Washington Football

Bulls-Pacers Preview

Bulls-Pacers Preview

The Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers have finished at the top of the Central Division in each of the past two seasons, largely due to their defensive prowess.

Defense continues to be both teams' calling card this year, though one is currently trying to rebound from back-to-back disappointments.

Chicago will travel to Indianapolis looking to avoid equaling a season-high three-game skid in a matchup with the surging Pacers.

Both Indiana and Chicago own two of the league's top scoring defenses at 89.9 and 91.0, respectively. But the Bulls' defense hasn't looked the part of late.

Chicago (15-12) has given up 212 points over its past two games, its highest two-game total of the season. The Bulls have let their last two opponents shoot a combined 52.8 percent from the floor - a number in stark contrast to their 43.1 season average.

The latest defensive meltdown was a 120-97 loss to Houston on Christmas night. It was Chicago's largest margin of defeat of the season and its most points allowed.

Making the loss even more bitter was the performance of Omer Asik, who tallied 20 points and 18 rebounds against his former team. Chicago didn't match the Rockets' three-year, $25 million offer sheet for Asik in the offseason.

Each Houston starter scored in double figures while Chicago's starting five combined to shoot 39.1 percent from the field. Nate Robinson led the Bulls with 27 points off the bench on 9-of-16 shooting.

"If you are not right and don't have an edge, you are not going to win without the right amount of intensity," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "They completely outplayed us from the start."

A road game against a conference foe might provide a fix for the Bulls, as they're 6-1 in such games.

"In this league things change," forward Taj Gibson told the team's website. "It's no time to panic ... we just have to get ready for the next game, adjust, work on the fundamentals and get back to what we've been doing. We can't feel sorry for ourselves."

The Pacers (16-12) are finding success without reigning leading scorer Danny Granger. Despite being without the team-leading 21.6 ppg that Granger has averaged since 2007-08, Indiana has won three in a row and seven of eight.

In his absence, they've primarily relied on three players - David West (17.4 ppg), Paul George (16.3) and George Hill (15.0). Most recently it was West, who scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half of an 81-75 win against New Orleans on Saturday.

The Pacers trailed by 22 at one point and owed the comeback in large part to their defense. They won the third quarter 24-7 while holding New Orleans to 3 of 17 from the field.

Indiana's 40.8 percent field-goal defense is the best in the NBA.

"When you defend like we defend, you're definitely never out of the game," coach Frank Vogel said. "We're capable of having quarters like we did tonight where you're holding teams to seven points in the quarter. When you can do that, you can make up huge deficits."

The Pacers notched an 80-76 road victory over the Bulls on Dec. 4 with George scoring 34. The teams combined for 37.3 percent shooting.

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Making a case for Red Tails as Washington Football Team's new name

Making a case for Red Tails as Washington Football Team's new name

It's been several weeks since the Washington Football Team announced it was retiring its former name and logo after more than 80 years. Ever since FedEx became the first known sponsor to formally ask Washington to change its name, fans have taken to social media to voice some of their favorites among potential replacements. I spoke with several marketing experts about a few of the fan-generated names, and will use their responses to make a case for some of the most popular suggestions. This is the case for Red Tails.

Case for: Washington Red Tails

“Red Tails” might’ve been the favorite among fans and others on social media before the “Red Wolves” hype train started gaining traction.

The origin of the name comes from the Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black pilots in the United States military. A group of Tuskegee Airmen known as the Red Tails -- because of the paint on the tails of their planes -- made up the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II. The Red Tails had one of the lowest loss records of all escort fighter groups.

CONCEPTS: TOP 5 NEW FAN-GENERATED WASHINGTON REDTAILS UNIFORM, HELMET DESIGNS

Brad Nierenberg, CEO of RedPeg Marketing, an Alexandria, Virginia-based marketing agency, thinks the history of the Red Tails provides an opportunity for Washington to attach itself to a powerful story, particularly in a time where conversations about social justice have been amplified.

“The Red Tails is an incredible opportunity for [Washington]," Nierenberg said. "I don’t know of it as a major team name. I think that it allows them at this time to take a leadership role in this time of changing of understanding of social justice. And I think that their recognition of the Red Tails could be a dramatic, great first step for them as a brand that I think is overcoming… there’s a great story behind it. They can run with that story that already exists.

"And at the time to actually capitalize on this, you can get a lot of wind beneath your wings on that one. I think there’s a lot of energy there with society. I think this town would wrap their arms around it. As a company and as a team, as an ownership group, recognizing this incredible story could be powerful forever. And it’s a fighter group, it’s a fighter, it’s an overcoming odds -- there’s a tremendous story there, and I think that with today’s society doing what it is, I think it could be an incredible time for them to take advantage of this groundswell of energy. And it’s not going backwards, it’s only going forward, so I think they could be in a very positive position.”

RELATED: WASHINGTON'S NEW NAME MAY BE MORE FOR FUTURE FANS THAN CURRENT ONES

Additionally, the Red Tails name allows the team to maintain its "warrior" ethos, according to Matt White, president of the marketing and ad agency WHITE64. White also likes that the name provides the opportunity for Washington to stick with its traditional burgundy and gold color scheme. 

"Graphically, the [old] logo on the helmet had the feathers. So you could certainly see how that could be very consistent," White said. "And certainly with the colors of the uniform."

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Most marketing experts have stressed the advantages of a team's name drawing a connection to the city it plays in. While Red Tails doesn't immediately evoke thoughts of Washington, Tim Derdenger, assoicate professor of marketing and strategy at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, thinks there's a strong enough connection for it to work.

"It’s a strong choice for multiple reasons. One being that it relates to D.C. and the military," Derdenger said. "It keeps the team colors. If you keep 'red' in [the name], it has to be the right name. And I think Red Tails is one of those right names. It has a strong connection to the city, to the military, the colors, it still can pay homage to the team, the players of the past with keeping the 'red' name in there. It should be a strong candidate.”

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Redspears or not these uniform designs are a great option for Washington

Redspears or not these uniform designs are a great option for Washington

When looking at the endless amounts of fan concepts and designs out there for the Washington Football Team's next name and logo, it's important to remember that not every idea belongs to the name suggestion of the designer. 

Once Washington makes its final decision, you can bet they'll be looking at a number of different options, and if they want to take a look at the fans' work, they could take a Red Wolves logo and match it up with a Red Tails uniform concept and tweak both to match whatever name they choose. 

In that case, whatever name and logo they choose should have these uniforms, plain and simple. 

 

Mike Joseph created these uniforms as part of his Washington Redspears project and did an exceptional job mocking up a number of different modern uniform designs.

RELATED: DEL RIO EXPLAINS WHY HE'S SO ACTIVE ON TWITTER

Redspears isn't a likely name change due to reports saying the franchise plans to stay away from Native American imagery, but that doesn't mean we should ignore these designs.

 

These use the burgundy and gold really well and have a unique number font that has worked for NFL teams like the Ravens, Broncos, Bears, Titans and Steelers in the past. 

The great part about this design is it could be easily rebranded to a different. All the franchise would have to do is lose the spear logo and use whatever logo they settle upon. They could even keep the numbers on the helmet as they have currently. Everything else is versatile. 

Between the sleek design, use of colors and the unique number fonts, this has to be one of, if not the best fan-generated uniform mock-up out there. If the Washington Football team uses these but with a different team name and logo, it'd be hard to complain about that decision. 

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