Friday, May 29, 2020

Piling On Rams Helmets?—Well, If They Deserve It Then It's Okay

By John Turney

The Rams release more photos and explanations of their new uniforms and helmet. We are not sure if it was today or not, but we first saw it today. It was what you might expect from an organization fighting pushback on the release of a new product.

Here is a screen capture of the introduction—

You'll see we've highlighted Fred Gehrke's name. That is because the Rams official website listed him as "fullback Fred Gehrke". He wasn't a fullback. He was a halfback. Piling on? Maybe.  But how hard is it to get that right? All they need do is go to Pro Football to get that information. It's not like we'd ask them to watch film or anything to gather that data point.

Of course, if it were a one-time thing it wouldn't be a big deal, but this comes from an organization that gets a lot wrong. From post-game notes to their media guide. And they don't seem to care and they have a Los Angeles and Ram media that (a) doesn't care or (b) doesn't know enough to correct the Rams staff when they make errors.

Here is an example.
The above shot is from the Rams media guide. They list Eddie Meador as having blocked 10 punts in his career and Jack Youngblood and Deacon Jones as having blocked eight punts each in their Rams careers. None of those three Rams greats ever blocked a single punt in their careers. 

And this isn't just an isolated nit-picking incident. It's a pattern and practice for their organization's media/press relations and elsewhere. 

Moving on.

Now we've again highlighted the same phrase from the release this time highlighting "color" and "shape"—
These are very key. The clear meaning of what the Rams are trying to convey here is that since the color and share of the horns have evolved over time then Rams fans who don't like the new horn (that Rams literature admits is a wave-horn) are simply anti-change or hanging on to a tradition that does not really exist since don't you know the "color and shape of the horns have evolved".

Yeah, right.  Who do you think they are talking to?

That is known as a true lie of a vacuous fallacy and is illogical on its face. It is also a red herring. So take your pick of logical fallacies. 

While it is true that the color and shape have evolved there is a reason for that. However, even so, they have never evolved to exclude the curl of the ram horn so as to render it into a "C" or a banana as Eric Dickerson called it or to hybridize it as a wave-horn as the artists intended it—
It's not that Ram fans couldn't accept a change in color or some small change in shape, it's that they (most of them and other uniform aficionados and NFL fans) didn't want what Kevin Demoff himself called "sacrosanct" bastardized into some "crashing wave" or "ocean wave" looking horn.

They wanted a ram horn with the curl.

And that is why the phrase "color and shape of the horns have evolved" is a true lie or a vacuous fallacy. It is meant to deceive. It is meant to say "hey, this change isn't out of the ordinary, you guys are just ignorant of the past, there have been lots of changes, you just don't know about them, we are the Rams brass, we're smart, we've researched this stuff (like they did Fred Gehrke?) and we know the color and shape has changed before".

Again. Yeah, right. 

We can hear D-Day, Bluto, Boon, and the rest of Delta Tau Chi coughing "Bullshit" under their breaths on this one. 

Here are the facts. Yes, the colors and shape of the ram horn have changed over the years. Why? Because the Rams have changed colors over the years. That explains the color change. Now, in 2020, we are not aware of anyone who does not like the new Rams colors—Rams Royal and Sol, or also known as 'blue' and 'yellow' or 'gold' if you like. Most like the metallic chrome blue helmet as well.

Perhaps some don't. It sure looks good on Angelo State—
So there is no reason it shouldn't look good on the Los Angeles Rams . It sure "worked" for the logo didn't it?—
So, we've established that the Rams have changed colors since 1948 when the Rams added the horns to their uniforms. They went from blue and gold, to red and gold (one year) to blue and gold, to blue and white to blue and gold to navy and old gold. And in each change, the helmets were the darker color and the horns were the lighter color. Nothing that would not be expected over a 70+ year history.

Here are the major Rams helmets from 1948-2020. Only one lacks the curl but there have been changes in color. No doubt. 
As for the shape, which is the real issue. yes, the shape has changed, too. In 1948 the Rams helmets were leather and the horns were had painted. In 1948 the helmets were plastic and the horn was a decal. In 1950 the helmets were plastic and the horns were painted again. 

Over time the shape of helmets changed and that necessitated the change in the shape of the horn. Facemasks were added in the early-to-mid 1950s. Then those masks became "cages" for some players with different attachment points. That evolved over time as did the helmets. In the late-1970s the horns were again applied by decal, rather than being masked off and painted on. The color of the helmets varied from time to time as the helmets when from being ordered white then sprayed blue (with the horn masked) to being pigmented blue in the manufacturing process. And on and on.

But the horn ALWAYS had the curl of a mature ram. Not the curl of a wave or a very young male ram. It never looked like a "C" or a banana.

Here are horns from 1948 to the 2010s. The color has changed, even the curl angles changed some, depending on the era. The amount of space and the type of attachment the masks required. 
But over that 72 years, none of them do this cur the curl almost out completely—
So it's really odd that the Rams are trying to see this as some run-of-the-mill change similar in size and scope as has been done in the previous 72 years so as to try and soften the blow to Ram fans who are pushing back and to NFL fans who are responding to polls overwhelmingly negatively.

The first tact by Kevin Demoff was to go on the radio and for all intents and purposes call those who didn't like the uniforms "anti-change" and then said they would love it when they saw the uniforms under the right circumstances, in the new stadium (aren't have the games on the road?) on the oculus and so on. And when did Demoff see the new uniforms in the new stadium anyway? Did we miss the opening? He also said, from a distance, the horn will look like the old Ram horn anyway. Great, but what about up close? 

The rest of the pro-new look Ram crowd will just go after critics of the new lid with name-calling, "You're old, anti-change, you're a 49er fan, you're stupid, you're gay, and so on". And that goes for others who have been critical of the new wave-horn on Twitter. Demoff has divided the Rams fanbase in our view. It's gotten very ugly. But that is what this kind of thing reaps when you sow this kind of division. 

It would be as though the Yankees changed their pinstripes and interlocking "NY" or the Montreal Canadiens changed their "C".  The Rams logo was the NFL's first and Demoff changed it significantly and then when called out on it told telling his organization to call it a routine change, similar to that which has been done in the past. Nothing to see here, move on. 

He must think he's talking to the local LA media or the Rams online media. Some can be fooled by Demoffspeak. We won't. 

Mr. Demoff, Don't say this is just a routine change. Say you didn't hold the original horn shape with the curl of a mature ram sacrosanct. Just say that you wanted a wave-horn. Say that held more value to you. It's offensive to people who know the difference between a normal change like what happened in 1964, 1973, and 2000 and what has happened in 2020. Thinking people get the difference. Don't try to spin your way out of it. Nothing can be done to change it. You won. It will be this way for at least five years. And if you are stubborn, as long as you are with the Rams. Congrats. 

Just mount these magnificent curled horned specimens on your wall. One is endangered. Two of them are extinct, the two on the right. 

Now on to Nike
Yes. Right there. The horn is chopped off. 
This morning the Rams released on YouTube a video entitled "The Design Process of the Rams New Uniforms - Behind the Scenes". It may have been released earlier on the Rams website but we missed it. 

In this video, Nike's Steve McClard (Sr. Design Director) and Jason Wright (Sr. Graphic Designer) offer opinions, which are simply not defensible regarding the Rams horn. 

Again, it's more of the same buzzwords used by fast guys and slick talkers who always try to get your money. They are not the plain-spoken, straight talkers needed to explain why they changed the iconic horn to such a degree and why they need to try and justify it as Demoff does as "respecting the past" which is clearly not true.

Wright said, "We had the opportunity to bring that (the horn) design into the modern era". McClard added, "There also was a healthy respect of the past. If would have been really easy for you guys to say, 'hey, let's throw everything out for the new, and start over, but that wasn't the case". 

Well, Mr. McClard, with the integrity of the horn, that is what happened. That is why you used qualifying words like a healthy respect. What does that mean? In whose opinion. What IS a healthy respect? Is that a little? A Lot. This is a weasel word, sir. 

Ben Marker, the General Manager of Riddell, then opined, "I think the change in the Ram horn is very cutting edge" I believe it is very unique to what is in the NFL right now." Well, in the second half he's right. There are no other wave-horns. But "cutting edge"? Again, that is a buzzword. It has no real meaning except in a PR video which is what he appeared in that the Rams released, in our view as damage control. And then he goes into the color, which again, as far as we know is generally accepted. So, if he's talking about that then we and most everyone would agree. 

Earlier in the video, Wright said, "When there are no limitations you can kind of go down rabbit holes". Wait, didn't Demoff report to the media that he told Nike that the horn was "sacrosanct"? Well, Nike, we guess, thought there were no limitations and it's apparent because the curl in the horn was left out.
If Nike was told horns were sacrosanct, what is with this iteration?
The spin will be "well, it's our job to look at everything", Sure it is.
Why is there a set of uniforms with helmets with just numerals on them?
Clearly more was on the table than Demoff and Nike is telling fans.
Look, these guys did what they were paid to do. The responsibility is with the Rams brass. Sure, what they are saying is weak sauce. Just saying the words "cutting edge" does not make it "cutting edge". Saying you brought the horn into the "modern era" does not mean you did. Just uttering the syllables of the words that sound out the words "a healthy respect of the past" does not make it so. Claims like that need to be proven when you've changed an icon to the level which they have.

Those are platitudes used in a video that was meant to get fans excited about new uniforms. It's not a real discussion of things. It's not intelligent debate, nor was it meant to be.

Why did Rams release now? We don't know. Maybe we just missed it. 

But since they offered their views and we've given ours—There was not a healthy respect for the past in the changing of the horn and their so-called "modernizing" is just a word with no basis in fact or evidence. 

They but a break in the horn near the top and cut out the curl. There, done, that is your "modern horn". And oh, by the way, we were inspired by Fibonacci and the ocean waves of Los Angeles beaches when he designed it. That is not modernization. That is just Nikespeak which is bullshit to you and me.

McClard called the Rams uniforms "future timeless". The same thing was likely said by Nike executives about the Cleveland Browns uniforms or the Jacksonville Jaguars uniforms or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniforms and look at what happened to them. Timeless became just about the league minimum for the amount of time you have to wear a Nike-designed eyesore. 

Future timeless?

How about the present desecration of an icon? The NFL's first logo, Mr. McClard. 

This wasn't that hard, any of these would be fine.

The upper-left was created by someone on Twitter named "Made by Tim", though we did change that to blue. The bottom left, also was someone on Twitter. Again, let us know if you did it and we will credit you. 


  1. Yeah, what did you do run out of beefcake photos to use crayons to color over?

    Heard Artie T. and Kevin D. and Pastoors and even Enos Stanley K. are going to hog-tie your gay ass over your crap this time. You will be back to posting beefcake shots and vintage crayon shots from 100 years ago when they get through with you.

  2. John, ignore the idiot that cowers behind "anonymous"......your vintage "crayon" shots are great....keep sharing them.....more to point, the Rams current management are as you say....liars and fools who simply do not appreciate the history and culture of the game.....what the h--- does "beach or surfing" have to do with pro football? The history of the Rams is Deacon Jones, NOT (and I'm a fan in a different context) Brian Wilson.....there's so much from contemporary ownership that makes the Jerry Glanville "NFL stands for the No Fun League" presient....hey Rams..."FIX THE HORN" paraphrase the late great John Milner from American Grafitti: "Pro football's been goin' downhill ever since Vince Lombardi (or maybe it's Bert Bell) died."

  3. A year+ later I still dislike the new helmets, uniforms, and logos. Will never grow into them. Dumboff is a weasel and we never needed a change. Just a solid return to those 1973=1999 beauties. Those say LA more than a stupid wave horn. Thank you for this blog because it needed to be said by a legit NFL historian.