Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Little Public Notice

Just found out that the Database got a mention in this article in the Marketplace (Northeast Wisconsin’s business magazine) "Marketplace of Ideas" blog.

The green (formerly blue) and gold

It's not quite the nice review that the North County Times (Escondido, CA) gave us a couple years back before a Chargers game, but still. Nice to get a little notice.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Turducken Day to all. No throwback game against the Lions this year, unfortunately. Maybe we'll get lucky in 2009.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Week 11: A Brief Stroll Through History

Ah, a very satisfying win against the Bears. Nothing like a 37-3 home shellacking of your biggest rival to wipe away the memories of prior weeks. 5 and 5 now, tied with the Vikings and Bears for the division. I think we're going to enjoy the rest of this season.

As part of my research, I love browsing the Green Bay Press-Gazette's incredible photo archives, and more information about early Packers uniforms becomes available every day. They recently uploaded three new galleries featuring Packers/Bears games from 1941, 1942, and 1951.

We get a couple great shots of the classic Lambeau-era uniform in action. Gold helmets, gold pants, navy jerseys with gold numbers and yoke defined the Packers for so long:

The Press-Gazette also gives us a glimpse into the oft-overlooked days between Lambeau and Lombardi, such as this shot of head coach Gene Ronzani with quarterback Bobby Thomason from 1951:

The gold helmet with green stripe/gold jersey with green numbers/green pants uniform was introduced by Ronzani as an alternate in 1950, his first season at the helm. I've never seen a color photo, but I'm still looking. During his tenure the Packers seem to have worn green/gold and blue/gold in rotation.

As much as I hate to say anything nice about the Bears, I have to give them credit for consistency. They've managed to maintain the same basic uniform design from the leather helmet era through the body armor look of today's NFL.

Recently, a new resource has gone online. Google announced a deal to host millions of photograpghs from Life magazine. Not only does this mean that some of the 20th Century's most famous photographs may be found there, but it also includes photos from the same sessions never before published. Not surprisingly, the site has a wealth of material for those of us interested in sports aesthetics.

These shots from 1962 are a particular favorite of mine - check out Vince's team jacket!

Mitchell & Ness used to make a reproduction of that jacket in beautiful blue and gold, but it was dated 1954-1957. Was it possible that Lombardi was wearing those jackets as late as 1962, or did M&N goof on the dates, the color, or both? Time to dig mine out of the closet anyway, I'll post some pictures soon. I've long been interested in the sideline wear, especially old capes and dusters - that might be worth an entry of its own.

Back to the gallery, I'm really excited about seeing some of the earlier photos - Life did a great feature on the Packers in their December 18, 1939 issue. None of that content appears to be online, but when it is....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Week 10: Getting Ugly

I can't decide what's worse - a loss in Minnesota, or the new prototype jerseys the Packers are testing.

Not sure about these prototypes - sure sounds like what some of the Giants have been testing on the field this season.

Looks awful, like he's been vacuformed or swaddled in Saran Wrap. Check out all the stretch marks, and the pads poking through like ribs on a zombie. You can't stretch a clingy fabric over uneven surfaces and still look halfway decent. The performance fabric aspect sounds like a good idea (although I'm usually skeptical of such claims), but they have to fix the æsthetics.

UPDATE: On the must-read UniWatch blog, Paul Lukas quotes Giants equipment manager Joe Skiba’s reaction to the WFRV video: “That jersey’s already outdated.” So the Giants version might be, what, even more stretchy?

The report is all the more frustrating for its imprecision. Ryan Popkey, the correspondent, specifically mentions "League-wide uniformity." That brings to mind of the Reebok EDGE debacle in the NHL. They tried to apply a limited number of templates to all teams, with some negative results (they also made some dubious claims about performance, including that the new jerseys had 9% less wind drag). Wouldn't surprise me, as Reebok obviously has a financial incentive to simplify jersey construction. On the other hand, Packers equipment manager Red Batty talks about trying to consolidate the three different uniform patterns worn by different positions, and the three different kinds of material used in each of the jersey (shoulder yoke, mesh torso, spandex side panels). So which is it?

If Popkey is correct, how will this single uniform template handle complicated uniforms like those of the Cardinals or Vikings? The Bills have piping up and down the seams of their jerseys - will Reebok paint those thin stripes on, or will the Bills re-design the jerseys? How about the orange side panels on the Broncos' duds? Will Reebok create a new template just for them, or will they add the color blocks on like stripes, or will we see another re-design?

There are a lot of questions raised by this prototype, and not necessarily in a good way. 2010's not that far away.