We recently discussed the possibility of an NFL team coming to Oklahoma City. UniWatch was kind enough to link to our post asking for uniform and logo design submissions.
We received our first submission this week. Tom Bierbaum of Erie, Pa. said he'd been thinking of an Oklahoma City NFL franchise named the 89ers for decades:
"The name probably sounds funny to most ears, but the old minor league baseball team from Oklahoma City used to be called the 89ers (after the people who rushed into the state when it was opened to settlement in 1889) and I actually saw that team play at the Tacoma Cubs in old Cheney Stadium in the summer of 1968 as a field trip with my Colt League baseball team. For whatever reason, I was fascinated by that visiting team, the city and the name, so that fall, when us Bierbaum kids decided to "add" expansion teams to our pretend pro football league, I came up with the improbable idea of creating an Oklahoma City 89ers in the pro ranks."
I also remember the 89ers. They're now named the Redhawks, and I cannot express enough how much I hate that name. The 89ers was local, unique and historical. I deliberately ignored the name when it came time to name our hypothetical NFL franchise though. It is too close to 49ers to be a viable name for an NFL team in my opinion. Mr. Beirbaum admitted straight away that he violated the only rule of the contest: naming the team the Oklahoma City Roughnecks. But he had his reasons:
"I should mention that my dislike of the team name "Roughnecks" is multi-faceted -- though it's an oil-industry term that's appropriate enough for oil-rich Oklahoma, to most people it will sound like a thuggish nickname that to me reflects what's wrong with modern sports rather than celebrating what has traditionally been appealing to me about sports. Beyond that, it virtually demands black as a primary color and for my taste, there is way, way too much black in the NFL these days. In my mind I can see the black and silver uniform with red trim that seems almost inevitable given today's uniform trends. I'm personally really tired of squinting at the set and not being able to tell apart teams like the Texans, Falcons, Ravens and Jaguars apart in their black-white-black uniforms (the Texans are navy blue, but look virtually the same on TV), and when you throw in the black-and-silver Raiders and Panthers, the navy, silver and red Patriots and the red, black and dark-silver ("pewter") Buccaneers, you get a big portion of the league that's just visually monotonous. I cringe at the thought of a new or relocated team adding to this trend."
I disagree with Mr. Bierbaum in that regard, but I understand and respect his reasoning. I also hate the creeping BFBS (black for black's sake) influence in the NFL. But a Roughnecks team wouldn't necessarily be married to black. Silver, grey, brown, maroon (rust), red (for the red Oklahoma clay drillers work in) and black are all feasible. And the Raiders have shown that black can look fantastic as a primary color. It's not black's fault that teams like the Eagles, Ravens, Jaguars, and Panthers adopted it for home jerseys to varying degrees of ugliness.
Instead, Mr. Bierbaum's 89ers would compete in purple and yellow. I am generally a fan of purple in sports, but not in Oklahoma. Purple just would not work here. Red would because "Oklahoma" is a Choctaw word for "red people." And the original Oklahoma state flag was red before it was changed during the Red Scare. The Thunder's blue works well for them because of the current state flag. But purple? Not here.
I am a huge fan of the simplicity of the current Oklahoma City Redhawks logo. I could see a variation of it in silver, white and black being a great logo (or alternate logo) for an Oklahoma City Roughnecks team. It might even look good with a maroon C and silver OK.
Anyway, I do thank Mr. Bierbaum for his submission, and here is his prototype of the Oklahoma City 89ers:
Oklahoma City 89ers
Thank you to Mr. Bierbaum for the submission. If you're reading this, please share it or send submissions yourself to OklahomIraqis@gmail.com.
Thanks for the coverage of my NFL design. I felt as you did that an 89ers in the same league as the 49ers wasn't really going to work, but a friend who has an interest in sports uniforms and happens to live in Oklahoma said he thought it would be great to see the 89ers play the 49ers and that made me think, yes, it could be kind of cool. I happen to really like to see baseball's Red Sox play the White Sox, so the 89ers name may not be totally out of the question.
For years, there were the Rough Riders and the Roughriders of the CFL. They faced off several times per season.
Good point, Steve. I'd like to reiterate that I love the name 89ers. I just don't think an NFL team would want to be so close to the 49ers. But you're right about the Rough Riders.
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