Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Brown Bears (2014, 1975-77)

I’ve intentionally tried to keep this blog light ’n breezy, so pardon me if I take a detour for just a minute here … 

Nothing drives me up the wall more than people on the interwebs who complain about inaccurate throwback uniforms. A stripe is off a quarter-inch? The sky is falling! A number font is slightly off? It’s World War III!! A belt is the wrong color? An asteroid might as well be smashing Earth!!! I appreciate accuracy as much as anyone else, but we need to calm down here. If we put as much effort into solving world problems as we do into ranting about throwbacks, we’d be living in a much better place.

Which brings me to Brown’s 1976-style throwback jerseys, worn against Harvard on Saturday night as part of the school’s 250th anniversary celebrations. Are they terribly accurate? They are, for the most part. Yeah, maybe it would be nice if they used the “Champion” font, but I kinda doubt most of the fans in attendance were losing sleep because Brown opted to use the current jersey font, only with the red outline eliminated. Should the helmets have been blank, as they were in ’76 and in the publicity shots? Probably. 

Let’s just remind ourselves: This is an FCS team on a limited budget, not some football factory like Oregon that has a license to print money and seems to wear a different helmet for every game of the season. It’s probably a minor miracle that an FCS team has an alternate shirt to begin with. For the purpose they served, these throwbacks looked fine, and I wish more teams had the budget to wear retro gear. (Mmmmm … Maine … winged helmets …)

Anyway, here’s the original 1976 Brown uniform for comparison. Under coach John Anderson, the Bears went 8-1 and won the Ivy League championship for their only title not won by Phil Estes. A one-point loss to Penn (7-6) was all that prevented an undefeated season. Anderson coached Brown from 1973-83 and finished with a 60-39-3 record.

BTW, if you look at the publicity shots from the above link, you'll notice the athletes from other sports are wearing Adidas uniforms, while the football uniforms continue to eschew any manufacturer's logos. Hmmm ...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Brown Bears (1967-71)

The Brown Bears had worn traditional brown and white since the late 1950s after having worn tan pants (and occasionally tan helmets) for several years previously. During Len Jardine’s stint as coach (1967-72), Brown changed its helmets from brown to gold:

The ’67 pants and road jerseys were a continuation of what the Bears had worn earlier in the decade. In ’68, brown-and-gold striping was added to the pants, and stripes were placed on the road jerseys - horizontally:

A stripped-down road jersey was worn in 71:

Gold continued in ’72, but I’ve never had a good photo of the ’72 helmet, which used a small bear logo, and I'm not sure if the trim was gold or red. We’ll add it eventually.

After six seasons and a 9-44-1 record (Dartmouth won nine games in 1970 alone), Jardine was gone, and the gold helmets left Providence with him. In 1973, Brown hired John Anderson from Middlebury, and he switched to silver helmets.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Rhode Island Rams (1976-82)

In 1976, Bob Griffin became Rhode Island’s head coach. As is frequently the case, a uniform change came with the coaching change. Gold trim was added to the light blue-and-white ensemble that had been used since 1967:

The jerseys were used through 1982, with one odd detour: A shirt with a slightly lighter shade of blue, sleeve stripes and names on the back was used in 1979 only. I believe this marked the only time Rhody wore names on the jerseys:

From photos I’ve seen in the 1980 Renaissance yearbook, the Rams wore new gold/yellow pants at home and the old white ones on the road. It wouldn’t shock me if the pants were mixed-and-matched, but the yearbook pics are the only ones I’ve seen from this season.
In 1980, the 1976-78 jerseys returned, and the gold pants were used full-time. The rams' horns on the helmets were lightened to more closely match the jerseys, and gold/yellow facemasks were added:

In ’81-82, the stripes on the pants changed to the look Rhody used through 1992:

You can see the rest of the Griffin-era look here and here. In 1993, Griffin was gone … and so was the gold, never to return.

Next week, we’ll look at another team that used gold/yellow for a spell, the Brown Bears.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

UMass Minutemen (1978-84)

From the 1940s-1972 and again from 1978-84, UMass’ uniforms were lined with gold trim, mostly on the road shirts, but sometimes on the homes as well. The first year (1978), the trim appeared only on the road shirts, which were basically an updated version of the 1975-77 roads. The ’78 Minutemen, under first-year coach Bob Pickett, reached the inaugural NCAA Division I-AA title game, where they lost to Florida A&M.
In the 1979, both shirts were overhauled, and the numbers and names were in the “Champion” font (slanted 2s, curved 7s). Gee, whose shirts do these remind you of?
The uniform is saved by the kick-ass minuteman helmet logo. In 1984, the last year of the style, the names were removed (coaching change) and didn’t return until 2011. The gold trim went bye-bye after the '84 season, never to return.

At the risk of playing “Six Degrees to Maine,” there’s a strong Black Bear connection as far as UMass coaches are concerned. Three coaches (Pickett, Jim Reid, Mike Hodges) played at Maine, and a fourth (Dick MacPherson) didn’t attend Maine, but grew up right down the road in Old Town. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

UConn Huskies (1971-72)

This is a rather nondescript uniform from the two years Bob Casciola coached UConn (1971-72): No helmet logo, and the love-it-or-leave-it stitched-C logo is the only thing that let's you know it's UConn. But this style is significant, as it was the first in the Yankee Conference to use names on the backs. But it didn't last: UConn took the names off in 1973, and they didn't return until 1984.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Opening Day!

... for Dartmouth and the rest of the Ivy League, that is, three weeks after almost everyone else kicked off. This is a gallery of Dartmouth uniforms I made as part of the team's season preview in the Valley News. I also wrote an essay about the team's media guides here
   We'll get these individual unis on the blog eventually. From left: 1965, 1970, 1973, 1978, 1987, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2014.
   The Big Green opens the season tonight against Central Connecticut at Memorial Field. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Boston College Eagles (1968-77)

With Boston College dominating the headlines this week after upsetting USC and my Black Bears visiting The Heights this weekend, I thought we’d take a look at the Eagles’ uniforms from the Joe Yukica years. 
The BC uniforms under coach Jim Miller (1962-67) had a USC look to them: Red shirts with big, yellow numbers and thick, yellow-and-white stripes. Yellow (or, if some of you prefer, gold) pants complete the look. In 1966-67, the jerseys had a uniform number on one sleeve and an eagle on the other. These pics are from the 1967 Sub Turri yearbook:

After Yukica became coach in 1968, the shirts were stripped down to the core, with tiny numbers and no trim. Frankly, they reek of cheapness and look like practice jerseys: 

By 1970, BC was using those Champion-style numbers (slanted 2s, curved 7s) that were a trademark of the Flutie years, although they were considerably larger. Once striped socks were added in '72, the unis resembled the love children of the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins:

In 1974, the uniforms take another step toward the Flutie-era look: The familiar sleeve stripes and names make their debut. Number 71 was Fred Smerlas, a nose tackle from 1975-78 who had a long NFL career with San Francisco, Buffalo and New England and has also worked in talk radio for many years. He was named to five Pro Bowls.

In 1978, Yukica, who did much to bring BC back to big-time football (the Eagles ditched the VMIs and Richmonds of the world for Notre Dame, Texas, Texas A&M, Florida State and Tennessee during his regime), departed for Dartmouth (which was decidedly not big-time football by that point), and Ed Chlebek took over. Chlebek mostly kept the look of the Yukica years, except the striped socks were gone. And the wins were gone, as well: The Eagles were 0-11 in Chlebek’s first year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bryant Bulldogs (2013); Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (2013); Sacred Heart Pioneers (2013)

The limited-scholarship Northeast Conference (NEC) doesn’t receive much respect in FCS football; its teams didn’t receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament until a few years ago, when the tourney expanded beyond 16 teams. Heck, I’m not giving it much respect; I’m lumping the three NEC teams in my uniform project into a single entry! Perhaps that should change, since Bryant - excuse me, nationally-ranked Bryant - is 2-0 against CAA teams this year, including a win over my Black Bears, and Central Connecticut State defeated Albany of the CAA this season. 

When I was growing up, Smithfield, R.I.-based Bryant was best known as the home of the New England Patriots’ training camp. The Pats no longer train there, but they must have left an impression; the Bulldogs fielded their first football team in 1999 and joined Division I in 2008. The program’s all-time record is 88-61 going into this season.
Bryant’s 2013 uniforms bear a striking resemblance to Army; I dunno, but gold helmets and slate-gray pants just clash to these eyes. The all-white look is not bad, though.

The pride of New Britain, Conn., Central Connecticut State first fielded a team in 1935. The Blue Devils have captured four NEC titles in the last decade, but alas, that was before the conference scored an automatic NCAA bid. Judging by the opponents in the team media guide, it looks like CCSU has played in Division I since the early 1990s (although the Devils faced Maine several times in the 1970s and even beat the Bears in 1973).
The school's most notable football alumnus might by Steve Addazio, the Boston College head coach who’s turned the Eagles around after a few dark years.
As for the uniforms … Well, at least the helmets are nice, right?

Fairfield, Conn.-based Sacred Heart University is a relative pup to college football, having first played the game in 1991. The Pioneers have had a fair amount of success that's included an undefeated season in 2001. Sacred Heart and CCSU face off every year in the “Constitution State Rivalry,” with CCSU holding a 9-7 edge in the all-time series.
This is a sharp uniform, easily the best of the three NEC teams here. It’s a typical Adidas template, but it’s a good template. That’s a pretty unique shade of red, though.

Up next … We’ll let’s reach into the grab bag and see what comes out. Ooh, I think I see an eagle feather or three ...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

TUESDAY BOUNS: New Hampshire Wildcats (2014), and a Correction

Another 2014 uniform, this from the New Hampshire Wildcats. As is the case with Maine, there was really nothing wrong with last year’s look, but a change was made anyway. I’ve never been a fan of uniforms where the helmet, jersey and pants are three different colors. Blue (home) or silver (home and road) pants, which UNH used last year, would make the current uniform look more streamlined. 

And now a correction: When I originally posted the 2010-13 UNH uniform, I made one big mistake … The UNH logo was facing right, while the uniform was facing left. The Wildcat logo, of course, always faces front-ward, which in the template I use, means left. Because I don’t have a good quality UNH logo that faces left, I’ve decided to keep the right-facing logo as is and make the rest of the uniform face right. If I ever get a good copy of a left-facing logo, I’ll “flip” the uniform back. The corrected version is below.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Holy Cross Crusaders (2013-14, 1986-91)

The College of the Holy Cross has had a deeply strange football history. The Crusaders have experienced the highest of highs (a trip to the 1946 Orange Bowl; an undefeated 1987 team that ended the season ranked No 1 in I-AA by the Associated Press; a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist in two-way threat Gordie Lockbaum) and the lowest of lows (a hepatitis attack that wiped out the 1969 season, the untimely deaths of two coaches, one by suicide). 
The last decade has been rather pedestrian by comparison in Worcester, but a return to magic of yore would be nice.
Rules of thumb, notes and trivia about Holy Cross’ uniforms:
  • This has been a rather tough team to piece together, thanks to constant changes, especially in the last 20 years. 
  • Purple helmets, however, have been a constant since 1976. White and silver helmets were part of the ensemble in the past. 
  • Numbers have been frequently on the helmets, but many fonts have been used.
  • The 2003 uniforms had ghastly uber-serfied numbers. I believe this style was one and done.
  • I’m pretty certain Holy Cross was the first school in this project to wear a manufacturer’s logo on the shirt (Champion, 1981).
  • Other than a few years in the mid-90s, names have never been used on the backs.
  • White was worn at home in the 1950s-60s, and purple jerseys were worn maybe once a year, a la LSU.
A smattering of Purple Patcher yearbooks are online, and you can find the student paper, the Crusader, here. Past Crusader sports editors include Dan Shaughnessy and Bill Simmons. What's in the water in Worcester? 
Holy Cross changed its helmets (number font) and home jerseys for 2013, and switched the road tops for 2014. The ’13 and 14 designs are shown above. Those helmet numbers almost look like the Red Sox' jersey numbers, only without the sharp edges.

The “classic” look takes us to that incredible year of 1987. The Crusaders went 11-0, outscored its opponents 511-110 and finished No. 1 in the AP Division I-AA (now FCS) rankings. Alas, the Patriot League had a no-postseason policy at the time, so we’ll never know how the ’Saders would have done in the NCAA tourney. No. 17 was Gordie Lockbaum, who played running back … and cornerback … and kick returner. He placed fifth in the Heisman voting in 1986 and third in ’87 and won more awards than I can possibly repeat here. You’ll never see the likes of him again.
Mark Duffner, the coach of that ’87 team, has been a long-time NFL assistant. 

Up next: we do a drive-by through the Northeast Conference.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

SUNDAY BONUS: Maine Black Bears (2014)

   The Maine Black Bears' New Balance-manufactured gear marks the first 2014 uniform to hit the blog. Interesting that Maine's wearing white pants on the road, something the Bears haven't done since 1996. It's a pretty sharp style overall, but there was nothing wrong with last year's uniforms, made by Adidas. Somehow, I wouldn't be shocked if Maine mixes and matches the shirts and pants before the season ends.
  Monday, we'll look at Holy Cross, and maybe sneak in another bonus post later in the week.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Yale Bulldogs (2013, 1967-68)

Much like Princeton and Harvard, Yale hasn’t done much with football, other than help invent it. Walter Camp, who played and coached there in the 19th century, invented the line of scrimmage and the down system; without the latter, we wouldn’t have time to take a sip of beer or dip into a bag of chips between plays. His prize protege, Amos Alonzo Stagg, created the man in motion and uniform numbers, among other innovations, and coached for close to SEVENTY years.
But Yale’s not all about the distant past. Calvin Hill, Brian Dowling, Dick Jauron and Eric Johnson are some of the Bulldogs over the last 50 years who have left their stamp on football, college and pro. Now, if only the Bulldogs could beat Harvard …
Notes ’n stuff about the Sons of Eli, and I don’t mean Manning:
  • No team in this project is more hidebound by tradition, except maybe Delaware. The white helmet with the “Y,” blue shirts and white pants have been a constant for nearly 50 years.
  • Yale wore the “100” decal on the helmet for college football’s centennial in 1969, then wore it again in 1972, for the program’s 100th anniversary. In 1973, the Bulldogs slapped a “101” decal over the “100” decal. OK …
  • Gray and/or gold was part of the uniform until the late 50s/early '60s.
  • Nike has manufactured the uniforms since 2002.
The Yale Daily News has more stuff on Yale than anyone, except maybe uniform researchers, could want. The only negative is a lousy user interface, but then I’m just glad all these old newspapers are online in the first place. Helmet Hut tells a tale of a former Yale captain and his helmet here.
The 2013 Yale uniform (shown above) was a conscious attempt to return to the past, with the addition of a modern twist. After the “Y” on the helmet was stripped of its outline the year before (a return to the “vintage” look of the Carm Cozza era), the ’13 jerseys lost the bulldog logo on the sleeves, giving them a resemblance to the simple look that was used until the mid-90s. The pants, on the other hand, have modern Nike striping, a pattern similar to Brown’s.

The “classic” look takes us to the late 1960s and the 29-29 “loss” to Harvard in 1968. Future Dallas Cowboys standout running back Calvin Hill wore No. 30. Between the ’68 Harvard-Yale game, Dartmouth’s unbeaten, nationally-ranked 1970 team and Ed Marinaro’s near-Hesiman win in 1971, the time period really marked the Ivy League’s last flirtation with big-time football.

Up next: We take a look at Holy Cross.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Princeton Tigers (2013, 1975-77)

And now it’s on to Princeton, a school that hasn't done much ... only help invent the sport (well, unless you ask Harvard) in 1869. The Tigers have claimed 22 national titles, all in the prehistoric era of college football. They also have a Heisman Trophy winner (Dick Kazmeier) and a former Superman (Dean Cain) among their alums.
Rules, notes and trivia about Princeton’s uniforms:
  • Another tradition-minded team from the Ivy League (yeah, I’m as shocked as you are). For many years, orange helmets, black shirts with orange striping and white/gray pants were a constant. In the 1970s, helmet logos began to be used, and they changed fast ’n furious until the Tigers went back to blank helmets in the mid-1980s.
  • Legendary coach Fritz Crisler designed the “classic” Princeton helmet - black with orange “wings” and stripes, in the 1930s. In 1938, he moved on to Michigan and took the design with him, which means Princeton had Michigan-style helmets before Michigan did.
  • Princeton may have been the last team in this project to wear long-sleeve jerseys; the Tigers still used them around 1980.
  • An orange alternate jersey has been used the last several years.
  • Nike has manufactured the uniforms since 1998.
The Daily Princetonian's coverage is thorough, and the website is user-friendly. Oddity: By the 1990s, the back page was devoted to just one sports story, a la the Boston Herald or New York Post. During the football season, the football results were often pushed inside in favor of soccer or field hockey. Nothing against those sports; it just strikes me as kinda strange. :)
The 2013 Princeton uniform (see above). … On one hand, I like how the Tigers have adapted the sleeve stripes of yore to the modern jersey template, which lacks true sleeves 99.44 percent of the time. Very clever. On the other hand, the black helmet with orange stripes looked miles better than the current version; the colors were reversed in 2012. The uniform has changed for 2014, but the helmets remain the same.

The “classic” look is from 1975-77, when the Tigers were a nondescript 9-18, but wore a helmet logo that aped the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Hey, if you’re going to rip off a logo, it might as well be a good one. This was during the period when teams were transitioning from black to white shoes, and I figure it's easier to show the alternate shoe on the side instead of four different uniforms.

Up next: We wrap up the Ivy League with the Sons of Eli, the Yale Bulldogs.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Penn Quakers (2013, 1981-82)

With 16 Ivy League titles, Penn is one crown away from matching Dartmouth’s record for most league crowns. Nine of those titles have come under coach Al Bagnoli, who’s apparently retiring after this season, much to the relief of the rest of the league. Penn has also won seven national championships, six in college football’s Mesozoic Era (pre-1910). Throw in some famous alums like Chuck Bednarik and John Heisman (of Heisman Trophy fame), and you have a school with a pretty enviable football history … not to mention present.
Notes ’n stuff on the Quakers:
  • This one of the toughest teams to research, mostly because its two primary colors are dark (navy blue, maroon). This makes it hard to discern which color is which in black-and-white photographs.
  • Navy helmets and jerseys have been a constant since 1981. A crimson alternate jersey was introduced in 2012.
  • The helmet logo has switched between “PENN” and “P” a few times.
  • The two-tone “P” logo goes back more than a century.
No yearbooks/student newspapers are online, but the school's digital image collection is chock full of football pictures, programs and ephemera.  
The 2013 Penn uniform (shown above) has a few modern touches with some nods to the past (the  “PENNSYLVANIA” across the front and the “sleeve” stripes are great touches). I could do without the “sports bra” striping on the other two jerseys, however. (Didn’t Oregon State do that one year and was practically laughed out the stadium?) Penn managed to shoehorn six uniform designs in a 10-game schedule.
A slate-gray alternate uniform was introduced for this year, which will now give the Quakers four jerseys to pick from. I dunno, but three dark colors on one jersey is likely one too many. Maybe two.

The vintage look is from 1981-82, when the Quakers rose to the top of the Ivy League after about 30 years in the wilderness. It looks kinda dated, but there’s something to say about a clean, simple look. And I miss old-school sleeve stripes. Not to mention sleeves.

Up next: A trip through Jersey with the Princeton Tigers.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Harvard Crimson (2012-13, 1967-70)

Harvard, of course, is part of the cradle of college football, having played the sport since 1874. Everything about Harvard reeks of history - the Crimson claims seven national titles, all predating the Harding administration - but the present isn’t too shabby, either. Harvard was won 14 Ivy League titles, six since Tim Murphy became coach in 1994. And there’s that little rivalry with Yale, which can barely be called a rivalry these days: The Crimson has defeated the Bulldogs 12 of the last 13 occasions, putting this series in UNH-Maine territory for one-sidedness.
Harvard also earns bonus points for its recent NFL contributions (lineman Matt Birk, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick).
Rules, notes and other goodies about Harvard’s uniforms:
  • Harvard is one of the most tradition-minded teams in this project (whatta shock). The current jersey style, with a few minor tweaks, dates back to 1980. The current helmet, also with some modifications in the “H,” dates back to 1994. The basic helmet pattern - crimson helmet with black and white stripes down the middle - goes back to the 1960s.
  • In 1974, Harvard put a cheeky decal on its helmet reading “1874-1974 THE REAL FOOTBALL CENTENNIAL.” You see, Harvard claims the famous Princeton-Rutgers game that started the whole thing in 1869 wasn’t really a football game and that Harvard’s game with McGill in ’74 was closer to “real” football that what its Jersey counterparts were playing. I have a game program from 1974 that has the centennial logo splashed all over it: 

  • Harvard has had some funky helmets in the past: A black-and-red Michigan-style design was used in the late 1940s and a strange half-red, half-white look with numbers on the side was used in the early 1960s. A black alternate helmet was unveiled for 2012 but never used. (Let’s hope the same fate befalls Dartmouth’s proposed silver alternate helmet.)
  • Other oddities: Black pants were worn briefly in the late ‘40s and Boston Red Sox-style numbers were used in the ‘50s.
  • Nike has made the uniforms since 2006 or so.
The Harvard uniform (the most recent edition is shown above) has undergone some gradual modifications over the years. The crimson has grown gradually darker (at least by these eyes) and the gold pants have grown gradually lighter. And nothing beats the school seal (complete with Latin lingo) on the shoulders.

The vintage Harvard uniform is from the program’s finest hour: The Crimson’s 29-29 come-from-behind “win” over Yale, retold a billion times and the subject of a documentary film and book. This game between undefeated teams had mountains of hype and then did the impossible and surpassed it. Number 27 was worn by Frank Champi, the backup QB who threw the “winning” 2-point conversion — and quit the team the next season.

Up next: The Penn Quakers.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dartmouth Big Green (2009-13, 1970-72)

I live about 15 minutes from Dartmouth, so I feel a slight affinity for the place. 
The good news: The Big Green has 17 Ivy League titles, the most of any school. The bad news: The last title was in 1996, or before some of this year’s players were possibly born. After some ghastly seasons in the 2000s (10-50 from 2004-09, including an 0-10 debacle in 2008), the Big Green has gone 23-17 since 2010. It’s not the glory years, but it’s better than what I used to see at Memorial Field my first few years in the Upper Valley.
Notes ’n stuff about the Big Green:
  • The basic look - white helmets, green jerseys and white pants - go back to 1955, the year Bob Blackman began his legendary 16-year run as Dartmouth’s coach. Dartmouth tried black pants in 2003-04 and green pants from 2005-07. In both cases, common sense prevailed and they were ditched. 
  • The distinctive Dartmouth helmet - the swooping green stripes with the “D” in front - originated in 1965. When Buddy Teevens began his first stint as Dartmouth’s coach in 1987, he changed the helmet to a more pedestrian look, with “DARTMOUTH” across the side. John Lyons kept the look when he became coach in 1991, but restored the classic helmet in 1999.
  • Names were worn on the home jersey from 1987-92, and on the road from 1987 until at least 1993, but no later the ’95.
  • The team was known as “Indians” in addition to “Big Green” until 1972, when the school abolished the Native American moniker. The “Indian head” stayed on the road jersey through ’72 and the home shirt through ’73. Replacing it was a big “D” that came in at least three different shapes.
  • Nike has manufactured the uniforms since 2005.
Helmet Hut has some background info on Dartmouth's wonderful helmets. ... No Dartmouth yearbooks/newspapers are online, but I own a handful of Aegis yearbooks and a pile of media guides going back to the 1970s.
The 2013 uniform (see above) was nice. A little busy, but nice. Number 10 is quarterback Dalyn Williams, the Ivy League’s rookie of the year in 2012.
Dartmouth has unveiled new uniforms for this season that resemble those of Michigan State, another Nike team. Among the notable changes: A darker shade of green and a silver alternate helmet (Nooooooo!). I’ll get ’em up here once they see game action.

The vintage uniform is from 1970, when the Indians/Big Green went 9-0, allowed only 42 points all season and finished 14th in the AP poll. Not the I-AA/FCS poll, the REAL Division I poll, with Texas and Penn State and those guys. Dartmouth also won the Lambert Trophy as the best college team in the East. (No one cares about or remembers the Lambert Trophy anymore, but it used to be a HUGE deal.) 
Note the Blackman trademarks: The helmet, which we’ve already discussed, the giant shoulder numbers and the long sleeves. He took elements of this uniform with him to Illinois (1971-75) and Cornell (1977-82). Dartmouth kept this look through 1977, with the "D" replacing the Indian head on the sleeves by '74.

Up next: The Harvard Crimson, the beasts of the Ivies for the last decade or so.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cornell Big Red (2013, 1967-75)

I'm afraid I know less about Cornell than probably any other football team in this project. It seems like one of those teams that’s just kinda there, like the Milwaukee Bucks or the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Of course, I exaggerate. The Big Red has left us with memorable players over the years, such as Ed Marinaro, who in 1971 almost stole the Heisman Trophy from Auburn’s Pat Sullivan and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated; and quarterback Jeff Mathews, who ended his Cornell career last year armed with 47 school and 18 Ivy League records. He was in camp with the Atlanta Falcons this summer.
Odd bit of triviata: Former coach George Seifert won nearly as many Super Bowls (2) in the NFL as he did games during his two-year stay in Ithaca  (3).
Notes ’n stuff about the Big Red:
  • The red helmet with the red block “C” dates back to the early 1980s, although the helmet has undergone many minor tweaks.
  • The Big Red had a consistent look in the 1960s-70s, with the white wishbone “C” on a red helmet. When Bob Blackman became coach in 1977, he gave the team a, well, Blackman-esque makeover, with swooping helmet stripes, oversized sleeve numbers and a giant “CORNELL” splashed across the jersey front. The look was toned down after Blackman left in 1983.
  • The two white stripes on the jersey sleeve date back to at least the 1920s.
  • Names were worn on the backs in the 1990s. I believe Dartmouth is the only other Ivy team to have used names.
  • Red and gray pants have been introduced in recent years, although red pants were also worn for a bit during the Blackman era.
The Cornell Daily Sun archives are far from complete and the photo reproduction quality is iffy, but they have definitely helped with my research.  The fine site Helmet Hut has more info on Cornell's helmets here and here (you'll have to scroll down a bit for Cornell info from the second link).
The 2013 Cornell uniform (above) is pretty sharp. The gray pants aren’t really necessary, but they don’t ruin the uniform, either. Note the stripes use a slightly different shade of gray than the rest of the pants. They look better than the red pants.

Our classic uniform takes us to the Marinaro years (Marinaro wore No. 44), although the Big Red trotted out this look for nearly a decade. In 1976, Cornell went with plan red helmets before Blackman arrived and overhauled everything. 

Up next: We head to my backyard with the Dartmouth Big Green!