After weeks of discussing how Auburn has looked on-the-field, we now take the time to appreciate and critique how they looked off-the-field — unless, of course, we’re talking about the field.
In what is sure to once again raise discussion and incite a couple of riots in the comments below, we’ll take a close look at the tweaks, the sights, and the sounds of Jordan-Hare Stadium and the Auburn Tigers this season; as you can see in the photo above, some aspects require a much closer look than others.
We’ll begin with the stadium, whose exterior changes were very well documented here at TWER, and which we thought for a moment was, along with the field, named after Coach Dye, Coach Jordan, and (Life) Coach Hare, before that was fixed. Along with the new signs hanging outside the stadium, we have updated player banners hung outside the south end zone, as well as a new national championship banner outside the north end zone.
All of the changes on the outside of the stadium look great — except, perhaps, for the still-developing shower curtain things near the club entrance. We’ll hold out judgement on that until it’s finished.
Moving to the inside, we find that Heisman trophy portaits have been placed around the Jumbotron, surrounded by logos commemorating the 2010 and 1957 championship seasons. All of these look great, except that the portrait with all three of the stadium namesakes looks a little crowded, and the advertising right underneath them makes it look a little tacky. At least most of the sponsors have classy ads (I think the timeless Coca-Cola logo might actually make Pat Sullivan look better) but others don’t blend so well. Looking at you, YellaWood.
On the field, not much appears to have changed (except that it’s five inches lower) besides the midfield logo, which now has the 50 and 45 yard lines running over it rather than stopping at it as it did last season. It gives the logo the appearance of being underneath the gridiron and yard markers as opposed to on top of it.
Finally, there is also the change in the goal posts, which are now white instead of yellow. Obviously, I hate it. It doesn’t make much sense, unless white is one of your two primary colors like it is for Alabama. The word on the tweet has always been that the new goal posts were put in for the high school state championship games last season and are retractable to fit the width for high school and college games, but why couldn’t the new ones be the same yellow? When I think of football, I think of it being played on real, natural grass between two tall, yellow goal posts.
Auburn’s uniforms received a utility upgrade this season when Under Armour introduced some new, lightweight, more sophisticated equipment.
But aesthetically, most would agree that this year’s gear has been a major downgrade. We’ll begin with the pants, whose traditional stripes have always gone straight to the bottom of the pants, but this season tapers off and comes to a point.
I’m not as upset about this as most, because if you look closely you can see the pant piping that stretches around to the side and cuts off the striping. Function always comes before cosmetics, so of course it’s fine with me to change the striping to fit the functional design of the pants. I have a feeling that if they tried to keep the stripes going over the piping, and yet another thread below that, it would come out looking worse than it does now.
Still, the stripe just feels like a temporary thing. I’m fine with it for the time being, but in 10 years I can’t imagine Auburn still wearing stripes that come to a point on their pants. Hopefully they’ll be able to find some kind of workaround for the next batch of gear.
The pants have also come with new, metal belt buckles, which Onterio McCalebb evidently didn’t even feel the need to use last Saturday.
There’s also the small “War Eagle” on the belt line, which I don’t think bothers people nearly as much as they thought it would when we found out about it during the offseason.
Up top, Riddell doesn’t appear to have made any changes to Auburn’s helmet, although some players have sported some new chinstraps with the AU logo that don’t look so good. However, others have worn plain chinstraps with a small “Auburn” written on it; it must be up to the players.
When you look at Auburn’s new jerseys, the first thing you notice is the absolutely tiny names on the back. If you don’t think it’s a drastic change, just compare Lutzenkirchen 2010 to Lutzenkirchen 2011, where the 13-letter last name doesn’t even stretch beyond the 2-numeral number.
It’s not just an Auburn thing, however; South Carolina and other fellow Under Armour schools have been dealt the tiny, 8-point font. That doesn’t make it right. It’s strange and it doesn’t look very good, and I can’t give it a pass when the actual name-plate strip appears to be the same size as a usual jersey’s. There doesn’t appear to be any added function — just Under Armour using the schools to somehow show that they’re different from those Nike guys.
But it’s not just the names that have changed. The tighter sleeves have given the shoulder stripes a serious downgrade as well — just compare Lutzie 2010 to 2011 again. They’ve essentially been downgraded to sleeve patches instead of prominent stripes. Meanwhile, instead of hitting a ridge going down the arm as per the definition of the word “sleeve,” the stripes now awkwardly rest at kind of a 45 degree angle on the bowl of the shoulder.
We can hope that Under Armour’s new uniforms provide as much function to the players as they tout, because, honestly, they don’t look as good. This is how Auburn’s football uniforms are supposed to look. This just doesn’t. Hopefully Auburn can bow up to its outfitter and get the classy look back, on top of Under Armour’s newest and best gear.
Finally we come to everyone’s favorite part (and the most controversial): The pregame Jumbotron videos.
We’ll start with the good, and that’s the pre-kickoff video, or as it has been coined, the Inspirational video.
Just like last year, the second video that plays right before kickoff has exceeded the actual introduction video that plays before the team’s entrance.
The song might not be everyone’s favorite this time around, but there’s only so many epic movie OST’s and Safe-For-Stadium songs out there that chill bumps respond to, so I’m not going to knock it.
As for the videography, I love all of the classic clips — so much so that I don’t want words written all over them. And it seems like the Heisman winners and the clips from last year’s national championship game should have their place in some other video, instead of the one playing right before the completely different, 2011 team takes the field. “Hey, there’s Pat, Bo, and Cam!… Too bad we’re not going to see any of those people today.”
But overall, the video is fine. Besides last year’s Inception video and, obviously, the golden standard 2004 “Rise” video, I can’t really name an Auburn stadium video that I’ve liked better.
The same can’t be said for this year’s intro video.
Never mind the critiquing, let’s just take a look at this video for what it is. For the first quarter of the video, we have Gene Chizik talking. He’s pandering to the fans — as if to say “Hey, we mentioned you. You can clap now.” — for what they call in the ‘rasslin business a “cheap pop,” or for what they call everywhere else, “butt-kissing.”
Then we get 15 seconds of players, play diagrams projected all over them, green screens, with highlights set to an awesome take from the “Inception” OST. Oh, it’s not that they don’t know how to make an awesome video, because they do, they just choose to make the awesome a few seconds long. Then when get more talking. Gene panders to the fans a second time — while we get closer, closer, and closer with some intense zooming in on his face — and then we see clips from last year’s team winning last year’s national championship last year.
Then we steal the “Tradition Lives Here” line from ESPN. Fantastic.
But the worst part? I never thought I’d admit I might actually take T-Pain back, but even if we somehow wanted to, we couldn’t. He’s already burned that bridge.
Original photo via.
Related: The Aesthetics of Auburn Athletics, 2010.
* Auburn almost had a giant eagle for a mascot
* Auburn tailgaters covert casket into grill
* Jaime Edmondson sports Auburn shirt in Cam Newton’s Pants photos
* Apple CEO Tim Cook only writes personal email replies to Auburn fans
* Auburn fan shot dead in Alabama fan rap video
* Shug Jordan dug the heck out of houndstooth
* War Eagle Moment from space scheduled for October 25
* “War Eagle” carved into face of the Spinx
* Fans equate Iron Bowl losses with the end of the world—now confirmed by science!
Auburn Elvis says
The sleeve stripe issue is a concern. I wonder if they shouldn’t move the stripes onto the undershirt like the Army Pro combat unis (although, higher up than Army’s): http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/24156338/31951059
I don’t like the tiny names, and I find this year’s entrance videos underwhelming compared to last year’s.
Auburn c/o 2004 says
Do you suffer from OCD???? I see nothing wrong with the new uniforms and things in the stadium. In fact it’s really not that noticeable. If they made changes to look like power rangers (see georgia and boise state) then you would have an argument.
Foy Onion says
Actually, Jordan-Hare has traditionally had white goal posts. I’m not completely sure when we made the switch to yellow (sometime between 1997 and 2003 after a quick look at a few youtube videos), but I’m more than happy to see the white return.
I completely agree with you on the uniform tweeks, however. I can live with them for now, but I’d like to see a return to the old stripes on both jerseys and pants. At least Under Armour isn’t Marylanding us.
Also, if UA is trying to use the tiny NOB font as a way of differentiating itself from other companies, they’ve failed. Mississippi State also had tiny names on the back of their Adidas uniforms.
The orange stripes seem brighter this year too. Then again, maybe that’s just from having to strain to read the names.
The tiny names are a product of the trend of making jerseys as small and stretchy as possible. Reebok started the trend in the NFL with the NY Giants and a few other teams either last year or the year before (can’t remember when) and its starting to trickle down through Reebok-owned Adidas and UA has jumped on board. Anywho, the equipment manager for the Giants has gone on record saying the names have to be tiny because of how the whole jersey goes from super tiny to super stretched when over pads.
As a defender of the T-Pain video last year, I am glad they “retired” it. As with the new videos, I have no problem. It’s almost like they knew last year was phenomenal, and that this year had no chance to match, so they made the pregame videos with the same thought process – “Hey, let’s make a pretty good video, but let’s not waste a phenomenal video on an O.K. season.”
It’s very early-2000’s – especially with the re-introduction of “Eye of the Tiger” when the team takes the field. Which is not a complaint, just an observation that there’s been a move toward a more standard, normal, expected pregame video/fan experience. This is Auburn’s status quo pregame.
One other observation – The white goalposts are as classic/traditional as it gets. I can’t remember exactly when the yellow ones were first installed, but my first memory of them was around 2001 (when they got torn down after Damon Duval buried Florida). Previous to that, white. The goalposts that were torn down in 1993 after “E-LEVEN-AND-OHHHH” (and subsequently cut up and sold) were definitely white. Classic look aesthetically, but I’m not sure what kickers prefer.
Also- as long as we’re tweaking our uniforms, why not go “throwback” one game and bring back those epic mid-90’s shadow numbers? We could even paint a white circle around the AU at midfield….
My problem with the uniform changes is that our uniforms now look remarkably like South Carolina’s. It’s like Under Armour is trying to standardize all of their uniforms so that they’re easier and therefore more profitable for Under Armour to produce. Auburn shouldn’t allow them to change our traditions for the sake of their profits.
Justin Lee says
Foy Onion and w4au — Yes, Auburn’s goal posts were white for some time, until at least 1999. The yellow goal posts came in either in 2000 or 2001. But in football, yellow goal posts are the norm and is what I would prefer. It differentiates them from soccer goals and, for example, every team in the NFL has them by rule. Unless you’re an Oklahoma or an Alabama and feature white as an essentially secondary color, it doesn’t make much sense to go out of your way and against the grain with different goal posts.
KrisKunnis — It would make sense that the NOBs are small for the elasticity of the jersey, but if you look closely, the stitched-on rectangular “name plate” looks about the same size as before; The strips of fabric aren’t tiny, they just have tiny names on them. You’re definitely right, it has to do with the elasticity. But it seems like Under Armour didn’t have to go THAT small, and it definitely seems like they didn’t put their best effort forward in the names department.
My gosh at the things some folks worry about! Its obvious UA is experimenting. They are watching these games too and will probably fix the names and arm stripes next year. (if you ask me it’s serifs on the font and not the size that makes them unreadable. I had a hard time with the larger ones last year)
The AU on the chinstrap bothers you? Seriously?
But you better be ready for theit next insignifcant detail that you won’t like, because I promise you it’s coming.
I just want Auburn to beat Clemson.
1) I love the “War Eagle” along the back beltline. Other than that, I prefer the old uniform designs.
2) I HATE that 30 Seconds to Mars song. The drum beats are fine until the little African children’s choir starts singing. And Jared Leto? Seriously? Honestly, instead of cheering, the entire student section should hold hands and sway like we’re singing Kumbaya. I’m not sure how I can express my utter repulsion towards this song choice. Besides that, I’m okay (and just okay) with the video footage of each.
I prefer the jersey sleeve stripes the 1989 on the defensive linemen.
I’d like to see them dig in the vault a little deeper for some video highlights. Believe me I love the BIG, meaningful plays in AU history. Heck I see the same ones in every years video. But what about throwing in something like this. A slightly less recognized player in a game against a “nobody” (forgive me coach dye) that really exemplifies the heart and fight our guys bring every week. Just saying…(yes poor vid quality)
I think there was a similar play around that year or the next. Maybe ’99 UGA game where Ronnie Daniels dragged a few guys. I’m not suggesting we scrap the Ronnie blowing up UT DB or Eddins obliterating the LSU QB etc, but we could have more of these plays in addition to the status quo IMO. I mean really how many times to we need to see courtney taylor kneel after his TD in ’04. The play, while a defining moment in the season, was just not all that impressive. I’ll stop nitpicking now. War Eagle!
Considering the ease with which videos can be edited these days, they should use some of those standard historic plays and then tweak it for each opponent by adding big plays from past games.
For instance, last week’s video could have included Brent Fullwood’s long TD in Starkville in 1986, a couple of Nick Fairley’s big moments from last year, or other historical plays from games past with State.
Against Florida this year, put in Bo’s long TDs in 1983, Slack-to-Wasden in 1989, Duval’s game winner in 2001, Byrum’s in the Swamp from a couple of years ago, etc.
It would pretty easy to do with the right resources and equipment, all of which exist in Auburn.
Agree on all points, except I dont care about the goal posts. I hate any tinkering with Auburn’s unis. They are the best as is, but the thread is right, change is inevitable. I just hope we stay off the alternate uni bandwagon. Throwback unis have all the cache without the new age bs. I say bring back the big mesh, Pat Sullivan half shirts, booyah!
Found this article on Uniwatch.
I’m not an Auburn student; I attend Virginia Tech. This is a good article about the uniforms, however I have one comment to make about the sleeve stripes.
I do agree that the new striping is uglier than last year’s. Though I disagree with you saying that last year’s sleeves are how they are supposed to look. I’m not an Auburn historian but I will assume that before the sleeves of last year took shape, perhaps back in the 70s and 80s, Auburn had real sleeves. One could argue from a classic look standpoint that those sleeves are REALLY how they are supposed to look, not like they did in 2010. It’s really just the evolution of the ever-tighter fit teams are looking for.
Does it look good? No. But the sleeve issue from the 70s up to today really just seems like a losing battle.
Overall, again, good article.
Justin Lee says
Kyle, you’re right, Auburn did have the loose, longer sleeves in the 80s or so, and with Auburn’s striping, it looked great.
But those aren’t coming back, and I suppose the point is, the sleeves this year don’t look as good as they did last year, and more importantly, they don’t look as good as they could look. Even with the new tighter, breathable jerseys they’re using, I still feel like Under Armour could have kept the stripes longer and lowered them so they’d at least look straight, and not crooked on the bowl of the shoulder. But perhaps Under Armour doesn’t even know their own product that well.
That is to say, just because it’s tighter fitting doesn’t mean it has to look like crap. Which, I think we both agree, it pretty much does.
Uniwatch is a great site. Actually, I think some of us went straight to Uniwatch vernacular (“NOBs”, ect.) here in the comment section without even thinking about it.