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Major League Football - Reimagining the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger (Jacksonville Jaguars update)


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Following the Super Bowl, a blend of work-from-home malaise and a regular loop of Full Color Football and other old NFL Films compilations on YouTube got me thinking about an intriguing idea. AFL fan and historian Ange Coniglio suggested the following: what if instead of the AFL being absorbed into the NFL in the 1970 merger the two leagues had unified on an equal, but separate footing to form something akin to Major League Baseball? And thus the idea for Major League Football was born. This basically just gave me the excuse to take a stab at football uniforms for the first time in a retro context. 

 

So this series will include all NFL teams with following loose guidelines (don't apply too much logic to these):

  1. All 32 NFL teams will be represented with their current geographic location and franchise name, except for Washington which will get an original name and look.
  2. There is no AFC or NFC. The original AFL and NFL league names are retained. 
  3. The Steelers, Colts and Ravens (by virtue of being the original Browns) remain in the NFL with the other original 13 teams.
  4. Any expansion teams post 1970 join the original AFL teams (I know, this would leave the AFL at an imbalance with the NFL until 2002 - this is just a thought experiment). 
  5. All uniforms are rendered in a 1960's era aesthetic for consistency, simplicity and to actually provide some sleeve space to work with.
  6. I won't claim every design is overhauled from scratch. There are some uniforms that are too iconic to not replicate. Others are a blend of colors and elements from different eras of a franchise. For some teams it's simply me representing their "best of" visual identity. Some are fauxback designs for franchises that never existed in the 60's. At the very least, I tried to add one unique element to each set, even if it's only an alternate logo.

 

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So without further ado, here's the Major League Football series...

 

AFL                    NFL

East

- Patriots                   - Giants

   - Panthers               - Cowboys

- Dolphins                  - Eagles

             - Jets                        - Steelers       

North

- Broncos                      - Lions

  - Bengals                    - Vikings

- Browns                      - Bears

     - Bills                         - Packers

Game Officials

South

      - Buccaneers           - Admirals

    - Jaguars                   - Ravens

     - Texans                   - Falcons

   - Titans                       - Colts

West

         - Chiefs                     - Cardinals

   - Raiders                      - Saints

- Seahawks                    - Rams

 - Chargers                    - 49ers

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New York Giants - "Big Blue" gets a minor touch-up in the Big Apple

The Giants are one of the old school franchises of the NFL. Their uniforms are simple and timeless, so any tweaks had to look as if they'd always been there. I've always liked the Northwestern stripes on the road jerseys. So after adding a second color, those were inverted and duplicated over to the home jerseys. The shade of blue from the helmets is carried over to the jersey, darkening the modern, lighter blue. And the iconic "NY" logo is replaced by the jersey number on the left side of the helmet inside a new red circle. Lastly, I created the alternate roundel logo to tie into the franchise's origins connected to their Polo Grounds' landlords: the New York Baseball Giants.

Next up - the New England Patriots with an historical error finally corrected.

 

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References / Inspiration

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  • BayBaseballFan changed the title to Major League Football - Reimagining the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger (NY Giants update)

New England Patriots - American revolutionaries ditch ties to the redcoats

 I've always had a soft spot for the Patriots' look from the 60's. Patriot Pat is one of the best helmet logos in AFL or NFL history. Hands down. And while I'm a huge fan of shoulder loops/UCLA stripes (you'll see as the series goes on), there's been one thing that's always bugged me as a history nerd: why was a team named in honor of those that fought in the American Revolution clad primarily in red? It's always bugged me, so I took my opportunity to correct it. I've always really liked the details on the shoulder loops as well as the sleeve cuffs. The sock striping has always reminded me of baseball socks, so that's a definite plus from me. I've inverted the helmet and pants striping to better contrast with the primarily blue jerseys. And while I never really liked the tri-corner hat logo on the helmet as the Patriots initially went with, I think it's great as a secondary logo. In a vacuum I really like how this turned out, ignoring the proximity to other teams like the Buffalo Bills.

 

Critiques and criticisms as always are welcome. Next up - the best of both worlds for the Dallas Cowboys.

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References / Inspiration

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  • BayBaseballFan changed the title to Major League Football - Reimagining the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger (New England Patriots update)

@NicDB I did do a bit of experimenting with the tri-corner hat logo on the helmet. Kind of mixed on how it turned out. I wanted to remove the number from the helmet to deviate from what they originally had. There was also an alternative with a pretty generic "NE" logo that's kind of bland.

 

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Not bad.  I see what you mean about the tricorner without the numbers.  But the Chargers kept their numbers pretty well into the 70s, so it would still be period appropriate if you added them.

I also see what you mean with the NE logo looking generic.  But it does give off a super 70s vibe, so... mission accomplished?

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@NicDB Yeah, there will definitely be some teams with numbers on the helmet, including the Chargers and at least one of the fauxbacks.

 

@neo_prankster Hmm. I mean I'm personally a huge fan of Patriot Pat and not as big a fan of the modern "flying Elvis". That logo you shared isn't quite full flying Elvis, but it makes me think of some sort of a fluttering flag or banner logo. Could be something to revisit for sure.

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Dallas Cowboys - best of both worlds

It may be tough for me to admit it as a lifelong 49ers fan, but the Cowboys uniform has become one of the pillar visual identities of pro football. By modern standards, they were ahead of their time by being one of the first teams to permanently wear white at home. So I left their white set practically unchanged from its original mid-60's look. It's become a set associated with their success over the years. The only update I made was to ensure the helmet and pants color were one in the same - that sort of metallic blue hue, which I know has famously fluctuated over the years. And when it comes to the rarely used color jersey, I've always really liked the franchise's initial set. The stark blue white uniform is clean. And even the unorthodox shoulder diamonds add a unique flair. I know the Cowboys have used a version of this, either the white or blue versions, as an alternate in recent years. But the blue original is a winner to me. I know it was from the team's early unsuccessful years at the Cotton Bowl, but it's a fun, unique look.  Comments and critiques always welcome.

 

Next up - the Carolina Panthers of the AFL East with our first fauxback set of the series.

 

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References / Inspiration

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  • BayBaseballFan changed the title to Major League Football - Reimagining the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger (Dallas Cowboys update)

Patriots: Stick with Pat. 

 

Cowboys: I don't know, it may be too early to have two helmets. I like the blue jersey too but maybe just use it with the silver-blue helmet and pants. 

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@rjrrzube So I gave the gray-blue helmet and pants a shot on the home jerseys. I don't hate it. There's just something about the amount of white on the blue jerseys that looks unbalanced without some more white somewhere in the home uniform. But I don't think you can do the blue-gray helmet with white pants or visa versa. I think your main point was correct though, teams probably aren't doing two separate helmets in the 60's. There were a few teams in the 50's that did. Spoiler: there's one other iconic team that will have dual helmets, but I think it'll actually work a bit more seamlessly.

 

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Carolina Panthers - Southern cats get a helmet & logo update

Time for the first fauxback in the series. Under my Major League Football guidelines, the Panthers move to the AFL East. I've respected that despite adding a few different alternates over the years, the team has left their primary road and home jerseys. And they do have my beloved shoulder loops. So after swapping home and away pants colors, I turned my focus to the helmet and logo. I wanted to move away from the silver shells to a bolder black. And when thinking of my fictional setting for the 1960's Panthers (the real expansion team played their initial season at Clemson), the parallel with their collegiate host seemed natural. Unlike the Tigers, these pawprints get claws. Tying it all together is a C with some sharp fangs. Modest update on the whole. Comments and critiques always welcome.

 

Next up - a blend of a few different 60's sets for the Eagles.

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References / Inspiration

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  • BayBaseballFan changed the title to Major League Football - Reimagining the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger (Carolina Panthers update)

Not the biggest fan of the black shells for the Panthers, it throws off the balance on both jerseys. Might I suggest a blue helmet and strictly blue socks? I think that would a better look overall as well as helping them stand out - no other team has that cyan-like shade of blue as their helmet color. I do really like the rest of the design, the claw-C is nice and I'm very glad you didn't try any gimmicky garbage as most do with the Panthers. I do think that the pants stripe should match and I think the silver striping is better than the white striping. A blue helmet with white pants on both jerseys using the silver's stripes would be ideal here. It'll give the whole set a nice balance and give the team a very classy set.

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I think the black helmet works fine, it feels more of the era, and helps the blue really pop. Too much of it would be overbearing. The logo is well done too. The whole set reminds me of concepts I’ve done in the past. Your best one yet!

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  • BayBaseballFan changed the title to Major League Football - Reimagining the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger (Jacksonville Jaguars update)

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