Uni Watch Fan Appreciation Day, 2019 Edition


Good morning! Today is Friday the 13th, but it may nonetheless be a lucky day for several dozen of you, because it’s that time of year again — the time when I give something back, literally, to the comm-uni-ty. Or, if you prefer to be more cynical about it, the time when I clear out all the freebies that have accumulated in my apartment over the past year (along with some things that readers and advertisers have generously donated). Either way, for the 11th consecutive year, it’s the day I run a big raffle that all of you can enter.

As in past years, some of you may recognize a few of these items as gifts that you thoughtfully sent my way over the past 12 months. I realize regifting may seem distasteful, but sometimes I have duplicates on certain things, or I don’t have room for everything, or something is too big or too small for me to wear, or I’ve gotten some enjoyment out of an item and am now ready to let someone else enjoy it. No offense intended, and I hope none taken. Thanks for understanding.

For shirts and jerseys, you’ll see a size followed by a measurement (L, 21″, for example). In each case, that’s the tagged size, assuming there is one, followed by the pit-to-pit measurement across the chest. If the back side of an item isn’t mentioned or shown in the photos, you can assume it’s blank. A few items may have a bit of cat hair on them.

This year, in an effort to make the raffle less click-y, I’m showing photos for most of the items here on the blog, instead of just linking to them (although you can still click on the photos to see larger versions). Ready? Here we go:

1. A complimentary Uni Watch membership card.

2, 3, and 4. A 2020 college football calendar of your choice from Asgard Press. They’re giving away three of these calendars, and each one is a separate prize.

5, 6, and 7. A 2020 vintage baseball card calendar of your choice, again from Asgard Press. They’re giving away three of these, and each one is a separate prize.

8. An amazing Uni Watch hockey jersey made by DIY genius Wafflebored specifically for this raffle (26″):

9. An “I Like the High Ones” T-shirt by Homage (M, 19″):

10. A series of five patches with chain-stitched numerals (3.5″ across):

11. A Uni Watch cycling jersey with “Cycling Jersey” and No. 31 on the back (XL, 21.65″):

12. An amazing poster by reader John Williams, showing almost every helmet design for all 32 NFL teams, in the order of their founding. Some of you recently saw this in the Ticker and/or on Twitter and asked if it’s available for sale — nope, not a licensed product. But John is making one available for this raffle (7.25″ x 30″):

13. A New York Jets tote bag (18″ x 18″, not including the handles):

14. A Reds Alert Podcast T-shirt (M, 19.5″):

15 and 16. Two 2019 Uni Watch Purple Amnesty Day shirts. Each one is a separate prize (both S, 19″):

17. A Padres “Brown Is Back” cap from their recent unveiling (strap-back, cotton twill):

18. A Jets “Take Flight” cap (flex-fit M/L):

19. A Brandiose cap (flex-fit M/L):

20. A Purdue mechanical engineering cap (strap-back, soft brushed cotton, sandwich brim):

21. A Uni Watch script logo cap. This is a prototype for a product I decided not to go ahead with. One of a kind (strap-back, cotton twill):

22. A Uni Watch script logo pom hat. Another prototype I opted not to put into production. One of a kind:

23. Same as above, but with the winged stirrup instead of the script:

24. An authentic New York Rangers 2019 NHL All-Star Game jersey. Still has tags (50, 22″):

25. A Jeff “Squirrel” McNeil Mets T-shirt. This was a giveaway at a game I attended earlier this year (L, 22″):

26. A Jets mini-helmet, still in its original packaging:

27. A Jets T-shirt (XL, 23″):

28. A Portland Timbers jersey (M, 19″):

29. A different Portland Timbers jersey, from this year’s Earth Day promotion (M, 19″):

30. A Vancouver Warriors (NLL) jersey (L, 24″):

31. An eMLS Cup jersey (M, 19″):

32. An Oxford Pennant T-shirt (M, 19.5″):

33. A different Oxford Pennant T-shirt. Although you can’t tell from the photo, it’s a pocket tee, and the logo on the front is on the pocket (M, 19″):

34. A Gridiron Icon T-shirt (M, 19″):

35. An official Hal the Hot Dog Guy baseball card:

36. My press pass from the Jets’ unveiling back in April:

37. My press pass from the Padres’ recent unveiling:

38. My press pass for the taping of Puppy Bowl XVI, which will air on Super Bowl Sunday early next year:

39. A copy of the book Baseball Card Vandals (more info here):

40. A copy of the book The History of the Sens Jersey, 1992–2018:

41. A book about Japanese baseball uniforms. I’m told that the uniforms are from high school and college teams:

42. A Minnesota Golden Gophers thermal mug:


And there we are. Here’s how to enter the raffle:

1) Send an email to the raffle address. If you’re having any trouble with that link, it’s uniwatchraffle at gmail dot com.

2) In the body of the email, please indicate (a) your name and shipping address and (b) your top 10 prize choices, in order of preference, by number. If you’re only interested in, say, seven items, then just list your top seven choices; if you want to list more than 10, you can do that too (hell, include all 42 items if you want!), but I don’t expect anyone to go that far. I’ll do my best to accommodate the winners’ choices.

3) One email per person. Non-USA readers are welcome to enter, although I may ask you to chip in on the shipping charges if you win something heavy. Entry deadline is next Friday, Dec. 20. As per our longstanding annual tradition, the winners will be announced on Christmas Day, and I’ll try to get everything mailed out by New Year’s.

Please join me in thanking the people who generously contributed items for this raffle: Howard Bosworth, Josh Claywell, Andy Hyman, Charles Neiswender, Wafflebored, Matthew Weidner, Andrew Welch, and John Williams. You guys are all aces!

I’d also like to thank all the rest of you who contribute in various ways to Uni Watch. I wish I could provide gifts for all of you — honest.

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Click to enlarge

And a Cardinal in a pear tree: One of the best holiday traditions here at Uni Watch HQ is the annual arrival of a package from longtime reader Elena Elms, who always sends a batch of baseball uni-themed cookies.

Elena describes this year’s batch like so:

My cookie theme this year is the 12 Days of Jerseys. I chose members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who wore Nos. 1 through 12. I didn’t want to have more than two from any one team, and also wanted some color added, so some numbers weren’t the most famous or “best” to wear that number. The Brooks Robinson jersey is the one one I show from the front because, according to my research, none of the other had a number on the front of the jersey.

Can you identify each player? Here they are, in order:

1: Ozzie Smith
2: Charlie Gehringer
3: Babe Ruth
4: Lou Gehrig
5: Brooks Robinson
6: Stan Musial
7: Iván Rodríguez
8: Willie Stargell
9: Ted Williams
10: Chipper Jones
11: Barry Larkin
12: Roberto Alomar

So cool! I can’t even begin to express how special it is that Elena sends these to me each year. Thanks so much, Elena — you’re the best!!

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Click to enlarge — it’s worth it!

Too good for the Ticker: Oh, baby! Those stripes, those belt loops, that chinstrap, those tackle twill numerals on the Durene jersey — pure eye candy.

That’s high schooler Glenn Allen of the Weymouth (Mass.) Maroons in 1952. If Glenn is still alive, he’s probably about 84 years old now. Glenn, if you’re a Uni Watch reader, get in touch!

(Big thanks to our own Brinke Guthrie for sending this one my way.)

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IMPORTANT membership update: If you want to order a new membership card (like Alex Poterack’s, which is based on the Brewers’ new home creams) and have it arrive in time for Christmas, you must order it today. Full ordering details here.

You can also order a membership gift voucher. There’s no holiday deadline for those — you can order as late as Dec. 24 and I’ll email the vouchers to you as soon as I receive your payment.

Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, a Uni Watch membership card entitles you to a 15% discount on any of the merchandise in our Teespring shop and our Naming Wrongs shop. (If you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me and I’ll hook you up.) As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here (now more than 2,400 of them!), and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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The Ticker
By Anthony Matthew Emerson

Baseball News: One of the rock band 38 Special’s drummers wore a No. 38 Braves jersey in the video for “Caught Up in You.” No. 38 belonged to P Joe Cowley at the time (from Ian Irwin). … Bill Henderson has provided a very detailed breakdown of one of the new Nike/MLB jerseys. Start here and then click through the photos to see his commentary. … New free agent signing Anthony Rendon will wear No. 6 for the Angels. That’s the same number he wore for the Nats (from p@SDubs35).

NFL/CFL News: The Athletic has a good retrospective (paywalled) on the life of Vikings logo designer Karl Hubenthal. You may recall that Paul had his own article about Hubenthal and the Vikings in 2017 (from Gary Miller). … Baltimore-area brewery Hysteria Brewing received a cease and desist letter from the NFL for using Ravens logos on the can for its “MVP IPA,” which featured an image of QB Lamar Jackson (from Jerry Wolper).

College Football News: Penn State’s Collegian newspaper has published an article about the Nittany Lions’ grounds crew (from William F. Yurasko). … The patch for the First Responder Bowl is enormous (from Josh Claywell). … Speaking of bowl patches, here are the ones for the New Mexico Bowl and Orange Bowl. … FAU yesterday introduced newly hired coach Willie Taggart, who appeared at a podium with a very unfortunately positioned FAU logo. … In the Army/Navy game, every uniform patch tells a story (WaPo link). … Speaking of Army/Navy, Phil will have his annual deep dive into the uniforms for that game tomorrow. Don’t miss!

Hockey News: So many great photos and ads in this 1971-72 Rangers program. Definitely worth clicking through the entire thing (from Jerry Wolper).

Hoops News: Lakers C/PF Devontae Cacok will wear No. 12 (from Etienne Catalan). … This is so cool: this 1949 basketball team numbered their players with only doubles — 00 through 99 (from Tim Purdon). … Iowa revealed some new alternate unis that aren’t very good (thanks, Jamie and Matt Brown).

Soccer News: In British elections, opposing candidates stand together on a stage as a neutral bureaucrat reads the results from that district. In yesterday’s general election, a candidate wore a Sunderland soccer jersey onstage during the formal reading of the results. … Bethlehem Steel, Philadelphia Union’s USL club, will be rebranded as Philadelphia Union II. A shame (thanks, Jamie). … Josh Hinton’s daily download is as follows: Napoli’s new fourth kit has been leaked by a retailer. … Spanish side Valencia didn’t wear a shirt advertiser during their Champions League trip to Amsterdam against Ajax, as the Dutch have restrictions on gambling advertisements and Valencia’s shirt ad is a betting company. … On a similar note, Celtic once again wore their charity’s logo on their shirts during a trip to Romania in the Europa League (from Ed Żelaski). … Atlas Obscura has a good piece on the abandoned Edmund Szyc Stadium in Poznań, Poland. During the Nazi occupation of Poland, the stadium served as a labor camp for the area’s Jews. It was rebuilt following the war and was home to a record crowd in 1972 before falling into disrepair and eventual abandonment in the 1980s (from @walbergLines).

Grab Bag: We don’t often feature handball uniforms, but German club St. Pauli is launching a new rainbow design. St. Pauli is a multisport club based in Hamburg’s red light district, whose members are known for their outspoken feminist, socialist, and pro-LGBTQ views (from Ed Żelaski). … Microsoft has revealed the new logo for Windows and new icons for Office applications (thanks, Brinke). … Christopher Hickey writes in: “Dale Earnhardt Jr. led a cleanup effort at the abandoned North Wilkesboro Speedway in order for the track to be digitally preserved and recreated for [the video game] iRacing.” … SuperRugby side Jaguares have some pretty nice new kits (from Germán Cabrejo). … New research indicates that Nike’s Zoom Vaporfly running shoes may provide even more of a competitive advantage (NYT link) than previously thought.

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Raffle results: The winner of our latest membership raffle is Steven Lobejko. Congrats to him, and thanks to reader Louis Griffel for sponsoring this one. — Paul

Headwear Hero: Blaise D’Sylva’s Epic College Football Helmet Collection

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If you’ve been reading the college football section of the Ticker this fall (or if you follow me on Twitter), you’ve probably become accustomed to seeing the daily tweets from Blaise D’Sylva, who’s been celebrating college football’s 150th anniversary by documenting the history of NCAA helmets, in miniature form, one school at a time. Yesterday, for example, he showed the helmet history for UCLA:

This project is tangential to another one of Blaise’s projects. Whenever an FBS team debuts a new helmet, he notes it and keeps a running total of how many new helmets have been worn by the school and cumulatively by FBS teams:

I wanted to learn more about Blaise and his helmets. Instead of doing a formal interview, I sent him some questions to use as guidelines for an essay, which he then wrote as a sort of “self-interview.” It turned out great — take it away, Blaise.

My College Football Helmet Collection
By Blaise D’Sylva

Who am I?
I’m a huge sports fan who grew up in Seattle and graduated from Washington State. I’ve lived most of my adult life in Chicago. I currently live in Dallas and work for Topgolf in the global partnerships group. My football teams are the WSU Cougars and the Seattle Seahawks. [As an aside, Blaise has a WSU membership card. — PL]

How did I get started?
It goes back to my childhood in the 1970s and the football memorabilia we used to collect. You have to remember that it was a different era and that the merchandise available today wasn’t so widespread back then. So anytime you could find something with a team logo on it, you wanted to have it. We would buy those gumball helmets for 25¢, for example, and I also remember collecting the lids from the 32-oz. Gatorade glass bottles. They did a promotion for two years where the underside of each lid had the helmet of an NFL team. Those two things are what I remember the most about collecting sports memorabilia as a kid. And while they were both about the NFL, not college football, both items were helmet-focused.

Now, fast forward to the early 2000s. By that time, my collections were long gone. But two things influenced me to get back into helmet collecting. The first was a trip I made in August 2001 to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was induction weekend, and there were some vendors set up. One of them, I’m fairly certain, was from Riddell. As part of their display, they had a set of NFL Pocket Pro helmets — their initial throwback set that they eventually made available for sale to the public.

I had never seen these Pocket Pro-sized helmets before, and they were so cool. They were bigger than the old gumball helmets and had higher-quality graphics that were printed right onto the helmet — no stickers. And this throwback set had some helmet designs that I vaguely remembered or hadn’t seen before — gold Steelers, two Broncos orange helmets, the Jets with the airplane logo (which they should’ve worn as a throwback instead of the bland navy blue NY Titans helmet).

But that day, they were only for show, not for sale. I kept offering the guy more and more money, but he wouldn’t (or couldn’t) take it. I went away empty-handed but I didn’t forget about those helmets.

The other thing that had a big impact on me was eBay. Now I could relive my childhood by finding all the things I used to collect but had discarded over the years. So I became an eBay junkie. I bought tons of gumball helmets and tracked down those Gatorade lids, buying sets not only myself but also for my brother (who collected them with me when we were kids) and for friends.

Finding the gumball helmets started me down the path that has led me to where I am today. While I was buying the gumball helmets on eBay, I came across the Pocket Pros again. This was around 2001-03, and first I found all the sets Riddell was making. I bought the then-current NFL set, along with the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, and SEC. At some point there were the two different NFL throwback sets (the original one I had seen and then another one a few years later), then I added the Ivy League and the MAC.

While I was buying the Riddell-produced sets, I also found people on eBay who were selling custom Pocket Pros for teams or schools that Riddell wasn’t making. So I started buying various helmets from multiple sellers. (At one point, in an attempt to cash in on this collectibles marketplace, I actually partnered with an eBayer to mass-produce our own set of USFL helmets. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite have the success we were looking for.)

I had started small — my original goal was to get all the different NFL helmets. But with more and more eBay sellers offering custom helmets for various leagues, my collection and obsession were both growing. One day in 2003, I bought more than 40 Arena Football League helmets from a seller, and after the purchase was completed he asked me, “What else do you want?”

“Everything,” I said. And that’s really when this journey really took off.

That was 16 years ago. I’ve been working with that same guy ever since (he prefers to remain anonymous). Every two or three months, he’d send me about 100 helmets of his choice. We were doing everything — NFL, CFL, USFL, WFL, XFL, NFLE, WLAF, Continental League from the 1960s, AAFC from the 1940s. We even did every NFL team from the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. We did indoor leagues, too — Arena Football, Arena 2, PSFL, IFL, SFL — but I ended up sending those back years later to reuse the helmets because I didn’t have space for them all and decided to focus on outdoor leagues only.

And then there were college helmets. Back in the mid-2000s, our focus with college was going backwards, as there weren’t that many new helmets within a season and a handful of changes season-to-season. At first, we worked toward doing everything back to the late 1950s when numbers started appearing on helmets. Eventually though, he decided to take it back to 1930! Of course, that was the leatherhead era, and we didn’t have a leather replica to use. But as part of their throwback sets, Riddell made a two-bar helmet model, which we decided to use for our leather replicas.

In a perfect world, all of the helmets from 1930-1969 would be two-bar helmets but we had already started making helmets going back to the 1950s with Riddell’s more modern design, plus we didn’t buy enough of the two-bars before they stopped making them. So in my collection you will see a mix of helmet styles in some cases. But overall, I’d say most of the 1930s-’40s helmets are two-bar.

How do I do the historical research?
Not only did my guy produce all the helmets, but he also did all the research for many years. I was the collector and I would ask questions about certain helmets or teams and do some fact-checking on specific helmets, but for the most part I stayed out of his way. It was not until 2016 that I decided to get fully involved in the research.

One of my main sources for historical photos is E-Yearbook.com. An annual subscription is $20 and you can find quite a bit combing through each school’s yearbook collection. It can be hit or miss, but overall this is a great place to start (although most of the photos are black-and-white, so it can be hard to be sure of the original colors). I’ve spent the better part of the last year going through nearly every yearbook for helmets from the 1930s through the 1970s, looking at photos and double-checking my helmets. Based on this research, I maintain a running list of existing helmets in my collection to fix and new ones to make.

I also took the time to review about 25 teams from the past decade or so that tend to have a lot of helmets — Oregon, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, Texas Tech, Arizona State, etc. I would search on Google for photos from each game and save a photo to make sure I had every helmet for those schools. And sure enough, I found a few I was missing. For example, with Oregon, they will wear the same helmet shell but change the color of the “O” logo on the back (black, neon green, silver, etc.). If you don’t look at a picture closely, you might miss a version.

In addition to yearbooks, the best website out there with historical helmet information is The Helmet Project. It’s been a big help and I recommend it to everyone. Also, Helmet Hut has been a great resource.

How do I keep up with all the changes today?
Starting with the 2016 college season, I decided to get more involved in the research process because I wanted to help move the production along more quickly. We were starting to fall behind and it was my fault because I had ordered over 10 different school sets (300-plus helmets) for people as gifts. It’s the best gift you can give someone! But it cost us almost a year. So for that season, I did the research work on half of the college teams (the ones that change helmets most frequently), and then in 2017 I started doing the research in-season each week for all teams.

In 2018 I decided to do something new: If a team debuted a new helmet design during the season, I tweeted it (which I have continued doing in 2019). When I do this, I’m not trying to be first with breaking news. Indeed, many new helmets are released on social media during the week before a game, or even before the season starts, well prior to my tweets. What I try to do is add some context, like identifying what has changed compared to a previous helmet, or noting how many new helmets the team has had this year, or another relevant info (like Minnesota coach PJ Fleck having 61 different helmets in 89 games coached).

Each week I keep a spreadsheet of every team, with columns for new/old, helmet, facemask, striping, and logo. I gather some info during the week as teams post what they’ll be wearing, but I do look at each game, either live on TV or via photos, to confirm what was worn. The research, tweeting, and spreadsheet maintenance takes at least eight to 10 hours per week.

What counts as a “new” helmet? It can range from something obvious (a new shell color) to something relatively small (a new facemask color, a new outline around the primary logo, a shift from glossy shells to matte). Still, there are some limits: If a team changes the slogan or logo on its front or back bumper, I don’t count that as a new helmet.

Going into this season’s conference championship games, there have been 264 new helmets in 2019, which is just about on pace with 2018’s total of 282 (including the bowl games). The teams with the most helmets in 2019 have been Minnesota (11 designs in 12 games), Memphis (10/12), Arizona State and Missouri (9/12), Kent State (8/12), and Akron (7/12).

The teams that carried over an existing design from previous years and stuck with it all season are Alabama, Auburn, Central Michigan, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Hawaii, Notre Dame, San Diego State, South Alabama, Tennessee, Texas A&M, USC, Washington, and Wyoming. There are also three teams that debuted a new design to start the season and then stuck with it for the rest of the year (Michigan, Pittsburgh, UCLA) and there are teams that didn’t wear a new helmet but wore multiple pre-existing versions during the course of the season.

So how do I produce the helmets?
This is a question I get asked a lot. To be clear, I don’t make the helmets. The short version is that we buy Riddell Pocket Pro sets, strip the paint, repaint, and apply decals. Here’s a longer version from my partner:

To strip the Pocket Pros, I use Testors Easy Lift Off. You can also use Brasso and Blue Magic, but Easy Lift Off is the best.
I also use wax on non-painted Pocket Pros. Be careful with wax on painted surfaces.
As for applying colors, I primarily use spray paint for everything — first a primer, then a top coat. I prefer Rustoleum to Krylon because of a better gloss finish. Tamiya has the best spray paint, but it’s expensive and the cans are very small! I also use automotive paints (Duplicolor). They are expensive but the results and quality are excellent.
Clear finishes can be found in all brands: gloss, satin, matte/flat, pearl, etc.
Logo designs are found primarily via web research. I also have scanned physical books, magazines, periodicals, etc.
All graphics are made/printed from Adobe Illustrator, which I have been using since 1993. The decals are printed on white printable vinyl (Cricut) and then covered with a layer of clear vinyl (Oracal 651) and applied gingerly with a heat gun.

I’ve added a second person producing helmets this year because my original guy decided he had to stop due to family commitments. I was worried about finding someone but luckily, through some connections, was able to find a new person. He started making college helmets from 2017 while I asked my original guy to complete everything 2016 and prior.

So how many helmets do I have?
I have around 4,700 college helmets (130 FBS schools, eight Ivy League schools, and Idaho since they used to be FBS). I have another 1,100 across NFL, CFL, USFL, WFL, AAFC, Continental, NFLE, WLAF, and XFL. They are displayed in my garage — broken down by conference and then by team within conference — on shelves built on two walls. The big wall has nine rows with 12 cases per row and 40 helmets per case!

As you can imagine, it’s a pretty obsessive hobby. My wife tolerates it. Every time I get a shipment, she asks, “More helmets?” And I say, “It never ends.” I had started this before I met her, though, so she knew what she was getting into.

My son is hit and miss. When he was much younger — maybe four or five — he was into helmets and could name every college or pro team. In fact, he chose his favorite NFL team, the Jets, because he loved their 1963 airplane helmet. Nowadays, if I’m home on a Saturday, he’ll sometimes sit with me as we “go around the dial” and check all the games to see all the helmets. I joke with him that he’ll have to continue this when I give the collection to him. He says he’ll sell it!

Are they for sale?
My helmets are not for sale. And the people I work with are not taking on any additional customers. But you can find people on eBay still making and selling custom Pocket Pros.

Why am I posting one college team per day?
I’ve always wanted to share my collection. To me, it is my priceless artwork! But the only people who get to see it are the ones who come over to my house. So I always wanted to get it in front of a bigger audience because football fans loves helmets, and it’s natural for collectors to want to play show-and-tell with their collections.

A couple of years ago I entered the Dos Equis “Most Interesting College Football Fan” conest because the grand prize was a statue of yourself displayed at the College Football Hall of Fame for one year. When I submitted my entry, I decided that if I won, I would offer up my collection to be displayed as well. Unfortunately, I didn’t win.

So then I had the idea to create a road tour, with my helmets as the centerpiece, for the 150th anniversary of college football. The idea was that the tour would stop in every FBS city/school except Hawaii — 129 stops over 150-plus days. I had it mapped out and worked with a sports marketing agency to put together the details. Unfortunately, we ran into some issues that made it unfeasible.

So then I decided to celebrate the CFB150 by posting helmet photos every day from the first day of the season (Aug. 24) through the Championship Game (Jan. 13). That’s 143 days to fill. I’m doing all 130 FBS schools — alphabetical by conference, and then alphabetical by school within the conference. I also included the eight Ivy League schools because I have those helmets and that conference played a key role in college football history. And finally, I’m going to fill out the last five days with my top 10 helmets of all time. I’ll post two helmets a day for the final five days, and that will end this project. (You probably won’t see any traditional helmets on my list.)

I’ve gotten great feedback from people during this project. Some people just tell me what their favorite helmets are (everyone’s opinion is different!), but others give me information on helmets that I’m missing or that I’ve gotten wrong, which helps me make the collection better. I’ve already been making some of the changes based on those responses.

This has been a big project because of all the different things I’ve been doing since early summer. This includes double-checking research across every team (especially the 1960s which had more helmets than you might think, and we didn’t always have the best pictures to work from). I’ve also had to work with my production guys to get helmets fixed or new ones made in time to shoot the photos for posting for each school/conference. And because the helmets are displayed by conference with each team following one another, I have to pull out the helmets for each team and shoot the photo and then put them back. Finally, I have to research who to tag when I post for each school in hopes of getting more exposure. It’s easily been 20 to 30 hours of work per week.

And to just add more work, I also decided I would also post a picture for each team of their college football centennial 1969 helmet if they wore the special “100” logo. So I spent countless hours poring over yearbooks and other sources to come up with the definitive list. It wasn’t easy, because in some cases teams only wore the logo for select games. In fact, I thought I had the list finalized, and then recently I got a picture of an Oregon 100 logo that I had not seen in the four other game pictures I had from that season.

I still have few other things in the works: I’m going to start posting NFL helmets in January, leading up to the Super Bowl, to celebrate the league’s 100th anniversary. I will also post my CFL helmets, maybe to start the season next year.

It’s a fun project and I love doing it, but I’ll be happy when it’s over!

What is the end game?
Right now, there is no end game. Just keep going. As I mentioned, there are close to 300 new helmets in college football each year, and I’m running behind now as it is. I think I’m going to do all of 2018 and 2019 for the power five conferences next, and then fill in the rest. I think we can be caught up probably through 2020 by the beginning of the 2021 season. I’ve also considered dropping three conferences (Conference USA, MAC, Sun Belt). Those conferences create nearly half the changes every year, which makes it hard to keep up. I’m not sure I’ll do that, but I’ve been thinking about it.

My dream still is either to take the helmets on tour or have them displayed in the College Football Hall of Fame. When you enter the Hall, they have full-size helmets in the lobby of every college from all levels. It is very popular and one of their most photographed spots. I’d love to have my collection be part of that.


Paul here. That is some seriously awesome stuff from Blaise — please join me in thanking him for sharing his story with us.

Blaise has one other helmet-centric project worth mentioning. I’ll get to that soon — stay tuned.

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ICYMI: Yesterday’s interview about military uniforms with Timmy Donahue generated more positive response, both in the comments and via email, than any Uni Watch entry in months (and justifiably so — Timmy provided heaps and heaps of fascinating info). If you missed it, it’s well worth your time. Check it out here.

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

ITEM! Yet another membership raffle: Today I’m raffling off a membership generously donated by reader Louis Griffel.

This will be a one-day raffle. To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. Big thanks to Louis for sponsoring this raffle.

Meanwhile, the winner of yesterday’s membership raffle is Bill Erdek. Congrats to him, and thanks to Mike Rosenberg for sponsoring that one.

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Click to enlarge

That’s nuts: I opened a can of peanuts yesterday and was surprised to see these two drawings on the lid.

On the one hand, I generally find diagrams like these to be inherently pleasing (all the more so when they’re stamped into metal). It’s also sort of endearing that they numbered the illustrations, just to make it idiot-proof.

On the other hand, the whole thing seems unnecessary. Like, doesn’t everyone already know how to open a pop-top lid? The unit cost of having this stamped into every lid was no doubt just a small fraction of a penny, but when you add that up over many thousands of units, is it really worth it? Hmmmmm.

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: The school district in Menomonee Falls, Wis., will stop calling its teams the Indians at the end of this school year. It’s not yet clear what the new team name will be (from Matthew Algeo). … The school board in Concord, N.H., has voted to remove a Native American mascot image from gym banners. … In Killingly, Conn., the school board decided last summer to change the name of the local high school’s teams from Redmen to Red Hawks. But after some turnover on the board following last month’s elections, there was a movement to go back to Redmen. In a vote last night, Red Hawks was scrapped but Redmen fell one vote short of reinstatement, leaving the school without a team name, at least for now (from John Dankosky).

Baseball News: All 30 MLB teams will extend the protective netting at their stadiums in 2020 (from Jim Vilk). … Looks like Cardinals SS Paul DeJong is switching back to No. 11. “He wore 11 during his rookie season, then switched to 12 in 2018 when Jose Oquendo became third base coach,” explains Ryan Bowman. For now, the team’s official active roster still shows him with No. 12, but that Twitter video suggests that a change is in the works. … D-backs players wore their now-outdated snakeskin-clad jerseys for a community event earlier this week (from Josh Pearlman). … New presenting partner sleeve advertiser for the Portland Pickles (from Andrew Dillon).

Football News: The Titans will go mono-light-blue this Sunday. … A current ACC Network ad appears to be using a photo of a UNC player from over 10 years ago. … In the recent MAC championship game, Central Michigan wore a memorial decal for radio broadcaster and alum Don Chiodo, who was killed in an auto accident last week (from Paul Smielewski). … In 1968, BYU wore enormous helmet numbers and royal blue jerseys over powder blue pants. Also, in that last link, note what appears to be an official wearing a green cap! (From Kurt Crowley.) … For Saturday’s Army/Navy game, Navy LB Nizaire Cromartie will wear a patch honoring one of the victims of last week’s naval base shootings in Pensacola, Fla. (from Timmy Donahue). … A researcher at Stanford is trying to create a water-filled football helmet (!) that he says will prevent brain injuries, although experts say he’s wasting his time (NYT link) (from Tommy Turner).

Hockey News: Here’s a look back at the Predators’ most controversial uniform. … Yesterday was the 37th anniversary of the NHL’s first all-Cooperalls game (from Jerry Wolper). … The Sabres have an “Aud Night” promotion tonight. Colored giveaway T-shirts have been draped on the seats to simulate the old Aud seating pattern (from several readers). … Ugly Sweater sweaters this Saturday for the Chicago Steel (from Steve Johnston). … I’ve been saying for years that equipment guys deserve more attention than they get, but not like this: The Avs have put the equipment manager of their AHL affiliate, the Colorado Eagles, on administrative leave after photos surfaced of him dressing up as a black player, including blackface, at a 2011 Halloween party. The player, Nigerian-born Akim Aliu, is the same player whose account of a racial slur recently led to the resignation of Flames coach Bill Peters.

College Hoops News: Rutgers wore throwbacks last night. Here’s a comparison of the throwback jersey and the original on which it’s based (from @bricep10). … Throwbacks upcoming for Louisiana Tech, too.

Soccer News: Some trademark applications suggest what the new Charlotte MLS team may be called (from James Gilbert). … The U.S. national teams are letting fans vote on captaincy armband designs (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Also from Jamie: “Interesting thing at French club Saint-Étienne: Two players on the men’s and the women’s teams, Zaydou Youssouf and Nawëal Ouinekh, are married to each other and both wear No. 28.”

Grab Bag: Here’s a great look at the uniforms worn by NYC doormen and doorwomen. … Japanese streetwear designer Hiroshi Fujiwara has been hired to create the uniforms for a private Japanese high school. … U.S. Navy sailors can now wear neck gaiters during cold weather and two-piece swimsuits for the physical readiness test, among other new uniform regulations. … Here’s a look at the history of the UNICEF logo. … Typography geeks are upset about the non-curly apostrophe in the new Levi’s logo. … The city of Bellevue, Wash., is getting a new logo. … The Sheriff’s Office in Flathead County, Mont., is asking high school students to design the department’s new logo. … A high-ranking NYC police officer who, according to court records, ordered subordinates to disproportionately direct their law enforcement efforts against black and Hispanic people, has been described by a fellow officer as “David Duke in uniform.”

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Tomorrow (I hope): The annual year-end raffle.

Talking Military Uniforms with Uni Watch Reader Timmy Donahue

For all photos in this section, click to enlarge

A few months ago I started receiving Ticker submissions from a guy named Timmy Donahue. It soon became apparent that he was an unusual contributor. For starters, in addition to submitting items regarding sports uniforms, he often had things to say regarding military uniforms. Last month, for example, he pointed out that a TV show was incorrectly showing military medals on a police uniform, and more recently he called out an ad that used a stock photo showing a soldier wearing his uniform improperly (both of which were great Grab Bag items).

In addition, when emailing with me, he usually addressed me as “Sir” and signed off with “Very respectfully, Timmy.” He mentioned in one of his emails that he had served in the Army (the photo above shows his wife, Ashley, changing his shoulder boards during the ceremony for his recent promotion from Captain to Major in the Army Reserve), which I figured accounted for both his military uni acumen and his communication style.

I was curious to learn more, so I asked Timmy (he prefers that to Tim or Timothy) if he’d be willing to do a phone interview. He readily agreed, so we spoke last Friday. Here’s a slightly condensed version of our conversation:

Uni Watch: First, please give me a few basics about yourself: How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?

Timmy Donahue: Yes, sir, I’m 35 years old, I live in Rego Park, Queens, with my wife and daughter, and I’m a public defender. I work for the Legal Aid Society. I started working there on Aug. 1.

UW: You’re also a military veteran, correct?

TD: I am, yes, sir. I did eight years, three months, and four days on active duty in the United States Army.

UW: Where did you serve?

TD: Multiple locations. I served at Fort Myer, Virginia; Fort McNair, Washington, DC; Camp Casey, South Korea; Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan; and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

UW: Right, you had previously mentioned to me that you were stationed in Afghanistan.

TD: Yes, sir. In March of 2016, I deployed for a year in Afghanistan. I worked for the Special Operations Joint Task Force, Afghanistan. It’s a bunch of Green Berets and SEALs and Marine Raiders who are basically fighting counter-terrorism operations, and they send nerds like me to go be their lawyers. So I was there but I’m by no means a Special Operator. Simply a guy who has a law degree who deployed to Afghanistan to help out on rules of engagement and targeting authority for the Special Forces.

UW: So you joined the military after getting your law degree?

TD: Yes, sir. I went to undergrad, graduate, and then law school, and law school is where I figured out what I wanted to be as an adult. I met a professor who was a retired Army Judge Advocate and kind of steered me toward that path. So I graduated law school in 2010 and joined the Army in 2011. [You can see Timmy’s military bio here. — PL]

UW: When did you first get into sports uniforms, and when did you discover Uni Watch?

TD: The first time I can remember reading Uni Watch was 2016 in Afghanistan when you did that season’s college football preview. As far as getting into sports uniforms, I’m not sure exactly when that started. My brother, who’s six years older than I am, was a film major in college, and he kind of taught me that you have pay attention to stuff when you’re watching movies, because stuff that’s happening in the background or on the periphery is really important. So I think I kind of rolled sports into that approach.

UW: So when you discovered Uni Watch in 2016, you were already something of a uniform guy.

TD: I was already somewhat into uniforms, yes. My boss was into uniforms as well, so I’d read the blog from time to time. And then when I got out of the Army and had a bit of time before starting my job, that’s when I started reading it every day.

UW: This is sort of an odd thing to bring up, but I think I can honestly say that nobody has ever communicated with me quite like you do. You usually refer to me in your emails, and now in this phone conversation, as “Sir”; you’ve also referred to me as a “busy gentleman”; and you sign off almost every email by saying, “Very respectfully, Timmy.” I really appreciate this communication style, and I certainly don’t mean to make you uncomfortable by bringing it up, but I confess that I’m a bit curious about it. Do you communicate with everyone this way? Is it something you picked up in the military, or is it just how you’ve always been?

TD: I appreciate that. I guess it comes from two or three things. My mother was a schoolteacher, so she always taught me to be respectful. Also, I grew up in Dallas, Texas. When you’re growing up there and you play sports, if you’re disrespectful to your teacher and they tell your coach, you’re not gonna play. So that was kind of ingrained in me. And in the Army, obviously that’s just the culture there. And then the other thing — so I guess it’s four things — is that I used to work in the service industry. I used to work in bars and bring food to people’s tables all the time. And I guess I found out how important it was if someone says, “Thank you” or “Sir,” as opposed to just being rude. My wife tells me I’m overly polite to service industry personnel.

I guess it’s just, if you show people respect, they’ll treat you with respect, so you show it until there’s a reason not to. That’s the same way I speak in court, the same way I speak to the judges, to my clients. If you treat people that way, you’ll get a better response. And if you get a terrible response, that’s probably someone you don’t want to interact with.

UW: One reason I wanted to talk to you is that you appear to have a very interesting skill set when it comes to uni-watching, because you often focus on depictions of military uniforms in movies, TV shows, and advertising. Have you always been a stickler about military uniforms?

TD: For my first job in the Army, I was a legal assistance attorney at Fort Myer, Virginia. My sergeant, his name was Johnny Ahern, he was in the Old Guard, which is the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment. It’s the ceremonial unit — the President’s escorts, some of those soldiers are the ones who guard the Tomb of the Unknowns — so they’re very big on appearance, because they are always out in public representing the Army and the President.

So I’ll never forgot, one day Johnny said, “Bring your uniform in — I’m going to go over it with you.” And I said, “Hey, it’s fine, Sgt. Ahern, we did that at officer basic [training].” And he looked at me and said, “Sir, bring your effing uniform!” So I said okay, and he tore the whole thing apart, and he taught me about the measurements and everything.

UW: When you say he “tore it apart,” you mean you were wearing it wrong, and he critiqued that?

TD: My measurements were not up to a standard for which Sgt. Ahern believed I should be seen wearing the uniform. [Timmy later explained that this tool is used for making such measurements. — PL]

UW: And what does that mean in terms of “measurements” — like, where your medals were?

TD: Correct. Everything you see someone wearing on a uniform that isn’t sewn on has to be placed on with pins, and there are certain measurements regarding where they go.

The other thing he didn’t like was that the buttons that went down the center — my big buttons, with the eagles on them — they weren’t standing straight, because they were sewn in instead of pinned. So he cut them off and then put them back in with safety pins, so my eagles always stood up straight.

UW: Wow. You mean they were slightly rotated, so the eagle’s head wasn’t at 12 o’clock?

TD: Correct. And then he made me put cardboard backing on all my pins so they wouldn’t appear to be leaning or falling off due to gravity. [Timmy later told me that the best cardboard for this is from beer six-pack holders, because it’s relatively strong but still thin enough so that the “spike” of the pin can protrude far enough for the backing clutch to grab it. Although I didn’t mention this to Timmy, this strikes me as a design flaw in the pins themselves. Instead of MacGyvering a solution with cardboard, why not just have the pins made with the spike a few millimeters shorter? — PL]

In the Army, you wear your résumé on your chest — everyone knows where you’ve been and what you’ve done before you even open your mouth. So when I went into the courtroom in front of military juries, which are called panels, they judged us before we even spoke because they could look at our uniform. And if there was something wrong, I’ve heard horror stories, because panel members can ask questions, and some of the questions they’d submit would be, “Why is your ribbon rack out of order?”

So to me, that means I need to be perfect in the way I look, because I need to put on a case, and I need these people to listen to what I have to say. So during my career in the Army, I was obsessed with that. And I’m still obsessed with it, because I’m in the Reserves. Whenever I see something out of place in a movie or on TV — my wife doesn’t want to hear it, but it drives me nuts. It’s so easy to figure out, and I feel like people aren’t taking the time to do it right, and it just bothers me.

UW: So do you sort of silently judge people when you see their résumé on their chest, as you just put it?

TD: I do. But if they’re in a position where I can help correct it, I do. Because one thing we have in the Army is what’s called on-the-spot corrections. Anyone from a private all the way up to a general, you have the authority to go up to any of those individuals and say, “Hey, sir — X, Y, and Z is out of order on your uniform.” And especially if it was a younger soldier — my opinion is that you don’t have to yell at the kid, because maybe he was just in a hurry, maybe he was overwhelmed, so let’s help fix it. Now, when I see older officers or old enlisted personnel with something messed up, to me that is a lack of attention to detail.

UW: The things that Johnny, your sergeant, taught you — like the safety pins, the cardboard backing — do many people do that?

TD: A lot of them do. I know I taught that same thing to a lot of people working for me.

UW: You mentioned the measurements for medals and pins. Are there also measurement protocols for exactly how long a jacket sleeve should be, or exactly how much of a shirt sleeve cuff should be exposed from the jacket sleeve?

TD: Yes. Your jacket sleeve, if I remember properly, is supposed to hit your wrist at the point where your thumb touches your wrist. I’d be speaking out of turn if I said I remembered where your shirt sleeve cuff is supposed to be. And then even in the cammies, there are rules for where your jacket top is supposed to hit your pants. It’s supposed to be between your side pocket, which you’re not even supposed to put your hands in, and your cargo pocket.

UW: That’s all fascinating. My next question was going to be “Tell me something about military uniforms that the average civilian might not know,” but I think you’ve already done that! Anything else on that front?

TD: Military uniforms look really, really nice in pictures, but they’re made of polyester and they are really, really hot.

UW: They don’t breathe?

TD: They do not breathe well. I’m looking at the tag on my dress blue pants right now. It’s a 55/45 poly-wool blend.

UW: Are the shirts also polyester?

TD: Yes. I think it’s a blend. It’s awful, is what it is.

UW: Is this a common complaint?

TD: Yes. You are authorized to wear a short-sleeved shirt beneath your dress blue jacket, and I did that every single time. There’s an old video of Gen. [Raymond T.] Odierno testifying in front of Congress, and people were like, “Oh my god, Gen. O’s wearing short sleeves!”

UW: So when you were in military court, that’s what you’d be wearing — the short sleeves under your jacket, with a necktie?

TD: Yes, sir. But you’re not allowed to wear the necktie with a short-sleeved shirt if you don’t have a jacket on. So if the judge gave us a recess that was more than 15 minutes, I would take my jacket off and also take my tie off. But you have to be in what we call Proper Bs — your B uniform is your dress pants and a white shirt, and then Proper Bs include your rank on your shoulders and your name tape and your unit crest on your right breast.

UW: When you removed your tie for those recesses — or for any other reason when you removed your jacket while wearing the short-sleeved shirt — would you fully unknot and untie the tie? Or would you do that thing where you just loosen it at the knot and then pull the loop over your head? You know what I mean?

TD: Yes, sir. That is absolutely what I did.

UW: So this was always a real tie, not a clip-on tie.

TD: You are authorized to wear a clip-on, they do sell them, but I never wore that.

UW: How do you feel about camouflage uniforms in sports, and the general proliferation of military appreciation promotions in the sports world?

TD: Yes, sir. I’ll preface this by saying I’m still serving in the United States Army Reserve, so I don’t have authority to make statements on that from an Army perspective, so this is just in my civilian capacity. But I would say camouflage uniforms are not overly my favorite thing. I do appreciate it when people are patriotic, but I think I’d rather have someone ask my about my service than thank me for it, because I think that would mean more. I think I could explain to them what we did, and what I was doing. I think when people say, “Thank you for your service,” I think it’s kind of a platitude — they just say it. I appreciate the sentiment, but I think if people just talked to veterans, they’d get a better idea of what it means to be patriotic. I don’t know if that answered your question, sir.

UW: That’s a perfectly good answer. I think those are all the questions I have. Anything else uni-related that you’d like to discuss?

TD: I am upset about the [Texas] Rangers’ new uniforms.

UW: Oh, right, you grew up in Dallas — what do you think of them?

TD: I lived there when Nolan Ryan pitched for them. I was a Dr. Pepper Junior Ranger — my parents paid, like, $20 at the grocery store and I got a hat and got to go to old Arlington Stadium. So I grew up rooting for the Rangers. And you pretty much said it in your piece, they just kinda missed it.

UW: So you’re still a Rangers fan today?

TD: I don’t follow baseball as much anymore. Football is my primary sport. I’m a big Philadelphia Eagles fan. My entire family’s from Philadelphia.

UW: But you grew up in Texas..?

TD: It was a tough childhood. Long story short, my entire family’s from Philly. When we moved down to Texas, my dad wanted us to fit in, so he took us to Rangers and Mavericks games. But my dad loves football — just not the Cowboys. So we rooted for the Eagles. My daughter, Mia, was born five days before the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2018, and I plastered her in Eagles stuff for Super Bowl Sunday.


Now that, I think we can all agree, is a really great interview. Please join me in thanking Timmy for sharing all of that fascinating info.

And there’s more. In a series of follow-up emails, Timmy shared some additional insights:

• We do not shine the shoes that are worn with our dress blues, because they are patent leather. You can wear leather shoes and shine them if you choose, but I only knew two people who ever did so.

• You cannot have your hands in your pockets except briefly to retrieve keys or some other object you may need.

• It is prohibited to walk and utilize a cellphone in any manner. If you need to take a call you must stop and talk. Walking and talking/texting interferes with one’s ability to render a salute. (Similarly, if you hold your spouse’s or significant other’s hand, you must use your left hand to hold your partner’s, so that the right hand can be used to salute.)

• The berets worn by soldiers have to be shaved with a razor before they may be worn (no shaving cream, you dry-shave it). They come fuzzy from the manufacturer and require extensive shaving to make them within regulation. I would buy a set of disposable razors and stretch the beret over a pot to shave it on a flat surface. It legitimately takes days. Once shaved it must be shaped by getting it wet and stretching it into the proper shape on one’s head.

• When walking in a group of two or more, the senior individual stands to the group’s right. This is done so that anyone passing can identify the senior-most person and salute if required. Enlisted personnel always stand to the left of officers, and junior officers to the left of senior officers. (This also has historical significance, as a sword was worn on the individual’s left hip. A junior officer or enlisted person was to draw their sword to defend the senior.)

• When outdoors, one must always wear a cover (hat or beret). he camo hat is called a patrol cap and the dress blues hat is referred to colloquially as the bus driver cap. The exception to this rule is that a cover is not required after retreat (5pm) if one is in the Dress Blues.

• Each branch (job) within the Army has its own color. The color is used on the dress blue uniform to identify members of the branches. If you look at the sleeves on the dress blues, you will see two gold stripes at the bottom framing a dark blue section. That blue is actually a ribbon — it is not the uniform sleeve itself. The Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps (Army lawyers and paralegals) branch color is dark blue with white trim. The same color would appear around the bus driver cap, if worn, and the shoulder boards also bear the color.

Here is my right sleeve:

You can see the JAG Corps blue ribbon framed by the gold. This color would be different on the uniforms of Officers in other branches. Enlisted personnel do not have this on their uniform sleeve; they have a gold ribbon that goes around without branch color. The two gold tick marks each represent six months deployed to a combat zone. I did a year in Afghanistan, so I have two tick marks. This is on every uniform, officer or enlisted. This is another check Army personnel make on each other: If you see someone has a deployment badge (Combat Service ID Badge, or CSIB) on their right pocket, but no tick marks on the sleeve, that means they deployed but it was for less than six months. A CSIB with one tick mark, but no Overseas Service Ribbon (OSR) in the ribbon rack, would mean they were deployed for at least six months but less than 10. You have to do 80% of 365, or 292, days to qualify for an OSR. These are just small ways we check each other’s uniform before ever talking to each other.

• Other colors: infantry (sky blue); artillery (red); Special Forces (green). Each branch has an insignia as well. The JAG Corps insignia is a laurel with a crossed quill and sword. You can see it on the lapel of my dress blues. Enlisted personnel wear circular discs on their lapels. More info here and here.

• The sleeves of the camouflage uniform have Velcro, but we don’t call it Velcro because that is a brand name. We call it hook-and-loop fasteners. The Velcro/fasteners are for patches: A soldier wears the patch of the unit s/he is currently assigned to on the left sleeve and the patch of the unit s/he deployed with to a warzone or area of active hostilities on the right sleeve. It is known as the right shoulder sleeve insignia for former wartime service. If a Soldier has deployed more than once, it is the Soldier’s choice of which unit patch to wear on the right sleeve. The same patch, rendered in color — but different dimensions — is worn on the right front pocket of the dress blues. (Female dress uniforms have no pockets, so it would simply be the right side.) You can see I have the same patch on my right camo sleeve as I do in color on my blues.

• Here is my Army Combat Uniform (ACU), aka the cammies:

We refer to these as OCPs, which stands for Operational Camouflage Pattern. The uniform is actually called the ACU, but that’s what we called our old digital cammies, even though they were officially the Universal Camouflage Pattern or UCP. Yes, it’s confusing, and no, I have no idea why we do it, but yes, we all understand which uniform people are talking about.

On my left sleeve is my current unit, Trial Defense Service (TDS). I am assigned to the 154th Legal Operations Detachment TDS. On my right sleeve is the unit I deployed with, the Special Operations Joint Task Force Afghanistan, along with my American flag. Someone who has not deployed can be referred to by the pejorative term “slick sleeve,” for having nothing on the right side. Another term is “light on the right.” It’s our own internal way of insulting someone who has not deployed — a classic example of Army culture.

• Here’s the tag from that uniform:

I added the “1.” It corresponds to a pair of pants whose tag also has a “1.” When you buy the uniform from the clothing store on base, each piece (top and bottom) has slight variations in color. You want to buy a set that matches as best as possible and then wash them together. You always need to keep the set together because you never want to wear a new top with old pants — the top would be fresh and the bottom faded. I go through a ritual with new uniforms that includes washing them at least five times before wear, rubbing lotion on the inside to simulate body oils to soften them, and taking a lighter to the outside. The OCPs come with what can best be described as a sheen on them, and the threads often have loose hanging threads, so the lighter helps soften the uniform and get rid of the sheen, while simultaneously getting rid of any loose threads.

Wow! That’s some serious info and knowledge that Timmy’s dropping on us there.

One final thought: While I appreciate Timmy’s service in the military, I also greatly respect his choice to begin his civilian law career with the Legal Aid Society, which does such important work. I mentioned that to him, and he said, “Thank you for that. We take great pride in representing New Yorkers who need assistance. I know that often times public defenders get a bad rap, but they are truly some of the finest, most caring people one could ever meet. I see being a public defender as an extension of service in the Army, standing up for those who need help, often the most vulnerable of society.”

Nicely put. It’s also worth noting that Timmy’s Legal Aid “uniform” has on at least one occasion included an accessory that might not be up to military standard but nonetheless makes me quite proud:

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Really good project: I think I speak for most of us when I say that the NFL’s use of generic lookalike Super Bowl logos over the past decade has been a major drag. Wouldn’t it have been better if they’d kept coming up with a fresh logo for each Supe?

A new website called Second and 10 has taken aim at that problem. Each Wednesday, the professional designers who run the site roll out their own logo concept for one of the recent logo-orphaned Super Bowls (like the Super XLVI concept shown here), plus they also have some fun Super Bowl logo rankings. It’s good stuff — well worth a few minutes of your time. Enjoy.

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ITEM! One-day merch sale: I’m running a bunch of holiday sales on various Uni Watch products today. Check it out:

• For today — and only today — you can get 20% off of anything in the our Teespring shop (which includes Uni Watch shirts, hoodies, mugs, pins, cufflinks, and stickers) and the Naming Wrongs shop by using the checkout code UW20.

• Also today, our Uni Watch Classic Cap is available for $31.99 (that’s 20% off the usual price of $39.99).

• Also today, you can get a Uni Watch gumball helmet for $9.99 (that’s nearly 30% off the usual price of $13.99).

• And also for today, Uni Watch memberships are available for $20 (that’s 20% off the usual price of $25).

These discounts are only for today. Enjoy!

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

ITEM! Yet another membership raffle: Today is reader Mike Rosenberg’s birthday. He recently won one of our membership raffles and is paying it forward by donating a membership that I’m raffling off today.

This will be a one-day raffle. To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. Big thanks to Mike for sponsoring this raffle (and happy birthday to boot!).

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The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

Baseball News: The White Sox tweeted that C Yasmani Grandal will wear No. 24 with the club, and they did it using a Majestic-era jersey (from multiple readers). … A contestant on The Price Is Right‘s latest episode wore a No. 25 Yankees jersey. Here are all the possible Yankees the contestant could be paying tribute to (from multiple readers). … A Houston-area floor resurfacing company advertised an Astros-themed option using a hybrid of old and new Astros logos (from Scott Campbell). … A few weeks ago we featured @PaperStadiums in the Ticker — a fan who builds sports venues out of paper. Check out his progress on his rendition of Wrigley Field. … “MLB’s Cut4 Twitter account always does intentionally bad job of mocking up players in their new uniforms when they change teams,” says Andrew Cosentino. “But for newly signed Yankees P Gerrit Cole, they went the extra mile by painting over his beard and long hair,” both of which he’ll presumably have to shed with the Yanks. … ESPN.com, meanwhile, also removed Cole’s beard but left his long hair intact and didn’t include the new Nike maker’s mark on his jersey.

NFL News: According to an interview with the team’s equipment manager, the Chargers equipment staff removes the lightning bolt decals from every helmet whenever the team wears its Color Rash jerseys and replaces them with special ones only to be worn with that uniform. The difference is the color of the blue outlining on the bolts (from Brian Taylor). … Speaking of the Rash, the Steelers will be wearing theirs when they face the Bills this weekend (from Jerry Wolper). … The Frisco Fire Department of Frisco, Texas, revealed a Cowboys-themed fire truck yesterday. The Cowboys’ front office is located next to the Frisco Fire station where the fire truck is housed (from Dustin Perez). … The NHL’s L.A. Kings held Rams Night last night, so the hockey team suited up in Rams-themed warmups, complete with “C” and “A” designations modeled after NFL captaincy patches. Rams players returned the favor by wearing Kings jerseys for the ceremonial puck drop. The Kings also gave away Kings/Rams co-branded caps. Kings mascot Bailey even got in the act, wearing a blue and white Rams helmet (from Jakob Fox, among several others). … Someone turned Browns DE Myles Garrett’s helmet attack on Steelers QB Mason Rudolph into a bizarre Christmas ornament (from our own Phil Hecken). … Reader Jason Diebold stumbled upon two Tampa-related pennants: one featuring the Super Bowl XVIII logo in Buccaneers creamsicle colors, and another of USFL team Tampa Bay Bandits. … ESPN sublimated the Patriots logo on an LSU-related graphic (from Ben Whitehead). … A dinosaur skeleton at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is wearing a giant Bears throwback jersey (from David Halstrom).

College Football News: Here’s this season’s bowl schedule in helmet form (from our own Phil Hecken). … UAB RB Spencer Brown had his number fall off his jersey during the Conference USA Championship on Saturday (from Eric Espada). … The Redbox Bowl botched Cal’s name, referring to it as Cal State, the name of California’s other large university system (from @TwoSeamGripe). … An Ohio State fan started a petition imploring the team to go with grey stripes on their home unis for all home games (from Ian Rhoades). … Today’s helmet history with Blaise D’Sylva features Stanford. … Cross-listed from the NFL section: ESPN sublimated the Patriots logo on an LSU-related graphic (from Ben Whitehead).

Hockey News: Cross-listed from the NFL section: The Kings held Rams Night last night, so the hockey team suited up in warmups honoring the NFL’s L.A. Rams, complete with “C” and “A” designations modeled after NFL captaincy patches. Rams players returned the favor by wearing Kings jerseys for the ceremonial puck drop. The Kings also gave away Kings/Rams co-branded caps. Kings mascot Bailey even got in the act, wearing a blue and white Rams helmet (from Jakob Fox, among several others). … A Predators fan received a C Colton Sissons sweater they ordered from Fanatics, but the NOB was placed upside down (from @Wilds_Lee). … The winner of a contest held by a DC-area brewery for the best Capitals-themed beer can wants to turn his graphic design skills into a career (from Wolfie Browender). … The Capitals’ minor league affiliate, the Hershey Bears, recently released throwbacks (from Adam Triesler).

Basketball News: Here’s a good article on the Hornets’ seamstress (paywalled) (from William I. Wells). … The National Basketball League of Australia released Looney Tunes-themed uniforms yesterday (from Dan Howe). .. Colorado State men’s has at least inconsistent NOB typography (from @youngreid71).

Soccer News: Chelsea’s fourth shirt has leaked. It’s on the kit they wore when they won the 1970 FA Cup (from @DukeStJournal). … Nashville SC’s home kit has potentially leaked through the club’s youth team (from Josh Hinton). … For more kit-related news from around the world, make sure to check out Josh’s Twitter feed. … Valencia wore ad-free shirts against Ajax in their Champions League match yesterday, because the Netherlands doesn’t allow gambling ads outside the state-run gambling company (from multiple readers). … “Scottish team Livingston now has a women’s team called Livingston Women’s FC,” says our own Jamie Rathjen. “They’re going to wear the same kit as the men’s side, but the women’s reserve/youth teams will keep the identity of Blackburn United, the club Livingston affiliated with to do this, creating an interesting situation in which a player progressing through the youth teams to the first team would at the last step wear a different kit than they wore previously.”

Grab Bag: A man dressed as Santa was kicked out of a South Carolina mall because the mall had already contracted with another Santa (from Jack Wade). … Someone is putting cowboy hats on pigeons (NYT link) in Las Vegas. … From our own Phil Hecken, Nike has debuted a new modesty swimsuit for Muslim and body-conscious women.

Gross: MLB Reveals Full Slate of Nike-fied Home Jerseys

Click to enlarge, if you dare

In case you were wondering how your favorite MLB team’s home jersey will look with the Nike maker’s mark on the chest next season, here’s a view of all 30 home whites. Additional info and individual jersey photo downloads are available here.

Let’s shift into FAQ mode:

Wait a minute — wasn’t Under Armour supposed to be MLB’s new uniform supplier?

That was the original plan announced in 2016. But Under Armour, which has had significant business problems in recent years, withdrew from the deal in May of 2018. At the time, it was reported that Nike would be swapped in for Under Armour, although that didn’t become official until January of this year.

So is every team getting new uniform designs?

No. Whenever Nike takes over a league’s uniform contract, people seem to mistakenly believe that the whole league will get a makeover. But when Nike got the NFL contract in 2012, most NFL teams retained their existing uniform designs. Ditto for the NBA in 2017. And ditto for MLB in 2020. A few teams are getting new uniform designs, and most are sticking with their existing designs — just like any other year.

Okay, but at least the fabric and tailoring templates must be new, right?

Nope. These 2020 jerseys have the exact same tailoring and fabric as Majestic’s 2019 jerseys. The only difference is the removal of the Majestic sleeve logo, the addition of the Nike chest logo, and the corresponding change to the jock tag. Everything else is the same.

Will there be tailoring and/or fabric changes in 2021?

Possibly, although I’m hearing that the template and fabric will likely carry over to 2021 as well.

What about 2022?

We’ll see.

Looking at the photos, it seems like the Yankees jersey is the only one that doesn’t have those mesh side panels. How come?

That’s a carryover from their Majestic jerseys (the Yankees were the only team that didn’t have the side panels in recent years). Like I said, nothing is changing from 2019.

I hate that Nike logo on the chest.

Probably not as much as I do.

Why can’t they put it on the sleeve, like Majestic did? Why does Nike always have to push things too far?

Nike didn’t unilaterally decide to put their logo on the chest. They put it there because MLB decided to sell that space for the maker’s mark at a higher price, and Nike was willing to pay that higher price for added exposure. (MLB had originally struck that same deal as part of the contract that Under Armour backed out of.) So don’t blame Nike for purchasing something that was available for sale; blame MLB for selling it in the first place. Say what you want about the NFL, but at least they haven’t sold that space.

I don’t understand all the fuss about the Nike logo on the chest. What’s the big deal?

If you don’t care about the logo on the chest, that’s fine. We’ll have to agree to disagree.

This is the first step in the move toward ad patches, isn’t it?

That’s been the speculation since July, but we’ll see.

Why do the photos show the Brewers’ 50th-anniversary patch but not the Twins’ 60th-season patch?

Good question. Several 2020 commemorative patches seem to have been omitted from these photos, including the Dodgers’ All-Star Game patch and the Rangers’ stadium-inaugural patch. Seems like they were just inconsistent with the photo shoot.

Why are they showing the home jerseys but not the road or alternate jerseys?

At least one team hasn’t yet unveiled its new road uniform, and at least two teams haven’t yet unveiled their new alternates. Stay tuned.

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Yowza: There are double-decker NOBs and there are NOBs positioned below the uni number, but Mississippi State guard Andra Espinoza-Hunter has the rare combination of the two. It looks particularly unwieldy because State uses such massive NOB lettering, so even the team’s single-decker NOBs look clunky. Weird typography choice.

(My thanks to @TheVeaze for this one.)

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

“Wouldn’t You Rather Be in Florida With the Baseball Teams?” Well, of course, who wouldn’t? This 1960s display stand held Grapefruit League spring training schedules for vacationers to take on their way south, I guess. I particularly like how someone wrote “Courtesy of WHJC” and “Free schedule.” The seller notes that “WHJC” is in Matewan, W.V.. It is now a Southern Gospel station.

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• This record album is called The Fat Lady Sings for the Bullets and has highlights of the 1977-78 World Champion Washington Bullets. Still sealed in its packaging! Nice plaid sports coat on coach Dick Motta, too.

• Check out this cool 1970s Phoenix Suns switchplate.

• This 1967 Dallas Cowboys football gear set from Rawlings comes with the helmet, shoulder pads, No. 17 jersey for Dandy Don Meredith, and a pair of plain white pants. What, no blue-green?

• One more from the NFL Sears Shop — this lined parka for the St. Louis Football Cardinals.

• Staying with Sears but moving on over to the sporting goods department, this 1960s Ted Williams Major League Baseball is stamped, “Genuine Horsehide!”

• Yes, there were actually ashtrays with sports logos on them, like this one for the New Orleans Jazz.

• This 1970s sticker advertises Schaefer Stadium, the former home of the New England Patriots. I never knew back then that Schaefer stood for the beer (an early example of naming rights), just like I didn’t realize Rich Stadium in Buffalo was named for a food company or that Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte was for a cell phones company.

• This lot of four Sportoys buggies represents the AFC Central of the 1970s; Steelers, Browns, Bengals and Oilers.

• Here’s another lot of 1970s NFL gumball helmets, this time with built-in pencil sharpeners.

• This 1960s “Sports Waving Ball Car Decoration” is basically a suction cup with a baseball attached to it. This one has the word “Cincinnati” in red. No Reds logo, though.

Got an item to include on Collector’s Corner? DM your submissions to us on the Uni Watch Facebook page. Open 24/7/365!

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Almost gone: As of last night, there were only two Uni Watch mini-helmets remaining (which, if you want, can be autographed by me and/or by Phil). We will not offer these again — when they’re gone, they’re gone. So if you want one, move fast. Mini-helmets are now SOLD OUT.

While we’re at it: White gumball helmets are now sold out (but green ones are still available).

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Looking ahead: Check out this gorgeous jersey made by DIY genius Wafflebored! He’s generously donating it to this year’s year-end reader-appreciation raffle, which will be taking place either this Friday or, more likely, next Tuesday. Stay tuned!

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsThe Nats used the signing of P Stephen Strasburg to introduce a 2019 World Champs logo yesterday. No word yet on whether this will be worn on the field (thanks to all who shared). … The Lakewood BlueClaws, the Phillies’ Class A affiliate, have unveiled a 20th-season logo (from Kevin Clark). … The Savannah Bananas of the Coastal Plain League capitalized on the viral news story about the duct-taped banana art installation with an excellent tweet (from @mikeobs).

NFL NewsThe Eagles wore their mono-black alternates last night. In addition, at one point backup QB Josh McCown was preparing to enter the game as a receiver, which had helmet implications: ““I was ready to go,” McCown said. “We had the helmet ready to go. The equipment guys were all over it. Had the radio-less helmet because you can’t have two green dots on the field at the same time.” And no, that wouldn’t violate the one-shell rule — it’s one of the exceptions that the rule allows for (from @ThatRodneyGuy). … In that same game, Giants QB Eli Manning didn’t have the NFL100 logo on his jersey last night (thanks to all who shared). … You’ve heard of non-basketball teams wearing the jumpman logo, but how about a football player wearing a baseball player logo? That’s Pats WR Julian Edelman did on Sunday, as he wore baseball-themed cleats for the Israel Baseball Association (from Blake Fox). … The Browns made some slight field design alterations on Sunday, adding orange outlines to numbers and adding brown outline stripes to the 20- and 50-yard lines (from Dylan). … It appears the space between the numerals on Titans WR AJ Brown’s jersey has gotten wider as the season has gone on (from Jacob Turner). … The lobby of the Buccaneers’ training facility has all sorts of uni- and logo-related displays, including prototype designs and lots of interesting background info. Kevin Brown took these photos of the displays (and apologizes for the glare). … Lots of players do postgame jersey swaps, but Ravens QB Lamar Jackson swapped a purple jersey that he didn’t wear following Sunday’s game. The Ravens wore white on Sunday against Buffalo, not purple. He did the same thing the previous week against the 49ers when Baltimore wore black (from Ray Bergman). … In 1995, Vikings RB Robert Smith lost one of his shoes during a long TD run against the Steelers. He ran the last 45 yards with only one cleat and even managed to break a few tackles (from Mike Chamernik). … Remember how some of the Chiefs’ gear got lost in transit and made it to Foxboro shortly before Sunday’s game against the Pats? As people scrambled to resolve the situation, at one point it looked like the Chiefs might end up wearing helmets from a Massachusetts high school team that uses red shells and a very Chiefs-like logo (from Jason Tierney).

College Football NewsReader Scott Cummings points out that two of Ohio State’s best players — DE Chase Young and RB J.K Dobbins — both wear No. 2. That raises an interesting question: Are they the most successful pair of teammates to wear the same number throughout a season? … Speaking of the Buckeyes, it appears Ohio State will once again wear throwbacks in the College Football Playoff (from Ben Teaford). … The honorary captain during Georgia Tech’s coin toss ceremony at a game earlier this season was wearing a strange jerseyRex Henry thinks it looks like a generic jersey Adidas put together right after they took over the Jackets’ apparel contract. … Glenn Riley mocked up a Mardi Gras-themed alternate for LSU. … The ACC Tracker has been updated to reflect the ACC Championship game. … Cork Gaines and Brian Cox found all of the edits the Old Dominion graphics team made to a photo of new coach Ricky Rahne to get him into an ODU shirt.

Hockey NewsSportsnet went longform for a story about Marco Argentino, who has become a legend through the years for creating custom hockey equipment for the NHL’s star players (from Neil Vendetti). … A youth hockey program in Columbus, Ind., uses the Flames’ logo (from @PureLipschitz).

NBA NewsCheck out this awesome poster celebrating the 1978 Washington Bullets’ NBA Finals championship in Mike Rosenberg’s DC office. … The Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks’ D League affiliate, wore ugly Christmas sweater jerseys during a recent game (from D. Hempel).

College Hoops News: Rutgers will wear throwback uniforms on Wednesday against Wisconsin (from @RutgersRivals). … Throwbacks also in the works for Colorado State (from @youngreid71). … Navy’s women’s team will retire Courtney Davidson’s No. 21 next month (from Will Ricks).

Soccer News: Here are a few notes from Josh Hinton: China’s 2020 away kits have leaked; Australia has unveiled its third new crest in three years. For more kit news, head over to Josh’s Twitter feed. … New home shirt and logo for Japanese side Shimizu S-Pulse (from Ed Zelaski).

Grab BagHave you noticed that legacy sportswear brand Champion is making a bit of a comeback? Reader Max Weintraub passed along some photos of a retro-styled Champion display he spotted at the William & Mary bookstore. …. New cycling uniforms for the pro cycling team formerly known as Bahrain–Merida (from Craig Ackers). … The International Team in golf’s Presidents Cup has a new team shield (from Luke Gabel).

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Raffle results: The winner of yesterday’s membership raffle is Amy Marantino. Congrats to her, and my continued thanks to David Cline for sponsoring so many of these recent raffles. — Paul