Friday, February 28, 2014

Panthers brand updated, keeps nostalgia of 1980s version


A re-brand of a previous professional sports franchise can be a difficult task.

For James M. Kuty, Founder of Kuty Kreative out of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, the task of re-branding the Michigan Panthers for the A11 Professional Football League, was more exciting than difficult.

“The Panthers helmet is one of the most iconic helmet designs in the 20th century,” said Kuty. “I remember as a kid I was absolutely fascinated with it, it was ground breaking. So I wanted to update the look of the logo, but still keep the tradition (the sleek lines and ferocity of the Panther, but clean things up). It was great this fall talking with my friends, tailgating in Ann Arbor for football games, picking their brains about the Panthers. Surprising to me, 30 years after the team is gone, they still love the brand.

“Pretty much what you see is what I presented. We twisted and tweaked the helmet logo a bit, but Steve (A11FL Co-Founder Steve Humphries) and the whole A11FL staff just fell in love with it. Steve and I had conversations about creating a secondary mark for merchandising, because the helmet logo does not work too well with merchandising. So we took the helmet logo and created an oval mark that will work on hats, tees, etc. Dane (Storrusten) and I worked together on creating the correct typography for the brand. It was a great group effort, getting feedback and positive support from Steve, Brandon (Williams) and Dane.”

Kuty said it was very important to keep the brand close to its original 1983-84 United States Football League look and close to the color scheme (royal plum, light blue, champagne silver and white), while, of course, giving it a modern update.

“James did a great job conceptualizing the Michigan Panthers modernization in terms of where the logo would go if the team was still in business and evolved over a 30-year period,” said Steve Humphries, A11FL Co-Founder/Vice President of Advanced Media. “It’s a contemporary design that represents a new era with sleek and more vibrant colors, while maintaining its iconic essence.”

As for the question of whether fans will reconnect with the team thanks to the way it was rebranded, Kuty said, “No question. I believe the fans are going to love it! I got my best friend Jeff involved as I was designing (he is an aficionado on football uniforms and football field deigns), and his feedback was very important. Living outside Detroit, he could help give me the pulse of how people still wear retro Panthers merchandise and how they carry the brand with such high esteem.”

Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Michigan Panthers will make spring football return to Detroit in A11FL


The Michigan Panthers have been announced today as the A11 Professional Football League’s seventh charter franchise, bringing the city of Detroit, Michigan, its first spring professional football team since the original Panthers of the United States Football League played at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1983-84.

Michigan joins the Bay Area (San Francisco) Sea Lions, Chicago Staggs, Dallas Wranglers, Los Angeles Express, New Jersey Generals and Tampa Bay Bandits are A11FL charter franchises. The league’s eighth and final charter franchise for the 2015 season will be announced at a later date.

“Of all the teams in the old USFL, the Michigan Panthers still have the most avid fan following, none more so than our President Michael Keller, who was formerly the Director of Football Operations for the USFL Panthers,” said Steve Humphries, A11FL Co-Founder/Vice President of Advanced Media. “We are really proud to be a part of the economic revival of Detroit and the great state of Michigan, and bring a really special football team brand back to the people.”


The Panthers round out what would potentially be an A11FL Eastern Division, should the league go that route, along with Chicago, New Jersey and Tampa Bay. Michigan’s offense potentially could feature a two-headed quarterback monster of current Canadian Football Leaguer Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan) and current Jacksonville Jaguars “offensive weapon” Denard Robinson (Michigan).

The league is looking at both the Silverdome and Ford Field as the Panthers’ home stadium.


The original Panthers won the 1983 USFL championship and qualified for the 1984 USFL playoffs under the direction of Head Coach Jim Stanley, and Keller. 

Had the XFL continued past its only season in 2001, Detroit may have been the site of an expansion team. On March 29 of that year, the league’s expansion committee visited Tiger Stadium as a potential expansion site.

MICHIGAN PANTHERS
City: Detroit, Michigan.
2014 Nielsen United States television market ranking: 11th.
Colors: Royal plum, light blue, champagne silver and white.
Spring professional football league history: Michigan Panthers (United States Football League, 1983-84).

Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

McDaniels turns passions of drawing, football into A11FL masterpieces


Gary McDaniels didn’t know a great deal about the A11 Professional Football League prior to a simple Google search many months ago.

“I typed in professional spring football leagues on Google, and up popped this A11 thing,” said McDaniels, who lives in Atwater, California, and is a fourth-grade teacher in nearby Winton. “The thing that captured my attention was the (offensive jersey number) rule change. You have to go to a smaller, quicker player. That opens up a whole new potential for a lot of people. I started reading and read the history of it and where it came from.”

McDaniels’ love of football and drawing cartoons turned into a regular feature on the A11FL Facebook page – “The Sideline.”

“I sent something off to the league, and a few days later, I get a friend request from Steve (A11FL Co-Founder Steve Humphries), and I didn’t know who he was,” McDaniels admitted. “I wrote to him and made the comment that I do this all the time and I do it just for fun. I got a response back and he said he wanted to talk and maybe do some things for us.

“I was hoping people would like it. When we started getting some responses, there were some comments about the wagon I did, the one that looks like the wheels were going to fall off. It seems like everybody is enjoying it.”

When McDaniels had season tickets to San Jose Sharks (National Hockey League) games, he would draw cartoons during those games, and give them to fans so they, in turn, could have them autographed.

McDaniels said the thing that has caught his eye with the A11FL is the few former United States Football League team names which are being resurrected.

“I thought that was a stroke of genius,” he said. “I followed the Oakland Invaders when they were around. That will really help out.”

McDaniels said he has passed some more cartoons along with Humphries, also the league’s Vice President of Advanced Media.

“There’s more coming,” he said. “Stuff pops in my head and I can’t get it out, so I just sit down with a pad and start doodling.”

And as for a possible regular feature in A11FL game programs using McDaniels’ cartoons, he said, “I leave that up to Steve. I told him the bottom line to this is the promotion of the league. If it fits, I have fun doing it.”

Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Liquid Agency helped launch A11FL brand with simple, patriotic league logo


In recent weeks, the A11 Professional Football League has unveiled six of its eight charter franchises, and the brands that will be associated with them.

But long before that could take place, the A11FL itself had to be branded. Enter Liquid Agency, a brand experience agency in the bay area of California.

“We heard that the league was in formation, and knew (A11FL Co-Founder) Kurt Bryan through a family friend,” said Scott Gardner, CEO/President of Liquid Agency. “I was asked to attend a couple meetings…to discuss how to launch the A11 brand.”

Gardner and the rest of the Liquid Agency team was starting from scratch, but had plenty of past logos to work off of – both for good ideas and bad ones.

“After doing a lot of research on a lot of football logos and popular major league logos, we realized there were some things American sports franchises tended to do,” he said. “One of the things we did in an audit was we realized that stars were very popular. In some of the early conceptual work, we realized that stripes weren’t used as much as stars.”

Gardner saw an opportunity for stripes to be a differentiator in the league logo – and that is where the three red stripes on the right side of the logo come in.

Those working on the A11FL logo came up with a lot of different conceptual design solutions, according to Gardner. They wondered if they could do the logo without having a football element in it, but since they went with A11FL and not having the league’s name spelled out, the logo ultimately had to have a football element within it.

About the league’s logo’s colors being a patriotic red, white and blue, Gardner said, “We looked at a lot of different colors. We looked at many different ways to color that logo. We did find, again, that it’s hard to get away from red, white and blue. You have to decide which hues you’re going to use.

“To represent an American league, using the national colors is key.”

Gardner said the league logo is versatile enough to allow for color changes within it, and it still will stand out.

“We do like the fact that this logo can be modified for different situations, and you can have fun with it,” he said.

“A11FL” is at the top of the logo, with the bottom of that arched to work with the half-football and the three stripes below. The number “11” is smaller than the three letters, so a line was placed underneath the number. Gardner said the reason for the line is so the number reads like a number, and isn’t mistaken for two Ls.

Gardner concluded by saying he liked how the A11FL logo stood out as simple, strong and progressive at the league’s major press conference earlier this month.

“We design a lot of marks for global corporations. Sometimes to create something that’s simple is the hardest thing to do,” he said. “It could have been very busy. Some of the sports logos we found were very busy. We really wanted to create a solid badge, and we’re really proud of where we ended up with this.”

For more on Liquid Agency’s A11FL league logo evolution process, go to http://www.liquidagency.com/blog/the-a11fl-a-new-brand-of-football/#.Uwtrc_ldWa8.

Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Generals begin rebirth with A11FL’s most plentiful helmet choices


The A11 Professional Football League’s New Jersey Generals leads the league 13 months before opening kickoff in one branding category – most helmet concepts.

Each A11FL team will have at least three helmet concepts when full-season play begins in March of 2015. The Generals already have blown past “at least,” as the league’s Team Brand Design Team already have five helmet options ready for the franchise.

“We took the Generals brand and tied it even deeper to the military theme than the original,” said Steve Humphries, A11FL Co-Founder/Vice President of Advanced Media. “Designing a series of helmets that represent different elements of the armed forces strengthens the brand even more.”

Dane Storrusten, the Founder/Managing Partner of Soulcake Creative out of San Clemente, California, said there were 10 Generals helmet variations, but they were narrowed to five.

“You can really hit a home run with the fans by re-invigorating that loyalty,” said Storrusten, referring to the original Generals of the United States Football League. “The design is so flexible.”

The Generals’ colors are red, gold, black and white. Their primary helmet design is red with the gold five-star logo with a black outline, black face mask, long black stripe and gold short stripes.

“(The goal was to) just keep it as clean as possible, make it really pop against the red,” Storrusten said. “(We’re) just building off loyalty there.”


The Gold Star helmet’s only variation from the primary helmet is a darker shade of gold in the logo, and no short stripes beside the long back stripe. Storrusten said this helmet has different reflective qualities on the gold stars.

 

Perhaps the most anticipated helmet in the entire A11FL is the Generals’ West Point helmet – a gold helmet with gold and black stars in the logo, black face mask and thick black stripe with the player’s uniform number just above the face mask.

“The gold helmet is really strong for the military aspects - very familiar,” said Storrusten, “and (with) the thick, broad black stripe and black face mask, this is the one of the toughest helmet designs we have.”


New Jersey’s Black Ops helmet plays off the West Point helmet – black with white, gray and black stars in the logo, black face mask and white uniform numerals just above the face mask.

“We went back and forth on this one, talked about keeping the gold stars on it,” Storrusten said. “The main purpose of the Black Ops is it’s all black-on-black. You have different finishes. I see the uniforms being the same way. It’s one of those that looks very sinister from a distance.”


Finally, the team’s Arctic Forces helmet is white with white and gray stars for the logo, white face mask, thick gray face mask and white uniform number just above the face mask.

“Total white-out,” Storrusten said. “We started thinking about all the possibilities with camouflage. It started to get a little busy, and we scaled back on some of those ideas, and decided to keep them pure. It (the uniforms) can end up looking pretty sharp. It would be a cool winter game (helmet).

“I think it’s just paying homage to the cool fan base. We did our job to stay true to the brand, but we thought we would have a little bit of fun with it.”

“The New Jersey Generals are a big deal, and we really wanted these helmets to really stand out in the New York football market,” Humphries said. “I think we have set the bar for the market.”

Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Trio of helmets give Staggs plenty of early flexibility


The Chicago Staggs begin life in the A11 Professional Football League with a large potential of a fan base, thanks to the city being the third-largest television market in the United States.

And the Staggs will begin life in the A11FL with at least a trio of helmet styles that will take that fan base by storm.

The Staggs’ team colors are navy blue, light blue, red, gray and white. The primary helmet is light blue with a navy blue face mask, and the deer antler logo which is white, red and navy blue.

“Both shades of blue are key,” said Dane Storrusten, the Founder/Managing Partner of Soulcake Creative out of San Clemente, California. “The darker blue and the gray are two colors that just kind of round it out, and give it some stability.

“We have all these elements, so the dark blue kind of ties everything down.”


The Staggs’ Rage helmet is red with the navy blue face mask and a deer antler logo which is white, light blue and navy blue. Storrusten said this helmet wasn’t made the Staggs’ primary because it would clash with the primary of the New Jersey Generals.


Chicago’s Hawk helmet is white, with the same characteristics as the Rage helmet – a navy blue face mask and white/light blue/navy blue deer antler logo.

“We like to add a white helmet in for all the teams, kind of an inverse of everything else,” Storrusten said. “With Chicago specifically, it’s up north, it’s cold. We kept the face mask dark blue to set up the antlers that run to the back of the helmet.

“The main theme of it was just cold.”

“This design was all Dane Storrusten,” said Steve Humphries, A11FL Co-Founder/Vice President of Advanced Media. “When he showed me this Staggs concept, it was all over. He stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam in his first at-bat.

“Deer antlers on a football helmet have always thinned out and gotten lost. This design remains strong throughout and brings the essence of a Stagg to life. Chicago has a unique new beast of a football team, and we couldn’t be happier.”

Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

The New Jersey Generals are back in town – and with a fresh, updated brand


The New Jersey Generals will be the A11 Professional Football League’s franchise in the United States’ largest media market.

A market the size of New York/New Jersey deserves a big-time team brand. And that’s exactly what fans of the reborn Generals have received.

“We developed the Generals identity with the mindset that this is the A11FL’s cornerstone brand in the No. 1 media market in America,” said Steve Humphries, A11FL Co-Founder/Vice President of Advanced Media. “The only option was delivering a big, and big and bold, design.”


The United States Football League Generals (1983-85) had a logo featuring a gold five-star general pattern over a circular laurel wreath, and the team colors were scarlet red, white, royal blue and metallic gold. The A11FL Generals’ logo still features five gold stars in a circle, but the inside of that circle forms a pentagon. These Generals’ team colors are red, gold, black and white.

“There’s a really strong affinity for the original Generals brand, even to the point of where they were considering leaving it the same,” said Dane Storrusten, the Founder/Managing Partner of Soulcake Creative out of San Clemente, California. “There’s always iconic images out there. That brand was just really strong. Sticking with the five-star was the input, which I totally agreed with.”



Said Humphries, “The key to building this identity was taking it down to it most basic element of being historically correct. In all our research, the only pattern that made sense was the simple five-star pattern connected at the tips. Dane took this relatively-simple concept, added design layers to the stars and colors and built power.”

The A11FL’s Team Brand Design Team wanted a logo which is flexible enough for many helmet variations, and that’s what the Generals have. On Monday, the story behind the Generals’ five current helmet variations will appear on www.a11flmagazine.com.

NEW JERSEY GENERALS
City: East Rutherford, New Jersey
2014 Nielsen United States television market ranking: 1st (New York City).
Colors: Red, gold, black and white.
Spring professional football league history: New Jersey Generals (USFL, 1983-85), New York/New Jersey Knights (World League of American Football, 1991-92) and New York/New Jersey Hitmen (XFL, 2001).

Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Staggs pay homage to history of Chicago, city’s college football icon


The Chicago Staggs will begin play in the A11 Professional Football League in the spring of 2015, and will do so with a brand which pays tribute to the both the history of the “Windy City” and one of college football’s earliest icons.

The Staggs’ primary logo features an abstract Sears Tower, and the team’s nickname honors Amos Alonzo Stagg, who was the Head Coach at the University of Chicago from 1892-1932. Stagg, a College Football Hall of Famer both as a player and coach, is considered one of college football’s great early innovators, and U of C won seven Big Ten titles during his run.

“We started with red, white and kind of blue in the initial phase,” said Dane Storrusten, the Founder/Managing Partner of Soulcake Creative out of San Clemente, California. “I went through a lot of color combinations. I worked a lot with colors I thought would be a little more earthy. Once I started pulling it more toward the metropolis of Chicago and Coach Stagg, it kind of influenced the change in the color scheme again.

“The feedback I got from my inner circle in the Chicago area is it felt like any other Midwest team. So I started playing with other elements – football elements, old leather helmets from the 30’s. One of the other things I thought was interesting was to work the Sears Tower into it, to help give it some contrast. Hopefully, it’s the best of all worlds.”


Said Steve Humphries, A11FL Co-Founder and Vice President of Advanced Media, “From a purely football design point of view, nobody has created a truly awesome deer antler helmet design. Dane hit this one out of the park, and having such a unique design is exactly what the A11FL is trying to accomplish. We want to be innovative and create cutting-edge designs to show our fans we are different in a good way.

“I think it’s also important to note that due to the dual meaning of the team name and the spelling of the name, the branding focus is not that of the deer animal, but rather a representation of the name Stag through a significant horn design.”


Chicago’s color combination is navy blue, light blue, red, gray and white.

“It seemed like it needed to be a color scheme like that to match the integrity of a big football market like Chicago. The others were nice color schemes, but it could have been a Minnesota team, a Dakota team, a Wisconsin team. The red, white, blue and gray scheme was a little more substantial. That’s kind of why we went this route – it made it a little more larger than life.”

Storrusten looked at the other deer-type sports logos, and didn’t he didn’t necessarily like what he saw.

“I looked around the market a lot. The one thing I had a problem with is deer are a little more stoic,” he said. “It’s hard to kind of have an aggressive team like that. There’s a bunch of those out there. I took the antlers and played with them, so it would still meet that theme but possibly be cooler on the helmet.”

CHICAGO STAGGS
City: Chicago, Illinois
2014 Nielsen United States television market ranking: 3rd.
Colors: Navy blue, light blue, red, gray and white.
Spring professional football league history: Chicago Blitz (United States Football League, 1983-85) and Chicago Enforcers (XFL, 2001).

Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Staggs, Generals make up A11FL’s ‘Gridiron Titans Rivalry’


Whenever Chicago and the New York/New Jersey area face off in a major sporting event, it’s big news.

And why not? Whenever you have the United States’ No. 1 television market (New York) going against the No. 3 television market (Chicago) in a high-stakes game, no matter what the sport, it’s going to grab some attention. Remember the New York Giants vs. the Chicago Bears in the 1980s? How about the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks in the 1990s? Or the New York Rangers and the Chicago Blackhawks seemingly since hockey began?

The A11 Professional Football League’s “Gridiron Titans Rivalry” will feature its two teams in those top-three media markets – the re-branded New Jersey Generals and the Chicago Staggs. The Generals are back after a three-year run in the United States Football League (1983-85) which featured everything from a young star running back in Herschel Walker to a rookie quarterback named Doug Flutie to a boisterous cancerous force from within in owner Donald Trump.

The Staggs are rooted in the history of football, as the team’s name pays homage to Amos Alonzo Stagg, who was the Head Coach at the University of Chicago from 1892-1932. Stagg, a College Football Hall of Famer both as a player and coach, is considered one of college football’s great early innovators, and U of C won seven Big Ten titles during his run.

Chicago and the New York/New Jersey area have seen many spring outdoor professional football battles in the past. Most recently, the Chicago Enforcers and the New York/New Jersey Hitmen played twice in the XFL’s only season in 2001. The Hitmen won at Soldier Field, 13-0, in Week 4, while the playoff-bound Enforcers won 23-18 in Week 9 at Giants Stadium.

In the USFL, the Generals and the Chicago Blitz met three times in a two-year period. In Week 8 in 1983, the Blitz needed a 27-yard field goal by Frank Corral in overtime to top the Generals, 17-14. In Week 12 that season, Chicago backup quarterback Tim Koegel scored on a 5-yard touchdown run on a fake field goal in OT to down New Jersey, 19-13. Then, in Week 14 of 1984, the Generals used a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to top the Blitz, 21-17.

In total, four of the five all-time spring meetings between Chicago-based and New York/New Jersey-based teams have been decided by six points or less.

Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A11FL Commissioner pleased with league’s progress heading into showcase games


A11 Professional Football League Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer Scott McKibben continues to be upbeat these days, and with good reason.

The A11FL has announced six of its eight charter franchises 13 months before opening kickoff, it has a two-year television contract with ESPN and it is preparing for its two nationally-televised showcase games later this year in Tampa, Florida, and Dallas, Texas.

“We’re very pleased with our progress,” McKibben said. “We had a terrific national announcement and media day. The reaction from the fan base has exceeded our expectations. We’ve had a great deal of follow-up from team investors and team owners. The markets we’re going to, the stadiums we are playing in and our broadcast partner has resonated with the fan base.”

“There’s a lot to do, but things are going nicely.”

The A11FL’s Team Brand Design Team has been rolling out the branding/helmets for the announced franchises two at a time. The brands Bay Area Sea Lions and Los Angeles Express were revealed first, followed by the Dallas Wranglers and Tampa Bay Bandits. Later this week, the reveals for the Chicago Staggs and New Jersey Generals will begin.

“It’s been terrific,” McKibben said. “Of anything, that has exceeded our expectations more than anything. The work done on the creative (side) has just been outstanding.”

McKibben also offered some insight into the league’s thinking in acquiring the trademarks for some of the old United States Football League (1983-85) team names.

“The value in acquiring the names was that we, for a long time, thought that in some of the markets, the real historical and iconic character of those names was valuable,” he said. “They still resonated, and they still carried. There are some markets where, perhaps, there are conflicts with other leagues, or the polling of the names weren’t that strong. Some of them were maintained, and some of them were changed.”

As for when the league’s seventh and eight charter franchises will be revealed, McKibben said it will be in 30-45 days.

“We’re getting close,” he said. “Those last two are going to be driven team owner interest and community interest. We’ve pretty much got it down to about three or four cities.”

As for the showcase games, they will be Saturday, May 17, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, and Thursday, June 5, at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Both games will be televised nationally live on ESPN2. McKibben said the league’s scouts already are working on possible player lists, and signings would begin in late March or early April before practices begin.

Another hot A11FL topic is the potential of former University of Florida and National Football League quarterback Tim Tebow playing in the league. McKibben, however, said there is no update on whether or not Tebow will play.

“As we have said, we have had discussions in the past with folks associated with Tim,” he said. “Tim has been given an offer from our league that covers a lot of different areas of involvement, and we’re not pressuring him. We know he has embarked on a television career. We’re letting him take his time. Tim knows the door is always open. Our fans would be absolutely ecstatic if he would join us. That’s where we are at this point.”

The A11FL also has begun its crowdfunding efforts for Bay Area, Los Angeles, Dallas and Tampa Bay. The crowdfunding Web sites for Chicago and New Jersey will launch tomorrow.

“The crowdfunding initiative was launched at midnight after the announcement,” McKibben said. “It gives the league the opportunity the chance to engage with its fan base. It isn’t as much about raising money as it is about engaging fans in the six markets we’ve already announced.”

Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Re-born Bandits will at least have thrice the helmet versatility to kick off 2015


The Tampa Bay Bandits will restart life in spring professional football in March of 2015, and they will do so with a lot more helmet choices than in its previous incarnation.

“We spent a lot of time perfecting the Bandits logo, and we wanted three different helmet designs to give our franchise the most dynamic uniform set in all of Florida,” said Steve Humphries, the A11FL’s Co-Founder and Vice President of Advanced Media. “The Bandits brand will take Florida pro football by storm.”

The Bandits’ colors stay true to the 1983-85 United States Football League incarnation - black, red, white and silver. Tampa Bay’s primary helmet is silver with a black face mask and a stripe which is red in the middle, white on either side and with a black border.

“I think it looks fierce,” said Brandon Williams, an up-and-coming graphic artist from Orlando, Florida. “The colors are really strong to me. The helmet is really awesome.”


The original Bandits had just one silver helmet. The A11FL Bandits will have at least two more. The Night Rider helmet is black with a red logo, black face mask and a stripe which is red down the middle with white on the sides and a silver border.

We give all our helmet concepts their own unique name to add something fun for the fans,” Humphries said. “Mixing the color of the logo up with imagery of a bandit riding a fire red horse in the night is for those players who strap on that helmet and go into battle. This helmet is an attitude-adjuster.

“We are taking a different approach to our team marks, allowing their color schemes to adjust so we can optimize their design for each helmet. A perfect example is the red horse on the black Night Rider helmet. The integrity of the Bandit identity remains intact, but the red horse takes the helmet design to the next level.”

“That helmet really pops, and gives another type of aggressiveness to the logo and to the team,” Williams said. “I would be scared to play against those guys in that uniform.”


The Bandits’ Renegade helmet is red with a black face mask and black jagged stripe.

“What I like about that one is the jagged edges on the stripe,” Williams said. “That was a really great touch, tying in to the word mark.”


Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Wranglers helmets’ versatility as big as the state of Texas


The Dallas Wranglers will begin life in the A11 Professional Football League with at least three helmets that will fully display the franchise’s brand’s versatility and color palette.

“In football, the helmet is the most iconic part of a team brand,” said Steve Humphries, the A11FL’s Co-Founder and Vice President of Advanced Media. “We wanted the Wranglers to stand apart from the football brands in the Dallas sports ecosystem, with new colors and strong image worthy of a pro football organization.”

Dallas’ team colors are Prairie green, bronze and white. The Wranglers’ primary helmet is white with a Prairie green facemask and long stripe and bronze short stripes.

“It’s one of the few white helmets that could work as a primary. I’m not quite sure why that is,” said Dane Storrusten, the Founder/Managing Partner of Soulcake Creative out of San Clemente, California. “Getting the color right with the green was key in making it an equally sharp helmet. It was a toss-up between the white and green as the primary helmet.”


The Wranglers’ Prairie helmet is Prairie green, with a darker shade of green for the border around the logo and the face mask. It also features a bronze long stripe and white short stripes.

“It’s the dark green (face mask). Just using the lighter green, taking away the outline on that mark really weakened it,” Storrusten said of the process of using Prairie green as a primary helmet color. “It gives it a little bit of an accent, keeps the integrity.”


The Wranglers’ Brass Buckle helmet is bronze with a Prairie green face mask and long stripe, and white short stripes.

“I was really hesitant to do the bronze, but in this case, I think it works well,” Storrusten said. “And people who remember the original Wranglers, they are going to want the bronze helmet. We didn’t spend a lot of time on the striping of the helmet. We’re fairly conservative on the striping on some of these.”

Storrusten said the Wranglers have one of the more unique color pallets in the A11FL.

“If you look at the Wranglers, it stands out that way, too,” he said.


Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Showcase games to unveil A11FL brand of football, provide tease for inaugural season


Football fans who are excited for the A11 Professional Football League to kick off won’t have to wait until March of 2015.

That’s because the league will stage a pair of showcase games in late spring this year in two charter markets to whet the appetite of those who can’t get enough football during the traditional fall/winter season.

The first showcase game will be Saturday, May 17, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, and the second will be Thursday, June 5, at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Both games will be televised nationally live on ESPN2, as part of the A11FL’s two-year contract with ESPN.

“Our biggest objective with the showcase games is that we want to show the highest quality play of spring football to the fans during the time of the year in which our league will be playing,” said A11FL Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer Scott McKibben. “We want to start educating people about the idea that a year from now, you will be able to see regular spring football played at the highest professional level.

“We are also using this to develop and promote our relationship with ESPN. These games will be played on this network. It’s kind of a dual objective.”

The two teams that will play in the showcase games are yet to be named.

“We are going to go with A11-branded uniforms,” McKibben said. “These will be teams playing in dark jerseys and light jerseys. Everything will be branded A11. We will, at some point, announce the names of these two teams. They are not going to be team names of teams in our markets. We will pick names just for these two particular games. We’re looking at this from a number of different angles.”

There also will be no preference on rosters to the two home states of the showcase games.

“We’re going to try to just get the 150 best players,” said McKibben. “We will, over the course of the first three weeks, narrow it down to the final 40 (for each team). There isn’t any particular geographic interest. We want the best players who can put the best product out on the field we can.”



Raymond James Stadium opened in 1998, and has been the home of the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers since then. It also is the home to the South Florida football team and the Outback Bowl. Its capacity is 65,890, and it has a grass surface.

The venerable Cotton Bowl has been around since 1930, but most recently was renovated in 2008. It is the home of the annual Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma, was the home of the annual Cotton Bowl Classic until 2009, and now plays host to the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Its capacity is 92,100, and it, too, has a grass surface.

For tickets to one or both of the showcase games, call 855-897-4211, or e-mail tickets@a11fl.com.

Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.