs with the ball in the first quarter on December 31, 2006 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. Credit: Jonathan Daniel
Of course, this time they'd have to add navy socks to it. In for a penny....

I don't like the Bears, but I do respect their visual heritage. I thought it was silly for them to wear that nonsense back in 2002, and it'll will be sillier for them to bring it back next year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Wearing of the Silver and Black

In this photo from Super Bowl II, Packers quarterback Bart Starr tries to get away from Oakland defensive tackle Dan Birdwell.

What's striking to me is that Oakland Raiders uniform. The Packers uni Starr is wearing is close to the one Aaron Rodgers will don this Sunday, but there are a lot of little differences. The gray facemask. The solid green/gold stripes on the sleeves. The sock stripes. All minor changes (and all of them downgrades), but changes nonetheless.

But that Raiders uniform. The Silver and Black. Exactly as it was when they took the field that day in 1968. Sure, the materials are different, and the helmets have taken on a new shape in the intervening half-century, but the design elements are as they always were.

They even had names on the back of the jersey in 1968, which was pioneered by the AFL in 1960 but wouldn't be adopted by the Packers until 1970. And that might be the only design change, the old letters replaced with a sans-serif font.

With such a steady uniform history, it's easy to forget that the Raiders actually started out their existence as the gold and black, in jerseys that owed a little something to the Chicago Bears.

That was short-lived, and after a few minor tweaks the famous black-and-silver was introduced in 1963. The helmet logo was tweaked the following season, and to this day, the Raiders have an almost-perfect home uniform.

If anything, I'd like to see them make a minor tweak to the roads, bringing back the silver numbers with black outlines they wore in 1963 and 1964.

This was the basis for the throwbacks they wore in 2009 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the American Football League, and it's an interesting departure. Other than that, it's hard to suggest improvements to Al Davis's classic design.

In a league increasingly eager to shed its traditional aesthetic to chase the latest trends, there's something wonderful about seeing two old-school teams taking the field. And with the Raiders possibly abandoning Oakland for Los Angeles (again), this is a rare pleasure for these two devoted fanbases to watch.

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Hole in One

Packers running back James Starks had his share of carries in last night's 28-7 win over the Cowboys. His jersey certainly looked the worse for wear - by the second quarter, he had a small tear in the back of his jersey, right between the numbers.

Jim Biever,

I first noticed it when he ran for the team's first score. Here he is emerging from the stands after his Lambeau Leap:

Can't remember the last time I've seen the mesh fabric rip quite that way.

It's also not clear if he had it the rest of the game. I couldn't quite tell, but it doesn't appear to be present in the 4th quarter:

But this photo appears to have been taken at the end of the game, and the tear is once again clearly visible.

Jim Biever,

Something's certainly visible, although that could well be a quick stitch job. Perhaps it was hastily repaired during the game (at halftime?). Given how tightly these jerseys are stretched over the players' frames, not to mention pads, this makes sense. Pinch the fabric together, run a little back stitch to close the hole, that's probably easier than swapping out for a new jersey.

Of course, in the olden days the team would have just taken a needle and thread to it, sending him back on the field with it the following week. Today, he'll get a brand-new one and the torn jersey will be a great memento of an outstanding game.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Infographic: Cowboys/Packers Preview

Another great infographic from, previewing tomorrow's game against the Cowboys.
This week’s infographic takes a closer look at last week’s Hail Mary play, breaking down the Packers’ comeback and its place in franchise and league history, plus some social media statistics in the moments after the play. There’s also the usual look at the Packers-Cowboys all-time series, and a rundown of how well Green Bay has protected the ball on offense this season.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Uni Watch: "Packers Beat Rush to Mono-color Uniforms"

Last night, I remarked that the Rams' "Color Rush" uniforms reminded me of the Packers' gold-over-gold from the 1950s. Well, I wasn't the only one thinking along those lines; ESPN's Uni Watch has an excellent segment today as part of its "Friday Flashback" that all Packers fans will want to check out.

Uni Watch head honcho Paul Lukas reviews the Packers' uniforms of the late 1940s and 1950s to explore its relationship to Nike's modern marketing ploy:
Many NFL fans were surprised when the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions both wore their regular uniforms for their Thursday night matchup on Dec. 3. After all, the previous several Thursday night games had featured Nike's new "Color Rush" uniforms. Why hadn't the Packers and Lions gotten with the program?

The answer is that the mono-color uniforms are optional for this season's Thursday games, and the tradition-minded Packers decided to stick with their regular look. (Green Bay CEO Mark Murphy mentioned this at the team's annual shareholder meeting way back in July.) The mono-color uniforms become mandatory for next season's Thursday night games, so we'll presumably be seeing the Packers in either solid green or solid yellow in 2016.

But here's something that might surprise you: The Packers already have worn plenty of solid-green and solid-yellow uniforms. You just have to look back pretty far in the team's uniform history to find them.

According to the Gridiron Uniform Database, which is the definitive resource for NFL uni history, the Packers wore mono-green uniforms for parts of three seasons: 1935, 1950 (as you can see, they also went mono-yellow that year, among several other uniform configurations) and 1953. Color photos from those seasons are rare, but the 1953 squad wore the green garb while posing for its team portrait:

Color photos of the green unis from 1935 and 1950 are harder to come by, but the 1950 design is acknowledged on the uniform timeline that appears at the Packers Hall of Fame at Lambeau Field: As for going all yellow, the Gridiron Uniform Database indicates that the Pack went with that look -- complete with yellow socks and helmets -- in 1947 and 1948: The solid-yellow look also was worn in the 1949 preseason and, as we noted earlier, in 1950. In addition, there were many seasons when the Pack wore yellow jerseys with canvas-colored pants -- not quite mono-color but pretty darn close: Finally, it's worth noting that Packers actually wore mono-white on the road in 1957 and 1958. The solid-white look, which featured navy trim, even included a white helmet: So no matter what the Packers end up wearing for a Thursday night game next season, they were way ahead of the Color Rush curve.

(Special thanks to William Schaefer of the Gridiron Uniform Database and Chance Michaels of the Packers uniform blog The Wearing of the Green (And Gold) for their research assistance.)
Kind of him to throw the shout-out; although I disagree with some of his conclusions (I don't think those 1952 pants are canvas-colored) I was happy to give him what I had on the 1950s Packers.

That period fascinates me, as the team flailed around from uniform to uniform trying to find something to stick, right between two iconic looks. A reflection of the coaches, the players, the team, what have you.

Turbulent times created a turbulent visual history. One which, it appears, was a little ahead of its time.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Rams "Color Rush" Revealed

The Rams play their >ugh< "Color Rush" game next week, so tonight's the night to unveil what they'll be wearing.

It's hideous like all the others, but there are a couple things I do like about it. The first is the pants - even though the white stripe is stupid with no other white on the uniform, we can always use more Braisher stripes in the NFL. Even temporary ones.

It also reminds me of the Rams' 1950s uniforms, including the game in 1952 when the Packers wore their all-gold uniforms in Los Angeles against the Rams... in their gold jerseys.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Packers/Cowboys Game Program

The program for this Sunday's Packers/Cowboys game at Lambeau Field is now available from the Packers Pro Shop.

Solid design again - this time the cover boy is quarterback Aaron Rodgers. I was thinking they might save him for the last home game of the season; wonder what they've got in store for Week 17 against the Vikings?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New Nike Uniform Template Revealed

Nike's PR Director just tweeted out photos of the new Pro Bowl uniforms:
This is interesting because the template, known as "Vapor Untouchable 2", will be brought to the NFL next season. I'm sure Nike will spin some happy horseradish about them being "20.00025% lighter" or something.

One more reason to be glad that the Packers have insisted on retaining their traditional template rather than blindly accepting the marketing gimmick Nike hands them.

Monday, December 7, 2015

48 Seconds of the 1936 Championship Game

Some amazing silent footage on YouTube:

December 13, 1936: Teams run onto Polo Grounds Field. Toss of coin. Packers throw back Boston team on kickoff play. Packer's Arnie Herber passes to Don Hutson for TD. Boston's star Cliff Battles leaves game with serious leg injury. Herber passes 52 yards to Johnny Blood McNally to eight yard line. Herber passes to Milt Gantenbein for TD and 14-6 lead.
Amazing catch by Hutson there.

The Packers scored first, and Boston came back to almost tie in, but in the second half the Bays pulled away and cruised to their fourth World Championship.

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Green Bay Packers707721
Boston Redskins06006

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Auction Gold: 1960s "Put On" Sweater

I don't usually cover eBay auctions, but Uni Watch tipped me on to a beauty, ending this afternoon:

The auction description is skimpy and boring:
Totally sweet sweater for a Great Wall hanger in man cave. Perfect Xmas gift. Free from any smells or holes. Looks like it was hardly worn Zipper works says size 34 chest and size 18. The put on shop is in label.
The pictures, on the other hand, are great. Always love the single-bar gray facemask, and the sweater's oversized O-ring pull is fun.

This sweater was sold at Sears. Here's a vintage ad from the famed catalogue:

So here you go. Packers fans. Bid early, bid often. Your kid could look like one of the sporty young gentlemen in that photo. Kennedy haircut not included.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving! Today's entry is this gorgeous program cover from the Packers' then-annual trip to Detroit in 1961.

I love the typography.

We get to see the Packers on national television today, but there was a period when we played every year on this date. From 1951 through 1963, the Packers were the Lions' traditional Thanksgiving Day opponent starting in 1951. The way the Washington Generals are the Harlem Globetrotters' traditional opponent, in fact; most games were Detroit blowouts. Before Vince Lombardi arrived in 1959, the Packers had only won a single one of those Thanksgiving contests. The Packers did win Lombardi's first game in 1959 and then took this game in 1961. Other than those few bright spots, this annual game could be penciled in as a loss for Green Bay, and Lombardi had his team taken off the Thanksgiving rotation after 1963.

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Infographic: Bears/Packers preview has released their infographic preview for tomorrow's Thanksgiving Day game against the Bears:
This week’s infographic has all the numbers on the Packers-Bears all-time series, plus a detailed breakdown of the Packers’ big plays on offense so far this season, and a closer look at safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s performance in 2015.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In Which I Find Myself Agreeing With Peter King

I'm not a huge fan of sportswriter Peter King, but he went on a rant in his "Monday Morning Quarterback" column yesterday that deserves to be repeated.

This was numbers six through eight on his "Ten Things I Think I Think" list:
6. I think I’m not saying uniforms should be sacred. When I was growing up, teams basically had two of them: home and away. In recent years, it’s changed, of course. But this constant fiddling with everything players and coaches wear, and the pink and the camouflage and the prison-stripe uniforms and so many throw-up throwbacks … it’s out of control. Isn’t there a uniform cop in the NFL offices who, very occasionally, says, “We’re making ourselves looks bad here. We’re a parody of ourselves. Are we seriously allowing our teams to looks different for more than half of each season?” The NFL so bastardizes everything about the uniform that it’s altogether laughable when they fine a player for having some odd-color shoes or different eye-black, or fine a player such as Cam Heyward when he puts his late father’s name in small letters on his eye black.

Example: Marcus Mariota, wearing this all-Carolina Blue uniform for the Color Rush (!!!) game and blue shoes, and with the Salute to Service camouflage towel tucked into his waist, dives to the pylon for a touchdown Thursday night. Camera goes to the sideline. There’s coach Mike Mularkey, with the camouflage headset, camouflage cap and camouflage lapel pin. Last month, it would have been the pink towel flying on Mariota’s dive to the pylon, with pink cleats, and the coach on the sidelines with the pink hat and pink-accented headset. In nine of 17 weeks this season, the NFL makes the uniform not a uniform. And in some other weeks, the uniform is something that’s not a uniform. In the Oxford Dictionary, uniform is defined as “not changing in form or character; remaining the same in all cases and at all times.” The NFL does not have uniforms anymore. The NFL has costumes.

7. I think I have one question for the NFL marketers: Just how many of the 256 regular-season games this year—six? nine?—are the players and the coaches allowed to dress in the traditional uniforms, instead of being billboards for whatever causes the NFL chooses?

8. I think, while we’re at it, get off my lawn.
Curmudgeonly quip aside, he's absolutely right. The NFL has been slowly moving from uniforms to costumes for years. Their partnership with Nike, who's been doing that to college football for a decade, has only hastened the decline of the pros.

One of the things I've always loved about the Packers' uniforms is that it takes the "one at home, one on the road" formula and distills it down to its purest form. Since 1960, the Packers have had one coherent uniform with only the jerseys being swapped out home versus road. No alternate pants or special elements (this after Vince Lombardi's one-year experiment with white socks on the road). It's always a gold helmet, gold pants and green socks. There's a purity to it, the perfect Platonic football uniform. That's been diminished to a certain extent in recent years by the throwback alternates, much as I love them. It will be significantly diminished next season if the Packers finally knuckle under and join the silly "Color Rush" nonsense.

If a dedicated company man like King can see that, and articulate it so forcefully, maybe there's still hope.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Under the Hood(ie)

The chatter started sometime in the second quarter.

I was watching the Packers in a bar in Brooklyn, following the online conversation during interminable TV timeouts. And the conversation was hopping. Fans weren't talking about the Packers' defense finding its steel. Although it was. Packers' offense getting into a groove. Although it was. Or even about Mason Crosby finding the uprights. Although he did.

They were talking about James Jones, who was wearing a team-issued hoodie under his jersey.

Everybody wanted to talk about it.

By the end of the game, it was Twitter's top trend.

And it wasn't just Twitter.

I couldn't grab screenshots of the game from my barstool, but my pal Jeff Ash generously sent me his:

Great stuff.

It reminded me of an old-timey baseball pitcher wearing a windbreaker under his jersey.

The conversation kept going throughout the game, and I suspect that had the Packers not been doing increasingly well on the field we wouldn't have been enjoying the distraction quite so much. The game even had a competing meme as a squirrel ran out on the field, but nothing could distract the fans from the Hoodie of Destiny.

During the game itself, former NFL Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira on the Fox Sports broadcast.

Yes, the hoodie is legal. No, it does not mark him down when it hits the ground, any more than a towel scraping the turf would mark him down. And most interestingly, a defensive player could grab the hood and drag him to the ground without running afoul of the "horse collar tackle" rule.

This morning, the chatter continues.

If you start to put his name into the Google machine, "James Jones hoodie" comes up in the auto-complete.

Before the game had ended, some wag had started a Twitter account devoted to the hoodie. It was joined by a second shortly thereafter. Perhaps not surprisingly, it has also made his Wikipedia page.

After the game, Jones explained why he had worn it.

Lots of talk about a piece of sideline gear. I was frankly surprised that the Packers Pro Shop didn't send out an email blast this morning spotlighting the hoodie for sale.