Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Auburn Football Quasquicentennial?

Over on Twitter, I typically get a lot of questions in regards to Auburn's uniforms, people wondering where to purchase a specific piece of Auburn merchandise, and even some questions about gameday for the different sports on campus. Recently, I had a question posed to me that I hadn't thought of whatsoever beforehand - Will Auburn celebrate the 125th year of football like they did the 100th anniversary?

Photo via Shanna Lockwood, USA Today Sports

Anniversary patches are an incredibly common aspect to athletic uniforms. The NHL celebrated 100 years with patches on every team once the calendar switched to 2017. Individual franchises sport special patches or decals for what seems like every somewhat significant number of years in operation. The San Francisco 49ers celebrated 70 years of football in 2016, but have anniversary logos for 40, 50, and 60 years in the sport.

With all that said, Auburn is a different story. Auburn doesn't like to celebrate but the biggest of anniversaries. In 1992, the football program was 100 years old, so the team wore special patches commemorating the occasion. That has so far been the only Auburn football-specific anniversary patch sported on the football field. The entire SEC wore 75th anniversary patches in 2007-08, but more on that in a bit.

2014 marked the 75th year of Jordan-Hare Stadium, but the special logo was only found in select places - the schedule posture for the year and a few t-shirts were all I could find personally. I was surprised to see the logo wasn't on the football uniforms at all. I expected it to appear on the back of the helmets in the form of a small decal, but it never did.

Auburn University's 150th
anniversary logo.
The basketball program also celebrated a centennial year during the 2005-06 season, and wore a special patch for the milestone. The odd part of this patch design was that it consisted on the clock tower from Samford Hall, not anything related to the basketball program. It seemed more of an academic patch than an athletic patch.

Speaking of academic anniversaries, Auburn University marked the 150th year of the school in 2006 with a special logo (right). The interesting part was that it was found on the football field at the 25-yard lines.

Going back to the SEC patches, there have been a few special patches worn. The 2007-08 season marked the 75th anniversary of the creation of the conference. Every sport under the SEC banner at all the schools wore a special patch throughout the entire year. Two years prior, when Auburn basketball celebrated 100 years, the SEC basketball teams had a throwback uniform program and another special patch to celebrate "Eight Decades of Championship Basketball."

With knowing how Auburn, the SEC, and other organizations celebrate these milestones, let's turn back to the 125th anniversary coming up. First off, a little lesson from a 2016 Uni-Watch article detailing the difference between an anniversary patch and an ordinal patch (well worth the read if you have time):
There’s a difference between an anniversary and an ordinal. An anniversary is the same as a birthday — you celebrate it at the conclusion of the numbered year in question. Example: When you turned 10 years old, you celebrated your 10th birthday, which was also the 10th anniversary of your birth. An ordinal is always one number ahead of the anniversary. Example: On your 10th birthday, you began your 11th year.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Wild took two
 different approaches to celebrating their history.
What's the difference in terms of the patches? Take a look at the patches to the left. Notice how the anniversary patch has a cleaner look in terms of the years represented (2000 - 2010 rather than 1995 - 2014) than that of the ordinal patch.

What's the point of all this? It's that Auburn has been strictly celebrating anniversaries in terms of their milestone celebrations. The 100 year patches for basketball and football both were anniversaries, as were the 75th logo for Jordan-Hare and the 150th logo for the University.

That would lead me to assume that if Auburn were to celebrate 125 years of football, then the upcoming 2017 season would be the time to do so. With the end of the athletic season coming real soon, we should expect to see whether Auburn is planning to do this or not soon enough. The 100th anniversary was celebrated throughout the year on the football programs and the media guide that was printed well in advance of the season. Typically, the upcoming media guides are available around the time of SEC Media Days, which are set to begin on July 10th. Once the media guide is released, we will have a better idea of whether this is set to happen or not.

Personally, I would expect to see something similar to the recent 75th anniversary logo for Jordan-Hare. I would imagine to see a nice logo created, but not marketing all that much and won't appear on the uniforms. I personally believe in celebrating every milestone (especially for smaller organizations), but it just doesn't seem like Auburn - to me - to do something special for this one.

(Albert Cesare - Montgomery Advertiser)
Another big part to think of is the space on the jersey itself. If Auburn were to create a patch for the season, then the front of the jerseys could very well get incredibly crowded. With the SEC patch and the Under Armour logo embroidered on the other side, along with the embroidered "Auburn" directly below, there's not a lot of space left. Take a look at last year's Sugar Bowl jersey. Notice how the bowl patch fits well on the shoulder area. But also think of how crowded it would look with yet another item on the opposite side. Let's use the 100th anniversary logo just for proof of concept:

I'm not saying that Auburn should stray away from doing the anniversary patch solely because of how crowded the jersey could look. I'm just saying that, with today's landscape of college jerseys, it's something that needs to be considered. Something that might not have been considered back in 1992 when there wasn't as much on the chest and football jerseys were a completely different style.

So what do you think? Should Auburn do something special for the upcoming season?

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  1. If, you want to celebrate 125 years of football, make the throw back uniforms from the 20's and 30's. Wear the Khaki pants and orange jerseys.

    1. I wrote two years ago about how Auburn could gradually make an alternate, and the khaki and orange uniforms were included then

  2. 125th Anniversary belt loop tramp stamps for everybody!

  3. Love the throwback designs. One game a year could be fun to see a different, but still traditional look. Agree though that there will be a subtle patch that MAY get on the field but that's it. WDE