New 49ers Uniforms

New 49ers Uniforms

Having loved the San Francisco 49ers since I started watching football as a little kid, seeing my all-time favorite player, Joe Montana, take the field in the iconic red and gold of the team, it has become increasingly difficult to cheer for this team, 30 years after I began to love them.

The next step in their own destruction is the introduction of their new alternate jerseys for the upcoming season.

They are black.

Like, all black.

49ers2Black is not a colour in the 49ers palette, and the whole uniform looks like it belongs back in the late-90’s, when everybody seemed to want a black jersey. This is a lazy design, and it simply doesn’t look good at all. The red numbers on the black uniform look like they will be difficult to see from a distance, and the complete lack of gold (aside from the tiny Nike swooshes) is an abomination. Not that I would ever agree with this team bringing in a black uni, but not having gold on it was a massive mistake, especially since the combination of black and gold is always a solid one (even if they may be venturing into the New Orleans Saints territory there). But if red was added on top of it, then there may have been something there, aside from this incredibly dull set.

My most significant beef with these jerseys is the way that they match with the iconic Niners’ helmets. Meaning, they don’t belong together at all. Without a hint of black on the helmets, it looks like this is a team that is actually wearing the wrong jerseys, or the wrong helmets. They are that mismatched, and out of place. I could understand it if there was gold on the uniform, or if the helmets were primarily red, but they are not. It looks terrible.

I get the idea that they want to sell more uniforms, and having an iconic look limits sales to either a red, or a white, jersey. But aside from the obvious money grubbing of this uniform move, I simply don’t understand it. It is such a move away from the tradition of the team, and it serves at stripping away the identity of the NFL’s great franchises. I’m simply not sure why anyone would do that.

My only hope for this uniform set is that they are used twice this season (the maximum number of times they can be worn), and then they fade into obscurity because there are enough fans that feel the same way I do, and don’t shell out a bunch of money to buy these things. Hopefully, in a decade, we can look back at lists of the worst uniform changes in league history, laugh at how there was that time the Niners tried to wear black, and then move on from it, happy that the 49ers still wear red and gold, as they should.

30 for 30: Elway to Marino (Film Review)

30 for 30: Elway to Marino (Film Review)

One thing that has been consistent with sports television over the past while is that ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series is always good. Almost regardless of the topic, they have come up with interesting stories, and turned them into full documentary films, all of which have proven to be interesting, and at times, incredibly well done.

30Another entry into the lexicon of the series is Elway to Marino, the story of the fabled 1983 NFL draft, that produced a crazily high number of legendary players, and featured six quarterbacks being taken. Three of those six would end up as legends, and in the Hall of Fame in Canton.

The story here really shows us as viewers the behind-the-scenes dealings during the draft. Elway had made it no secret that he didn’t want to play for the terrible Baltimore Colts, and their dodgy owner. Regardless, the Colts drafted Elway with the first overall pick, and the intrigue began.

It was really interesting to hear about all of the deals that had been proposed, and failed, during the first round picks. There were several teams that were interested in Elway, and several of them made some very serious offers. The intrigue comes from how many times he was almost traded, but different things got in the way: the owner nixed the deal, the league interfered, a star quarterback caved to pressure and resigned, the offers were confused, the offers were never quite enough. If Elway had ended up on any of the teams that had tried to get him, it would have reshaped the league for quite some time. Elway as a Raider? Or Charger? Or Bear? Or would Elway, the California golden boy, just pout his way out of the league and end up playing baseball for the New York Yankees? The backroom dealings provide some of the most interesting parts of the documentary.

With the other quarterbacks, there was also some cool stories. We always think of Jim Kelly being a hero in Buffalo, the place where he spent his entire career and led the Bills to four straight Super Bowl appearances. But hearing him discuss how crushed he was to be drafted by them created another layer to his story.

303As for Marino, one of the all-time great quarterbacks, who left behind him a list of league records upon his retirement, he experienced a tremendous fall during his senior year at Pitt. Having a poor season, he fell all the way to the Miami Dolphins, who were able to grab him near the end of the first round. Stories of potential (and never proven) drug use, as well as his poor season, scuttled Marino’s reputation, and left him as the last QB standing in the draft. Of course, mistakes were made, such as the NY Jets taking Ken O’Brien (out of a Division II school!) ahead of Marino. But it is such stories in which legends are made.

The documentary succeeds in revealing the stories that took place over the phone, and behind closed doors, drawing us into the amazing draft, and the fallout that followed it. Interviews with the people involved, some GMs, some owners, and the players themselves, does what 30 for 30 always does: lets us, the casual sports fan, behind-the-scenes of something amazing, just to see just how much more amazing it really was.

Elway to Marino is another winning documentary from ESPN, and for those who are fans of the series, it definitely is one not to miss.

NFL Prediction Time!

NFL Prediction Time!

Here comes an attempt to guess the correct standings for the National Football League, which will get underway this week. I’ll also give a shot at guessing team records, which will basically be a massive failure, but hey, why not give it a shot? (* denotes a playoff team)

nfl2AFC East:

  1. *New England Patriots (12-4)
  2. Miami Dolphins (8-8)
  3. New York Jets (7-9)
  4. Buffalo Bills (4-12)

Is anybody choosing a team other than the Patriots to win this division, which is possibly the worst in football? When the main competition is quarterbacked by guys like Ryan Tannenhill, Geno Smith, and EJ Manuel, they kind of seem like a lock. Brady did a lot with little last year, and they seem to be better off this year. 

 

nfl3AFC North:

  1. *Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)
  2. *Cincinnati Bengals (9-7)
  3. Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
  4. Cleveland Browns (2-14)

Kind of a toss up for me between the top 3 teams here. The Bengals have their moments, to be sure, but I will go with the Steelers, after a couple of down seasons, but their lofty standards. Give the Bengals a wild card berth. 

 

AFC South:

  1. *Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
  2. Tennessee Titans (8-8)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10)
  4. Houston Texans (5-11)

The Colts are the cream of the crop here. A lot of experts are picking bigger things from the Titans this year, but I am definitely not sold on Jake Locker picking up his game that much, and I think there are questions on their O-line. 

 

AFC West:

  1. *Denver Broncos (13-3)
  2. *San Diego Chargers (10-6)
  3. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9)
  4. Oakland Raiders (5-11)

The Broncos are the pick for one more year, barring any type of injury to Peyton Manning. The Chargers got the offense rolling last year, and they should be able to overcome a questionable D to get the wild card.

 

NFC East:

  1. *Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8)
  3. Washington Redskins (7-9)
  4. New York Giants (5-11)

Ugh. This division is pretty ugly. Even as absolutely brutal that Dallas D is, they still are the least awful team in this division. The Eagles have potential to be very good, but I think they take a step back this year. 

 

nfl4NFC North:

  1. *Green Bay Packers (12-4)
  2. *Chicago Bears (10-6)
  3. Detroit Lions (7-9)
  4. Minnesota Vikings (7-9)

A healthy Aaron Rogers means a division crown for the Packers. I like the Bears this year too, thinking perpetually that Jay Cutler will figure it out and have a great year at some point.

 

NFC South:

  1. *New Orleans Saints (11-5)
  2. Atlanta Falcons (9-7)
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8)
  4. Carolina Panthers (6-10)

Big drop for Cam Newton and the Panthers. You need receivers to catch the ball! Saints take it easily, over a couple of teams that are improving, but not there yet. 

 

nfl5NFC West:

  1. *Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
  2. *San Francisco 49ers (11-5)
  3. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)
  4. St. Louis Rams (5-11)

Sorry Rams, but Shaun Hill is not an answer at QB. They needed to address this earlier than after Sam Bradford got injured, which we all kind of knew was going to happen at some point. He has been a band-aid over the past couple seasons. The Champs and the Niners are still among the best teams in the NFC, and the whole league. Seattle is just too silly good at home to not think they will go 8-0 or 7-1 at home again this year. They will take it once again. 

 

Way Too Early Super Bowl Pick:

I’ll go against all the traditions and statistics, and pick the Seahawks to win it all again. If they have home field advantage in the playoffs, they will roll, but I think they are good enough to go into Green Bay, New Orleans, or San Francisco and take a playoff road game. I’ll take them beating the Patriots in the big game. 

NFL Draft: Johnny Football, Cleveland Browns

NFL Draft: Johnny Football, Cleveland Browns

It’s tough to dislike the Cleveland Browns, because they have been such a picture of incompetence over the past years (pretty much since they came back into the league), that you don’t need to wish bad things upon them, if you dislike them. They will always end up doing bad things to themselves.

With the NFL draft taking place over the past couple of days, many people were wondering what the Browns were going to do with the number four overall pick. Was it time they tried to grab what they hope will be a franchise passer? There is always that possibility, and for a long time the Browns were linked to controversial Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. But at No. 4? Too high, right?

Right.

manzielFor once, it seems like the Browns did some smart thinking as they prepared for this draft. And they weren’t afraid to move around. Trading back from 4 to 9, then back up to 8, they drafted…a cornerback. Which was probably a smart move. Nobody is certain about this crop of QBs, so taking one this early was still a large risk. Sure, the Jacksonville Jaguars took Blake Bortles at No. 3, but they were even more desperate for a signal caller than the Browns were. The Brows at least have Hoyer, while all the Jags have is…Chad Henne? For real?

Then the Browns moved again, moving up from 26 to 22 so that they could grab the most divisive, and headline grabbing prospect in a long time: Johnny Football.

And I like the move. A lot.

I have spent the past couple of years tying to decide if I love or hate the way that Manziel plays football. He is brash, and cocky, which is great. He makes mistakes, which is more fun than so many of our dull athletes out there. He plays the game ferociously, and even if I don’t love the move to scrambling quarterbacks, I understand how they are a nightmare of defensive coaches to plan for.

I have no idea if Manziel will be any good in Cleveland. He is small, and doesn’t have the best arm. But they guy is an athlete, and he is a competitor. And I like that for the Browns, who after so many years of failure, could use some hope and excitement.

Watching Manziel play, I know for sure that he will be a better NFL quarterback than Tim Tebow, who in my mind is one of the worst players to suit up as a QB in history (yes, I know, he won some games as a Bronco, but come on…he was awful). I don’t know that he will be in the league of Cam Newton, who not only holds a similar skill set, but is a physical specimen that Manziel cannot attain. How beat up will he get in a league where everybody is faster than they were in college? Where he will definitely suffer some massive hits just based on his style of play?

I read one article that with this pick the Browns were looking at Manziel as a solution for the next 5-7 years. Not the next 15. I agree with this, but for this franchise, this is what they need to be looking at. They need some spark, and they need something for the fans to cheer for. If Manziel comes in and lights the league on fire, then great. He will probably not last to have a long career like a Brady or Manning, but if he can ignite this franchise for a few seasons, then he has done his job. And it is a massive sign of relief, as they didn’t have to spend a top-5 pick to get him.

I must say that I am pretty excited to see what the kid can do against NFL talent. A big plus, I feel, is that he did play in the SEC, where there are tons of NFL-caliber players anyway, and not some small school in a minor league. The SEC is tough, and Manziel generally tore it up. This will make a more seamless move for him into the pros.

This is something that probably hasn’t been said in a long time, but it must be exciting to be a Browns fan right about now. The possibility of a brighter future is right there, and everyone will have to wait and see if Manziel is all he is hyped up to be. I can’t wait.

Mandatory Super Bowl Post

Since I won’t feel like writing anything about this years Super Bowl after the game, I will share a few thoughts I have before the game. Before we have our winner, our champion for the latest NFL season.

super

  • I am not extremely excited about this matchup, even though I like the Seahawks. But, they beat my team, the 49ers, so it is pretty difficult to truly cheer for them.
  • Manning needs to win this game. If he does, he will undoubtedly be in the conversation for the greatest quarterback of all-time. Despite his lacking playoff resume (a win would only be his second ring), his regular seasons would vault him into the conversation with the best of the best. Like Joe Montana.
  • For so long, I have hated the Broncos. I don’t really know why. I was never a fan of John Elway, and I find it troubling to even attempt to like them now. I have never had a problem with Manning, I know how amazing a quarterback he is. Maybe it’s those now-outdated late 90’s designed uniforms? I’m not sure. But I’ll blame it on that.
  • Offense vs. Defense. The endless football debate. I guess we will see what wins championships.
  • How easy has the Broncos road to the Super Bowl been? I know San Diego was on the rise when they played, but that was a 9-7 regular season team on the road. Not the toughest matchup.
  • I really do want the Seahawks to win. I love the city of Seattle, and have visited there many times. I like the makeup of the team. Tough football teams get my vote every time.
  • How uninspired is the selection of Bruno Mars to do the half time show? All I can think of when I hear his songs now is a lame car commercial. Not terribly entertaining, in my opinion, but what do I know about new music?
  • As a uniform lover, I am kind of sad that Seattle will be in their road whites. I love their blue uniforms. Why couldn’t this be a colour vs. colour game? Not like there are issues with mixing up blue and orange on the field. How good would that look?
  • Another reason I will cheer for Seattle: I still think they got hosed by the refs a few years back when they lost in the Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • I’ll take the Seahawks by 13. Seems like a ridiculous number to attach to them, but I don’t know. I like the way Pete Carroll coaches, and I think he can inspire this team. Plus, the great offenses of the past decade have not always fared well in the big game. I think the Seahawk coaches will be able to bottle up Manning (as much as you can bottle him up, I’m sure he will still pass for close to 400 yards) and have him make a couple of poor decisions down the field. This could be a really good game, and despite not loving the matchup, I am quite curious to see who will win.

Fantasy Football Playoffs

Most of my focus goes into fantasy hockey at this time of year, and I am often only in football leagues that are low stress and not for money. I put minimal effort into fantasy football, it is more something that is there to check on every once in a while to see how I’m doing. And I don’t often do that well, meaning that Week 16 and 17 of the NFL is more a time to focus on the real teams and their playoff races.

However, this year, I actually seem to have drafted a pretty solid team. I finished in second place during the regular season, and am currently doing battle in a tight semi-final matchup. I have been a lot more invested in my team this year, made a few moves here and there, but mostly have just rested on the laurels of my top picks truly panning out. Instead of taking risky choices early on, I went with the tried and true. In this way, I got Marshawn Lynch and Drew Brees with the wrap-around pick in the first and second round (10th and 11th overall). And I have been riding that train ever since. Brees pretty much has got me to where I am.

So now I must be like millions of others. One eye on the scoreboard, the other glancing at my fantasy team. I no longer care about TDs and victories. I only care about my guys getting TDs, yards and receptions.

It is much more stressful than I am used to at the end of the season, but I like it.

Even if I’m not going to win any cash if I end up taking this thing. But still, pride counts for a lot.

NFL Logos- Animals getting Angrier

Being a complete junkie for uniforms and team logos, I found the article linked below to be pretty hilarious. It is definitely all true. Everybody wants to look angrier. So we’ll make our logo try to look mean. Even if our team is named after the friendliest creature in the sea (Dolphins), we’ll do what we can to make it look a little bit more unruly. Even the Cardinal, perhaps the least intimidating of all winged creatures, needs to look like a pissed-off cardinal. That’ll show the other team what’s what!

cardinalsI especially enjoyed the comments on the disembodiment of the heads of the animals. An eagle? Apparently not scary enough. But the severed head of an eagle? Now we’re talking design department!

Take a look, it’s well done and funny.

http://www.businessinsider.com/nfl-logo-redesigns-1996-2012-a-history-of-really-pissed-off-animals-2012-4

Also, for other uni junkies like me, you must check out http://www.icethetics.info/ and http://www.uni-watch.com/. They always have must-read information on uniforms.