Category Archives: Eagles

$1.1 Billion Gets You… Brand Synergy! (and Pretty Cool Eagles Sneakers)

Eagles

Eagles Air Max 95 (No-Sew) – NFL Draft Pack – picture via counterkicks

For those wondering what Nike would do with the NFL license after the disappointingly and expectly overhyped unveiling ceremony, they finally showed some of the benefits of their freshly enacted apparel deal with their 2012 “NFL Draft Pack” of sneakers. Gimmicky, but I like it.

You say you love the Eagles but your team-related footwear options are limited? Boom– NFL Draft Pack. Simply, Nike chose eight signature sneakers, either classics from the past or noteworthy current shoes, assigning one to each division, then laying out a custom colorway for each team within each division. Luckily, Nike chose one of their all-time best designs, the Air Max 95, for the NFC East.

Two notes: (1) nitpickers will notice these are actually the Air Max 95 No-Sews which, well, don’t have the color panels sewn together as on the original design from 1995, (2) The Air Max 95 is my favorite sneaker of all time—yes, people have such things—so I’m not the fairest judge. Heck, I wear Air Max 95s on an almost a daily basis (thank you job with minimal dress code). But come on, with both Midnight Green and Kelly Green present and prominent, what isn’t to like? (well, the list price is $150, so that’s something to not like…)

Here are the rest of the NFC East Air Max 95s (No-Sews). The Redskins version is fantastic. I’m not sure I’d be able to pull off actually wearing them, but it just proves how well their color palette comes together. The Cowboys and Giants aren’t quite as interesting, but I can’t really find fault with either of them, with the Giants, well, “Big Blue” approach working quite well, though I wouldn’t have minded some silver on the Cowboys [editor's note: I see purple?].

Nfc east
Counterkicks has close-ups of each team’s sneaker. Some notables: the AFC West in the Nike Air Trainer SC (you may know them as “Bo Jacksons”) and the NFC North in the Air Max 90 (also known as the original Air Max). Also, the Buccaneers’ Free Trainer 5.0 and the deceptively complex Free Haven 3.0 looks good in any color (even neon green) are new designs which are only enhanced by this NFL tie-in program.

Here are all of them for the entire league. I’m giving this whole pursuit a big thumbs-up. Which ones do you like?

All

via Nicekicks and Counterkicks, two great sites for sneaker news.

*****

Breaking Down The 2012 NFL/Nike Uniform Unveiling

I’m really, really surprised Kyle managed to not open his earlier article with one of his patented, lengthy comparisons between some sports-related event and some (hypothetical) relationship or “girl” story with expectations as high as they were. It would’ve practically written itself.

Of course, the high expectations were generated completely by Nike (and some widely circulated fan renderings made in the style of Nike’s “Pro Combat” NCAA uniforms which were frequently and erroneously reported as “the 2012 Nike uniforms” well after they were confirmed to be fanmade), as there’s simply too much money in the NFL to rock the boat. Patting myself on the back, I’ll point out that I predicted the uniforms generally wouldn’t change.

For what you care about, as far as we know from what we’ve seen so far, the Eagles uniforms aren’t changing at all this season. Being that Nike only showed the green over white combination (more on this below) and it didn’t change anything on that combo (in fact, according to Nike Corporate write-up for the Eagles, they “have chosen to stay with their traditional design aesthetic as well as their former uniform fabrication this year,” it’s safe to assume the Eagles other components (white jerseys, green pants, black alternates, assuming those ever make an appearance again) aren’t changing either. That’s it. End of story.

Allteams

Photo: Nike

The best way to analyze today’s event is to figure out what it wasn’t.

Yesterday’s event was not for football fans. Every fan wanted to know what their team’s “new” uniforms looked like. Nike only showed one combination for each team. Of course, the reason for that is twofold.

1) With 32 teams and multiple jersey/pants combos for each team, there are simply too many combos to show in-person (the Rams have seven combos which they regularly trot out, for example), but even the Nike website and store show only the primary/color jersey for each. OK, maybe the merchandise/material isn’t available yet (these are two of the largest brands in the world, get your stuff together), but computer renderings could have been made for publishing on the Internet, a la an official style guide. Oddly, there are some substantial uniform updates for 2012 which weren’t even mentioned on the 3rd. The Jaguars will be adding a black alternate to their current set for the 2012 season, so there could be other notable updates for which teams want to control the release as opposed to Nike or the NFL.

2) There was nothing “new” about the uniforms from a fan’s perspective (other than for Seahawks fans, of course). If recaps of the event included lines like, “And after showing the Rams 5th effectively unchanged combination of 7, this reporter’s eyes began glazing over,” it’d ruin the coverage. Instead, we get reporting(?) on how these uniforms will “usher in [a] new era of sportswear” (note: they won’t).

Yesterday’s event was not for the NFL. The event was a Nike commercial where they could push their brand values of performance, etc. in exchange for the $1.1billion they (reportedly) spent for the NFL license. That’s all well and good (capitalism!), but that’s all it was. Fans don’t care that the new fabric is however many percent lighter or better at wicking moisture (unless they’re materials science engineers). It’s simply means to an end for associating all of Nike’s products with “faster, lighter, stronger.” Again, that’s fine, but the “new” uniforms aren’t a big deal to anyone other than Nike (or Seahawks fans). To talk about this “changing everything” or “the game never being the same”…geez, slow down, Nike.

Speaking of the Seahawks and their new design… they actually did post a complete set of pictures showing all combinations. Generally, the new uniform is an evolution of the current design, not a throwback-inspired 0r clean sheet redesign (don’t tell Nike that). They did add a grey alternate jersey (as well as pants), but the Seahawks generally wore monochrome White or Blue in the last few years in the current uniform, so let’s see if the actually exercise all of their combinations. BUT, with 3 pants and 3 jerseys, that’s 9 combos, so we could see an Oregon-typeeffect where they’re in something different almost every week (though the alternate is worn at most twice a year per NFL rules), especially if Nike pushes for it (and they probably will – fans seem generally supportive of Oregon’s non-uniform uniforms. For the record, I actually like the Oregon uniforms, though I wouldn’t mind if they stuck to an NFL-like Color/Home/Alternate, but I guess I’m old-fashioned. Note: this is slightly sarcasm. The NFL didn’t have predictable alternates until 2002.) The new Seahawks uniform is not awful, but in terms of emotional statements that can’t easily be refuted, it doesn’t look like an NFL uniform. In some big picture (let’s say 10+ years), it will look as dated as the current Bengals set, which was also a “product of the [2004] times” type of design, lots of black, inexplicable paneling, non-white monochrome combinations, you name it.

My prediction (UniDiction?) for the Seahawks is that the trendy grey alternate will survive for three or four seasons, then be replaced with a throwback from this style (or similar), which will  become a fan favorite and eventually replace the “this smells like 2012″ design that was unveiled today. (note: if the Seahawks somehow become a dynasty in the next few years, fans will latch onto the new 2012 design, similar to how Boston fans like the generally ugly Patriots uniforms in which they won all those Super Bowls. Note: The Seahawks are not going to become a dynasty.)

And a quick word about the grey alternates: this was obviously a push from Nike to which the Seahawks did not say “no.” I say “obviously” because it’s the new “trend” color Nike’s been pushing. Look at this year’s special NCAA basketball uniforms… all made by Nike. Look at their Lunaracer sneaker. Look at the Kentucky NCAA Basketball Championship gear (made by Nike – you’d think Kentucky’s color was blue. Hmm…) This fad will die, and someone in the Seahawks marketing department will say, “Wait a minute. These grey jerseys and pants just look like slightly dirty versions of the white uniforms.” Really. Look at the grey over white combo. There’s so little contrast that it’s useless. There is no reason for this to exist other than Nike’s push for grey to be the next big thing, like the late 90s/early 00s black boom (which is beginning to finally fade away, though maybe just “fading” to grey…)

And finally, another pattern seen on the new Nike uniforms is the swapping of grey for silver for some teams. Nike claims this is due to limitations of the new fabric, but, not so coincidentally, look at Nike’s high profile “Pro Combat” NCAA uniforms. Nike loves matte colors. Not to get all conspiracy theory-ish, but if they’re billing the new fabric as the greatest thing ever, they couldn’t have figured out a way to keep the Patriots and Lions in silver instead of matte grey? (It looks like the Raiders are still in silver, so…conspiracy!)

On top of both of those reasons, grey has no place on a sports uniform other than “away” uniforms for baseball teams. It’s why I always complain when the Eagles play the Giants, and that’s not coming from a place of Giants-hate, if they wore white pants, I wouldn’t complain as loudly.

During an odd time in last year’s Eagles season, Kyle wrote a multi-step plan for how to fix the Eagles, one of which included the uniforms. In the next week or so, I’ll be looking at a few strategies for how that could’ve/should’ve taken place, and what changes would have helped the Eagles’ look

½

UniDiction 2011: Week 17 – Eagles vs. Redskins and Week 16 Round-Up

Follow me on twitter for a variety of uniform related updates during today’s NFL games (@dancfuller).

Week17
Click to enlarge.

First off, Happy New Year! What’s even less inconsequential than a regular unidiction? One for a game taking place after the Eagles have been mathematically elimated from the playoffs! (OK, let me first brag about predicting last week’s Eagles win, then move on to the round-up and this week’s unidiction.)

Week 16 Round-Up

Orange_black_1Orange_white_4Actually, last week was a little more eventful than was expected. The Bengals wore their orange alternates over their white pants, keeping the everyone safe another year from  the “world’s worst Halloween costume” orange over black combo (last seen in 2005, so consider that one likely retired). The Bengals get A LOT of hate from the internet sports uniform community (yep, it’s  a thing), but their whole get-up is just uncaringly, unredeemingly goofy, and, especially in orange, it just works in it’s own, well, goofy way.

Purple_black_7

Though it’s not an alternate jersey, the  Ravens paired their (normal) purple jersey with their black pants, something they did in 1996, then out that combo in their current uniform set for one game last year. It’s a great trivia answer, but it’s an awful uniform combination. It combines the issues of dark/black pants which don’t have any contrasting features (off-color socks, stripes, etc.) with a dark jersey. It’s all the issues of the Seahawks standard monochrome blue uniforms made even worse due to the black/purple combo. Blech.

 

Your Week 17 UniDiction (Eagles, Redskins – for bragging rights only!) is after the jump. 

Week 17 UniDiction – Eagles vs. Redskins

The Redskins have deceptively nice uniforms. I say “deceptively” because they’re almost always forgotten in “best of” lists because they’re neither stuck in an “old timey” football aesthetic (Colts, Browns) nor do they have a whole “heritage of winning” in a specific uniform set (Packers). They’ve just been quietly wearing one of the best uniforms in the leage for a while. Last year, they added yellow pants, solidifying their status as having one of the best looks in the league.

[note: I apparently can't read a football schedule, and I thought they were playing in Washington. Oh well, I like the graphic I put together, so I'll go with it...] The Redskins usually pair their yellow pants with the maroon jersey at home, but they don’t always. There seems to be neither rhyme nor reason, so I’m assuming they’re going with their best combo, maroon over yellow. I’m feeling particularly spiteful, so I was harsher than usual on their helmet and intangibles this week.

Being that the Redskins are actually visiting and in white over maroon, let’s call that combo…18 points. Not loving the dark pants, but still a good look, better than white over yellow.

Week17
The Eagles will be in their best combo, “midnight” green over white (OK, so the Eagles only have two possible regular season combos this year, but it’s obviously the best one). Let’s say it’s worth 22 points.

EAGLES 22

REDSKINS 18

Relevant Redskins-related Uniform Trivia

  • Yellow pants have come and gone (mostly “gone” during the lifespans of the majority of the readers of this site) throughout the Redskins uniform history.
  • In my picture above, I called out the “double headdress” effect on the helmet. I think that’s a product of keeping the ’70-71 helmet logo motif, but adding the head for the ’72 uniform update.
  • They were generally a White at Home team until they added the yellow pants in 2010. Since then, they’ve exclusively worn their maroon jerseys at home.
  • The maroon color is called “burgundy” by the team. Too bad. It’s not burgundy. It’s maroon.
  • Same as previous except “gold” is actually yellow.
  • The addition of the yellow pants in 2010 (temporarily?) retired the great white over white combo. (and also the not-so-great maroon over maroon combo).
  • Each pair of pants has its own, unique socks.

This is the last UniDiction of the season! Look for a 2011 baseball uniform/logo round-up sometime during Spring Training, as well as write-ups if anything else noteworthy from a uniform perspective pops up in Philadelphia.

ALSO — remember, I already did a lengthy review of tomorrow’s Flyers Winter Classic jerseys.

UniDiction 2011: Week 16 – Eagles vs. Cowboys and Week 15 Round-Up

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Again, the Eagles one, I won. Good deal.

Week 15 Round-Up

Throwback_7A little more uniform action in Week 15 than we’ve seen in a while. The Chargers wore their powder blue throwbacks, which are better than the normal Chargers uniforms, but like some of the other (loud) throwbacks (Bucs, I’m looking at you), they’re best as a “two games per year” sort of combo.

Red_red_2The Cardinals wore solid red again (three weeks in a row). Repeating myself, these look awful, though the red pants mean that the rare, trivia-riffic white over red combo may yet make an appearance.

 

Throwback_2Finally, the Rams, the team with a bajillion uniform combos (and that actually pretty much all of them, unlike the Titans), brought out their throwbacks last week. They’re nice, but loud enough that they’re best as a (say it with me) “twice a year kind of alternate.”

 

Week 16 UniDiction – Cowboys vs. Eagles

Of course, this game will be visual deja vu to week 8, as the Cowboys are a White at Home team. Of course, I hadn’t unveiled my snazzy new UniDiction format back then, so I’ll let the picture speak for itself. Even though I dislike (hate?) the Cowboys, I have to begrudgingly admit their uniforms are pretty nice.

Week16

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the Cowboys blue uniform set is almost completely incongruous with their normal white uniform set, and I’ll gladly point out the issues at great detail below.

Comparison

The Eagles will be in their best combo, green over white, which is a 22 point sort of uniform.

I’ll also point out that games like this are the reason it’s stupid that the Eagles chose not to wear an alternate jersey this year (whether black or last year’s throwback). It’s like they’re not interested in making money.

Predicted Score

Cowboys 18

Eagles 22

Merry Christmas! (for the record, I’m not above commentary on Santa Claus’ uniform if there’s a desire from the readership….ha!)

****

A pretty good-looking football game, as usual between these teams.

UniDiction 2011: Week 14 – Eagles vs. Dolphins and Week 13 Round-Up

Week14_match

I lost; the Eagles lost. It was an ugly game for every possible reason. Let’s just not talk about it.

Week 13 Round-Up

Throwback_4

 

The Buccaneers wore their Creamsicle throwbacks against the Panthers, which are ugly, but in that “so bad it’s good, but no more than twice a season, please” sort of way.

 

Blue_blue_1

Red_red_2In less positive news, both the Texans and Cardinals went monochrome in their respective games, navy over navy for the Texans and red over red for the Cardinals. Neither is a good look, but it means that the Cardinals may trot out their rare (though not particularly appealing) white over red combo now that their red pants are available this season.


 

White_green_4

Finally, for trivia lovers, the Redskins and Jets mixed it up by having the Redskins wear their maroon over white (instead of yellow) combo at home and the Jets in their, again, rare (and, again, unappealing) white over green.

Eagles vs. Dolphins UniDiction

Lots of details in the picture, but the main take-away is that the Dolphins are an “almost always” White at Home team. Every now and then, they pull out their orange alternates for home, night games, but the Eagles announced they’d be in green this week, so the Dolphins are in white. Though not rigidly defined, the Dolphins generally wear white pants with the white jersey for home games and break out aqua pants for away games when they wear White jerseys (meaning: almost any away games).

Check out the Dolphins Uniform history on the Gridiron Uniform Database, and notice the 1997 “tweaking” which changed the shade of Aqua and added the 90s-riffic drop-shadows on the numbers. Generally, their uniforms have been adjusted numerous times (striping and logo tweaks, mainly), but no significant changes since 1966. Pretty impressive for a design to last that long and still look good.

Week14

The Eagles are in their typical home combination, Green over White. I’ll omit the full break-down, but in short, it’s their best combo of the current uniform set, and worth, let’s say, 22 points (generally, the Midnight Green is simply too dark).

Dolphins – 21

Eagles – 22

****½

It’s actually going to be an unexpectedly great uniform match-up. Let’s hope the game is OK, too.

 

 

 

 

UniDiction 2011: Week 13 – Eagles vs. Seahawks and Week 12 Round-Up (new format!)

Week13_lead

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Well, I was wrong for last week’s game, too. 3-8. Of course, there was nothing right about the Eagles on-field performance, either.

There’s an all-new format for the UniDiction section which I think you’ll like, so let me know what you think in the comments.

Week 12 Round-Up

The Chargers wore their very nice Powder Blue throwbacks. I think the color’s odd enough that it shouldn’t necessarily be their primary uniform (and the Titans use light Blue, though in a very different way), but the Chargers normal uniforms are among the least notable in the league (neither good nor bad…they just…are), helmet with electricity on the sides notwithstanding, so file the “should the powder blues be the Chargers’ normal uniforms” under “let me think about it.” I covered the Thanksgiving uniform happenings in last week’s article.

Eagles vs Seahawks UniDiction (new format!)

Week13
click to enlarge

No full write-up for the Eagles this week because of the new format, but they’re in White over Midnight Green, and that looks awful and needs to be removed from their locker room. BUT, the Seahawks uniforms are awful.

Seahawks – 12

Eagles – 13 

Some random Seahawks uniform info:

Seahawks helmet logo in image above from Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.net.

*

An awful uniform match-up this week.

The Muppets

The Muppets have always been a big inspiration to me. I grew up watching reruns of The Muppet Show, the 9 episodes of The Jim Henson Hour that aired before it was cancelled, the movies, Muppet Babies, Fraggle Rock, Sesame Street and countless other productions. Muppet Christmas Carol is one of my favorite movies ever, and a yearly staple, as is the classic “A Christmas Together” album with John Denver.

This special that was made for The Jim Henson hour but didn’t air until much later on Nickelodeon was one of the first “behind-the-scenes” videos (now a ubiquitous DVD feature) of any kind I had ever seen, and I found it endlessly fascinating. I watched it every time that I came across it on TV. I might venture to say that it has had a profound impact on where my life has taken me.

I’ve taken puppeteering and puppet-building classes, walked around the Muppet Studio in L.A., briefly met some of the current puppeteers, and last year got to make a piece of puppet magic myself.

‘The Muppets’ seems to have stolen our puppet mount-cam idea without either us or them knowing it.

But enough about me. The reason that I’m throwing this out there is that there are other people out there like me. I would venture to say that I’m at the tail end of this multi-generational fascination with these characters. The last great piece of entertainment produced with Kermit, Fozzie, etc., was Chrismas Carol in 1992, nearly 20 years ago.

The Muppets have languished in the years since then, through various changes in ownership and stewardship. There have been two mediocre theatrical movies (the last one still a lengthy 12 years ago), a failed TV variety show, a Christmas special that had its moments, another horrific Christmas special, and the terrible Wizard of Oz adaptation.

This lengthy period of brand failure is exactly what the new movie is commenting on, and it does so in such a marvelous way that all cause for concern about how it treats the franchise’s history should be thrown out the window.

Briefly, the movie’s about a two superfans (Jason Segel and Walter, a new muppet performed fantastically by Peter Linz) who travel from Smalltown, USA to L.A. with Segel’s character’s girlfriend (Amy Adams) and visit the Muppet studios, finding it decrepit and more-or-less closed. Walter finds out that an evil corporation has taken control over the studio, theatre and Muppets name and plans to run all of them into the ground. It’s up to the three of them to get everyone back together to save the Muppets legacy. To say that this bears some resemblance to the current state of affairs with the company is quite the understatement.

I watched the original Muppet Movie the night before seeing this, and I’d recommend you do the same. In addition to being able to recognize a few callback references to the original movie, rewatching “The Muppet Movie” puts things in the new film in such an interesting mindset. Kermit was once an idealistic leader, inspiring friends to uproot their lives and travel to Hollywood to become “rich and famous”. Now though, all these years later, Kermit has become sort of an out-of-touch recluse, living in a mansion with only his 1980s robot butler to keep him company. Any object that could remind him of the past, and the never-detailed, but often inferred event that caused them all to split up, is draped off. (As a side note, I would love to see this dark chapter in the Muppets history. It would be the most depressing scene ever — even more than this and the [i'm not kidding] attempted suicide scene that came immediately before it, which I can’t find now — but it would be so compelling. Side side note: this is the world where Kermit was never born.) He’s not cynical or bitter — Kermit could never be that — but he’s deeply saddened by how much he believes he let everyone down, which is a burden he’s put on himself since the first movie. Now, years after the split, he views his life’s work as a failure and sees getting everyone together as a fool’s errand, but is talked into it.

The rest of the movie parallels the original’s structure, in the “getting the band back together” sense, but it’s almost a flipped perspective. Instead of it being about the hope of becoming entertainers and being able to make people happy, it’s about the notion of losing your friends to infighting, and your legacy to years of inactivity and a company bent on ruining your name and replacing you with other people/characters. While Walter brings new energy and hopeful naivety, the rest of the Muppets seem like old souls. They’ve aged in spirit and seem a little weary. Fozzy looks a little grey. Everyone else has moved on with their lives, and it’s quite the effectively sad portion of the movie.

But the movie is greatly funny. The music is mostly fantastic, especially if you like Flight of the Conchords, whose Bret McKenzie wrote four original songs (and a reprise), and served as Music Supervisor. I didn’t really care for the Amy Adams/Miss Piggy splitscreen duet, but the Jason Segel/Walter duet, “Man or Muppet” is both catchy and hilarious. The direction (by “Conchords” TV show co-creator and director) is great, with extremely minimal CG work and many, many “How’d they do that?” moments. Segel and Adams are cute and bring great likeable human energy, even if their story feels a bit too much in the forefront.

The Muppet performers don’t seem to miss a beat at all. Considering the only original performer still involved is Gonzo originator Dave Goelz, it’s amazing that all of these characters can still “live” and “breathe” when being performed by other people. It has taken me a number of years to get used to Steve Whitmire’s slightly higher-pitched Kermit, but the range of emotion he was able to wring out of that puppet was remarkable. Eric Jacobson (Fozzy, Piggy, Animal, Sam Eagle) and Bill Barretta (Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, Bobo, Pepe, Swedish Chef) are incredible apers of the original Frank Oz and Henson voices and master puppeteers to boot. There is really no difference in the Muppet characters noticeable enough to be a distraction, as in some past productions.

The woman sitting in front of me at the screening and her hippie husband left the theatre complaining about the “Disneyfication” of the franchise. Granted, she was also complaining prior to the movie about bottled water being a scam, but she does have a valid point about the movie, to a limited extent. Yes, everything is slick, polished, and sanitized. There are overhead shots of the Muppet Theatre (Disney’s Hollywood Boulevard El Capitan Theatre repurposed for the exteriors) that show a “Cars 2” billboard prominently in the background. The three new principal roles (Segel’s “Gary”, Adams’ “Mary”, and Walter) do get a little bit too much focus.

But here is why all of those complaints are wrong. Every joke or type of joke in this movie that seemed out of place actually had a precedent set for it in some prior movie or project: breaking the fourth wall, presenting a popular song in a ridiculous way (the muppet show did this every week), the over-top bad guy bent on bringing them down (Chris Cooper, doing a great job in limited screentime), even the ridiculous method by which they travel long distances.

No matter what Frank Oz says, I don’t feel that the characters were ever disrespected, with one possible exception, which I’ll get to later. In fact, I’d say the opposite. The newer characters were either never used (Clifford, Johnny Fiama and Sal Manella were completely absent), or, like Pepe, were pushed to the background entirely. Even lesser-known, older characters like Uncle Deadly, and Wayne and Wanda make appearances.

Oz points to the ubiquitous “fart shoes” joke in the ads as something Fozzie would never do, but in the context of the movie, I think it works. The characters are out of touch and desperate to figure out what people want, and I don’t think Fozzie is below pandering for a laugh. I’d say this movie is truer to the characters than the “World Where Kermit was Never Born” business.

Gary, Mary, and Walter serve as an audience proxy for younger people unfamiliar with “The Muppet Show”. And without Segel’s Gary and Walter there is no real impetus for the characters to reconcile at all, in a not-so-subtle parallel to real-life. Walter and Gary’s storylines are also so simple that they work without being too off-putting, and they’ve found great ways to parallel other character’s stories (the two duets for example).

For me though, and this comes as a side-note, and probably just a personal gripe, but considering he’s the only original performer left, Dave Goelz didn’t have much for Gonzo to do.

I know the last movie, way back when, focused on him entirely, but in re-watching material recently, I’ve realized the hidden layer of soul and sadness that Gonzo can bring, that few others have. The emotion that comes across in this song…

… is something that Miss Piggy and Fozzy are never tasked with. Most of the other characters are just one dimensional, though Rowlf has on occasion brought the emotion in his Muppet Show performances. Because of this, Kermit is left to carry that burden, but his sadness comes from his failures to live up to his ridiculously high expectations of himself as the leader and guy who manages these ridiculous personalities. Gonzo’s pathos has always stemmed from not fitting in, being weird, and not knowing exactly what he is.

Since these characteristics are basically the entirety of Walter’s personality, and his character arc, this brooding side of Gonzo gets pushed to the backburner, and even his comical side does as well. I’d be interested to see his number of lines compared to other characters. I get that not everyone can be properly serviced, but as a member of what I consider to be the core four characters, he feels like an afterthought. You can sense the regret in Fozzie and Piggy, but Gonzo has just seemed to move on. And this overlooking of him is even sadder considering Goelz is the longest-tenured performer here.

I have some mixed feelings about the end, but I have to talk about it in vague ideas. Basically, I feel like it glosses over a majorly important plot point, but the way in which it does this seems to render it fairly unimportant in the overall scheme of things. It sort of takes their literal goal and says their figurative one is more important, which is a great idea, but leaves the main plot as almost a side story.

On the whole though, I felt every emotion I was supposed to, including my normal disinterest in Miss Piggy. I welled up a few times, laughed a lot, and left with a smile on my face, and no feelings of contempt in my heart. I never once thought that they ruined a good thing here, and that’s all I could ask for.

The crux of this movie is whether or not The Muppets are a viable entertainment in today’s pop culture landscape, and I’d say that with the right material (and this is great material… mostly fleece and foam… wocka, wocka), they can be. Let’s hope that the kids that are getting their first taste of these characters feel the same way.

****½

UniDiction 2011: Week 9 – Eagles vs. Bears

This was cross-posted on Crossing Broad.

2011_week9
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Well, they may have blasted apart my uniform-generated spread (25-15),  but a win (real life: 34-7) is a win. I’m 3-4, the Eagles are 3-4. Not too shabby after a dicey start for both of us.

We had a surprisingly lively debate in the comments section for a review of the Marlins new logo on Tuesday, and the uniforms will be officially and fully unveiled on Friday 11/11, so check back next weekend for a full review. But, we’re hear to talk about the NFL today, so let’s start this footbal thing by looking at last week’s NFL uniform action with the help of the always-greatGridiron Uniform Database.

For Halloween (?), the Broncos wore their Orange alternates. I’m not a big fan, but they’re going with Orange as their primary color jersey color next year, so get used to it. Of course, the kicker is that they’re rumored to be changing uniforms completely next year with the arrival of the Nike contract, so it’s anyone’s guess what they’ll look like next year. Unfortunately (due to lack of being the home team and general non-funness in the NFL), none of the BengalsDolphins, nor Bears wore their Orange alternates. So close, yet so far.

The Texans wore their rare Red alternate over White pants combo (the Red jerseys are usually seen as part of a “Red Out” with Red pants), which is a great look, even better than their unfairly-overlooked-on-best-of-modern-uniform-lists Blue over White combo.

Sporting their Blue over Yellow throwbacks, the Rams showed that their “heritage” look is as interesting as their current uniform, though had they chosen to wear their standard uniforms, there’s a chance we could’ve seen Gold pants vs. Gold pants, as the Saints showed up in White over Gold (their best White jersey combo).

Rounding out the throwbacks/alternates were the Panthers in their Blue alternates for the second week in a row. The less that’s said about those 90s disasters, the better.

And, finally, in terms of trivia, the Redskins wore their new-for-2010 White jersey over Yellow pants combo against the Bills, creating a bit of an “old school” type match-up.

Writing these articles has shown me that there’s much less diversity in the NFL schedule than I expected, with inexplicable* repeat opponents such as the 49ers, Cardinals, Falcons, and Bears (*note: I am fully aware that NFL scheduling is actually rather scientific, thank you very much, but how often do I really want to write-up the Cardinals uniforms?). Because the Eagles played the Bears last year (though in Chicago), I’ll borrow from the 2010 write-up as needed.

As a quick primer on the Bears uniforms, their standard color jersey combination is Navy over White. For their White jersey, they usually pair it with Navy pants. An Orange alternate appears every now and then (always with White pants). In recent history, they’ve worn White over White (the double set of stripes on each leg is against the uniform rules, so he has probably fined) as well as Navy over Navy as well as a Throwback in 2010 in place of the Orange alternates.

The Bears have one of the classic “This is the NFL”-type uniforms, so let’s find out how they’ll do against the Eagles.

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, and the wings fit the bill.

Bears: 6 — In terms of design details, the wishbone “C” logo has just enough going for it to not look like a plain letter cop-out.  But, they really need something to break up the two halves of the helmet.  Maybe a White or Orange stripe (or a combination of those).  The helmet is just slightly a bit more “old” than “classic.”

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.

Bears: 6 — This is a classic NFL template. No yokes (Titans), framing features (Jaguars, Cardinals), drop-shadows (Eagles). Orange stroke around Navy fill on the typography makes the letters and numbers visually interesting, and the Blue-Orange-Blue stripes on the shoulders keeps them from looking like an unfinished field of White (Colts and Giants, I’m looking at you). Nothing I’d change on these except that Navy Blue looks Black-ish (like the Eagles “Midnight Green”) in poor lighting, such as a night game. Like this week.

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. I wouldn’t mind if they swapped the Black socks for Green, though.

Bears: 3 — Again, a classic design with an Orange-White-Orange sandwich stripe and no frills. Here’s what isn’t so clear about the uniform’s details. Why are the stripes spaced on the jersey and socks, but flush on the pants? Also, the Navy and Orange jerseys and Navy socks (which are paired with White pants) use triple stripes of the same color with strokes, while the White jerseys and socks use spaced Navy-Orange-Navy. Consistency people!

Intangibles

Eagles: 6 — Obviously the best combo from the current uniform set. The Green needs to be a few shades lighter (if they wouldn’t do a straight return to Kelly Green) for it to really work in the poor lighting of a night game, though.

Bears: 6 — Well, I normally complain when the Eagles wear Green pants due to how dark they are, so the Bears in Navy pants are definitely not any better here, especially for a night game, even if they have bold, obvious stripes on the side (unlike the Eagles with Graphite and Black). But, Bears fans, these are still nice uniforms. For “classic” uniforms, I prefer the Packers in Green over Yellow, but the Bears in any combo (except Navy over Navy) give them a run for the money. If they show up in White over White (they probably won’t), bump this to a full 7 for outside-the-box thinking.

Final Score

Eagles 25

Bears 21

This will be one of the better-looking Eagles games this year.

****½

 

UniDiction 2011: Week 8 – Eagles vs. Cowboys

Main
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.

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