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Who Dat ?

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  • Who Dat ?

    Hi everyone – I’m in a really mellow mood just now (not a jot of grumpy old codger anywhere !), it must be the hint of spring in the air (time for the a/c’s to be serviced !).

    I didn’t know whether to post or blog this under films or sport, but sport it is.

    Since about 1987, I’ve been a fan of New Orleans Saints, as well as Heart of Midlothian (since 3 years old when my Granddad took me to Princes Street to see them bring home the Cup in 1956).

    Apart from a number of baseball caps, pennants and tees etc over the years, I now have an authentic, full-size current model N.O. Saints Riddell Revolution Speed game helmet with all its padding and full face grid gracing my display cabinet, plus a display case of miniature NFL helmets of all 32 teams. The chance to see the Saints on TV is limited where I am, but there’s even less chance of seeing Hearts (thank God for the internet)

    Anyway, I was on a retro TV channel the other night (AMC) and a 1969 film came on called “Number 1”. It starred Charlton Heston as an NFL quarterback reaching the end of his career. It wasn’t a particularly good film (it was more a domestic drama than a sports film) but unusually for Hollywood, it featured only 100% real NFL teams, rather than fictional teams. In this case, Charlton Heston was QB for New Orleans Saints. Now that I found very interesting ! Instead of only seeing the Saints historical uniforms from photos and drawings, I was now seeing their 1969 uniform in glowing Technicolor and close-up from all angles. The Saints were first franchised in New Orleans in 1967 and their owner was a jazz fan and his favourite tune was “When The Saints Go Marching In”. The fleur-de-lys emblem of course is the old French colonial emblem which made its way onto the coat of arms and flag of the city of New Orleans. Black, gold and white – well they’re quite striking and stately-looking and black and gold features in Catholic church symbolism (eg railings etc) and they just look good !

    I was intrigued that the Saints have kept quite close to their origins, even allowing for sports fashion changes. However, some elements look slightly strange to the modern eye. The 1969 helmet looks like a brain, ie it’s not fully rounded but the crown swells slightly above ear level and has a slightly flattened top. The areas over the ears swell out too, almost like modern combat helmets. In fact, the helmet looks like a Fifties USAF pilots helmet. The face bars are not the grid of today but a much simpler one or two bar styles with grey coating. The fleur de lys emblems are bigger and thinner and I saw the top stripes could be either black/white/black or white/black/white.

    The shirts were cotton, rounded collar instead of vee and not of today’s advanced sports design and material. There were no Saints or Louisiana map logos on body or sleeves, just large numbers front and back. Sleeves were full elbow length and carried small numbers and hooped bands in team colours. Pants had multi-stripes and socks had multi-banded tops. Those multi-bands on sleeves and socks were a common feature of NFL at the time and nowadays only a relatively few teams wear them. Quite a few Saints fans lament their passing and want their return, unimpressed as they are with some current Saints trends such as their alternative near-plain all black uniform (including plain black socks). I prefer their current white uniform with gold pants and stripes.

    I guess I’m showing my “history-geek” tendencies here !

    BTW, at home I also have on display 2 retro shirts of Hearts from the 1960’s – their classic cotton maroon shirt with white collar and triangle infill and their maroon/white “Candy Stripe’ shirt.
    Last edited by Lachlan09; 19th February 2015, 08:05.