Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Meet the New (Rams) Logo. Same as the Old Logo

As we recover from the Packers' heartbreaking loss in the desert, let's look at a subject absolutely, totally free from any hint of negative emotions - the relocation of the Rams from St. Louis back to Los Angeles.

The Rams recently unveiled the logo they'll be using in their new/old home:

If it looks familiar, it should. It's the same logo they've been using since early 2000, with a city name swap.

The Rams also unveiled a throwback-ish wordmark (seen at the top of their revamped website):

This is a slightly-tweaked update of their 1970s/1980s wordmark.

Personally, I prefer the wordmark that followed it, cleverly superimposing "LA" over the first two letters in "RAMS".

In any case, it's a small tip of the cap to their history. But this minor change may beforeshadowing a much larger one.

Since 2014, before the move was official, the Rams have been hinting that they may adopt a throwback uniform, possibly the blue-and-whites worn by the "Fearsome Foursome" in the 1960s.

Merlin Olsen, Deacon Jones, Jack Pardee","captionBlurb":"Los Angeles Rams Hall of Fame defensive linemen Merlin Olsen (74) and Deacon Jones (75) with linebacker Jack Pardee (32) during a 17-16 loss to the Chicago Bears on December 8, 1968, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. (National Football League)
They had a blue jersey as part of this set, but since they wore white at home, it was only worn a handful of times. When the Packers went to LA for their late-season swing, they packed the classic green jerseys.

Los Angeles Rams defensive end Lamar Lundy (85) and Hall of Fame defensive tackle Merlin Olsen (74) drop Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr (15) for a loss during a 27-24 Rams victory on December 9, 1967, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (National Football League)
I think there's a more likely option than blue-and-white, though.

Since at least 2009, there has been a growing grassroots "Bring Back the Rams" movement in Los Angeles. This movement is driven entirely by fans in California, some of whom are too young to remember the team playing anywhere but Missouri, but almost all of whom have chosen the LA Rams' royal blue and athletic gold as their signature color scheme.

Deliberately or not, this choice has consistently provided a clear visual contrast with the muddy navy and metallic gold color scheme the Rams adopted during their time in St. Louis. There has been no mistaking those fans, wherever we have seen them.

Everywhere these fans gather to promote their efforts, from parking lots to Inglewood City Council meetings, the LA fans are there in their royal and gold.

For "Bring Back the Rams" rallies in 2015 and 2016 held at the LA Coliseum, the LA fans were there in their royal and gold.

When the Rams practiced in California last season, the LA fans were there in their royal and gold.

When the then-St. Louis Rams played the Chargers in San Diego, the LA fans were there in their royal and gold.

It's really quite striking.

At owner Stan Kroenke's press conference at the Forum, the Rams logo was projected behind the dias.

Many on social media noticed that the bright projection gave the logo an appearance of the old colors. And it could easily be re-colored without losing any of its impact.

It certainly seems likely that the team will bring back this color scheme, as a way of connecting both with their history in California and with their emerging fanbase. They almost have to, to honor the fans who have devoted so much time to lobbying for their team's homecoming.

So what does that leave for the Rams? One easy option would be to bring back the classic uniforms.

The Rams wore royal and gold with horns on their sleeves from 1973 through their last season in LA and all the way to Super Bowl XXXIV on January 30, 2000. After winning their only Super Bowl to date, the Rams changed to the drab colors they still wear today.

I mean, come on. It's not even close.

The classic unis were also immortalized in the 1978 Warren Beatty/Buck Henry film Heaven Can Wait, about a backup quarterback taken to the afterlife before his time. Allowed to return to Earth in the body of the team's owner, he gets his new body back into shape and leads his team to the Super Bowl.

We've seen how teams return to uniforms from the 1960s as a way of tapping into the sport's glory period and borrowing a little of that old-school glory for themselves.

That would certainly be welcome in the NFL. As would another team wearing Braisher stripes.

The Green Bay Packers play the Los Angeles Rams before a crowd of 57,796 at Leambeau Field in Green Bay, December 20, 1992. the Packers won, 28-13. (Photo: John Biever/Sports Illustrated)
If Kroenke wants to do something else, gold jerseys are always an option. The Rams wore gold in the early 1950s, and they looked great.

This was the same period when the Packers also wore gold jerseys, leading to a gold-versus-gold matchup in 1957.

The Rams recently wore gold jerseys as part of the NFL's Thursday Night Football "Color Rush", and even in the dingy dome they looked pretty good.

Under natural light on a Sunday afternoon, that color would be dazzling.

With popular styles swinging back from the "everything navy" of the 1990s, this seems to me an opportunity to own a bright, vibrant color. Not to mention that gold would be a particularly good fit for the bright California sunshine.

According to the team, they'll keep wearing the drab St. Louis uniforms for at least their first season back in La-La-Land. They may then choose to introduce a new look right away or wait for the new stadium in 2019.

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Linebacker Kevin Greene #91 of the Los Angeles Rams looks to put a hit on Green Bay Packers quarterback Don Majkowski #7 during the game at Anaheim Stadium on September 24, 1989 in Anaheim, California. The Rams won 41-38. (GEORGE ROSE/GETTY IMAGES)
Personally, I'd like to see the Rams back in their classic colors as soon as possible. It only seems right, for the fans, for the city, and for the sport as a whole.

Monday, January 18, 2016

End of Another Year

Another dream has died in the desert.

Green Bay Packers receiver Jeff Janis catches a game-tying Hail Mary pass from quarterback Aaron Rodgers against the Arizona Cardinals. (Ric Tapia/NFL)
Although the Packers staged a fairy-tale comeback to tie the game with a Hail Mary as time expired, they blew it in overtime and the Arizona Cardinals will move on to the NFC Championship Game.

I watched this one in a bar in Chicago, with a few dozen Packer fans all screaming "Go for Two!" But alas, this wasn't our year.

And so we draw a curtain on 2015. It was a good year for the Packers, and I like the new throwback uniforms which made their debut this season. We'll see what the team has in store for 2016; I'm hoping for new road unis and a stud free-agent wide receiver. I don't think we'll see either, but here's for hoping.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Infographic - Packers at Cardinals Divisional Round Preview

Tomorrow evening, the Packers look to stay alive in the playoffs as they travel to Phoenix to take on the Arizona Cardinals. has this infographic preview:
This week’s infographic has a look at the full NFL playoff picture, a breakdown of the receiving TDs by a trio of pass-catchers for both the Packers and Cardinals, and the details behind the historic 1-2 punch of RBs Eddie Lacy and James Starks.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Super Bowl I Like You've Never Seen It Before

A CBS cameraman shoots Super Bowl I on Jan. 15, 1967 at Los Angeles California's Memorial Coliseum. The Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-21. - Image credit: National Football League
Fantastic news from the NFL Network, as they have assembled a complete cut of the very first Super Bowl.

Super Bowl I: The Lost Game will premiere this Friday on their network, and will give us the most complete look ever at this historic game.

NFL Network to re-air Super Bowl I for first time

Forty-nine years to the day after the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs squared off in Super Bowl I, NFL Network will be the first network to ever replay this historic game on television.

Super Bowl I was broadcast by both NBC -- the official broadcaster of the AFL- and CBS -- the official broadcaster of the NFL and remains the only Super Bowl to have been broadcast live in the United States by two television networks. Considered to be the Holy Grail of sports broadcasts, the CBS and NBC tapes of the game were either lost or recorded over and no full video version of the game has existed ... until now.

In an exhaustive process that took months to complete, NFL Films searched its enormous archives of footage and were able to locate all 145 plays from Super Bowl I from more than a couple dozen disparate sources. Once all the plays were located, NFL Films was able to put the plays in order and stich them together while fully restoring, re-mastering, and color correcting the footage. Finally, audio from the NBC Sports radio broadcast featuring announcers Jim Simpson and George Ratterman was layered on top of the footage to complete the broadcast.

The final result represents the only known video footage of the entire action from Super Bowl 1 and NFL Network will show it to the world for the first time on the 49th anniversary of the game between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs, January 15.

Super Bowl I: The Lost Game will air on Friday, January 15 at 8:00 PM ET on NFL Network. The three-hour program is enhanced with pregame, halftime and postgame segments, modern broadcast graphics and coverage, social media interaction, facts and information, with studio contributors and guests live reaction and storytelling throughout.

Host Chris Rose and Steve Mariucci anchor the broadcast and are joined by a plethora of NFL Media talent, such as Terrell Davis, Daniel Jeremiah, Steve Wyche, and Elliot Harrison. Additionally, Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end for the Packers Willie Davis and former Packers wide receiver Antonio Freeman join in-studio, while former Packers greats Jerry Kramer and Dave Robinson join the show from remote.

In addition to the broadcast of the game, Super Bowl I: The Lost Game includes the following features:
  • Wired sound from Packers head coach Vince Lombardi
  • Footage of a postgame interview with Chiefs head coach Hank Stram and NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle being interviewed by Pat Summerall
  • In-depth discussion on how the Super Bowl I broadcast was lost and then re-assembled using NFL Films footage
  • A feature on the merger between the well-established National Football Leagueand the upstart American Football League, giving birth to the modern-day NFL and the uniquely American spectacle called the Super Bowl.
  • An interview with Super Bowl I CBS producer Bill Creasy on why the second half kickoff was kicked twice
All 145 plays of game footage from Super Bowl I: The Lost Game were compiled from NFL Films video shot at the game. The NFL Films crew for Super Bowl I were John Butterworth, Joe Fain, Morris Kellman, Stan Kirby, Stanley Leshner, Dave Marx, Skip & Ken Nelson, Walt & Jim Porep, and Art Spieller. There were only two ground cameras and just one sound camera, the rest of the staff were top cameras or assistants. By comparison, there will be approximately 35 NFL Films cameras at Super Bowl 50 and an additional support crew of well over 50 other NFL Films personnel.
Outstanding. What a rare treat for those of us who missed the game the first time it came around.

I don't have the NFL Network, but I'm confident they'll soon make it available to the rest of us on iTunes and the like. Until then, settle in, grab a beer and watch your Packers make history.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Nitschke Rampages Through LA

Last night the NFL voted to allow the Rams to return to Los Angeles, their home from 1946-1994. To celebrate the return of this little piece of football history, I offer a picture of Ray Nitschke tearing through the Los Angeles special teams line.

Green Bay Packers Ray Nitschke (66) in action, defense during punt attempt by Los Angeles Rams Danny Villanueva (11) at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Los Angeles, CA PHOTO CREDIT: Neil Leifer/Getty Images
This game was played on December 16, 1962, the final game of the regular season. The Packers came out on top 20–17 to cap off a 13-1 season on their way to a second consecutive World Championship.

Much is being made about the Rams possibly ditching the 90s navy-and-being and returning to their classic color scheme when they take the field in LA. As a lover of bright colors, I'd love to see it, especially if they wore gold jerseys like they did in the early 1950s:

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Do I Smell a Rematch?

The four teams left standing in the AFC playoffs are Denver, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and New England. That means if (yes, if) the Packers can make it to the final game Super Bowl 50 will be a rematch. It could perhaps even a uniform rematch, setting aside the fact that the AFC team will have home field advantage. Let's take a look at these possibilities in chronological order.

Packers/Chiefs would be an interesting one. The 50th Super Bowl as a rematch of the first, in the same state if not the same city.

A Patriots/Packers rematch would look the least like the original game, as the Pats have tweaked their uniforms greatly since the 1996 season. The colors are now darker, with an increased emphasis on blue at the expense of red.

Those two potential matchups would give the other team an opportunity to exact revenge on the Packers. Only the Denver Broncos allow the Pack an opportunity to avenge a loss in the title game.

All these years later, I'm still kind of surprised how thoroughly I've managed to block that game from my mind. Of course, in order for this to be a real throwback the Broncos would have to wear their alternate navy jerseys, as they did earlier this year.

Seeing the Steelers in the Super Bowl would mean a rematch of the Packers' most recent opponent. This is the only Super Bowl I've covered since turning my zine into a blog, and would certainly be satisfying.

So what do you say, Packers fans? What possible rematch would you like to see?

I have to admit, the urge for revenge is strong, and therefore I'd like to see the Packers thrash the Broncos in Santa Clara. But from a strictly æsthetic perspective, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to reprise the first Super Bowl.

Two traditionally-minded teams in uniforms virtually the same as they were wearing fifty years ago in California. It would be beautiful.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Looking Better!

The Packers were underdogs in Washington last night, but came out victorious. And, incidentally, looking pretty good. Except for a few niggling details.

Aaron Rodgers scrambles with the ball under pressure from Washington Redskins defensive end Chris Baker (92) during the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
This photo perfectly encapsulates the three things I hate about the Packers' current uniforms.

I hate those silly Captain patches. Utterly pointless, cluttering up a classic uniform. Fortunately, the Packers only drag them out for the playoffs, but that's when they should be wearing their best uniforms, not adding extra geegaws.

I hate the contrasting compression shirts. Matching the jersey color would clean up the look tremendously, especially with the home greens.

And I hate the cheap-looking silkscreened sleeve stripes. Nike manages to weave proper stripes right into the fabric of the Steelers' jerseys, why do we get stuck with the low-rent alternative?

As a bonus, I also hate the striping pattern on the road jerseys, a bastardized form of the classic Braisher stripes that just doesn't work when you break the basic rules and put white directly next to gold.

Washington looked pretty good, too, at least they dressed pretty well. In recent years they've gone back to their Lombardi-era pants and socks, giving them a classic-Packers feel.

Washington Redskins linebacker Preston Smith (94) celebrates after a safety on the Green Bay Packers offense with teammates during an NFL wild card playoff football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. (Perry Knotts/NFL)
It was a treat to see the Packers regain their momentum, and the spirit of Lombardi must have been looking down with a smile.

Green Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) carries the ball into the end zone for a touchdown as Washington Redskins cornerback Will Blackmon (41) watches during the second half of an NFL wild card playoff football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Even an ugly win, or a win in their ugliest uniforms, is a beautiful thing.

Now it's on to Arizona, where they'll face a team with a somewhat less-classic æsthetic sense.

Green Bay Packers tight end Richard Rodgers (82) celebrates with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) after wide receiver Davante Adams caught a touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Little Touch of Gold (UPDATED)

No picture yet, but there's a small tweak to the Packers' helmets - the NFL decal on the back has been changed to match the gold/black version commemorating the 50th Super Bowl.

This has been around since January of last year, and has been featured on sideline merchandise (not to mention all manner of merchandise), but so far as I know this is its first appearance on uniforms.

Picture to come.

UPDATE:    Here's a good look:

Photo credit: Jim Biever,

I don't mind this. I'm not a fan of all the clutter they slap on the back of the helmets, and at worst this is a little less busy than the red-white-and-blue logo they usually wear.

Kinda surprised they didn't do that with the league patch on the jerseys. Maybe they're saving that for the Super Bowl itself.