UniDiction 2011: Week 8 – Eagles vs. Cowboys

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Follow me on twitter (@dancfuller) for uniform updates during Sunday’s games. If you have any questions or want to have a uniform-related argument, whether fact-based or opinion-oriented, just send something @ me. 

OK, let’s all agree that it was good to see the Eagles win one. But can we also agree that the Redskins looked a whole lot better in losing than the Eagles did in winning? I’ll take the UniDiction loss (2-4, same as the Eagles, by the way), but I won’t back down about the Redskins Maroon over Yellow being up there as probably the best combo in the NFL and the Eagles White over Green… just making me mad.

Coming out of the bye week, there are two big weekends of uniform-related happenings to catch-up with. Week 6 saw the Packers in their nerdy “throwing back to a time before NFL uniforms looked like, you know, NFL uniforms” uniforms, the Cowboys in their very rare Blue over (true) Silver combo — yes, I’m proud of the work I put in to this graphic — and leading in to two topics that might shock uniform traditionalists, the Falcons wore their 60’s-inspired throwbacks and the Bengals wore their Orange alternates.  Of course I like the Falcons throwbacks; they have a distinct air of “classic NFL uniform,” but they’re so much better than their standard overly-modern uniforms that if they’re not going to wear the throwbacks full-time, I actually wouldn’t mind them wearing the forgotten Black jersey from the current set instead. Sure, maybe not in Black over Black, but Black over White is a good look. The Bengals paired their Orange jersey with their White pants, and know what? I actually think it’s a good look. I’m not as much of a fan of when they wear the Orange alternate over Black pants, but the goofy details of the White jersey (the inexplicable Orange shoulder yoke) and Black jersey (Orange shoulder highlights) are missing or mitigated on the Orange jersey. Let’s cut-out the White side panel, and it’s actually a pretty nice uniform. Sure, the tiger stripes may be an acquired taste, but it’s a unique feature which makes sense given the team name.

Week 7 saw the Vikings excellent throwbacks (which should be the normal uniforms, of course) and the Panthers in their “I Love the 90s” Electric Blue (er, “Carolina Blue”) alternates. The Panthers are rarely on TV in the Philadelphia era, so my guess is few readers even know those alternates exist, so let me devote an additional sentence to just how unfortunate those jerseys are. The Panthers alternates are woefully ugly. Noted. Moving on. (Sadly, they wore them today against the Vikings, so that’s two weekends in a row).

Against the Cowboys, there aren’t many unknowns going into the game; the Eagles chose not to wear their White jerseys to try to invoke the Cowboys’ “Blue Jersey Curse,” so it’s Green over White vs. White over Silver. As a divisional rival, I’ve already written-up this match-up twice(Cowboys are “White at Home,” so it’s the same uniform match-up whether at Dallas or in Philadelphia — for trivia’s sake, the Cowboys have a rather nice throwback, but it won’t be seen this weekend), so I’ll borrow liberally from my previous efforts.

And, in the interest of completeness, the Cowboys rarely seen (though worn two weeks ago) Blue jerseys are an interesting item, not just a color-swapped version of the White over Silver uniforms. Check out this graphic I made detailing all of the mismatched items. You’d think that in the age of HD the Cowboys would at least address the Silver mismatch issue (at least making the helmets match one of the pants; it’s not like they wear the “true” Silver pants from the Blue jersey set all that often), but I guess it’s not too important down there in Texas. BUT, choosing Navy Blue or Royal Blue would at least be nice.

Comparison
The Cowboys uniforms are a tough nut to crack; as an Eagles fan I feel as if I must hate them, but they’re actually pretty nice. They’re “classic” without looking too plain (Colts and Giants, that’s you) or old-for-old’s-sake (Packers throwbacks).

The (slightly anti-Cowboys biased) UniDiction is after the jump.

The UniDiction

Either 2, 3, 6, or 7 points awarded for each category (safety, field goal, touchdown, touchdown+point after, of course)

Helmet

Eagles: 7 — Same as always.  Definitely one of the best helmet designs in the league.  I’m a sucker for “functional” helmet designs.

Cowboys: 6 — It’s iconic and, oddly, rather understated element considering just how prevalent it is in the US. One point is removed because the shade of Silver doesn’t match the Silver pants… either of them. (note: for color professionals out there, please spare me the “it’s difficult to match colors on different substrates, especially shades of grey or silver when metal fleck is a component.”  I know, but they’ve had 40+ years to get it right!

Jersey

Eagles: 6 — When fans think of the “post-Cunningham” Eagles, they’re picturing the Midnight Green jerseys.  A unique, bold color, with detailed strokes on the numbers, and nice use of logos on the sleeves and collar. I’ll remove a point due to the use of drop shadows.

Cowboys: 3 — There are few things Eagles fans hate more than the sight of a Cowboys jersey, especially if it’s White.  Objectively, it’s a 6 (the shoulder stripes break up the plain-ness of it, though the Black strokes on the sleeve stripes don’t match the stroke-less numbers), but subjectively, we’re giving it a 3, because it’s, you know, the Cowboys.

Pants + Socks

Eagles: 6 — The White pants provide nice contrast with the solid green of the jersey, and instead of plain white, the thick Black ad Green stripes (with the pencil thin grey stripe) on the side of the pants gives them a slightly modern touch.  Black over White socks also break up the White from the pants

Cowboys: 3 — OK, Cowboys.  Get your colors figured out, and we’ll talk.

Intangibles (no Pink adjustment this week – it looks like most teams have really dialed it back this week. It’s still October, so I bet there’s a lot more to this story which will never get reported. Pink was shamelessly poured over everything for the first two weeks of October, and now it’s practically missing. I mean, I’m not missing it, but something’s up. It could be that this is the fifth Sunday in October, and it was designed as a four week marketing program, but, again, that story will likely never be told.)

Eagles: 6 — OK, it’s the best combo of their current uniform set, but it’d be fun to see them wear their White jerseys at home (preferably with White pants… but beggars can’t be choosers), forcing the Cowboys to wear Navy over (true) Silver.

Cowboys: 3 — Out of bringing some professional journalism to this article, I’ll say “these are nice uniforms, here are three points.” Yeah, I feel dirty doing that, but I’m being fair. I may have offered a few more points if they were in their Navy over Silver combination (obscurity=points, people), but the Eagles chose not to force the Cowboys to wear them. Naturally, I’ll blame the Cowboys for that.

Final Score

Eagles 25

Cowboys 15

[rate  4.0]

A pretty good looking game. With the Cowboys in plain colors, a brighter shade of Green (say, Kelly Green) on the Eagles would really stand out…oh, well.

Drive

"Drive" : a new scent for men. From Calvin Klein

How far can you take the idea of creating a nondescript character before you have one that is boring and unlikeable? That’s the argument that’s running through my head as I write about the new Ryan Gosling vehicle (literally), “Drive”.

“Drive” is the story of a mechanic/Hollywood stunt driver/robbery wheelman, who operates under a strict set of rules, like “The Transporter” from “The Transporter”… except without all the parkour/judo/kickboxing, gravity-defying ludicrous automotive action, over-the-top bad music, tied-up Asian people, and shirtless oil wrestling. He shows up someplace at a given time, for five minutes. “If something happens in that five minutes”, he drives them away to safety, if not, he leaves. This is all set up in a pretty brilliant opening, but all of that promise and cool, retro, James Dean withdrawn charisma start to fade away the further we get into the film.

The unnamed driver (more on this later) goes about his business, doing a Hollywood stunt or two, working at Bryan Cranston’s garage, and meeting a doe-eyed neighbor, Carey Mulligan, and her son. He bonds with them, and Cranston tries to get him set up as a racecar driver with a two mob-tied investors (Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman). And through all of this, Gosling’s driver fails to do three things: drive a getaway car in another heist, talk, and show any discernible characteristics aside from being quietly trustworthy (if it were any other guy, I’m sure it would come off as creepy stalking and not stoicism). Yes, the unnamed Driver probably has the least amount of dialogue of any action movie hero I’ve ever seen. But that’s the point. The movie’s overt 80s motifs (most prominently, title font and score) point towards this being a deconstruction of the talky, quippy action movies of that era and their stars (Bruce Willis and Arnold mostly).

But as much as the promotional materials want to portray this as an action movie (to the point where some woman is suing over false impressions from the ad campaign), it is anything but, aside from the beginning and one fantastic sequence in the middle. The movie plays more like a Michael Mann, slow-burn film where the tension comes from characters who have made poor choices facing inescapable decisions that result in violence. Lots of violence.

It’s not that the movie has a crazy-high, cartoonish body count like something like “Commando“; it’s more that the movie goes along with this slow-paced character drama that sporadically erupts into single acts of extreme brutality. We’re talking heads getting smashed, shot, and stabbed, with seemingly unnecessary close-ups and a lot of blood. And that’s just some of it. The thing is, all of these incidents come so abruptly and are so brutal, that after such long periods of quiet they prove to be immensely unsettling. And that’s the point. It’s there to show you that violent action movies SHOULD BE unsettling, and we’ve become so desensitized to that. But does that make for enjoyable entertainment? I don’t know.

It’s the exact same problem I have with the main character. Does a non-character make an interesting “hero”? We’re supposed to root for this driver because he’s in a tough position. Because he makes a choice to help this woman, a choice that ends up not only putting him in a rough position, but is the first human thing he has done in the film, and perhaps in his life. See, he doesn’t have a character name. He doesn’t say anything. He lets other people make decisions for him. He’s just a driver. He has no characteristics that make him appealing as a person. He has no backstory. But then he makes a decision. ONE CHOICE. And, judging by the song that plays over the end credits, this makes him not only a “real hero”, but a “real human being”. Take a listen:

Surprisingly, I think I liked the first-half set-up of the movie more. I was enjoying the change of pace of having this understated, sub-textual relationship-building between the two leads. But once everything starts to fall apart, the driver becomes so hellbent on getting out of the mess he’s in that he basically turns into a psychopath. He’s truly frightening. It becomes like rooting for Michael Myers to just kill everyone, and is that something we really want to do? Not only that, but is this movie saying that transforming yourself from someone who doesn’t care about anything into someone who will brutally hunt down and murder people make you a hero and a human? Or is it again subverting that idea about old-school action movies?

**

“Drive” gets two stars for trying something interesting and different with its characters, having some fantastic acting, and two-to-three great sequences. It also includes a main character that is terribly hard to root for, surprisingly small amounts of action scenes (despite the advertising all but promising us “Fast and Furious 6”), and off-putting bits of hyper-brutality. I’m completely stuck in trying to grade this movie, as I love the guts it has in what it’s trying to do, but I can’t truthfully say I had an enjoyable experience. I guess that was the point?

UniDiction 2011: Week 1 – Eagles vs. Rams

Uni2011-1

Look for me on Twitter (@dancfuller) where I’ll likely have a few uniform-related updates during today’s games.

And we’re back. After three forays into Phillies throwbacks, we find ourselves back in the UniDiction wheelhouse… football uniforms.

For catching up’s sake, the Eagles had no uniform-related news this off-season. No throwbacks like last year (boo) or 2007 (count your blessings), so it’s likely we’ll see the Black jerseys at some point, likely around Halloween (maybe against the Cowboys on October 30, though they may wear White to invoke the Blue Jersey Curse) or late November. For non-Eagles news, the Bills have an all-new uniform set, getting rid of their CFL/XFL-inspired disasters (quick review: they’re great, but why no Blue pants?), and the Giants supposedly have throwbacks to the 80s era, but they’ve yet to be announced. There have been rumblings about the Giants adopting throwbacks since they eliminated their Red alternates after the 2007 season but still no (official) confirmation in that direction.

The (potentially) big news which will likely amount to very little is that 2011 is the last season of the Reebok uniform contract, and Nike gets the NFL in 2012. And, gosh, if they did this to Oregon, what will they do to my team?! Relax, it’s the NFL, not a bunch of loosely affiliated colleges trying to appeal to 16 and 17 year old recruits. Maybe some of the teams with that dreaded-for-marketing purposes combination of modern-yet-stale designs and recent futility (Broncos, Seahawks – who’ve hinted at re-designs for next year) will go the re-design route. Though there’s always the risk of a team following the 2009 Jaguars and fixing something that wasn’t broken because it will be easier to re-define the corporate brand in terms of PMS numbers and visual identity than actually creating a “tradition of winning”, don’t expect any crazy Nike NCAA silliness like “Stealth Numbers” (hint: I actually like the effect), team-branded glovescamouflage, dye sublimation (think: anything with a gradient), or the like on an NFL team near you, especially not the Eagles, who have well-liked modern uniforms as well as a whole bunch of winning seasons within easy memory.

For uniform enthusiasts, the biggest news is perhaps the “opening” of the Gridiron Uniform Database. A simply amazing website you never knew you were missing until now. If you’ve ever gotten into an argument with someone who SWEARS the Packers had a Yellow alternate (they haven’t worn yellow jerseys since 1954) because he saw them available online (likely from a counterfeiter) or with “that guy,” who says the Saints never wore a Gold jersey in a game (they did, once in 2002), here is your argument ender. “You just got GUD’d!” Hmm, maybe not the next “Let’s Go Eat,” but it’s… something. Prepping for this season, I’m not sure how I did without the GUD last season (answer: with some inaccuracy about obscure combinations for the Falcons and Titans), but expect lots of links to their content . A great, great resource.

Speaking of resources, I’ve put together a publicly accessible image gallery for NFL uniforms, sorted by team. There’s not much metadata other than filenames which include the jersey and pants colors, but if you need to see photographs of the Titans in the rare White over White combo (against the Eagles in 2002, no less), it may be the only place where the pictures are collected as such.

And finally, the UniDictions will be a little different this year. Previously, I churned out the prediction between 11:30AM and game time on game day. Why? Because in the interest of accuracy, I wanted to review what the teams would be actually wearing. Unfortunately, though the Eagles announce their uniform picks the Tuesday before a game, few other teams do this. For teams like the Giants and Cowboys, there’s no mystery as to what they will be wearing (heck, I wrote the December 2010 UniDictions for those games in China. Really!), but teams often have not just multiple jerseys but multiple pants options, too. Even staying within the division, the Redskins have three pants (the new-for-2010 yellow pants are still awesome, don’t worry). So, when the Eagles are home in the latter part of the season and the Green jersey is guaranteed, the Redskins could legitimately show up in one of three different combinations. In the interest of easing my Sunday mornings, this season’s UniDictions will be more general than last year’s, taking into account the opponents’ jersey and pants combinations as a whole.

This brings us to the Rams. The Eagles are visiting and announced they’re in White over Green. It’s unlikely the Rams would waste their throwbacks on the non-divisional-rival Eagles game, so they’ll be in Navy Blue jerseys, but, like the Redskins, they’ve got three pants to choose from. Which will they wear?

The UniDiction

Remember, this is scored like football. 7,6,3,2, or 1 point. And, as we retroactively learned last year, to make sense with UniDiction score, the real-game score wraps back to zero every 28 points, so 59-28 is the same as 3-28. Yeah. It’s scientific.

Helmet

Eagles – 6 points. Metallic “Midnight” Green is second only to Kelly Green in the hearts of Philadelphia football fans, and the wings are the kind of “functional” detail that really adds a lot of character to a helmet, much more than simply dumping the logo up there.

Rams – 7 points. Unfortunately, when one thinks of “functional” helmet designs, the Rams’ horns are thought of, even before the Eagles, so they get the full 7 points, too.

Jersey

Eagles – 3 points. I’ve put a lot of thought into it in the off-season, but while the White jersey might have grown on me, it’s still not the Eagles best look. The trim and logo/wordmark usage is the throat and sleeves is executed just right. It’s appreciated that the only “modern” silliness is a drop-shadow on the numbers instead of useless panels, yokes, and armpit highlighting features, but… White just isn’t one of the Eagles’ colors. Combined with the Green pants, it’s not a good look.

Rams – 3 points. Like the Eagles, the Rams have a “modern-ish” jersey, but they weren’t able to avoid one of the more gimmicky “modern” features: the shoulder hoop. Oddly, this feature is echoed on the White jersey, but it’s used more as a visual break for the contrast-color “sleeves.” Odd and rather bush league (read: CFL) for the White jerseys. Initially, I thought it was meant to evoke their old jerseys where the shoulder/sleeve included the ram horn, but it doesn’t appear that way. The White stroke around the Gold numbers is a nice touch, though. I’ll also point out that their shade of Blue is just that much too dark, and doesn’t pop as much as it should.

Pants and Socks

Eagles – 2 points. In a vacuum where the Eagles pants exist in complete naiveté with respect to the final “look,” the Green pants are harmless. Black/White/Grey stripes all “go” with Midnight Green. Seems like a pretty nice pair of trousers. Until you see them on TV when it’s not a bright day, and they’re just a muddled, dark mess. Dark base material, two of three stripes are dark. No, thank you. This gives me an idea for a future article where I mock up some Midnight Green pants with a wide, White stripe. Don’t worry, I’ll include Black or Dark Grey stripes, too.  I also think the socks should be Green instead of Black. Sue me.

Rams – 6 points. Here’s where it gets tricky. The Rams have 3 different pants they actively wear. Interestingly, they’re not just color swaps of each other. The Gold pants are a solid “field of Gold,” (holy Gold pants overload in that picture) with no stripes, logos, or any type of accents, while the Blue pants and White pants look like simple color swaps, not unlike Mortal Kombat’s Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Oddly, they actually aren’t. The Blue pants’ striping actually goes White-Gold-Blue-Gold-White, and the White pants are a simpler Blue-Gold-Blue. Using a contrasting color for that super-wide stripe, as on the White pants, definitely looks better than hiding the center stripe in the base color of the pants. So, big thumbs-up for the White pants, indifferent but appreciating the use of the color for the Gold pants, and “meh” for the Blue pants.

Intangibles

Eagles – 3 points. At least they still look respectable in a rather unfortunate uniform combination, something some teams can’t say. I’ve moved from “not feeling it” to outright “a little pitchy dog” “I don’t like this” for the White over Green combination, so until/unless the pre-season White over White combination shows up in the regular season (like last year against the Jaguars), the Eagles aren’t going to have a lot of (sartorial) success per my system in their White jersey this season.

Rams – 6 points. If the Rams choose to wear their Blue over Blue clownsuits, I’ll regret granting so many points, but the Rams’ signature look is the unique Blue over Gold, so expect to see that on Sunday afternoon. If they choose the rarer Blue over White, the Eagles are really looking for some hurt, because that is a really, really sharp look. Yes, I realize I sound like a grandmother using that terminology… but I’ll stand by it.

Rams 22

Eagles 14 

…uh-oh

Thanks to The Gridiron Uniform Database, here’s a list of graphics showing all their combinations, year by year.

And in order of preference, some real pictures:

Blue over White

Throwback

Blue over Gold

White over Gold

White over White

White over Blue

Blue over Blue

How to be a Uniform Snob Part 2: Phillies vs. Padres (Throwbacks!)

2003 throwbacks

From 2003 against the Pirates in solid yellow—ladies and gentlemen: your 1970s!

The pictures with formal write-ups of the uniforms in question are from Bill Henderson’s excellent MLB Game Worn Jerseys of the Double-Knit Era. Buy it here. If you’re even remotely interested in the rest of this entry, this will be the best $25 you’ll spend all baseball season. AND, he’s from the Philadelphia/Delaware County area, so his Phillies chapter is made with special care. (That’s actually a joke, I think. Each team gets an amazingly thorough treatment throughout. Yes, even the Diamondbacks.)

Check out Kyle’s throwback-tastic write-up from earlier today for what he considers the Phillies’ best logo. I disagree, but I like his enthusiasm. Also, notice that he’s talking about a specific logo, not the uniforms of the 70s/80s in general.

It’s 80s night at Citizen’s Bank Park tonight, and even though they’ve had “70s night” and “80s night” promotions for the last few years, they’ll actually be trotting out throwbacks for one of the games. For those who were always disappointed that their recent “70s nights” never included the players dressing like the team of the 70s, consider this vindication for those times when you tuned in, only to see a few “retro” graphics on the broadcast but nothing else of note except for the ballgirls wearing something like this

This is the the third Phillies throwback game of the season (the Negro League throwbacks write-up and the write-up for the more-or-less “away” version of tonight’s uniforms). Of course, Uni-Watch has their write-up today (scroll down to the Phillies logo) and they’re so gosh-darn thorough that even if I would’ve come up with these points on my own (I was working on it, I swear!), they pretty much covered everything already. I’ll recap here and add some more sizzle (snark?).

In terms of impressing boring (I wasn’t sure which word to strike-thru) your friends, subtly work these factoids into a response every time someone says, “they should wear these uniforms all the time,” or “it’s so cool they’re wearing the uniforms from the 80s. These should be the new alternates.”

1)      The 1984 uniform (the “target” for this 80s promotion) included a zipper on the front; the change to buttons happened with the 1987 jersey. I’m sure this is just chalked up to Majestic’s current templates not having this feature… and, anyway, as a player, I’d cringe every time I did a head first slide with a zipper all along my torso.

2)      The players won’t “look” like 1984 players because they’ll be wearing the pants at shoe height or lower, the jerseys (and pants) will likely be extra-baggy, and no stirrups will be in sight (some players will actually wear them, but it’s unlikely to catch-on with more than a few guys).

3)      There will probably be a Majestic logo on the uniform somewhere (check the sleeves). The 1984 uniform was made by Wilson. Yep, someone keeps track of this (from the great MLB Game Worn Jerseys of the Double-Knit Era).

4)      New Era might put the “batterman” logo on the back of the hats. Judging by MLB Shop, the “on-field” hats will have it, but the “authentic” MLB Shop product does not always match what the players wear. There was some confusion about the “on-field” vs. MLB Shop hats the Mariners wore a couple of weekends ago. So just because it’s on MLB Shop and “authentic”… your mileage may vary. Also, the “P” logo on the hat is noticeably larger than it actually was on hats from the era.

5)      Will they pay for the correct helmets (see the picture above)? Or will they just don their normal (and clashing bright red against maroon) batting helmets. It’s on the Phillies to pay for these themselves, so let’s see how cheap they are (or hopefully aren’t).

The Padres will be wearing their 1984 uniform which is one of those wonderful “only in the 70s/early 80s” looks. A brown pull-over jersey with yellow and orange highlight details, yellow sanitaries with brown stirrups (though it’s doubtful that the yellow sanitaries, much less brown stirrups will be visible). Of special note is that they wore white pants as part of their road uniform, which isn’t something seen anymore. Teams sometimes wear their normal pants with throwback jerseys (check out the catcher’s pants in this picture), but I’m not sure the Padres normal grey + navy pants will work with the “colors of autumn” palette of the jersey and hat.

Fingers Speaking of the hat, the geometry of the paneling is meant to evoke a church bell. The interesting detail here is that that geometry is rather unique among other teams, so each manufacturer had its own take in the “right” way to make the hat, so you’ll see noticeable variation among time periods and manufacturers (even back when they weren’t throwbacks). Check out fellow uniform-enthusiast Paul Carr’s exhaustive (in a good way) search into tracking down these variations on The Ballcap Blog. Oh yeah, it’s a four part (ongoing?) series. One, two, three, four. (note: Padres fans, I’m not sure if the hat to the right accurately conveys the exact 1984 style — my guess is that it doesn’t)

I’ll give the edge to the Phillies. I like that uniform era, where “racetrack” stripes along the shoulders and up the sides were more common, and even though the powder blues don’t really do much for me, in whole, it’s still a good look. Some people harp on the fact that the Phillies are rather staid in their uniform options – with a simple home/away strategy from 1992–2007, then home/away/alternate since then – and how they need to add a solid red jersey (derisively called “softball tops” by some), but this conservative approach makes these throwback games more notable and really makes the special uniforms stand-out.

For the record, I’m still going to request that the Phillies break out the ’89-91 road grey jersey. It’s got the maroon/burgundy, funky “p,” but ditches the powder blue.

How to Be Uniform Snob: Phillies vs. Braves (1974 Throwbacks)

This is crosspost from Crossing Broad.

Quick note: some of the pictures are from Uniwatch’s write-up of last year’s Phillies-Brewers throwback game as well as the excellent “MLB Game Worn Jerseys of the Double Knit Era” by Bill Henderson.

Well then, other than the fact the Phillies got the “L,” that went pretty well, don’t you think? For the second part of their UniTastic series, both the Braves and the Phillies are throwing back to 1974. That’s right, the Powder Blues and whatever disco-tastic getup the Braves rocked back then.

But, what’s that? These teams already threw back to 1974?! Yep. In 2002. Today’s game will look something like this.

I get a lot of questions like this: “How can I be a uniform snob, too?” Thankfully, “turn back the clock” baseball games really offer the best way to let your snob flag fly.

Let me note that this tongue-in-cheek guide is a bit spoiled by the fact that this combination has been seen before, so there’s a good chance it’ll be a repeat of the 2002 game. Of course, that was nine years ago, so maybe it won’t be so cut-and-dry.

  1. Are the players wearing stirrups? Everyone wore them in 1974, few wear them today (or they just wear solid color socks without the sanitaries showing through.)
  2. Are the players wearing the old uniforms in the new style (the extra baggy, extra long pants look of the last ten years)? Note: the answer to this question is almost always “yes,” so make a comment about it not looking “right,” players’ comfort be damned.
  3. Did the teams spring for matching batting helmets? In 2002 the Phillies did, in 2010 they didn’t.
  4. Do the big details match? Traditional belted pants or Sansabelt? Pullover or buttons? (or for the 70s Phillies, zipper?) Are they wearing their normal pants because they’re “close enough” – see the Braves catcher above in Throwback jersey, normal pants.
  5. Are the little details correct? No Majestic logo on the sleeves? No MLB logo on the back of the hats?
  6. Do the tiny details match? Let me lift this quote from the UniWatch Blog (one of the “weekend writers,” Phil Hecken, analyzing the throwbacks worn last year against the Brewers:
    The Phillies, for the most part, got it right. They went with button-down jerseys (so, 1972-3, if we’re talking the period they were representing), but didn’t spring for the retro helmets. OK, it’s a one-off, no big deal. They wore period-correct caps in dark red (almost burgundy). Well done there. It’s tough to tell, but it appears they went with the closed loop logo on the jerseys, more closely approximating the 1987-1988 jersey. Meh. And they elected to go not only with NOB, but they again went with the 1987-88 radially arched nameplates. OK. Not a big deal, to be sure, but how difficult would it have been to get those details correct.
  7. Finally (and unexpectedly, after all the other analysis), how does the match-up, you know, look?

My quick take: It’ll be a fun match-up to watch. The powder blue Phillies uniforms are seen all-around Citizens Bank Park at each game, and they show up every few years in throwback games (and twice in the last two), so we’re a bit accustomed to them. I like the 89-91 away uniforms more (swap grey for powder blue, and the whole thing immediately looks much less “1970s”), but it seems fans prefer the powder blues.

The Braves 1974 uniforms are actually pretty neat – even more “disco-y” than the Phillies, being that they’re made from a template which is out of use. Raglan sleeves still show up, but not with the sleeves in a different color than the body of the jersey. Funky. So, if yesterday’s uniforms were described as “understated” and “classic,” today’s could be defined as “pass the coke.”

For completeness’ sake, let me point out that the 1974 Braves away jersey was the opposite of the home jersey (White sleeves, Blue body). Ahh, the 1970s.

****

It’s always good to see some uniform variety.

Uniform Analysis: Phillies vs. Braves (Negro League Throwbacks)

This is crosspost from Crossing Broad.

I usually stick to NFL uniforms and snide remarks in the comments, but the Phillies have a …UniTastic weekend series against the Braves, wearing Negro League throwbacks on Saturday and 1974 throwbacks on Sunday, so here’s a quick run-down and review for Saturday’s game. Some comments about Sunday’s game later.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much background on the Negro Leagues, much less their uniforms, so this is more of a seat-of-the-pants review than anything grounded in facts and history.

That said, on to the uniforms.

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The Phillies are wearing the uniforms of the Philadelphia Stars. You may have seen this logo floating around, but it doesn’t actually appear on the uniform. The uniform itself is plain, but has some nice details beyond just the novelty of them being throwbacks. Example, the old timey typeface of the arched wordmark and the numbers just gives the feeling of “old school uniform,” the simple, thin, and effective, red piping around the neck, connecting to the arm is a timeless feature which makes them look like a sports uniform instead of a shirt. The 1980s Mets and Indians (among other teams) experimented with this look, but the thin stroke does much more with less than the gaudy patches on those uniforms. Black (navy?) stroke around the lettering is a nice touch to increase contrast. The hat logo is extremely plain; it’s better than the Black Crackers hat, but it’s too plain to leave an impression.

 

 

 

 

A neat detail is that someone finally realized that “Philadelphia” has way too many letters to comfortably fit on a shirt and maintain readability, so they said “screw it” and abbreviated it to “Phila.” Genius. Really. For another example of the letter-overload hassle check out this prototype from the 1992 Phillies uniform refresh.

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Special Note: The slide detailing the prototype is from the guide “MLB Game Worn Jerseys of the Double-Knit Era” by Bill Henderson (who happens to be from the Philadelphia area). He’s hosting a “Phillies Uniform History” discussion on May 26 in Philadelphia. If you’ve read this far into this entry, consider it a “must attend.”

 


 

HqshkThe Brave’s Black Crackers uniforms, again, look like “classic” baseball without the old timey feel. It’s interesting to see that the letters and numbers get drop shadows instead of strokes (as drop shadows are generally considered a more modern look). Vertically arching the “ATLANTA” copy (contrast to the horizontal arching on “Phila. Stars”) gives a dynamic look considering it’s just a plain sans serif typeface with a drop-shadow. Unfortunately, the “A” logo, while unique is simply ugly and does not mesh with the typefaces used for the letters and numbers.

Closing out the review of the jersey, the most interesting detail is the piping down the placket is just like what the Braves have used since 1987. (well, maybe not “just like” – I can’t tell if it’s the same dark-red-dark pattern on both the Black Crackers and Braves uniforms because of the limited resolution of the single [thanks MLB!] picture released). The Braves also used this design in the 1930s, per this picture of Babe Ruth.

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, I’ll group the pants/socks discussion together. Most uniform aficionados are probably going bonkers (in a good
way) because the league (likely) compelled all player to wear stirrups. The Phillies are wearing solid red (not unlike what you see onOswalt), but the Braves are wearing Navy blue stirrups with spaced White-Red-White stripes. Very cool. BUT, the best part of these uniforms are the off-color pants pocket flaps. We reward attention to detail, and those are awesome.

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In terms of the game aesthetically, it looks good, but it’s not the most interesting combination if only because both teams are wearing uniforms where the primary color is Red with a dark accent color (either Navy or Black), but part of the appeal of baseball is the unholy number of games in the season, so even if they’re not the most interesting uniforms ever, it’s good to see variety on the Phillies (who have a pretty staid uniform “system”: one home/one away/one alternate) and it’s always good to point out and keep in mind that not all that long ago, the US still saw segregation to the degree that a whole portion of the population was not considered fit for the MLB for no reason other than skin color.

 

 

 

 

 

**** Kind of plain, but a good looking baseball game.

UniDiction – Wildcard Weekend – Eagles vs. Packers

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Well, like the real Eagles, I didn’t end with the right kind of streak, but if the NFC West has taught us anything, anyone can make the playoffs this year.  (and FYI, I had a better record than the Seahawks).

We’ve seen the Eagles play the Packers already this year, but thankfully, unlike last week’s repeat game against Dallas, we’ll see a different uniform match-up for their sequel.  In week 1, the Eagles brought out their well-liked (not as much by me, but there certainly are worse options out there) 1960 throwbacks, but this week, we’ll see them in their normal Midnight Green over White combination.

The Packers did wear…. unique throwbacks once this season, but it’s more than safe to say that they will not be wearing them this week (or maybe ever again?).  Anyway, we’ll see the Packers in White over Yellow.  As I said in Week 1, it’s a good (maybe great?) look, but it’s not quite the look the way that their Green over Yellow combination is.

Sunday at 4:30 will be a match-up of perhaps the best “classic” uniform with the best “modern” uniform.  It’ll be a real barn burner.  (note: other finalists for “classic” and “modern” bests include the Bears and Texans, respectively.  Sorry Jaguars, you were in consideration for “best modern,” but your  post-2008 set is awful.  Also, sorry Buccaneers‘ fans, I just forgot about you until now.)

The Wildcard Weekend UniDiction

Either 2, 3, 6, or 7 points awarded for each category (safety, field goal, touchdown, touchdown+point after, of course)

Helmet

Eagles: 7 — Same as always.  Definitely one of the best helmet designs in the league.  I’m a sucker for “functional helmet designs.

 Packers: 6 — Like I said in Week 1, there is nothing to change about this helmet, but in the mean time, I’ve developed an appreciation for what I’m calling “functional” helmets.  A static “G,” no matter how strong the proportions and supporting details, is kind of… static.  Maybe if the helmet had a net pattern with a cheese graphic inside.  Well, maybe not.

Jersey

Eagles: 6 — When fans think of the “post-Cunningham” Eagles, they’re picturing the Midnight Green jerseys.  A unique, bold color, detailed strokes and drop shadows on the numbers, and nice use of logos on the sleeves and collar.  I’m sorry Eagles fans, but I’ve decided I’d prefer the use of stroke only instead of stroke and drop-shadow.  I guess the drop-shadow adds some visual depth to the letters, but how about just using a double-stroke instead of stroke+drop-shadow?  Oh well, it’s still better than most any other “modern” uniform.

 Packers: 6 — I generally don’t like White jerseys, but the Packers do have a few nice details, including Green-Yellow-Green sandwich stripes on the shoulders which aren’t quite contiguous, so the White jersey peaks through, increasing the contrast of each stripe.  The two color piping around the neck hole is appreciated as well.  I’m going to have to take a point away because the Green jersey is better, and even though the decision is out of the hands of the Packers because they’re the visiting team, I’ll still hold it against them.  (Go Eagles)

Pants + Socks

Eagles: 6 — The White pants provide nice contrast with the solid green of the jersey, and instead of plain white, the thick Black ad Green stripes (with the pencil thin grey stripe) on the side of the pants gives them a slightly modern touch.  Black over White socks also break up the White from the pants.  Minus one because I’d be interested in seeing Midnight Green socks.

 Packers: 7 — I have to say, Yellow is risky pick, and they make it work.  The pants have a traditional sandwich stripe (White meat, Green bread), and with the high contrast of the Green socks, it all comes together perfectly.  That’s the full 7 points.

 Intangibles

Eagles: 7 — This is really a battle of who wears Green better.  And, because the Packers aren’t wearing Green this week, the Eagles win that battle.  Thankfully the Eagles aren’t at Lambeau for this game.

 Packers: 3 — See above about the battle of Who Wears Green Best, and their throwbacks this year were more-than-kind-of unfotunate.  Those throwbacks are the kind of things which silently damage a team’s chances.  Intangibles.

Final Score

Eagles 26

Packers 22

****½
This is going to be a good-looking game, folks.

UniDiction: Week 17 – Eagles vs. Cowboys

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Blech.  Like a huffy, post game Andy Reid, let’s just say I don’t want to talk about last week.  In fact, it was the worst uniform upset of the season.

So, that leads us to Week 17, when there’s a good chance the games won’t matter.  And true to form, that’s what we get this year.  The starters are resting, their playoff seeding can’t improve, and tickets are in the $80 range… for a home game against the Cowboys.  Really.  I guess the Cowboys could be playing for Jason Garrett’s continued employment,  but detailed analysis of anything but the Cowboys’ uniforms or of-field sucktitude is beyond the scope of Crossing Broad.

In general, fan reaction to the 1960 throwbacks worn in week 1 was immsensely positive.  Even for fans like me who didn’t particularly like the specific uniform, it was nice to see Kelly Green make an appearance (its first since 1995).  So, with an opportunity to make some aspect of Week 17 interesting by wearing the throwbacks (and in cynical terms, provide an advertising platform for them), the Eagles chose not to rock the boat, and they’ll wear their normal Midnight Green over White combination.  Boring.

Now, a quick word about NFL uniform scheduling: NFL teams must annouce the uniform plan for the entire season sometime in the summer, before the first preseason game.  (This is unrelated to when teams change their uniforms/logos/branding.  Those decisions are made years in advance.  I’m talking of the nitty-gritty “which jersey with which pants” schedule and deciding the up-to-two regular season games where they’ll wear wear the third jersey, whether it’s a throwback or a normal alternate that particular season.  This is why we didn’t see the Eagles black jersey this year.  They only get one “third” jersey in a given year.)  Uniform-enthusiast-friendly teams like the Texans publicly annouce the entire schedule in the summer, while other teams (like the Eagles) announce the uniform combinations the week of the game, and there are plenty of teams which announce nothing, making my job quite difficult if they have numerous uniform combinations (Redskins, Saints, Rams, etc. — though only the Redskins were on the Eagles’ schedule this year).  So, all that to say, the uniform decisions are made early in the season, so the Eagles couldn’t see that Week 17 wasn’t looking particularly compelling, then decide to switch from the normal uniforms to the throwbacks because of that.

 But, for some armchair uniform scheduling (which is almost as awesome lame as uniform-based fantasy sports), my pundit-ish comments are as follows:

  • Throwbacks for week 1 and week 17 would have been nice bookends for the season, which conveniently started and ended at home
  • It gives fans something to look forward to for a potentially dreary week 17 match-up
  • Week 17 was a Cowboys game, so it’s easily considered a “special” game.  (in retrospect, we can see that we fans really don’t give a crap about the Cowboys rivalry if the game doesn’t matter, and the Cowboys have a season which is known for nothing other than serial underperformance).
  • Merchandise.  (though maybe they should’ve worn them against the Cowboys in the away game which was pre-Christmas.)

So, punditry aside, this is the same uniform match-up we saw in Week 14.

In summary from last time: the Cowboys almost always wear White, and the Cowboys White and Color uniforms are horrendously inconsistent (see my image below):

Comparison

Click on the picture for the larger version.

The UniDiction

Either 2, 3, 6, or 7 points awarded for each category (safety, field goal, touchdown, touchdown+point after, of course)

Helmet

Eagles: 7 — Same as always.  Definitely one of the best helmet designs in the league.  I’m a sucker for “functional helmet designs.

 Cowboys: 6 — It’s iconic and perhaps the most understated detail in a $1.3 billion shrine to American opulence.  One point is removed because the shade of Silver doesn’t match the Silver pants… either of them. (note: for color professionals out there, please spare me the “it’s difficult to match colors on different substrates, especially if metal fleck is a component.”  I know, but they’ve had 40+ years to get it right!

Jersey

Eagles: 7 — When fans think of the “post-Cunningham” Eagles, they’re picturing the Midnight Green jerseys.  A unique, bold color, detailed strokes and drop shadows on the numbers, and nice use of logos on the sleeves and collar.

 Cowboys: 6 — There are few things Eagles fans hate more than the sight of a Cowboys jersey, especially if it’s White.  Objectively, it’s a 6 (the shoulder stripes break up the plain-ness of it, though the Black strokes on the sleeve stripes don’t match the stroke-less numbers), but subjectively, we’re giving it a 1.  Objectively, it’s a 6, so this week, it gets a 6.

Pants + Socks

Eagles: 6 — The White pants provide nice contrast with the solid green of the jersey, and instead of plain white, the thick Black ad Green stripes (with the pencil thin grey stripe) on the side of the pants gives them a slightly modern touch.  Black over White socks also break up the White from the pants 

 Cowboys: 3 — OK, Cowboys.  Get your colors figured out, and we’ll talk.  I do like the sandwich stripes on the pants, though.

 Intangibles

Eagles: 0 — Sure, I was complaining earlier in the season that the Eagles should skip the White at Home nonsense, and get out their Midnight Green jerseys ASAP, and I know beggars can’t be choosers, but I’m going to beg and choose.  They should’ve worn throwbacks this week.

 Cowboys: 2 — I may have offered more points here if they were in their Navy over Silver combination (obscurity=points, people), but they’re not.  Generally, they’re a nice uniform set which is almost synonymous with “NFL” (similar to the effect of the Packers’ uniforms), but they’re still the Cowboys.  Hey Jerry.  How about making your uniforms…you know, uniform?

 Final Score

Eagles 20

Cowboys 17

See you next week for a special Playoff Edition UniDiction!

 

***
Sure, both uniforms are nice, but we’ve seen them already this year…

UniDiction: Week 16 – Eagles vs. Vikings

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So, it turns out that White is not really in either team’s official color scheme…

Another week, another win.  When will the Pro Bowl of unlikely prediction systems be held?

Simply, the Vikings have one of the least loved uniforms in all of sports.  The reason is they’ve got two big things working against them.  1) The color scheme.  Purple just doesn’t scream “sports!” to most people [especially this guy], and 2) The hideous, high school-looking uniform template.

Case in point, if you’re someone who can get past the Purple and Yellow, their current throwbacks are quite nice, with lots of classic football details (Northwestern stripes on the sleeves [I’m a sucker for the subtle Yellow stroke on the White stripes — details people!], sandwich stripes on the pants, and even if you hate Purple out of Principle [hey, that could be the name for an awful band], it’s not like Purple and Yellow don’t go together.

So when they wear their throwbacks for two games each season, the world breathes a sigh of “good enough” (the socks could use some stripes — I’m just saying), but every other week… wow, that’s bad.  In the interest of providing somewhat useful commentary beyond, “it’s bad, trust me!” I think the designers were going for a shape on the sleeves, torso, and pants which evokes the “Viking horn,” which is already features prominently on the helmet.  Or worse, do the panels evoke the shape of the mustache of the Viking head logo [or maybe the mustache is supposed to look like the helmet horns?  weird]?  If those aren’t it, I can’t really wrap my mind around what is is beyond “random panels strewn about.”  The Viking head logo inexplicably shows up on the hip, and with its White background, all it does is “break” the continous nature of the panels connecting the jersey and pants.  The Yellow Stroke around the various panels doesn’t terminate with the panels themselves.  Why, oh uniform designers, why?  (this is kind of like an inverted take on the Falcons’ equally ridiculous non-terminating pants details.)  It works a little better with the Purple pants, but, they’ve worn them something like three times in the last four seasons (though twice this year), so it’s almost like it doesn’t count.

The Eagles are wearing Midnight Green over White this week, so that puts the Vikings in White jerseys.  Overwhelmingly, the Vikings wear the White jerseys with White pants, but for completeness’ sake, I’ll mention that they wore Purple pants with White jerseys against the Bears in November.  And that was a… special look.  Speaking of special looks, they also paired the Purple jersey with Purple pants against the Cardinals this year in what I’ll call a Purple Out.  I wish I could say, “no one was harmed in the wearing of those uniforms,” but I honestly just don’t know.  I just don’t know!  The Purple pants are exceedingly rare, so it’s safe to assume we’ll see the White over White combination.

Among a variety of ugly combinations, I will mention that Purple over White is the best one, and the high contrast between jersey and pants works to somewhat lessen the jarring nature of those inexplicable/horn(?) panels.

The UniDiction

Either 2, 3, 6, or 7 points awarded for each category (safety, field goal, touchdown, touchdown+point after, of course)

Helmet

Eagles: 7 — Same as always.  Definitely one of the best helmet designs in the league.  I’m a sucker for “functional helmet designs.

 Vikings: 7 — I’ve included the above blurb about liking “functional” helmet designs for almost all of this season, so in the interest of putting my money where my mouth is, here’s the full seven points for the Vikings and their equally “functional” helmet.  I don’t love (or even like) the Purple, but it’s much better than when teams simply dump their logo on the sides of a helmet.

Jersey

Eagles: 7 — When fans think of the “post-Cunningham” Eagles, they’re picturing the Midnight Green jerseys.  A unique, bold color, detailed strokes and drop shadows on the numbers, and nice use of logos on the sleeves and collar.

 Vikings: 1 — See the detailed review of the inexplicable panels, above.  They’re getting a single point because I like the Yellow Stroke around the numbers and name.

Pants + Socks

Eagles: 6 — The White pants provide nice contrast with the solid green of the jersey, and instead of plain white, the thick Black ad Green stripes (with the pencil thin grey stripe) on the side of the pants gives them a slightly modern touch.  Black over White socks also break up the White from the pants.  Minus one because I’d be interested in seeing Midnight Green socks.

 Vikings: 2 — The panel on the pants isn’t any more explicable than on the jerseys.  Two points because of just how crazy  and unexpected the Viking head logo on hip panel “sub-panel” is.  Also, they’re not the Purple pants, so that’s worth something.

 Intangibles

Eagles: 7 — Without meaning to get ahead of ourselves, this may be the last regular season appearance of this uniform set (more on this during the week), and at the minimum, it will be the last appearance of 2010 (the year, not the football season), so let’s hope they go out with a bang.

 Vikings: 3 — They wore their nice throwbacks last week, so there may some residual effect this week, unfortunately.

Final Score

Eagles 27

Vikings 13

Random related uniform trivia: The Vikings wear different helmets with the throwbacks than with the normal uniforms.  Notice the face mask (grey vs. purple) and the horn detail (the new helmet has shaded relief to give a hint of depth).

Random unrelated uniform trivia: The Bengals brought out their solid Black combination last week.  Many people hate the Bengals uniforms, especially the combinations which don’t involve any White components, but for whatever reason, I have a bit of a soft spot for their uniforms, and at the minimum, the extreme contrast between the solid Black of the Bengals and the solid White of the Browns     was an interesting look.

**
Those Vikings uniforms are awful.

UniDiction: Week 15 – Eagles vs. Giants

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Luckily, I take credit for a win no matter how close the predicted score is to the actual score, so that Cowboys game was another in the win column, thank you very much.

 So, we’re at the second Giants game of the year.  I got the first one pretty much spot-on, so let’s see what we can do about the second one.

 The Giants are rarely a “White at Home” team, so we’ll see them in Blue over Grey.  I detailed this last time, but for a quick recap, both Giants home and away pants are grey, but the away pants show a red-blue-red set of offset, thin stripes, and the home pants are the same grey, except with wider, connected blue-red-blue stripes.  I’ll call this a nice attention to detail sort of…um, detail, but really, kind of boring, regardless of the execution.  Let’s face it, Grey (not Silver) is not a dynamic color; in sports, it’s most often thought of as the drab base color used for MLB’s away uniforms.  There’s a reason people think of this, not this when they think of the Cardinal.

 The Giants have what is inarguably a classic uniform, but is that enough to beat the Eagles in their second-tier White over Green combination?

Helmet

Eagles: 7 — Same as always.  Definitely one of the best helmet designs in the league.  I’m a sucker for “functional” helmet designs.

Giants: 6 OK, sue me.  I like it more this week than I did last time.  The Metallic Blue with a simple Red stripe with the perfectly proportioned logo simply works.  A point is subtracted because this helmet was designed in the 1950s.  The Giants couldn’t come up with a better design more recently?

Jersey

Eagles: 3 — The White jerseys are unfortunately nondescript compared to the Midnight Green.  I’ve said it before, so I’ll say it again, the White jersey just doesn’t say “Eagles” the way that the Green one does.  Sure, it’s grown on me a bit this season, but it’s not the one.

Giants: 3 – Their solid Blue home jersey is unfortunately described as, well, just that.  It’s a solid Blue jersey with White numbers and name.  They’re hiding a small “ny” logo above the front numbers, but that’s it.  It suffers from the same problem as this year’s Eagles throwbacks.  There’s just nothing there other than a sea of Blue.  Classic or not, this is boring.  At least their White jerseys (with their misbegotten Red accents) have Northwestern stripes on the sleeves to have something going on other than numbers on a solid color.

Pants

Eagles: 3 — The green pants are still a dubious decision at best.  The Midnight Green tends to look generically “dark” on the lower half of the body, not an immediately noticeable color.  The two-tone socks also work better with the white pants than the green pants.

Giants: 2 As mentioned above, Grey is a color suited (pun!) baseball team’s drab, away, set, not a major component of a football uniform.  No no no.  This is all unfortunate because the wide, connected stripe pattern is a nice, visually interesting touch, and of course, the Blue socks contrast nicely with the White sanitaries (sure, most colors contrast with White, but still…)

 Intangibles

Eagles: 6   Green is a Christmas color.  Bring it, Giants fans.

Giants: 1 Here’s one point for having a classic uniform set and I’d rather them dress like this than like this, so I can respect their respect for history.  BUT, let’s face it, history class can be boring if the topic isn’t interesting, and the Giants uniforms are pre-World War I history of Europe.  Giants fans (and 19th century European history buffs), bring it on.

Final Score:

Eagles 19 

Giants 12

Random unrelated uniform trivia:

The Cardinals and the Texans wore solid Red last week.  The Texans get my vote.

The Chiefs looked pretty darn good in their (rarely seen, but second time in 3 weeks) Red pants, and Falcons decided on a White-out.

**½
Eh, the Eagles in White, and the Giants in Boring Blue. Nothing to see here this week.