OKLAHOMA CITY — Arrogant Americans manager Justin C. Cliburn announced the first re-brand in franchise history Tuesday. The new identity is a complete 180° from the arrogance and hubris of the Arrogant Americans: Welcome the Underdogs to the OIL.
The first Arrogant Americans logo was created 10 years ago today, in time for the 'Mericans' fifth season in the OIL. Now, a decade later, their manager said it had run its course.
"The Arrogant Americans brand was good to us for 14 seasons, but it was time for a change," Justin C. Cliburn said. "The new name, logo, and uniforms are based on the humble beagle, which may seem odd to some."
Cliburn's first dog was a beagle, and he owned three over his lifetime, most recently "Battle." The color scheme evokes the beloved tri-color beagle, while the helmet is reminiscent of the Philadelphia Eagles — only with a floppy dog ear instead of an eagle's wing.
The new brand identity was developed by Impressions Media Group, a graphic design firm based in New York.
"Beagles are an honorable breed — kind, curious, active, and blue-collar. They have been working dogs for hundreds of years," Cliburn said. "Their personality is humble, but they have a deafeningly loud bark and howl when provoked. They are small in stature but carry a big stick. In short, they are the ultimate underdog."
When asked how he calls the winningest team in OIL history underdogs, Cliburn was clear. "It doesn't matter what players did before you. Three previous championships have nothing to do with today. This team went 4-9 last season; as a result, they do not deserve to be associated with the glory of the Arrogant Americans. It's time for an attitude adjustment, and the Underdogs name is just the first step."
When pressed, Cliburn denied that the identity crisis was in response to Lucky Enuf surpassing the 'Mericans on the all-time championships list. Lucky Enuf won a record-fourth OIL Bowl in 2019.
The Underdogs will begin play in 2020, and team merchandise will hit store shelves immediately. Fans may follow the Underdogs on social media at @Underdogs_OIL. #KeepHowling
Exactly 10 years ago, we launched OklahomIraqis.com and a new era of the OIL was born. As a league, we were approaching our fifth season, and "The OIL" wasn't yet in our vocabulary. It was either the OklahomIraqis League or just "the league," not that either name was uttered much in the offseason. So it isn't a coincidence that I started this site that offseason, just one month before I was scheduled to leave the Oklahoma Army National Guard. Leaving the 158 meant I would no longer see the guys at least once a month, and this site was the first step to keep up the communication outside of football season. I think it's been a success.
And the launch of the website was the catalyst for what the OIL is today. To see how different things were then, just look at the first OIL logo and first blog post:
While typing in oklahomiraqis.com will still get you here, the site has changed exponentially. It averages over 1,600 unique visitors per week during the offseason and has grown from about a dozen pages to well over 100. The logo has evolved while remaining true to its roots, and the team names and logos have improved dramatically.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the cooperation of the league members, as begrudging it is at times. Thanks for all the help over the years.
On this 10th anniversary of the league website, what are your favorite additions? What would you like to see moving forward?
With COVID-19 canceling March Madness, we've got to do something to pass the time until the NFL draft. Beginning now, we'll host matchups of your favorite OIL helmets on our Twitter feed. You may follow the results below. The matchups begin between Week 13 rivals, with one set of rivals randomly receiving a bye in each conference.
This is a little late, but it's important. Our SECFOR brothers lost another one. On February 19, 2020, Aaron Helton died in Duncan. Helton was on the 2005-2006 mission and the 2008-2009 Ramadi deployment. At least 20 158th brothers were at Helton's funeral, and he received full military honors.
Helton lives on in the OIL through the Hard Targets, whose logo is based on the former First Platoon Hard Target. Rest in peace, brother.
OKLAHOMA CITY — 2020 marks 15 years since the 1st Battalion 158th Field Artillery regiment deployed to Iraq on the SECFOR mission; it is also the 15th season of the OIL. To commemorate the occasion, the OIL Tuesday unveiled a new logo to be worn for the 2020 season.
The 15th season logo draws on the league's heritage by taking the form of a challenge coin, using stenciled font, and displaying the 1st Battalion 158th Field Artillery unit motto — Unusual Efforts Expended — in Latin. Of course, the logo incorporates the now-familiar OIL logo that has been around since 2015, and the color scheme mirrors that of our flagship logo.
The OIL logo has changed quite a bit since the website was first launched In March 2010. Back then, the commissioner's design skills consisted of finding a photograph of a football and superimposing text and a crude Iraq-inside-Oklahoma image on top of it. When the league ordered its first trophy from SculptureAlley.net, it was told the logo was simultaneously too simple to look good yet too complex for their engraver to replicate. Their art department designed a cleaner, more professional logo, which the OIL used until 2015. As the 10th anniversary approached, the logo was simplified once again, resulting in the current iteration.
They're here! They're here! The 2019 championship jerseys arrived Thursday, January 23, 2020. The AFC's Rebel Alliance went with the home blue since it was their first championship. Likewise for the Vandals and their home black. Lucky Enuf just won their fourth championship, so their options were limited. They ultimately went with a "Salute to Service"-style jersey. You may view all 26 championship jerseys here.
SHAWNEE –– Four-time NFC champion Kevin Pyle laid claim to the Tenequer Memorial Trophy Sunday night, winning the OIL's Liberty Bowl for himself and the NFC. After coming into Week 17 down 25.7 points to the PFC's Vandals, Lucky Enuf surged ahead in the late afternoon games and clinched the victory Sunday night. Despite being down 62.1 points to the Vandals himself, Roe stormed back to finish in second place. Pyle is now eligible for another custom mini-helmet and will have his name engraved on the Tenequer Memorial Trophy.
Week 16 has come and gone, and only three teams remain: the AFC's Rebel Alliance; the NFC's Lucky Enuf; and the PFC's Vandals. Each champion will receive a custom team jersey, as is custom. But the Liberty Bowl remains, where the three conference champions' total scores over Weeks 16 and 17 determine the overall OIL champion. Out of 42, one will stand tall.
The Liberty Bowl champion will receive a custom-made team helmet and the title of overall OIL champion. The managers have until noon on Sunday to submit their lineups to the commissioner. Score will be kept in the below spreadsheet.
SHAWNEE –– They say the good ones make their own luck, and, after winning his fourth championship (and second in a row), it's safe to say Pyle is pret-tay, pret-tay, pret-tay good. It wasn't the dominance we saw in 2018, but it was enough for Pyle to secure a first-round bye and record-fourth OIL championship. Congratulations, Pyle.
After winning two out of the first three OIL Bowls, Lucky Enuf endured a six-season stretch where they averaged only six wins per year. That was followed by a three-year stretch where they averaged a whopping 10 wins per year . . . but failed to reach the OIL Bowl. But the last two seasons have each ended in a championship, bringing Pyle's career total to four. That breaks the three-way tie for most championships previously shared by Pyle, Bruesch, and Cliburn.
Bruesch did not bring home the Lawson Memorial Trophy, but he tied Cliburn with a record-fifth OIL Bowl appearance. SoonerJack is a perennial contender, and he'll be back next year.