A couple opinions on the Redblacks new jerseys

On Thursday (or Jersday, as it turns out), the CFL and its nine teams revealed their new Adidas-designed uniforms to the world. In Ottawa, we heard tidbits of information over the last month about some of the new features, but today was the day for fans to finally see what their team will be wearing in 2016.

Before we look at the new uniforms, let’s take a last look at the teasers, shall we?

(someone played with the greyscale to reveal this:)

And now, the Redblacks new uniforms, with thoughts from @DefendTheR and fellow jersey geek @NevillCarney.

HOME (black)


Changes:

  1. Red added to collar, shoulders and ‘flashes’ down the side of the jersey
  2. Larger ‘REDBLACKS’ wordmark below the collar
  3. Number colours swapped, now white with red outline, and no longer italicized
  4. Shoulder numbers removed
  5. (Appears to be) smaller font used for namebar on the back
  6. ‘#RNation’ added to pant leg
  7. Red trim behind the knee of pants
  8. Red socks

AWAY (white)

(Sorry, not too many pictures around just yet)



Again, here’s how they’ve changed:

  1. Red accents added to collar
  2. Red ‘OTTAWA’ wordmark below the collar
  3. Number colours swapped, now red with black outline, and no longer italicized 
  4. Shoulder numbers removed
  5. (Appears to be) smaller font used for namebar on the back
  6. ‘#RNation’ added to pant leg

Alright, now for our impressions of the changes:

@DefendTheR: The addition of red to the home uniform was a must and nicely executed. Was hoping to see some striping on the shoulders, but not to be.

@NevillCarney: RED! If there was one single complaint I had when Ottawa unveiled their uniforms in their inaugural season in 2014, it was that a team named the REDblacks hardly had any red! I love the red compression stockings and the way they seemingly connect with the pants.

@DefendTheR: The larger REDBLACKS wordmark on the home jersey is sharp, filling up a non-personalized jersey a tiny bit better.

The move to white numbers was a no-brainer. The old ones were simply too dark. That being said, I still think white numbers with no outline would look just a bit better.

@NevillCarney: Numbers improve legibility as they are no longer italicized and are now white on the black jersey, answering broadcasters’ prayers for better contrast. They also keep the axe notch in the font, so bonus points there.

As for REDBLACKS on the front of the black home jersey, given the large francophone population in the city, it seems to give preferential treatment to the English version of the name rather than the “Rouge et Noir” translation. The best way to please both sides is to have it read “Ottawa”, similar to the new white road jersey.

@DefendTheR: It’s great to see the OTTAWA wordmark on the road uniform (especially since it won’t be on the pants). Also, the use of red numbers provide quite a different look, one somewhat resembling the glory days, in fact.

Again, a single-colour number probably makes this look just a touch better, but it’s a good look.

@NevillCarney: I wasn’t overwhelmed with the new CFL logo when it was first revealed during Grey Cup week last season, but on the jerseys, on the red collar, it looks really sharp.

@DefendTheR: I’m not a huge fan of #RNation on the pants, frankly. And not for any of the silly reasons being spewed on social media, but because there isn’t enough ‘Ottawa’ on the uniform. In fact, on the home set, there’s none. That being said, how can you not like the fact the team is giving a shoutout to the fanbase? Pretty cool gesture.

@NevillCarney: I’m on the fence with #RNation on the pants, but I like how it was captured on the inside collar. I also like that the team recognizes its incredibly strong fanbase and social media supporters.

@DefendTheR: The Redblacks confirmed the team will continue to use their white helmets on the road, which I am happy about. However, I wonder if adding a red stripe down the middle might help balance out the entire look? (UPDATE: they won’t be).

@NevillCarney: Still no red on the helmets. Essentially, if you remove the logos from the black helmet, we have the exact same one as our nemesis in Hamilton! A red facemask and/or stripe down the helmet like the old Rough Riders would fix that.

Also, no plaid! After building a strong brand with the plaid alternate jersey for the past 2 seasons, there is no sign of this on the new look. I would have bet $$$ on there being some form of plaid in the new design. Glad I’m not a betting man. 🙂

Overall Thoughts

@DefendTheR: Solid uniform upgrades. No question both sets needed more red and the home uniforms needed to be brightened up. The uniforms are definitely a more modern look, which is fine, although I would eventually like to see more traditional elements incorporated.

@NevillCarney: Ottawa’s new look is very similar to Calgary’s and Saskatchewan’s in the sense that it is a paint-by-numbers/cookie-cutter look. What do I mean by that? Look at each of the aforementioned teams and take note: do they have shoulder numbers? No. (This is a staple for football jerseys! Bring those back!) Do they have coloured patches along the sides and arms in the exact same spots? Yes.

@DefendTheR: The ‘ROUGEetNOIR’ wordmark is once again relegated to essentially an afterthought, used only on the front of the helmet. If the team is serious about this name as part of the overall brand, they need to start using it! And if not, might as well just abandon it altogether.

@NevillCarney: Overall, it’s an improvement over what Ottawa wore for the past 2 seasons, but still misses the mark in my opinion: 7/10.

Much like how superfan Jacob Barrette worked with the NHL’s Senators to design a heritage uniform that quickly became a top seller, I would suggest a similar interaction for the RedBlacks and their fans to really nail it for the inevitable next set of jerseys in the near future. We are so close to being the best-dressed team in the CFL, we just need a few tweaks to get there.

Thanks for reading!

@DefendTheR

(All photos from OttawaRedblacks.com)

Retro Preview: How they’d look today – 1958

As we await the launch of the Redblacks’ new Adidas-designed uniforms, we thought this would be a great opportunity to “look ahead” to what Ottawa’s first throwback uniforms might look like. With 120 years of Rough Rider football to draw from, there are definitely some great options to consider. In this short series, we’ll look at which year (or timeframe) we’d like to see remembered and why. Huge thanks to artist and CFL fan Nelson Hackewich for the concepts.

This week: Before the Legend was the Legend – 1958

A Little History

1959 Topps Russ Jackson Rookie Card

Back in the 1958, the Ottawa Rough Riders selected a smart and talented defensive halfback from McMaster University with the sixth overall pick. A Rhodes scholarship nominee and mathematics graduate, Russell Stanley Jackson made the decision to instead pursue football and went on to become one of the greatest quarterbacks in CFL history. In a 12-year career, Jackson brought three Grey Cups, three Most Outstanding Player and four Most Outstanding Canadian Awards to Ottawa. Jackson was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1973.

Amazing that this legendary career almost never happened.

As mentioned, Jackson was drafted as a DB. If not for injuries to incumbent American QBs (like today, CFL teams were disincentivized from starting Canadians at the position), Jackson may never have had a legitimate opportunity under centre.

Ronnie Stewart
Gerry Nesbitt
Milt Graham

Getting back to the uniform specifically, seems the Rough Riders wore them from roughly 1958 through 1960 (haven’t been able to confirm — any help appreciated!). They fared pretty well in them, too:

1958 – 3rd place – 6 wins 8 losses (Lost in IRFU final)

1959 – 2nd place – 8-6 (Lost in East Final)

1960 – 2nd place – 9-5 (Won Grey Cup!)

Ottawa would see greater success in the back-half of the 1960s, but let’s talk about that some other time 😉

The Uniform

Home uniform circa 1958
Away uniform circa 1958

The helmets from this era were also fantastic in their simplicity, featuring just the player number.

A look at the Rough Riders helmets, circa 1960 (Scott Grant Photography)

Nothing beats the R, but the old-school look with player numbers on the helmet is a close second.

Becoming a bit of a broken record here, but this is yet another sharp, simple uniform that would work today just as it did in the 50s & 60s. The fact it also represents the beginning of the Russ Jackson era is a huge bonus.

Thanks for reading!

@DefendTheR

References

1. Forgotten Heroes: The Ottawa Rough Riders 1969-1996 by John Joseph Kelly http://www.blurb.ca/b/4027277-forgotten-heroes

2. Wikipedia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1976_Ottawa_Rough_Riders_season)

Retro Preview: How they’d look today – 1976

As we await the launch of the Redblacks’ new Adidas-designed uniforms for 2016, we thought this would be a great opportunity to “look ahead” to what Ottawa’s first throwback uniforms might look like. With 120 years of Rough Rider football to draw from, there are some great options to consider. In this short series, we’ll look at which year (or timeframe) we’d like to see remembered and why. Huge thanks to artist and CFL fan Nelson Hackewich for the concepts.

This week, we look at Ottawa’s last taste of Grey Cup glory, 1976.

History

The Rough Riders won the East in 1976, putting together a 9-6-1 season. The team was led by All-Stars TE Tony Gabriel (who would also be named the league’s Most Outstanding Canadian), RB Art green and LB Mark Kosmos, as well as All-Eastern QB Tom Clements.

  
Ottawa faced Hamilton (8-8) in the East Final, winning a tightly-contested game 17-15 at Lansdowne Park to earn a berth into 64th Grey Cup. Held at Toronto’s Exhibition Place, the Canadian championship pitted Ottawa against their sort-of nickname counterparts from Regina (11-5). A back-and-forth affair, Saskatchewan held a 20-16 lead late in the 4th quarter. With just 31 seconds remaining, Clements called for “Rob I, fake 34, tight end flag” in the huddle (not the call he received from the bench, by the way) and hit a streaking Gabriel in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. One of the iconic plays in CFL history, it is commonly referred to as “Clements to Gabriel” or simply “The Catch”.

  

Watch it here. Goosebumps every time.

  

The Uniform

And with that, here’s Hackewich’s take on the 1976 Rough Riders uniforms:

1976-style home uniform
1976-style road (away) uniform

One of the things we like best about (most of) the old Rough Riders uniforms is the simplicity. Nothing flashy, but a look that is timeless. The white jersey/red pant road uniform is a bold look with a very ’70s feel to it.

1976 was the first year the Rough Riders wore this jersey/pant combo, which they stuck with through the 1979 season.

As it is the uniform worn by the last Ottawa team to win the Grey Cup, have to think it is a front-runner for the first retro uniform to be worn by the Redblacks. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer to find out. The 40th anniversary would be a great time to do it, wouldn’t it?

Thanks for reading!

@DefendTheR

References

1. Forgotten Heroes: The Ottawa Rough Riders 1960-1996 by John Joseph Kelly 
2. Wikipedia 

The latest Redblacks jersey concepts

With the announcement that adidas will be taking over as rights holder for CFL uniforms starting in 2016, the first question every fan asked was ‘will the jerseys be different?’ The move to adidas from Reebok is a bit of a unique scenario, as adidas is actually the parent company of Reebok. So, the thinking in some circles is that existing uniforms may simply be re-badged with adidas logos, rather than completely refreshed. On the other hand, a simple re-badging seems like a big missed opportunity for the new rights holder looking to make a splash.

At this point we really don’t know which way it’ll go. Likely a few teams will take the opportunity to start fresh, while others may stick pretty close to their current designs. Most believe we have seen the last of the so-called Signature Look 3rd jerseys, at least in their current forms. 

That sound you hear is Bomber fans celebrating.

As for the Redblacks, have to think significant changes will be made. Not that the current uniforms are awful, but there are definite issues. First and foremost, the two-tone notched numbers are difficult for fans and broadcasters alike. From a distance it can be a real challenge to differentiate a six from and eight.

The ones look a bit like sevens, too.

Then there’s the oversized font used on the namebar. Readability isn’t an issue, but the size causes the white namebar to impede on the black shoulders of the away (white) uniforms.  

   

That ain’t pretty.

Also, given how fans have quickly gravitated to red and black plaid at TD Place, one has to think it will be incorporated into the home & away uniforms, not only the alternate.

So those are some of my thoughts on areas for improvement. I don’t dislike the current uniforms – the 2015 Grey Cup run solidified their place in my heart – but they can be better.

Now, let’s see what the artists think.

First is this from CFL artist Nelson Hackewich (who did a great job on all 9 teams – check them out):

   

 

 

Stripes on the shoulders of the home (black) and away (white) uniforms are a welcome change. The suggested use of ‘ROUGEetNOIR’ on the front of the away uniform is also a great (and I think very necessary) improvement. 

Nelson went with a 1940s-era Ottawa Rough Riders jersey for the 3rd/alternate. It’s a very cool look. Love the numbers on the helmet. But I have to think when the Redblacks decide to adopt a throwback jersey for the first time they go with something from the Riders glory days in the 1960s.

Here’s an earlier flat version of the home and away above:

   
 

Next up is Defend the R contributor and fellow jersey nerd Nevill Carney with this updated jersey concept:

  

Single-colour numbering. Check. Classic piping on the shoulders. Check. Use of ‘OTTAWA’ on the front of the jersey. Check. 60s Rough Riders throwback. Check check. Only thing missing is perhaps more plaid. Pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point.

And right on cue, some updates from Nevill:

 

There you have it. Small Redblacks logo on the back is a nice touch, too.

Next up is SportsLogos.net user mbannon92:  

   

This concept was actually done in the summer of 2015 supposing the CFL moved to Nike. Regardless, some great design elements. Here are the creator’s thoughts:

The primary uniforms (first set) feature an R-less logo on the sleeves, with matching chainsaw striping on the pants, and the home set features red pants to honor the team’s name. The RedBlacks’ Pride uniforms (2nd set) expand upon the team’s lumberjack-inspired identity, with a higher emphasis on red and red and black plaid on the helmet, sleeve caps, and pants. The look is sure to be a hit among die-hard fans and hipsters alike.

Really think he/she nailed so much on these sets, including the smaller namebar font, single colour numbers (while maintaining the notched number design), strong use of plaid (though not sure it works as well on the helmet…) and an overall cleaner/simpler look. Both those black jersey/red pant sets are stunning. Great job.

Finally, riderfans.com user Joe747 with his/her take:

   
   
A user on the forum noted the similarity to the Ottawa Renegades 2005 uniforms.

  

Very much so. Also similarities to the Atlanta Falcons. Not that either of those are bad things. The use of plaid on the home and away sets is just right. The classic red down the middle of the helmet is very Rough Riders. A very nice, modern set.

Interesting to note that every concept features some variation of a black helmet. Perhaps it’s the Ottawa tradition. Personally, I like the white helmets. I also might have expected someone to try a red helmet (we are the REDblacks, after all), but not to be. At least not yet.

Before you go, just thought I’d toss in this (somewhat) interesting (to me) screen capture from a video the Redblacks put together highlighting Burris’ MOP season in 2015:

 

Probably not indicative of anything, but I suppose it could be a tease. I do like the classic piping on the arms. Very Russ Jackson-esque.

No official date has been set for the new uniform release by the way, but odds are we will see something early May.

Thanks for reading!

Have a concept? We’d love to see it! Hit us up at @DefendTheR.

Nevill’s Take: Redblacks home helmets need more red!

Our man @NevillCarney – he of several Ottawa Redblacks-related exploits – has an idea for the Redblacks home (black) helmets heading into the 2015 season. Have a read and vote below to let us know what you think!

With all the free agent signings last week, it really looks like the RedBlacks will see a drastic improvement in Year 2.

Another area I feel the team can improve is their look on the field. As I have indicated earlier on Defend the R, I haven’t been the biggest fan of their current look.

Realizing that their jerseys can’t change after a mere season (the uniform manufacturer, Reebok, apparently likes to keep the same set for a minimum of 2-3 years before changes are made), I offer the suggestion that they improve the helmet design and add more red; something that is in the hands of the Ottawa equipment managers rather than Reebok.

Here’s my proposal:

IMG_1903

Ideally, with training camp right around the corner, I would love to spread the word and see if this can’t reach the @RedBlacks directly.

With them having their locker room sale for all of last year’s game-worn gear, they will be preparing to order 2015’s inventory soon.

Maybe we can catch them at the right time! What say you, Ottawa? Yay or Nay?

Nevill

Redblacks post-season fan focus group

Our man Nevill Carney – he of the Redblacks theme song, several Redblacks jersey concepts and a loyal Defend the R reader – was fortunate enough to attend an Ottawa Redblacks focus group shortly after the 2014 season. (FYI, Gord Holder wrote a bit about the session here.) Nevill was kind enough to share his thoughts and experiences from the event.

Shortly after the end of our inaugural season of the CFL’s return to the nation’s capital, I was surprised to find an email invitation to a focus group discussion with other fans. It was held on November 13th at the Heart and Crown in the Byward Market and was geared towards what went well and what didn’t go well for this past season.

I was very impressed that OSEG wasted no time to reach out and hear feedback directly from some of their fan base. The moment I walked into the private room for the event, I was greeted by OSEG President Jeff Hunt himself and knew that this was a genuine effort to improve things for 2015 and beyond.

There were about 12 fans present – of various ethnicity, gender and age – and each had a turn to speak about what they liked or didn’t like about this past season. About two-thirds were season ticket holders, while the rest were individual ticket buyers.

Mr. Hunt took the time to listen and write notes while each person had the opportunity to speak their mind about this past season. Among the topics discussed were:

– Transportation to and from TD Place
– Parking spaces
– Concession options (or lack thereof, especially beer/alcohol options on site)
– Visibility of the scoreboard
– Gameday experience
– Branding of the team
– Social media (and ways to make the overall fan experience immersive for RedBlacks supporters)
– Lineups for washrooms (mainly a female complaint)

Of these topics, concessions, transportation and gameday experience got the most attention.

Most of the talk regarding concessions had to do with long lineups and lack of notable beer/alcohol options on the South Side. For those who wanted something other than standard stadium booze (i.e. Budweiser), there were complaints that they had to either go to the North Side or wait in line at the bar on the lower concourse of the South Side (near the Frank Clair statue) for long periods. It seemed like lack of signage was a cause for this and hopefully it will be addressed moving forward.

Long lineups were touched on, but mainly relating to the home opener back on July 18th, where issues were expected for that first major event at the new stadium. Personally, I didn’t find lineups to be an issue this year. Considering there is a capacity of 24,000, I still find I can maneuver around more freely than at Sens games at Canadian Tire Centre which has a lesser capacity of about 19,000.

Transportation was, as expected, addressed in the discussion and it seemed like the majority of fans were onboard (pun intended) with taking the bus to games. Everyone seemed to really love the convenience of having one’s game ticket count as a pass to and from games. When surveyed, it seemed like most agreed that they would stay longer and take in the nightlife at the various onsite restaurants that will be opening for next year.

What I didn’t know was that the underground parking had just opened in time for the 67’s return to Lansdowne for the fall and has a capacity of about 1,200. From what I understand, parking can be purchased online (at Capital Tickets) in advance for those who absolutely insist on driving to games in the future. (Of note: I gave it a try at a 67’s game a few weeks back and it can be accessed from Queen Elizabeth Drive. There are stairs that lead you up to street level close to the Aberdeen Pavilion on the East Side.)

The last topic that was prominently addressed was gameday experience at TD Place. Many things were discussed, including the HD screen to the volume of the PA/music and the “Wood Cookies” after each Touchdown.

The visibility of the scoreboard on the West Side was brought up and the request was made to have another on the East Side to increase visibility for those who had issues seeing it from their seat. It was almost comedic how quickly Mr. Hunt seemed to basically say ‘yeah, that’s not happening’ due to the immense cost of the current screen. Frankly, I don’t know of any stadiums – NFL included – that have two large scoreboards on site. The only alternative option I can think of would be to have a 4-sided (hockey style) one suspended over center field between the North and South stands but yeah….money, money, money.

One thing that was widely praised was the North vs. South competitions between pauses in play and at half-time. Everyone seemed to get a kick out of it. In addition to the 1vs1 events, I suggested that they increase the number of participants in 2vs2 and 3vs3 contests such as Bubble Soccer or video game events on the HD screen. I think this is an area where a lot of fun can be had by everyone! Being a family-friendly environment seemed to be a real goal of OSEG’s. There were even some jabs at the infamous ‘Mardi Gras’ promotion of the Glieberman era that brought a few laughs!

The only real bit of info regarding branding that seemed to be touched on at the focus group was the use of plaid and really trying to make that our version of “Rider Pride”. Sort of like a “Proud to be Plaid” theme.

Sensing this was their vision in advance, I updated my uniform concepts to reflect the subtle plaid touches on the arm striping, and presented them to Jeff to look at. He admitted that the red numbers on the current home black uniforms are hard to see on TV. Maybe they will be proactive and change that for next season? Here are the updated concepts:

IMG_1556.PNG

The emphasis on the plaid on the arms and the lack of white being the major adjustments on them.

To be honest, not a lot of attention was given to the team’s performance on the field this year. I basically assured Mr. Hunt that ‘history will record we won our first game at TD Place and not much else matters from our inaugural year.’ It seems like anything related to onfield performance will be addressed by our GM, Marcel Desjardins, during the off season. Stay tuned, I suppose!

Overall, I think everyone felt that they had a chance to have their voices heard. Big props to OSEG for having this event as they seem to really want to knock this out of the park (wrong sport, I know…) for generations to come. Looking forward to 2015!

Nevill Carney

Thanks again for sharing your experience with #RNation, Nevill!

@OTTRoughRiders

Ranking the CFL’s Signature Looks

By: Santino Filoso

Sig·na·ture (ˈsignəCHər,-ˌCHo͝or/)

noun

  1. a person’s name written in a distinctive way as a form of identification

The CFL in conjunction with Reebok recently released a brand new line of 3rd jerseys. This new “Signature Look” line has been mainly met with scorn and criticism even though they’re not all bad. In fact, we here at Defend the R took it upon ourselves to conduct a thorough analysis of each team’s new getups and rank them for you! Factors that went into our decision included visual appeal, style, fan interaction, use of team colours, how the uniforms looked in person vs being photoshopped/enhanced and ties to team history. Without further ado, here are the rankings:

9) The Saskatchewan GREENWHITES

sask1

Though we are a fan run, independent blog, we here at Defend the R were privileged to sit in on Saskatchewan’s meeting with Reebok’s creative team. Here’s the *actual* transcript of how it went down.

Reebok: Thanks for coming today everyone, before we begin I’d just like to-

Saskatchewan: Green

Reebok: Uh, yes, okay, as I was saying-

Saskatchewan: Green

Reebok: Okay, maybe I’ll just give you the floor

Saskatchewan: Green, green, green

Reebok: Hmmm, alright, we can work with that, how about 50 shades of green?

Saskatchewan: GREEN!

Reebok: Why don’t we break for lunch?

Saskatchewan: Did you say watermelon!?

Reebok: I’m sensing a theme here….

All kidding aside, these uniforms are a complete mess. If every shade of green was meant to be sewn together on a piece of fabric, Martha Stewart would’ve done it already. The helmets a look like watermelons which is an ode to the fans who wear them in the stands and the “Rider Nation” tag inside the collar is a nice touch. The GREENWHITES also deserve praise for breaking new ground as the first and only team in pro sports history to feature a tramp stamp on their jersey.

Montreal Alouettes v Saskatchewan Roughriders
You can get your own GREENWHITE tramp stamp tattooed for free after every home win!

8) Winnipeg Blue Bombers

b1

Traditional team colours, who needs’em? Not the Bombers faithful, at least to management’s thinking. Ditching their beloved golden threads, the Bombers instead embraced their inner warrior by sporting the US Military’s Arctic camouflage. There’s not a lot to like if you’re a Bomber fan, as even the helmet looks like the after splatter of a flock of seagulls. It’s as if Reebok mixed up their Toronto and Winnipeg files with this look being the bastard love child. Last time I checked the team without gold and wearing double blue was based in Toronto. Maybe these uniforms will prove to be a stroke of genius late in the season as the team will blend in and disappear into the snowy weather. When even your players struggle to appear enthusiastic, you know you’ve missed the mark.

Jason Vega isn't impressed
Jason Vega isn’t impressed

7) The Toronto Argonauts

chipmunk   should never go with this  titanswhite

What do you get when you cross Alvin the Chipmunk’s trademarked A with the Tennessee Titan’s road uniforms?  The Argos’ new signature look of course! Don’t get me wrong, I love me some powdered blue but the layout is simply all wrong. The best part of this look is the helmet, which looks crisp and clean.

a1

6) The Hamilton Tiger Cats

h1

Raise your hand if you thought these garbage bag grey uniforms would be ready in time. The Ticat’s new look features charcoal grey to incorporate the smog from the factory smoke stacks surrounding Tim Horton’s field. The yellow reflector numbers are a nice touch as they will help fans keep track of their favourite players through the haze of still settling construction dust. Much like the Argos, the best part of these looks are the helmets with the faded tiger logo on one side and the player number on the other.

If your pet tiger is looking this grey, take him to the vet ASAP!
If your pet tiger is looking this grey, take him to the vet ASAP!

5) The Montreal Alouettes

crop_20673211100

The Als stuck to their traditional colours by going with grey and silver on their futuristic looking new uniforms. Going back to their roots, the Alouettes chose to honour the first French Canadian Bombing unit in the Air Force, the 425 Squadron, who were nicknamed the ’’Alouettes”. Renown for their toughness and bravery, the 425 Squad was the inspiration when Montreal chose it’s team name in 1946. The only real knock on this look that for whatever reason the team and league have released very few pictures, so it’s really hard to judge just how good the complete product is or what the helmets really look like. One thing that does stand out is that the feather sleeve design looks like snowflakes. The Als decided to only use MTL on the front because it’s a) unilingual so they avoid any problems with Quebec’s strict language police and b) it saves space.

Dévoilement 3e Uniforme des Alouettes de Montréal
It’s 425, not 4225!

4) The Edmonton Eskimos

e1

The Eskimos stuck to the KISS (Keep It Stupid Simple) philosophy with their new look and I can appreciate that. The Eskimos kept to what they and their fans know, the green and gold colour scheme and in so doing created something that both traditionalists and younger fans can enjoy. While the enormous double Es might not be the prettiest thing to look at, keep in mind that these are supposed to be signature looks, so who can fault the Eskimos for putting their signature front and centre? Stitching the lyrics to part of their fight song inside the collar is a subtle touch that links these jerseys to the team’s storied history

e2
“The Green & Gold is bold”

3) The BC Lions

bc2

Jumping the gun on the rest of the league, BC actually released their signature jerseys last year, only they called them their “Premier Look”. The bane of sports announcers league wide, these sharp uniforms boast a gun metal look that is perfectly offset by the safety pylon orange outlining their black numbers. Though some complain the numbers are hard to read who cares, unless you’re playing the Redblacks, Ticats or Stampeders, you’ll be the only team on the field in all black! The Leos didn’t mess with a good thing by leaving the paw decal on the side of the helmet untouched.

bc1
Sorry Bighill, you’re #3 actually

2) The Ottawa Redblacks

rb1

A wise man once said that once you go plaid you’re always glad and boy was he ever right. From Day One the Redblacks have embraced Ottawa’s lumber history and considering that our mascot is an axe wielding (though kid friendly) lumberjack, it was only a matter of time before plaid worked its way onto our uniforms. It’s called a Canadian tuxedo for a reason and we here in the Nation’s Capital choose to embrace stereotypes. The Redblacks signature look definitely puts the red in Redblacks. The checkered helmet is the crown jewel of this uniform (literally), though it’s a bit strange to see an Ottawa helmet without the white iconic R on it. But to be fair to Reebok, it probably didn’t mesh well with the plaid since everyone knows that the only thing that goes with plaid is more plaid. The one thing holding this look back from top spot is the big white looking (but actually silver) saw blade on the front, it just screams out of place. Not to mention the fact that it has an uncanny resemblance to a Dr. Seuss character.

rb2
Long lost cousins?

 

1)  The Calgary Stampeders

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The Stamps must really love the Redblacks home uniforms, because their signature look is almost exactly the same. This NRA approved uniform sports a pair of revolvers on the shoulders and gloves; a tribute to the Wild West or a reflection of the city’s gang violence? What vaults this look ahead of all the rest is Calgary’s new helmet. The bitumen black front of the helmet fades away to red and is highlighted by speed lines and a chrome horse logo. Like the GREENWHITES , Ticats, and Esks, the Stamps also have an engraving stitched on their collar, but theirs is in Latin. It doesn’t matter that nobody on the team could tell you what “Quidquid Requiritur,” means (Whatever It Takes), having a dead language on your jersey simply makes you cool.

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Will you buy your team’s new jersey? How would you rank’em? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know!

@RedBlackGade

#RThoughts on the Redblacks new 3rd jersey

On Monday, August 18th, the Ottawa Redblacks revealed their inaugural third jersey. After a decent amount of speculation and a few fun teasers, here’s what we got:

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Social media was abuzz with reaction and opinion, ranging from love to hate and most points in between. Frankly, reaction was far closer to 50/50 than expected.

With that in mind, here’s Defend the R’s chat/review of the Redblacks ‘Signature Look’ (most photos from ottawaredblacks.com):

HELMET

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@OTTRoughRiders: I love the plaid helmet. I probably would have kept the R logo on it, however. And probably the black version.

@RedblackGade: Yep exactly, it’s strange to see an Ottawa helmet without the iconic R on it. But otherwise it’s incredible.

JERSEY – SHOULDERS

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@OTTRoughRiders: Love the plaid on the shoulders. Perfect amount of plaid for the uniform, if they had ended it there.

@RedblackGade: Agreed once again with the plaid on the shoulders, they got that part just right.

JERSEY – FRONT

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@RedblackGade: I like having the main logo on the front – hockey-style – but it’s looks too cartoonish being white, they should’ve outlined it to make it pop.

@OTTRoughRiders: I pretty much like everything about the jersey but the logo on the front. Standard numbering & they would be awesome. Or maybe if they used the black logo instead of that white version?

@RedblackGade: I like using the logo on the front of the jersey, but it’s really shitty that it’s white. Don’t get that part.

@OTTRoughRiders: I wouldn’t have had the plaid running down the side of the jersey. Shoulders are enough.

(Here’s how it would look in black, by the way:

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Thanks to @BrodieBrady for putting this together.)

PANTS

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@RedblackGade: I love the ‘Ottawa’ stripe going down the side of the leg too, that’s a really nice touch.

@OTTRoughRiders: Like the black pants – glad it isn’t a fully red set, like the home & away. But don’t think they needed plaid down the side. Again, bit too much.

@OTTRoughRiders: I do like OTTAWA on the pants as well. Just wouldn’t have had the plaid background. Also like the red socks.

@RedblackGade: I like the plaid background there.

OTHER THOUGHTS

@RedblackGade: The gloves are fantastic, really love those.

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@OTTRoughRiders: Gloves are really cool, but what is that logo? They’ve never used it anywhere. I’m not a fan, at this point. May warm up to it.

@RedblackGade: I also find that the actual thing itself looks much better than the “enhanced” and edited images. The red looks better in video/live.

@OTTRoughRiders: For sure. I want to see it in person. Things look different without all the touch ups/filters.

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@OTTRoughRiders: Would have been cool if they used #RNation on the back of the helmet, like the Argos did with #ArgosLive

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There you have our thoughts from Monday. No doubt the uniform is fun and interesting, especially the plaid helmet. A number of American news outlets picked up the news, including Bleacher Report and ESPN’s Keith Olbermann. No such thing as bad press, right?

What are your thoughts on the Redblacks Signature Look? What would you do to improve them?

While you think about it, here’s what @Senturion would do:

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Huge improvement.

UPDATE: Here’s a concept I came up with (please excuse the less-than-stellar Photoshop work):

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If we have to have a logo on the front, I think this works quite a bit better. Appreciate any feedback.

Thanks for reading and Go Redblacks!

@OTTRoughRiders

READER’S TAKE: Why I don’t like the new Redblacks jerseys

While the large majority are giving the Ottawa Redblacks two enthusiastic thumbs up for their new uniforms, even some of the most loyal Ottawa CFL fans have their gripes. The following comes from Nevill Carney, he of some great Redblacks jerseys concepts and one of the dudes behind the Redblacks Theme Song. Nevill left the following in the comment section of this post and allowed us to re-post here, for your consideration.

Our comments are captured in bold.

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I was looking forward to this unveiling since the name and logo were unveiled a year ago. I cannot describe how bland these look! My heart literally sank as the first pics of the road jersey were released. My first thought: “where is the RED?!” Then, when the home jerseys came out, I was at least happy about them being black.

No doubt the lack of red was surprising. More on that later.

NEGATIVES

– Take away the numbers and logos from the jersey and you have a very dull looking shirt. Very much like the BC Lions home/away set. Fans will have to get numbers put on them to complete the look. (I can say now that Toronto and Edmonton have the best look in the CFL as their arm striping is sharp and creates a sense of movement when on the field)

Pretty common for a football jersey, since the number is such a prominent part of the design.

– Lack of arm striping. For OSEG, who wanted to link to the past Rough Rider teams, I really thought they would have some striping on the arms. The concepts that I had designed a while back were my hopes of what to see.

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Above is Nevill’s last concept. Really sharp, I thought. Great vintage look.

I was also surprised at the lack of striping, although the white jersey does have the more modern take on striping with the black trim on the shoulders & extending all the way down the sides.

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– Away uniform is depressing. It looks like a recoloring of Saskatchewan’s current road whites. Weren’t we trying to get as far away from what the GreenRiders were doing? I despise the white helmet. Stick with ONE black helmet for both uniforms. Establishing your brand in year one is VITAL. Look at the NFL teams; how many have multiple helmets?

In fairness, there are only so many jersey templates a team can use and those are likely determined by Reebok.

As for multiple helmets, I personally love it as a concept and love how the Redblacks white helmet looks.

I have heard the ‘stick with one helmet’ argument a couple times over the last few days, but don’t really get it. If a team can have 3 jerseys, no reason you can’t have multiple helmets. Baseball teams have different home/away/alternate hats, hockey teams often have different home/away helmets. Why not football?

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Odd side note: last year, every West team in the CFL had an alternate helmet (SSK actually had 2). None of the East teams did.

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Weird, eh?

– REDBLACKS plastered under the collar and above the front numbers. For OSEG, a business that has claimed to be supportive of both official languages since Day 1, this was a huge mistake. It now makes the English name of the team dominant over the French. I realize that they have “Rouge et Noir” on the front bumper of the helmet, but fans will not be buying the helmet. In order to offset this, they should have replaced it with “Ottawa.” The Renegades did this and it looked great.

Good point. Could have gone with OTTAWA on the front of both jerseys, or otherwise have REDBLACKS on one and ROUGE ET NOIR on the other. The bumper is a neat feature but also seems like a bit of an afterthought.

POSITIVES

– Sawblade logo on both arms. Nailed it. I was hoping for this and bam. Likely the main reason why I will be buying a home jersey rather than settling on a t-shirt to wear to games.

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– Black home jersey/black helmet. Traditional; enough said.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

– I would have really liked it if the Redblacks took a page from Fury FC and presented options of uniforms for the fans to vote on. This would have made the fans feel included (unlike the choosing of the team name fiasco from last year) and important enough to have a say with where the franchise is headed.

In fairness to OSEG, the ‘Name Our Teams’ campaign wasn’t actually a contest.

I am on the fence with getting one of these but I will for the sake of supporting the team (the home not the terrible away jersey).

C’mon now!

We have a so-so name, a terrific logo and now a “meh” set of uniforms. 1.5/3 for overall branding at this stage from this season ticket holder’s opinion. I can only hope that we have a retro design come to pass and become our regular set.

Not sure if it will be retro, but it sounds like we will definitely have a red third jersey later this summer. In this Ottawa Sun piece writer Aedan Helmer and OSEG president Jeff Hunt tell us:

A red third jersey will be unveiled later in the summer, and while Hunt said they went for the classic look for the home and away duds, “that (third jersey) is going to be different.”

So, that answers the lack of red in the home & away set. But how ‘different’, exactly? We shall see…

Regardless, I’m stoked for kickoff and to have Ottawa return to the CFL regardless of what they are wearing. Go Ottawa!

Thanks Nevill!

@OTTRoughRiders

Redblacks jerseys coming May 6th + a few more concepts

5/5 UPDATE: The Redblacks posted the following teasers on Sunday and Monday prior to the unveiling. Didn’t give up much, but here’s what we got:

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Appears to be the R in the Redblacks wordmark, which most teams place below the CFL crest on the front of the jersey. Also, seems likely that this is the road jersey, as the background is white.

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Appears to be another shot of the road (white) jersey. This time, showing the CFL crest stitched into the base of a black collar.

Based on the limited amount we see here, it doesn’t look like OSEG have overdone it, opting for a simpler, more traditional look that fans seem to be clamouring for. I guess we will know for sure on Tuesday evening.

That reminds me: if you are attending tomorrow night’s unveiling, please tweet us lots of photos.

Thanks in advance!

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Redblacks fans and jersey geeks: the wait is almost over. After months of anticipation, the Ottawa Redblacks have scheduled their jersey (entire uniform, actually) unveiling for May 6th at the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre. The event, open only to season ticket holders that reserve a (free) ticket, will begin at 7:00PM ET. According to an email sent to STHs on April 29th, Henry Burris and several other Redblacks players and coaches will be on hand “for the Ottawa football fashion event of the decade.” (Their quote, not mine, I assure you). No word yet on whether the event will be televised or streamed online. (UPDATE: no stream)

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So we have a date and a time. #RNation is pumped. So is WR Kierrie Johnson. Now all that’s left is to wait… and check out a few more concepts!

Here’s a solid concept update from @mediumguts incorporating the new numbering:

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And here are a couple of great updates from @NevillCarney:

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Really like the striping on that black Gabriel jersey. Here’s Nevill’s take:

I wanted to create a look that I would want to wear and be proud to wear.

I based them off of what he have seen on various Redblacks merchandise, like the hat that Henry Burris is wearing for the home opener ticket pack, was the inspiration for the arm stripes on the black home jersey.

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The numbers were based off the ones that were worn by the players for the mini-camp in Virginia. I included two versions with the numbers on the jerseys: one color number and one with an outline. Depending on which era of Ottawa football history you are looking at, the numbers varied in design after the 80s with a red outline included and that continued through to the end of the Renegades.

Finally, this great hand-drawn take by @Sports_Drawings of soon-to-be fan-favourite Jordan Roberts:

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Be sure to check out the other concepts we’ve come across here and here. And here‘s a reminder of what the mini-camp jerseys looked like.

So, will they go with red or black for the home jersey? A traditional look or something original? And what about the helmet – classic black or break with tradition and go with red? We’ll know in just a few days, but what are you hoping for?

@OTTRoughRiders