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coolWhoa.  What happened?  Based on my straw poll of the press box, most media folk had BYU winning this one.  

So call BYU a good, at least a decent, team.  That was a mercy kill.  Offhand, that was probably the biggest beatdown of good team since, what? 38-0 Vol. I over Notre Dame in 2003?  

Rudock made good decisions with the pigskin.  Smith missed a couple holes but it didn’t matter because he’s a beast.  The defense was relentless and finished tackles.   Special teams were sound.  The playcalling was straight money and clearly the playbook is being cracked open to the later chapters.  Maybe there is magical khaki dust after all.

Assuming we handle Maryland on the road, heading back home to face Northwestern will be fun to watch.

It feels good man.  To the sights and sounds:

DER-EK JEET-AHH.  The Pope could have visited Michigan Stadium today and no one would have noticed:Jeter with Sarah Harbaugh

Above there’s Derek Jeter killing it in his Michigan hoodie, with suite ticket in pocket (does he really need a ticket?  to anything?) with Sarah Harbaugh on the left. 

Any fool who tried to get too close to #2 had to deal with Big Tony, aka The Captain’s Cleaner:

Derek Jeter's security at Michigan

Coach Edwards.  I strolled over to the opposing team suite (it’s on the same wing and floor as the media).  I asked if any former players from the 1984 BYU team were on prem.  A nice older woman told me, “I’m not sure about players, but the coach of that team is here,” and she gestured to an old man sitting against the window.  Sure enough, the man sitting a couple feet from me was legendary BYU coach LaVell Edwards.

Coach Edwards was kind enough to pose for the photo below (left), at the time in much better spirits than when the ESPN cameras spotted him upstairs in the second half, flashing a double head palm:

LaVell Edwards Before and After

He led the Cougars in their finest hour, which was the last and only other time these teams met.  Twas the 1984 Holiday Bowl, where QB Robbie Bosco and crew defeated Bo & your beloved Wolverines to capture the national title.  Sap is still bitter about the whole thing but felt better Sunday morning.

Nasty Beasts.  Yes, the defense was nasty but not as much as these two.  Props to #1000SSS for another good choice on these epic game program covers, this time Bennie and Biff, the actual wolverines Yost procured and trotted out at the 1927 Michigan Stadium dedication game:

Biff and Bennie - Michigan Wolverines 

1980 Recognized:  Speaking of legends, the 1980 team was honored for the 35th anniversary of their championship team – and I ran into a few guys including Rich Hewlett and Doug James on the sideline. 

1980

Thanks to their “in” at adidas (none other than quarterback Johnny Wangler who works for the three stripes) they wore some cool gear including these hats:

image 
Left: Bruce Madej’s hat via @UMGoBlog.  Right: Devin Gardner got one and wore it well (via @MVictors):

Not that Ford but not Bad:  A staple on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. (U-M JD ‘96) was a guest of the Regents and chilling with the Jeter Posse:

Harold Ford

Lytle.  Also honored today was the late and great Rob Lytle, such a warrior.  If you want to get a sense for the power of this dude, watch a few minutes of the 1976 Ohio State game.  Or just look at his helmet, here on the NCAA ‘06 cover via Dr. Sap:

Rob Lytle - Michigan

 

 

Uniform Notes.  Not much but whilst we’re on the topic:

  • The helmet stickers are getting out of control(!) – the helmets will be Hammersteined by mid-October – but so be it.   Consider that the third (or fourth?) string back is currently bedazzled through 3 games:

Ty Issac Helmet - Michigan

  • Not Uniform Timeline worthy, but Jeter got a 2015 beauty from Coach Harbaugh, naturally the Captain’s #2 and I’m sure Woodson and Hewlett would be ok with that:

Jeter

  • Another look at the Block M thigh pad that some of the players (maybe 1 in 8?) wear:

Block M on Thigh Pad T00nces the shutout inspiring Cougar, wisely trying to escape the gridiron:

IMG_8121

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Related:

Mgo-reader J.P. sent over this question into mgoblog.  Brian forwarded it my way for some level 2 support:

Is it just me or is the ‘maize’ portion of Michigan’s uniforms–in all sports except Hockey–getting lighter?  I see old games on BTN and remember from watching Michigan for the past 30 years that the maize used to be a deep, rich, gold/yellow.  Over the past 10 years, the maize has gotten lighter and lighter to the point where it looks pastel now.  This drives me nuts.  I can’t stand the winged helmet that’s highlighter yellow instead of the richer maize.  The pants look canary in color!  This seemed to have started at the end of the Nike era and carried over to the Adidas unis.  I’ve attached some pics.  

compare

So, is it just me and the color remained the same?  Is my eyesight getting worse?  Is it the setting on my tv’s over the years?

After a quick read I escalated this to a Severity One ticket and dispatched Michigan uniform guru Steve Sapardanis to resolve this.

Take it away, Mr. Dr. Sapardanis:

Disclaimer
Let’s get this out of the way first:  never, ever, ever go by the color you see of pics online, in mags/programs or even in photos – see these Harbaugh photos as reference:

1986NDHarbaughThese two pics are from the same game, maybe even the same play, maybe even the same photographer (probably not), but notice the difference in colors.   

So how do you explain the difference?   It’s all in the photo processing, developing and printing of the mag/program!  The way the chemicals are mixed, the way the photo is taken and developed ALL have an effect on what the colors end up being.  Remember, an object is “colored” because of the light it reflects on your retina and what color your brain tells you it is.

With that as a starting point…

Helmets
Yes, the helmet color has varied slightly over the years – way before Nike and Adidas took over the team outfitting contracts – but not to the extent of the orange color of the Desmond photo that J.P. sent over (see the Desmond photo inset for color difference):

1991 Desmond Yellow Heisman Pose, Orange Heisman Pose, Oranger Herby

The helmets were painted yellow back in the day – just not as bright a yellow as today’s helmets are painted.  Curtis Worrell from HelmetHut.com has game used helmets (gamers), and he assures me that the UM helmets over the years have had an orangey-tinge/hue to them since the Ron Kramer days. (This is why you see them on sale at the M-Den and such places with that orangey-yellow color because HelmetHut creates ALL these throwback replica helmets!).

A friend of mine also has his own collection of gamers, and while he agrees that the yellow color has varied over the years, he maintains that it is more of a yellow than orange tint.

When I did my exhaustive research for my 1977 Leach helmet, in going through countless old photos of the day, what struck me was that the offensive linemen’s helmets would get so scuffed up, you could see the real helmet color underneath the painted wings and stripes.

That’s when I realized, and later had confirmed, that the factory color of the helmets are NOT yellow, or even maize – it is called Vegas Gold or Green Bay Packer Yellow – take your pick.

Back in the 70’s I don’t think the helmets were primed before the yellow was applied – the attached pics of Donahue, Lytle and Woolfolk bear that out:

michigan_helmets_damaged 
With bright yellow being considered a “weak” player in the color spectrum, the stronger orange/Vegas Gold appears, at times (depending on the lighting and other atmospheric conditions), to bleed through the outer yellow, thus giving the appearance of an orange hue.

The recent helmet yellow color change (I think) is attributable to Capitol Varsity and Riddell (UM’s helmet-design suppliers) using a primer before applying the yellow.  With a primer, the true yellow color does not interact with the color of the helmet, thus giving it a brighter maize look.

When did this change occur?  I can’t say for sure, but I noticed a “brighter” yellow on the helmets in the early 2000’s.

Jerseys
Sometime during the early Bo years (1976?), U-M went with rubberized numbers.  Before then – and maybe since the first time numbers appeared on the back of the unis in the 30’s – U-M had sewn-on tackle-twill numbers. This is an important distinction because material will reflect color differently and consequently give the observer the appearance of a different color. 

For the longest time, the material and the color of the numbers were the same.  But when Nike took over in 1995 they made a few changes.

Mesh hole size was different on one version. (Note: When Russell was outfitting the team in the late 80’s, large-mesh-hole jerseys were used for a few years, as well.) Tackle-twill sewn on numbers returned, and yes, the yellow color was different.

I have a 1979 game-used Gator Bowl jersey (the first time U-M had the players’ names on the back of the blues) and that shade of yellow is different from the 1995-NIKE-Amani-Toomer-#18-Cheryl-Tiegs-Fish-Net-large-mesh-Coolio-video-replica-jersey.

I understand that it is a replica, but from the games that I went to over the years, Nike did change the color (and font-size for that matter) of the numbers. It was very apparent on the sewn on tackle-twill jersey numbers that Henne and company wore.

Pants
Yes, the pant color also changed over the years – part of that was due to a material/cloth change & part of it was indeed a color change.

In the mid to late 70’s UM sported the two-tone pants (see Ricky Leach below, right) where the front side of the pant was noticeably brighter and the back side had more of a lighter color and flat or matte look to it.  [Ed. More on the Two-Toned pants here].

Hoard and Leach

In the late 80’s UM’s pants had more of a “sheen” look to them (think Leroy Hoard, above in 1988). U-M was not alone as ND also sported the same style pant (with sheen). I would have thought this style would have caught on more than it did as I’m sure it would have made it more difficult to tackle/grab onto the pants, but maybe not.

Summary
Don’t change the settings on your TV!

The best way to know what color has been used over the years is to put each helmet, jersey and pant next to each other and see with your own eyes what the real colors were/are – you’d be amazed at the subtleties!

I’ve been going to U-M games for over 30 years – I’ve never thought U-M had orangey-looking pants or helmets or numbers. But did I think there were subtle changes over the years?  Yes, but not to the extent that I thought the color pantones had changed.  Remember, U-M even posted its true color pantone numbers in the media guides years ago.

What I have noticed is that Adidas has introduced a much bolder and brighter yellow/maize to all U-M uniforms.  The basketball yellows are much brighter and I think the U-M football pants and helmets have a brighter yellow to them, as well.

I think Adidas has finally gotten the yellow correct, and I for one am VERY happy that they have!

goodluck The “All Whites” bring good luck as you can see (via Sports Illustrated)

[Ed. See the full Uniform Timeline for more detail.  This post inspired the idea.]

A little history on the the subtle (and a few not-so-subtle) tweaks to the Michigan uniform in the past four decades via historian and Wolverine uniform expert Steve Sapardanis.  This was basically off the top of his head (!) – so feel free to review and comment:

1969 – Bo removes the numbers from the SIDES of the helmets and adds award stickers (solid yellow football-shaped decals)

1974-1975 – White pants for road games.  Road unis changed to all white with thin blue and yellow stripes on the end of the jersey sleeves, and matched in same stripes down the outsides of the pants.  (Check out all whites in action in the ‘76 Orange Bowl).

1975 – UM changes the facemask color from gray to blue.  Decals get a little facelift – a snarling Wolverine head with laces is added

1976 – UM goes with YELLOW pants for both home AND away games.  M switches to BIKE helmets for the entire team (90% of the players make the switch – a few still wear MacGregor, Rawlings, or Riddell helmets).   A slight change to the helmet design – the middle-strip “tail” is removed and now all three stripes converge at the midway point in the back of the helmet.

1977 – the road (white) jersey enhances the stripes on the sleeves – the middle yellow stripe is enlarged and flanked by a thinner blue stripe on either side

1981 – UM partners with Champion for their team jerseys. The numeral font on the jersey drastically changes – going from bold BLOCK numbers to a thinner, sleeker and more rounded font.

1982 – Another helmet design change. The three stripes now converge at the BOTTOM of the back of the helmet.

1983 – The decals are removed for two years.

1985 – The decals return.

1995 – Lloyd Carr removes the decals.

1997 – The white jerseys are changed – an “M” is added to the sleeves.

2010 – Wingless helmets appear at practice. [Ed. OK, I added that, har har].