FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Team Banners, History Patches, and Achievement Streamers for 2017

Nov 21, 2016 Written by Frank Merrick.


Team Banners

Veteran Teams will remember last season we introduced the concept of ‘Team Standards’, which were intended to help teams to show their colors and pride right on the field itself while they were playing. These seemed to be popular, with many teams taking advantage of this option. So, they’re coming back for the 2017 FIRST STEAMWORKS season!

This term ‘Standards’ was used last season to keep us in line with the Medieval theme. For 2017, we’re moving to the more neutral term ‘Banner’.

Once again, these Team Banners would be flown over the player stations on the field during matches. And, good news, the specifications are the same as last season, so if you feel it’s appropriate you can use what you created last year.

Just as like last season:

  • Creating a Team Banner is completely optional, and not required for gameplay
  • If you don’t create a banner, no big. There will just be an empty spot over your player station during your matches where your banner would have otherwise been displayed.
  • If you do create a banner, please consider making it two-sided for folks who may be watching from behind the player station
  • Team Banners are not inspection items.  However, they will be located right over the player station, so banners that are too large or otherwise don’t meet requirements may need to be removed, as they could interfere with gameplay.  Refs and other field personnel will be keeping an eye out.

Team Banner location (no change from last season):

Team Banner Placement FIRST Robotics Competition

Team Banner example, over player station. Please note, image is purely illustrative and any other game specific field elements are hidden for the purposes of this pre-Kickoff image.


And Team Banner specifications (once again no change from last season).


This is something for the 2017 season your team can get started on now!


History Patches

We won’t be providing history patches to teams at events in 2017 like we did last season. They didn’t show up too often on the Team Standards as we had intended, while at the same time we understand they, and the generic FIRST STRONGHOLD logo patches available through the FIRST Marketplace, were popular with some individual team members and in other ways. So, while we won’t be providing any patches directly, team members will be able to purchase the generic FIRST STEAMWORKS logo patch through the FIRST Marketplace. They aren’t available yet, but should be before competition season starts.   

We would have liked to provide FIRST STEAMWORKS logo patches to every team, but any reasonable per-team quantity would have led to a significant $ investment, and, as always, we are working very hard to keep an eye on the budget.


Achievement Streamers

Achievement Streamers from last season, which were colored ribbons intended to be hung on Team Standards to show various team accomplishments during the year, rarely showed up on those standards at events.  They were either:

  1. A complete failure or;
  2. An idea so far ahead of its time that its brilliance could not possibly be recognized.

You pick. Anyway, we’re getting rid of them for the 2017 season. Or, more precisely, putting them, carefully labeled and preserved, in the FIRST HQ vaults deep underground.   



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I think one of the biggest things with the achievement banners was no one explained to us what they were. My team didnt realize what it was until after the season, and then we understood what the red banner thingy on our EI award was. Just my little input.

I think the streamers were a great idea. I think they didn't work last season because it was such a new concept, but over time it would have caught on, and I think they need to be brought back. I think the problem with the history patches, though, was that you couldn't tell what they were from the stands. The streamers, though, were easy to see. 

Not sure where you looked for patches and streamers not being applied. I seen a lot of them in our area. Disappointed in the decision to discontinue these items. Hope you reconsider your decision.

Although I understand the elimination of the history patches due to the significant cost that is likely involved, I am surprised the Achievement Streamers are going away.  These seem like relatively inexpensive items that allow teams to highlight their successes throughout the season.  I suspect that more teams will take pride in displaying them as the understanding of there meaning grows.  

A simple addition of printing the actual achievement on the streamer would likely help teams better understand the importance of the streamer and encourage them to place it on their banners.

I can't speak for other teams, but we couldn't apply patches because we were working with a vinyl Standard/Banner, which a number of teams used. Iron on doesn't mix well with vinyl, and we couldn't exactly sew them on. Perhaps a better adhesive would have improved use.

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