Eugene Thurman Upshaw, Jr. (a.k.a. Uptown Gene) (August 15, 1945 – August 20, 2008) was an American football player for the Oakland Raiders and executive director of the National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA). In 1987, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In honor of Gene Upshaw, the entire NFL will wear a black "GU" patch for the 2008-09 season.
The "GU" patches at first puzzled me. When did Gene Upshaw play for the Dallas Cowboys?
The late Gene Upshaw was a great player and he's in the Hall of Fame. But the large, ugly black patches on every NFL uniform for this entire season are not a wise move.
Did the NFL have to suck up to its players' union that much?
Tom Landry had just as much an influence on professional football as did Gene Upshaw. All teams weren't required to wear Tom Landry patches all season. I don't remember if the Cowboys did. Tom Landry is in the Hall of Fame and the Ring of Honor. Those are appropriate ways to honor someone.
Pat Tillman died for this country. I don't recall that all NFL players wore Pat Tillman patches all season. Certainly, any Tillman patches weren't of this "GU" size.
Pete Rozelle (1926-1996) was the NFL Commissioner from 1960-1989. He basically created what the NFL is today. His influence was far greater than Gene Upshaw's. No one wore a Pete Rozelle "PR" patch for a single day, if I recall correctly.
Gene Upshaw was great, don't get me wrong.
The large black patches on every NFL uniform are not-so-great. The big "GU" looks like some product placement advertising. Uniforms should be free of clutter, simply having the team's logo with the player's name and number on the back, in my opinion.
There are better ways to honor a good football player who became a players union rep. This was a mistake!