Zone Read (Fan Request) – University of Maryland Terrapins

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Team Colors

Red
White
Black
Gold

Welcome to Zone Read, where you can submit a request for me to do an eye shadow play for your favorite sports team, school, superhero, or whatever strikes your fancy. For sports teams, please be as specific as possible (e.g.  home or away uniform, dominant uniform color, and year those uniforms were used). Otherwise I will just pick whatever I like most.

Turnaround for the University of Maryland can’t come fast enough for fans, alumni and the current administration. Former coach Ralph Friedgen was fired for sinking the Terrapins from first to worst in the ACC.  Current coach Randy Edsall still has rebuilding to do. Now that the Terrapins are with the Big Ten (B1G) conference he also has to find his way around a new conference.

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Throwback – Baltimore Ravens

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Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Purple
Black
Gold
White

The Ravens have more helmet mascots/emblems than most teams in the NFL.  Their first helmet emblem was submitted by Frederick E. Bouchat. He was excited to have a football team back in Baltimore. In his excitement he faxed a design concept to the Maryland Stadium Authority. The team showed off their uniforms, with a shield emblem that greatly resembled his original design he faxed not too long ago. Fred sued the Ravens for copyright infringement. He won the case but got only $3 in damages. Later Ravens owner Art Modell changed the emblem to an angry raven with a B superimposed on its head. No doubt this was also done to stop any potential royalties to Fred.

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Throwback – Cincinnati Bengals

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Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Black
Orange
White

The Bengals deserve way more credit than they receive for their role in the modern gridiron football.  These things began in Cincinnati before they were cool:

  • (Game Long) No Huddle Offense – No Huddle Offense is normally used near the end of the first half or the end of a game. The offense would huddle quickly (if at all), then the play is called out in coded words or phrases (“audibles”), and finally the snap is done with a “silent count” (the quarterback makes a gesture such as a toe step or an arm wave as a timer for the offense, rather than shouting a countdown).  Ideally this would tire out the defense and give them no time to settle on the quarterback’s snap count. Sam Wyche, head coach of the Bengals in 1988, is credited for using NHO throughout the game.
  • West Coast Offense – Football was almost exclusively a running offense before the West Coast Offense became popular. WCO has the offense make short yard gains or first downs with quick passes to multiple receivers. Ideally this would spread out the defense and improve the odds of a deep throw connecting. Bill Walsh was the Bengals assistant coach in the early 1970s. Bengals game footage during his time there showed a proto West Coast Offense. Bill went on to refine WCO  while coaching at Stanford University, and it thrived during his head coaching days with the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s.
  • Zone Blitz – A response to the West Coast Offense. The play assigns defense players to specific players (or zones).  This extra movement is meant to confuse the offense about the defense’s block assignments and their own play positioning. Zone Blitz was rarely used in professional football until it was made over by Dick LeBaeau, Bengals defensive coordinator in the 1980s.

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Throwback – Pittsburgh Steelers (né Pirates)

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Black
Yellow

How does a city gain and maintain its own colors?  Pittsburgh has a perfect answer.  Pittsburgh’s flag has black and yellow stripes.  Founder and Pittsburgh native Art Rooney named the football team after the established baseball team in 1933.  Art also adopted the city’s flag colors and design.  This included the black and yellow stripes on the away uniforms for the inaugural season.  Thankfully he placed the stripes only as arm bands the following season.  The Pittsburgh Penguins, the city’s professional hockey team, adopted the black and gold color scheme in 1980.  You have to give it these professional teams for consistency.

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Throwback – Jacksonville Jaguars

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Black
Gold
White
Teal

The Jaguars filled a void for professional football in the southern United States.  During those early years (roughly 1996-2000) they were a force to be reckoned with.  Things like winning streaks, playoff appearances, and stomping out NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino on his last bid for the Superbowl.  Did you know current New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin was coaching the Jacksonville Jaguars at that time?  Well, even he couldn’t keep a good thing going.  Many of the starting lineup were cut due to salary cap, an coach Tom couldn’t plug his replacements back into the winning formula.  The Jaguars franchise is now old enough to start “finding” iteself.  I hope they find a way to be relevant in the playoff picture again.  The only real headlines they made lately were those godawful helmets they debuted last season.

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Throwback – Los Angeles (né Oakland) Raiders

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Team Colors
Silver
Black

The Los Angeles Raiders were a critical part of 1980s LA culture.  They were the bad boys, a sports counter culture to the highly finesse Los Angeles Lakers.  The Raiders also did strange things for the poorer neighborhoods of L.A. (Compton, East L.A., among others): The Raiders gave a common cause for Crips and Bloods to unite.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Ice Cube.

ESPN 30 for 30 Films Presents “Straight Out of Los Angeles”

It’s important to note that Bo Jackson played with the Los Angeles Raiders.  He was so blessed with athletic talent he had to play two professional sports–baseball and football–to showcase everything.  Hell, Al Davis gave his blessing to do it, which is why Bo Jackson ended up with the Raiders.  Oh yes, he could play both sports just fine thank you.  Did I mention he had one of the best Nike sponsorship ad campaigns ever?  If you haven’t watched the ESPN 30 for 30 episode “You Don’t Know Bo,” you really should.  In fact, let me put this up right now.  Go watch it and thank me later.

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Throwback – Atlanta Falcons

throwback-atlfal2 Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Red
Black
Silver
White

After the Coca-Cola museum, but a few years before the 1996 Summer Olympics, Deion Sanders was the star attraction of Atlanta.  The Falcons finally got media attention on them thanks to Neon Deion.   Flamboyant would be the conservative way to describe the Neon Deion persona off the field.  On the field, flamboyant would be one way to describe his play style.  He would volunteer to defend against the legendary Jerry Rice.    The high stepping was to slow his incredible acceleration as he clearly made a run for yet another touchdown.  Yes, he slowed down for his burned defenders.

Sadly, when the 49ers picked up Deion the media spotlight went away for Atlanta until they drafted Michael Vick.  ESPN managed to run the entire Michael Vick Atlanta storyline to the ground, buried it, then reanimated its corpse only to kill it again. Continue reading