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History of a Fictional Football League (1984 Offseason)

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For the past year or so, I've been developing a fictional football league, the American Football Association.  Before now, I have only focused simulating seasons using dice and developing a narrative to go along with it (if anyone is interested:  an explanation is under the "Running the AFA" spoiler).  However, I have recently decided to learn Photoshop and Illustrator, and have determined that the AFA is the perfect project to practice on.  So, starting in 1946, I am designing the logo and uniform for each team.  Once I have finished that year, I will continue progressing through seasons, and will introduce new designs whenever teams rebrand, change their uniforms, relocate, or expansion teams are added to the league.

 

I am looking for feedback and criticism for every aspect of the designs, from the template (which is based largely on the one used by the gridiron uniform database) to the specifics details of how I put together each team.

 

The year is:  1983

 

Current Divisions and Teams

 

1983_divisions_by_verasthebrujah-db9ir1a

 

If anyone finds a bad link anywhere below, please send me a PM to let me know so that I can fix it.  Thank you.

 

Running the AFA

 

Spoiler

 

Each team is assigned an overall rating from 1.00 to 10.00  I don't do specific week to week schedules, but there is always a detailed rotation for what opponents each team should have in a given year.  I generate a random number between 1.00 and 12.00 for the home team and between 1.00 and 10.00 for the visiting team, which accounts for home field advantage, and compare the results for each matchup.  I compare the two scores, with the higher result being declared the winner.  If the difference between the two scores is less than 1, the game went into overtime (or was a tie before the overtime rule was adopted in 1975).

 

I have no way to account for injuries, but I track the sum of each team's rolls, which gives me a good idea of how well they "played" in a given year.  If they have an especially good season, I assume that they had a breakout player or something similar; while if they have an especially bad year, I assume that it was the result of injury problems or similar difficult situations.
 
At the end of each season, I decide how each team has progressed, and modify their overall rating accordingly.  A team that has performed poorly will likely get worse, and teams that performed well will likely improve.  I also track the ages of star players and the average age of each team, which will also impact if and by how much they improve or get worse.  Finally, I track draft order, which allows me to know how well each team should be able to replenish its talent supply.

 

I even attempt to ensure that the names of a given time period are accurate.  The overwhelming majority of names that I give to players and coaches are assigned randomly.  First names are drawn randomly using dice from census records detailing the most common names of decade.  I take a bit more leeway when coming up with surnames, but pull from various sources from the time period in which an individual would have been born.
 
I also vaguely track the economic conditions that existed in the United States and in the cities with teams, as well as the population from census to census to determine how well a team is likely to be performing financially.  Based on this, I may also choose to relocate or fold teams, or add expansion teams.
 
After rolling the results of each season, I write a brief description of the events of that season.  Sometimes it is just a few sentences explaining why certain teams had the results that they did, or detailing close playoff races.  Other times the descriptions may be longer, and cover wider aspects of the game (racial integration, the introduction of new strategies, etc.).

 

I cannot imagine that anybody would want any of this, but I have all of the following documents and spreadsheets that are relevant to the AFA, and will provide them upon request:

  • The final standings for each season and postseason results in a single spreadsheet
  • The complete list of coaches by year and team, including their specialty and offensive and defensive strategies
  • The complete list of all named players by year, team, and position
  • The breakdown of names for any decade in which I have had the need to generate a name (so far the 1890s through the 1950s)

 

 

League History Blog Index (under construction):  http://afahistory.blogspot.com/p/archive.html

History of Each Team's Logos:  http://afahistory.blogspot.com/p/logos.html

History of Each Team's Uniforms:  http://afahistory.blogspot.com/p/afa-team-uniform-histories.html

List of Victory Bowls:  http://afahistory.blogspot.com/p/victory-bowls.html

 

All logos and uniform may also be found on my Deviant Art.

 

Championships by Team:

Pittsburgh.....8 (1949, 58, 60, 63, 66, 69, 71, 76)

New York.......4 (1946, 47, 48, 50)

Washington.....4 (1967, 75, 77, 78)

Minnesota......4 (1955, 57, 79, 82)

Colorado.......3 (1965, 81, 83)

Detroit........3 (1961, 62, 64)

Chicago........2 (1951, 56)

New Orleans....2 (1972, 74)

St. Louis......2 (1953, 68)

Boston.........1 (1954)

Cleveland......1 (1959)

Los Angeles....1 (1952)

Philadelphia...1 (1973)

San Diego.....1 (1980)

Seattle........1 (1970)

 

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The first team that I created is the Baltimore Legion. They are the only true expansion franchise that the AFA had in 1946, and are named for the American Legion, of which the owner, Henry Calvert, was a founding member.


1946_baltimore_legion_logo_by_verasthebr

The logo combines elements of the emblem of the American Legion with the city flag of Baltimore. The team's colors, blue and gold, are also drawn from the emblem of the American Legion.

1946_baltimore_legion_uniform_by_verasth

The team's uniform has one unique feature, which is that they wear an unpainted, brown leather helmet: the only team ever to do so in AFA play.

Full-sized logo: http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2014/095/4/0/1946_baltimore_legion_logo_by_verasthebrujah-d7d778q.png
Full-sized uniform: http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2014/095/8/c/1946_baltimore_legion_uniform_by_verasthebrujah-d7d7f2p.png

I'm working on developing the logo for the Chicago Butchers, and I'm very unsure with what I have. I wanted to do something more along the lines of the 49ers' and Bears' first logos, which were relatively realistic depictions of a wild west miner and a bear. This is what I have so far:

1946_chicago_butchers_logo__rough_draft_

Obviously, I still have some cleanup work to do, particularly in getting the colors inside of the lines and fine-tuning the shading, but I wanted to see if I could get some feedback on whether or not I'm at least headed in a reasonable direction, or if I should go back to the drawing board. If this will never be an acceptable logo, I definitely don't want to spend another hour or two tweaking it.

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Wow, don't know how I didn't notice this project. I've actually been working on one almost identical to this, but with NFL teams, so I'm very excited to see where yours goes.

Baltimore

The logo reminds me a lot of Pittsburgh's original logo, and almost looks like a crest more than anything. I think it would fit the era relatively well, but would still stand out as being different from many logos at the (which is a good thing).

On the uniforms, is that blue and pale yellow or blue and vintage white. In both instances, I'd say change the second color to a yellow that matches the logo in the yellow. Sure, they'd look a lot like the Packers (of that era), but it's a fantasy league, so there'd be no problem there! When it comes to the overall design of the uniform, I think it is pretty spot on for the era.

However, I would change the helmet color to either yellow or blue. By 1946, the time Baltimore was founded, no real life professional teams (going by the NFL and AAFC) used brown helmets. I personally feel that it would better fit the time period if it were blue or yellow. Of course, you could still use a regular leather helmet and describe it as a unique occurrence in the league too.

Chicago

I definitely like the idea of using the Butchers as a mascot. Has a sort of Packers feel, where naming a team after that type of profession wouldn't be the used for an expansion team, but would make sense for a team that originated in a bygone era.

When it comes to the logo itself, I have two main critiques.

1) I'd utilize some sort of full-body logo. Maybe have the butcher in front of a football, or even go the 49ers route, and just have the butcher. The cutoff look you have now is kind of awkwardly cut-off.

2) When it comes to shading, I think you should go in a different direction than what you have. Many of the old logos utilize the outlines to create shading. For instance, take a look at the 49ers logo you mentioned.

6872.gif

Notice how the shading is all the same color as the outline, and even protrudes from the outline itself in many cases. I feel that the way you have the logo now, this style of shading would be the best option.

All in all, a pretty good start. I'm really excited to see where this project is headed!

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Thanks for the feedback.

I changed Baltimore.

1946_baltimore_legion_uniform_by_verasth

You were definitely right about the shade of yellow. I made the uniform first, then did the logo as an afterthought, so I didn't know that the Baltimore flag (or its shade of gold) would be associated with the team. Having the gold over the pale yellow gives the team a much bolder, stronger look.

For Chicago, I had the same thought about how the butcher was cut off, I just couldn't figure out what to do about it. I had originally intended to put him behind a counter, but that looked even more awkward. It hadn't occurred to me to put him behind a football, I'll definitely toy with that idea. I had considered working one in, but I was going to put it on the counter in front of him so it looked like he was about to chop it.

I got the name Butchers from Carl Sandburg's 1916 poem "Chicago," which calls the city "Hog butcher for the world." The team actually dates farther back than that, and I might eventually do a retro version of their original logo from 1899 when they were the Chicago Threes.

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I think I have improved Chicago's logo. I tried to do the solid black shading, but I just couldn't get it to work. The bears logo from the same era (http://www.sportslogos.net/logos/view/362/Chicago_Bears/1940/Primary_Logo) had more realistic shading though, so I think what I have doesn't not match the mid 1940s.

1946_chicago_butchers_logo_by_verasthebr

What do you think?

Also, here are the uniforms.

1946_chicago_butchers_uniform_by_verasth

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I think the Butcher looks a little too tall. There's also a ton of blank space on the Apron, even adding in some shading might help.

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For Chicago maybe for a logo you could put a Knife stabbed in a Steak or C, great unis and creative names.

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Edited the butcher some more. I think that making him a bit shorter helped a lot, so thanks for that suggestion. I shaded the apron too, but I can't tell if it's any better. What do you think?

EDITED: I somehow saved the wrong PNG in which I hadn't changed the height. Fixed it.

1946_chicago_butchers_logo_by_verasthebr

JT: thanks for the compliment. I had planned on making Chicago's modern logo utilize elements like that. I was thinking about arranging a C, a cleaver, and a sharpener like a skull and crossbones. Either way, I've got a lot of time before I get to that.

Since I think I'm getting pretty close to being finished with Chicago, I'll go ahead and post the next team, the Boston Captains.

The Captains were formed at the end of the war by merging two teams: the Boston Riders and the Albany Indians. The Indians had been one of the more successful prewar teams, but their owner, Captain Eugene MacMillan, was killed during the war, and his family was not interested in continuing the team. The owner of the Riders, Buzz Black (who was also the second AFA President), bought the Indians, which allowed him to claim both their player contracts and their history. He renamed the team the Captains in honor of Captain MacMillian.

Their colors are green and grey. Green celebrates the large Irish population in Boston (as well as being a nod to MacMillan's Irish roots). Grey represents the steel navy ships.

1946_boston_captains_logo_by_verasthebru

Full size: http://verasthebrujah.deviantart.com/art/1946-Boston-Captains-Logo-445438809

1946_boston_captains_by_verasthebrujah-d

It's difficult to see, but if you look closely, you'll notice that the letters MAC are written on the back of the helmet. The players did this by hand in honor of Captain MacMillan, and inspired by the Bears' inclusion of GSH on their jerseys, I intend to work MAC somewhere into every Boston uniform that I do.

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I'm going to post two more now, because the next one is one of the most conservative sets, and the other is probably the wildest.

First, we have the New York Imperials. They were a dominant team before the war, and continued to be so after (I've determined the results for the 1946, 1947, and 1948 seasons, and they will win the AFA title in all three years). The will continue to be great for a long time, as their quarterback, Charlie Kadlec, is only 28 years old and is easily the best in the game.

Logo:

1946_new_york_imperials_by_verasthebruja

It is a simple crest-style logo, as is the case with most of the teams in the east. Note that the first I in Imperials is the Empire State Building. I thought about putting football laces in the middle, but it just looked cluttered.

Uniform:

1946_new_york_imperials_by_verasthebruja

Their uniform is extremely conservative, though they are one of the few teams to wear white as their primary jersey.

Next, we have the Philadelphia Continentals.

Logo:

1946_philadelphia_continentals_option_b_

The font is a slightly modified version of US Declaration (created Tomasz Skowronski).

The uniforms are very unique.

1946_philadelphia_continentals_uniform_b

The Continentals were traditionally one of the worst teams in the prewar Atlantic League, and were almost constantly losing money. In an attempt to attract more attention to the team, the owner had the uniforms redesigned after the war to be as eye-catching as possible. He also hoped that the weird stripes on the arms would make it hard for opponents to see exactly what his players were doing. Let me just add to this that I actually hate what these look like, but I was going for gaudy and extremely over the top, and I think I nailed it.

C&C is always welcome.

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since these are supposed to be old logos, I like how some are really out there. Reminds me of some old hockey logos.

It will be really interesting to see how the generations change with each team.

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Up next is the Providence Angels. They are one of the teams that entered the AFA in trouble. They were a powerhouse in the Atlantic League in the mid-1920s, but they had declined by the WWII hiatus. Additionally, their small market makes it difficult for them to complete with the prestige and wealth of their neighbors, especially in Boston.

1946_providence_angels_by_verasthebrujah

1946_providence_angels_uniform_by_verast

I have considered changing the name. Should they be the Angels or the Archons?

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Up next, the Richmond Royals, owned by O.P. King, the first AFA President.

1946_richmond_royals_logo_by_verasthebru

1946_richmond_royals_by_verasthebrujah-d

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Nice league! Is there a way I could discuss with you by email an idea for the AFA?

Rob

Gridiron Uniform Database

robholecko@gmail.com

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At this point, I've posted every team in the Atlantic Division, as well as Chicago, from the Midwest Division. I've been working on the next team, the Cincinnati Guardians (the Guardians of Cincinnati?), for over two weeks, and I'm stuck. I have several different directions that I might go, and I cannot decide which path to take, so I would really appreciate feedback. It probably goes without saying but these are all preliminary sketches that will be cleaned up a lot. I'm just trying to decide on a direction.

First and foremost, the logo would likely feature a shield using some features from the flag of Cincinnati.

I have narrowed it down to four options:

shield_options_by_verasthebrujah-d7eojxf

full size: http://th03.deviantart.net/fs71/PRE/f/2014/106/d/5/shield_options_by_verasthebrujah-d7eojxf.png

I also have four different ideas for logos, two of which are crests. Naturally, the blank shield would be replaced by one of the designs above.

Option 1: football player with shield

1946_cincinnati_guardians_option_1_rough

Option 2: knight

1946_cincinnati_guardians_option_2_rough

Option 3: crest with shield

1946_cincinnati_guardians_option_3_rough

Option 4: crest with helmet

1946_cincinnati_guardians_option_4_rough

The font on the crests is English Towne, by Typographer Mediengstaltung.

Which shield and logo do you like the most, and what broad modifications can I make to each?

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I like this so far, keep it up.

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The full flag shield and the football player with shield logo were clear winners, so I've decided to go that direction. I've been working on improving the football player, but it's been like pulling teeth. At this point, I've looked at it so much I can even really see it anymore, so I'm coming to you guys for help.

1946_guardians_of_cincinnati_logo_less_r

I'm not looking for general direction anymore. As I said, I have spent so much time staring at this that I cannot see where the shapes aren't right. I also have a color question.

This was my original uniform design:

1946_guardians_of_cincinnati_option_a_by

It used a slate grey that was common in 1940s design. However, as the logo develops, I'm beginning to wonder if I should change the colors to match the flag, like so:

1946_guardians_of_cincinnati_uniform_opt

Feedback would be immensely helpful, and feel free to be harsh.

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The full flag shield and the football player with shield logo were clear winners, so I've decided to go that direction. I've been working on improving the football player, but it's been like pulling teeth. At this point, I've looked at it so much I can even really see it anymore, so I'm coming to you guys for help.

1946_guardians_of_cincinnati_logo_less_r

I'm not looking for general direction anymore. As I said, I have spent so much time staring at this that I cannot see where the shapes aren't right. I also have a color question.

This was my original uniform design:

1946_guardians_of_cincinnati_option_a_by

It used a slate grey that was common in 1940s design. However, as the logo develops, I'm beginning to wonder if I should change the colors to match the flag, like so:

1946_guardians_of_cincinnati_uniform_opt

Feedback would be immensely helpful, and feel free to be harsh.

I wouldn't change the colors to match the flags. The red sticks out like a sore thumb, and the blue and grey set is far superior.

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I'm going to move on and come back to Cincinnati later.

Up next is the Cleveland Ghosts. They are an old team, beginning play in 1908, and have always been very good, but have never managed to win a Midwest Football League championship.

For their logo, I wanted something simple, and this is what I came up with. I like it, but I'm considering scrapping it because it looks too much like a Pac Man ghost. Any thoughts?

1946_cleveland_ghosts_logo_by_verasthebr

And here are their uniforms.

1946_cleveland_ghosts_by_verasthebrujah-

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I've still been working on trying to get Cincinnati right, and I've started on the next team, the Pittsburgh Railers, but it's another fairly complex logo and it's taking a bit of time. In the meantime, I have another simpler, less cartoony concept for the Ghosts.

1946_cleveland_ghosts_logo_cg_by_verasth

Might this be an improvement?

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I see you based it off of John Cena's chain gang logo:

chaingang1.1.jpg

I think it looks really good and beautifully simple, perfect for the time period.

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