This thread got me thinking:
It's one of the most infamous chapters in NFL uniform history: In 1991, 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. held a news conference, during which he proudly unveiled a new helmet design for his team. Twitter and Facebook didn't yet exist, so fans responded by flooding the team's switchboard with outraged phone calls. The response was so swift and so severe that the Niners basically said "never mind" the following day and withdrew the helmet design, which never made it onto the field.
The man who designed that logo -- in other words, the man whose work was once again booed off the stage, just like in New England -- was Stevens Wright.
"He was disappointed, sure, but he had a good sense of humor about it all," Wright Woo says. "He didn't take it personally, because he just gave the 49ers what they had asked for. It wasn't as much of an artistic design, like what he'd done for the Patriots. For me, though, it was horrible to see it get hammered like that, on the news and everything."
It could have been worse. Wright's files show that at one point he was tinkering with a red helmet shell for the Niners, which probably would have had fans reaching for the torches and pitchforks.
The files also contain a handwritten memo to Wright from Boss. There's no date on it, and it's not clear which phase of the design it's referring to, but it stresses that "DeBartolo wants to emphasize 49ers, not SF."
Wright Woo thinks this emphasis on the team over the city is part of why fans reacted so negatively to the design. "There was a lot of grumbling about the team moving at that time," she says. "They had moved their offices, the stadium supposedly wasn't that good, and all that. So aside from how the design looked, which I know some people may not have liked, I think people viewed the missing 'SF' as part of the plan to move the team."
In any case, Wright's design was mothballed -- but not before it had already been incorporated into the 1991 NFL style guide and been licensed to some of the league's corporate partners.
Can you imagine if this was our current theme ?