The Inside Story Behind the ‘Dallas Razorbacks’

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As I mentioned earlier this week, Arkansas will be honoring their most famous alum, Jerry Jones, by wearing Cowboys-style uniforms when they play Texas A&M at the Cowboys’ stadium this Saturday.

On Tuesday I got to interview Arkansas equipment manager Jake Rosch, who filled me in on a lot of details regarding this uniform project. It was a tremendously enjoyable interview, and I think you’ll enjoy it as well. Check it out here on ESPN.com.

I really ought to interview equipment managers more often. They geek out about this stuff just like we do.

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: A high school football team in Virginia has the phrase “Hoka Hey” on their jerseys. That’s a battle cry from the Sioux chieftain Crazy Horse. More info here (from Steve H). … Actress Danielle Panabaker attended last Sunday’s ’Skins/Rams game and wore a cap expressing her thoughts on the team’s name (from James Gilbert).

Baseball News: Twins P Jose Berrios, who’s from Puerto Rico, responded to the latest hurricane by writing “Pray 4 PR” on his cap. … The Wisconsin Timbler Rattlers are selling nameplates from Brewers who were on minor league rehab assignments (from Scott Hurley). … Looks like Padres C Rocky Gale was wearing teammate Austin Hedges’ chest protector yesterday. … D-backs 1B Paul Goldschmidt was wearing the Players Weekend socks last night.

NFL News: Following up on yesterday’s entry about nose rings: Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill has a nose stud (from Coleman Brockmeier). … And from yesterday’s comments, here’s former Dolphins RB Ricky Williams with a nose stud (from John Cropp). … Looks like Cardinals RB David Johnson has his own personal logo (from Matthew Crooks). … A group of current and former NFL players have asked commish Roger Goodell to designate November as a month for activism awareness, similar to the current campaigns for cancer and the military. It’s not clear to what extent, if any, this would involve uniforms or accessories. Goodell’s response is also unknown, at least for now.

College Football News: Indiana will wear their “Hep’s Rock” alternates this weekend (from Darrell Frazier). … Alternate cream unis this weekend for Oklahoma (from Sam McKinley). … 1997 throwbacks this week for Southern Miss. … Want to vote on the best San Diego State helmet of all time? Sure you do. … Military appreciation uniforms this weekend for Virginia Tech (from Andrew Cosentino).

Hockey News: Bauer, the hockey equipment brand, has come up with a new collar device that supposedly prevents brain damage. This appears to be similar to the device worn by Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly (from Ted Arnold).

NBA News: The 76ers have announced a “Spirit of 76” campaign, which will feature a retro-style court and a new alternate uniform, with the uni to be unveiled later this fall. The promotion will also include three new statues of yet-to-be-named Sixers greats (thanks, Phil).

College Hoops News: Florida State’s uniforms are staying the same for this season (from Ryan Kelly). … New court design for Creighton (from @CourtlandOlson).

Soccer News: Sporting KC wore their primary kits in the US Open Cup final last night (from @powerandfinesse). … The Portland Timbers have signed a five-year-old keeper (yes, really), and he’ll wear No. 100 (from Mike Donovan).

Grab Bag: There’s a new-ish book about the symbolism of national flags. … The great minutiae website Atlas Obscura has been doing an entire week of articles about pants. … Here’s one observer’s picks for the eight most iconic retro jerseys in rap videos (from Mike Chamernik). … With Toys R Us filing for bankruptcy, Robert Hayes found a graphic showing the evolution of the company’s giraffe mascot. … This is interesting: an artist who produces handmade quilts from prison uniforms (from Marc Rivlin). … The University of West Georgia has inked a new apparel deal with Adidas (from Bo Childers).

Nosy Business

Photo by Peter Diana, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; click to enlarge

Notice anything unusual about this photo of Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant from last Sunday’s game against the Vikings? Here, let’s take a closer look:



That’s right — Bryant was wearing a nose ring. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before on an NFL player. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it on any athlete, at least not during competition. (Of course, several athletes have worn nose hoops on their own time. The most obvious example is Dennis Rodman, but I’ll always have a soft spot for former tennis star Jennifer Capriati’s mug shot from when she got caught shoplifting in 1994, a very endearing cry for help.)

As for Bryant, some quick Googling reveals that he got his nose pierced during the spring, and he appears to have been wearing the hoop pretty much full-time since then. You can see him wearing it in this video clip from late May, in this photo from a preseason game against the Falcons, and in this shot from the Steelers’ season opener against the Browns. He wears it during pregame warm-ups, too.

The funny thing is that Bryant was wearing a Breathe Right strip, which is designed to maximize respiratory efficiency, but also had the hoop, which seems like it would impede that efficiency at least a little bit — wouldn’t it?

Update: Reader Michael Golec has just informed me that Saints rookie running back Alvin Kamara wears a septum ring and a nose stud:

He wore those same two piercings while playing college ball at Tennessee (click to enlarge):

So that makes at least two NFL players who are currently wearing nose bling. Any others out there?

(Big thanks to eagle-eyed reader Chris Weber, who spotted the Bryant photo.)

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Towel tactics: What’s weirder than a player with a nose ring? How about this: Ohio safety Javon Hagan likes to steal opponents’ waistband towels during the game. He literally yanks the towels out of their pants! Here he is doing to Kansas wide receiver Quan Hampton last Saturday — and bragging about it on his own Twitter feed:

This wasn’t a new thing for Hagan. He also stole a towel from Troy wide receiver Deondre Douglas during a bowl game last winter:

Bizarre. Seems more like a weird compulsion than any sort of gamesmanship tactic. Also seems like something that would get flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct if the officials noticed, right?

(I learned about this one from this Cleveland.com news roundup, which was brought to my attention by reader Jason Hillyer.)

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False alarrrm There was a bit of excitement late in the day yesterday when the Mariners posted the tweet shown above, indicating that they were wearing Talk Like a Pirate Day jerseys for last night’s game against the Rangers. Turns out it was just a gag, as they ended up wearing their regular home whites.

Too bad. It’s a very minor league-style idea, and I mean that in a good way. It’s fun, playful, irreverent, and pretty harmless from a design standpoint, since most fans could take a quick glance at the jersey and not even realize that they’d changed the spelling.

Even better, you wouldn’t have to worry too much about the copycat factor (you know, the way a league tends to ruin any good idea by turning into a league-wide thing that ends up feeling forced and calculated instead of fun and spontaneous), because most MLB teams don’t have pirate-friendly names. From where I sit, the only ones that would work are these:

TeamChest Insignia
CardinalsCarrrdinals
DiamondbacksArrrizona
MarinersMarrriners
MarlinsMarrrlins
OriolesArrrioles
PiratesArrrrr

I threw the Pirates in there because it didn’t seem right to leave them out.

They should all do it next season! Or at least the Mariners should do it, since they teased it this year. Kevin Martinez, if you’re reading this, make it happen!

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Raffle results: The first-prize winner of our Whalers raffle is Justin Pierce, and the three second-prize winners are David Kelly, Ryan Harrington, and D. Renzoni. Congrats to them, and thanks to all who entered. More raffles coming soon.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Yankees P CC Sabathia was wearing no-show socks on the mound last night (from Chris Morris). … The Angels warmed up in Anaheim Ducks crossover caps and jerseys last night on “Ducks Night.” The team also changed its Twitter avatar to a Ducks/Angels hybrid logo (from AJ). … Speaking of hockey night at the ballpark, the Giants gave away a co-branded San Jose Sharks/Giants winter hat last night (from Moe Khan). … A group of 45 men — all of them dressed like Tom Selleck’s character from the TV show Magnum, P.I. — were kicked out of the Tigers game at Comerica Park on Saturday (from J. Max Weintraub). … The Memphis Redbirds’ batting helmets have a mix of 3D logos and traditional flat decals (from Erik Spoonmore). … Phillies P Hector Neris is superstitious and has been wearing the same rosin-stained cap all season long (from Blake Fox).

NFL News: The Rams will be wearing mono-yellow, along with yellow helmet horns, tomorrow night against the Niners (thanks Phil). … The Steelers began using their now-familiar rounded NOB font in 1997. But they used a traditional block font for the ’97 preseason and the first regular season game (from @dougkeklak). … Among the items from the old Georgia Dome that are up for auction is this NFL workforce conduct notice about sexual orientation from the Falcons’ locker room (from Douglas Ford). … Whoops. Somehow, the Texans’ wordmark was added to this Atlanta Falcons toy (from Bean). … Minnesotans can get lost in a Vikings-themed corn maze this fall (from Tyler Mason). … Spotted in New England: a Patriots Lays chip truck that has both Patriot Pat and Flying Elvis (from Kevin Vautour).

College Football News: Virginia Tech will wear stars-and-stripes decals on Saturday for Military Appreciation Day (from Andrew Cosentino). … Western Kentucky will be going white-on-white-on-white this weekend (from Kyle Neaves). … Rice will once again wear helmet logos honoring the victims of Hurricane Harvey on Saturday. They wore that same helmet mark last weekend against Houston (from Aaron Corbett‏). … UNLV will be wearing silver lids with red decals this weekend at Ohio State (from @CouvillierMax). … James Madison has added a memorial decal for former university president Ron Carrier, who died on Monday (from Andrew Rader). … Colorado State is teasing what appears to be a new mono-white alternate uniform. The full unveiling will be tomorrow at 11am Eastern.

Hockey News: This has flown under the radar a bit, but the Devils will be wearing red gloves along with their new jerseys this season (from Wade Heidt). … The Kings and Canucks are playing preseason games in China this week. Kristopher Sharpe found this photo of the Kings’ mascot wearing a sweater with Chinese lettering. Could the Kings wear something similar when they take the ice? … New captaincy assignments for the Predators. … ICYMI from the Baseball Section: The Los Angeles Angels warmed up in Ducks crossover caps and jerseys last night on “Ducks Night” and Angel Stadium. The team also changed its Twitter avatar to a Ducks/Angels hybrid logo (from AJ). Also: The San Francisco Giants gave away a co-branded Sharks/Giants winter hat last night at AT&T Park (from Moe Khan). … Speaking of Sharks crossover giveaways, they’ll be giving out Golden State Warriors/Sharks jerseys in January and Sharks/Oakland A’s T-shirts in November (from William R. Smittle). … A brewery in Florida has made a new beer honoring the Lightning’s 25th anniversary. … This blog covers the uni history of the Flames (from Bryan Palmer). … Apparently, in Switzerland’s National League, each team’s top scorer wears a special jersey and helmet with flames (from Doc Serph). … New logo for the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League (from María Canales). … Ed Hughes thinks the carpeting at Gaylord National Harbor Airport outside of DC looks a bit like the Golden Knights’ alternate logo. … John Muir was watching last night’s Avs/Knights preseason game on TV and has this report: “Avalanche broadcaster Peter McNab had an idea to improve player marketing in the NHL by having players wear customized helmets. His rationale is based on goalies being the only players with personalized or customized equipment, making them easily recognizable. He claims there’s no rule preventing regular skaters from personalizing their helmets. Back when McNab played, most players didn’t wear helmets and it helped fans recognize their favorite players.”

Basketball News: New floor design for Providence College. They’ve also swapped their primary and secondary logos (from Ryan McNeely). … Here’s a photo gallery of Cavs uniforms through the years (from Robert Hayes).

Soccer NewsHere’s the logo for the 2019 Women’s World Cup (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … A young Juventus fan was pranked on his birthday when he was forced to unwrap a jersey for hated Inter Milan on camera (thanks Brinke). … Manchester City was forced to change kits before a match last week because their alternate jerseys clashed with the referees’ shirts. In that same game, City’s keeper wore protective headgear because he had suffered a head injury in a previous match (from Timothy O’Malley). … Everton and Sunderland will not have their usual jersey advertisers tonight. Instead, they will wear the logo of the Bradley Lowery Foundation. Lowery was a young soccer fan who recently died from neuroblastoma (from Mark Coale).

Grab BagThis story isn’t about uniforms, rather lack of uniforms: Apparently, boys at public schools in Chicago were required to swim in the nude until as late as 1980 (from John Gogarty). … Someone was wearing a Beatles “Fab 4” baseball jersey at a Paul McCartney concert in Brooklyn last night (from Andrew Fletcher). … Sports teams aren’t the only ones who get confused about the difference between anniversaries and ordinals: Wheel of Fortune has just begun its 35th season. But a press release on the show’s website refers to as both the “35th season” and the “35th anniversary season,” the latter of which is wrong (from Max Wagner).

Are the Nike’s New ‘Smart Jerseys’ a Game-Changer?

As most of you know by now, I generally don’t concern myself with the retail scene. As I often say, I cover what the players wear, not what’s for sale. Uniforms, not merchandise.

But I have to admit, the new NikeConnect “smart jerseys” feel like a potential game-changer, because they collapse the distance between what’s for sale and what’s happening on the field — or, in this case, on the court.

In case you missed it over the weekend, NikeConnect allows a fan who buys an NBA player’s jersey to scan the jersey’s jock tag with a smart phone app, unlocking highlights, stats, and other features relating to that player, along with a code that enhances the player’s performance in the NBA 2k18 video game and, of course, special access to limited-edition sneakers. And it’s a two-way platform — a player can send a message to fans who’ve bought his jersey. (There’s additional info in the video embedded above, and in this article.)

Look, I don’t buy jerseys, I don’t play video games, and I’m not particularly interested in communicating with athletes unless I’m interviewing them for a story. But I totally get that this probably seems very, very cool to a lot of fans. I’m usually the first to roll my eyes when Nike describes everything it does as “innovative,” but this seems genuinely innovative. And if they’re doing it for NBA jerseys, it seems like they’ll probably do it for NFL jerseys as well, right?

Meanwhile, as the tech site Ars Technica points out, this is all a marketing-data bonanza for Nike, because a customer who registers for the app and then scans the jock tag will essentially be saying, “This is who I am, this is where I live, this is how much I spent on the jersey,” and so on.

But there’s one thing that puzzles me: What’s to stop a fan from downloading the app and then heading to Modell’s, walking over to the rack of NBA jerseys, and scanning the jock tags from all his favorite players’ jerseys? Stealing a jersey is hard, but stealing a swipe of a jock tag seems like a piece of cake. Am I missing something? (I must be, because I figure it can’t be that easy.)

Even though I usually don’t care about retail jerseys, I’m curious about this latest development. For those of you who buy jerseys (which is, I figure, most of you who are reading this), does NikeConnect sound intriguing? Exciting? Boring? Other?

Discuss.

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LAST CALL for the Whalers raffle: Today is the last day to enter the raffle for some cool Hartford Whalers memorabilia. Full details here.

ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, my latest ESPN column takes a look at the best and worst of the NBA’s newly released alternate uniforms. Check it out here.

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Nice artwork on this set of early-1970s Texas Rangers programs, one of which is pictured above. Boy, that era of the team’s history takes me back a bit. As a side note: This Rangers cover was from their second season in Arlington, 1973. My family moved from Texas to Cincinnati in the fall of 1972, so it’s unlikely I would have ever seen this cover when I drew this. But there are similarities!

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Terrific helmet artwork on these 1970s-1980s NFL school spiral notebooks.

• The blue and yellow on this 1970s Chargers pennant really pop. Their powder blue is the best, but this Air Coryell color scheme was terrific, too.

• These are called “NFL cloth patches” from the 1960s, but they sure do resemble the Chiquita banana NFL stickers from the early 1970s.

• Here’s a 1970s Tarkenton Vikings jersey by Rawlings. Not quite like the one Mary wore, but close.

• Look at the box art on this 1960s electric football game from Gotham, which was Tudor’s main competitor. Notice no NFL markings — even in the early 1960s, it was all about licensing.

• This is called a “Sportscan.” Apparently this was supposed to be a pint-sized water bottle for kids, and this one is adorned with a Patriots sticker. To me, it kinda looks like one of those little plastic lemons filled with lemon juice you get at the store.

• This 1970s Bengals promotional plastic mug was sponsored by Dr. Pepper and Sonic. I never saw these growing up in Cincinnati, as Sonic wasn’t in our market.

• The 1970s Great NFL Fun Book is a must-have. How can you miss with a full-color section devoted to all 28 NFL helmets and uniforms?

• Luv Ya Blue! We’ve got a 1970s blue-helmet Oilers helmet buggy here, along with a regular silver helmet.

• Note the spelling on this 1980s minor league Louisville Redbirds pin. It says, “Louavull luvs the Redbirds.” If you live in Louisville, that’s how you say it, or just drop the “a” and say “Luh-ville.” Non-residents tend to use the standard “Lou-ee-ville.” (Also: The eBay listing says this item is from the 1970s, but the parent Cardinals didn’t move their AAA team from Springfield, Illinois, to Louisville until the 1982 season.)

• From reader Jim Ransdell: An old black Saints helmet, like the ones they wore in the 1969 preseason.

• And from reader Brett Thomas: Here’s a Pittsburgh Penguins T-shirt with Burgess Meredith, who played the Penguin on the TV version of Batman, as part of the logo.

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It’s good to be (or buy) the King: Any Elvis fans out there? For reasons not worth explaining, I have an extra sealed copy of the new A Boy from Tupelo box set, which covers Elvis’s earliest recordings. It features three CDs and a gorgeous 120-page book, and recently received a five-star review in Rolling Stone.

You can get it on Amazon for $25 plus shipping. I’ll go two bucks lower: $23 plus shipping. You want? Let me know. First come, first served. Thanks.

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KRC update: The latest installment of Key Ring Chronicles is a tale of addiction, depression, shoplifting, and a Walgreens discount card. Check it out here.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsThe U.S. Navy will no longer issue its “blueberry” work uniforms beginning Oct. 1. That could have implications for the Padres, who used the blueberries as the inspiration for their blue camo jerseys (from Chris Weber). … Yesterday’s Ticker included a shot of Dodgers SS Chris Taylor wearing a cap with the New Era maker’s mark on the right side and blank on the left side– presumably a Sept. 11 cap with the flag removed. Sure enough, Matt Ryburn had snapped this photo of Taylor last Wednesday, showing what appears to be adhesive residue where the flag used to be. Matt also sent along this photo of Dodgers C Austin Barnes’s two-in-ones. … The Angels will give away these Angels/Anaheim Ducks winter hats tonight for “Ducks Night” (from Ignacio). … Casey’s Corner is a hot dog stand at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The baseball aesthetic for the restaurant apparently came from an 1890 Spalding Baseball guide (from Ben).

Pro Football NewsA local TV station in Detroit is still using old Lions helmets on set (from Jason Berger). …University of North Carolina basketball players went to the Panthers/Bills football game this weekend, and matched the Panthers’ color scheme by wearing their BFBS jerseys to the game (from James Gilbert). … The Montreal Alouettes went GFGS this weekend against Ottawa (from Wade Heidt).

College and High School Football News: Love these 1899 Claflin University football unis (from Jacob Lipp). … In 1979, high schooler Dan Marino signed to play at Pitt. Check out how scuffed up that football is! Couldn’t they have gotten a nicer ball for the photo op? (From Tris Wykes.) … Here’s a look at the step-by-step process that the Arkansas equipment staff used to create the helmets for this weekend’s Cowboys-style uniforms. … The Rose Bowl — the stadium, not the game — may sell off the naming rights to its field to a wealthy donor. Key quote: “If the Pasadena City Council approves the motion, the field would be named ‘Tod Spieker Field at the Rose Bowl,’ though broadcasters reportedly would not be required to refer to it this way” (from @PoeyJost).

Hockey NewsNew mask for Islanders’ G Jaroslav Halak (from John Muir). … Joshua Tretakoff found this print for sale of hockey jerseys through the years. … ICYMI from the Baseball Section: The Anaheim Angels will be giving away these Angels/Ducks winter hats tonight for Ducks Night at Angel Stadium (from Ignacio).

NBA NewsAlong with jerseys and shorts, Nike is also taking over as the NBA’s sock provider. Here’s how they’ll be handling the hose this year. … The NBA will have new logos for both the playoffs and Finals this season. … Kobe Bryant was wearing a shirt with an interesting 8-24 logo in a video posted to social media recently (from Joel Swedlove). … Was Hakeem Olajuwon moving too fast on this DVD cover? Or did the producers not want to pay for the right to use Rockets logos? (From Ed). … Former NBAer Derek Fisher wore a rhinestoned Lakers-style jersey on Dancing with the Stars (from Mandy Lopez). … New court for the 76ers (from @deadendnights).

College Hoops NewsNew road uniforms for USC. The old version had lots of white outlining (from @grant3young). … New white uniforms for Oregon State (from @khamballer22). … Doesn’t look like there will be many changes for Gonzaga this year, other than a “Zags” emblem below the collar (from Sam Falcone). … ICYMI from the NFL section: North Carolina players went to the Panthers/Bills football game this weekend, and matched the Panthers’ color scheme by wearing their BFBS jerseys (from James Gilbert).

Grab Bag: Good story about a kid in England who caught a striping mistake on soccer club Everton’s kits in 1997 (from Chris Cruz). … Rob Golden found this wall of old Air Force squadron emblems at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. … Whoa, look at this cap that McDonald’s employees used to wear! Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions — plus a brim and squatchee (from BSmile). … Adidas has vaulted into second place in sneaker sales, passing the Jordan brand.

Monday Morning Uni Watch

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As you can see above, all three of the NFL’s Florida-based teams — the Buccaneers, Jaguars, and Dolphins — saluted the state’s resilience in the wake of Hurricane Irma by adding a “One Florida” helmet decal for yesterday’s games. You can get a closer look at the decal in this video clip that was posted by the Dolphins:

It’s not clear, at least to me, whether this was a one-week thing or if the decals will remain in place for the rest of the season. (By contrast, the Texans have said that their “Houston Strong” decal, which was added in response to Hurricane Harvey, will be worn all season long.)

In other news from around the league yesterday:

• The Falcons played their first regular season game in their new stadium and marked the occasion with a commemorative patch:

Embed from Getty Images

• Speaking of the Falcons, the logo on the left side of quarterback Matt Ryan’s helmet appeared to be rotated a bit more counterclockwise than usual:

• The Saints wore mono-black. I really wish they’d stop doing that.

• This is weird: Last week Colts tight end Jack Doyle was missing the maker’s mark on his left sleeve. This week he had a backwards maker’s mark on his right sleeve:

• Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz’s nameplate was peeling off:

They must have sewn it back on during halftime, because his nameplate was fine during the second half.

• The Steelers, like most NFL teams, cut their striping tape as it crosses the gap on the crown of a SpeedFlex helmet — except for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger:

• Speaking of Big Ben: You may recall that last week he wore a weird hybrid jersey that had the old template’s seams but the new template’s collar style. This week he wore a standard jersey with the old template, without the new collar. (He also carried a flag featuring the team’s Dan Rooney memorial patch design and later wore a T-shirt with the patch design to his postgame news conference.)

• In a related item, several Bills offensive linemen were once again wearing the old jersey template with the full collar striping, including tackle John Miller, guard Cordy Glenn, and guard Richie Incognito.

• 49ers running back Carlos Hyde began the game wearing gloves but later went bare-handed for a major chunk of the game.

• The Chargers, who were having their home opener in L.A., welcomed back five players from their inaugural 1960 Los Angeles Chargers team. Would’ve been nice if they’d given them period-appropriate jerseys, complete with blue shoulder bolts and the old font, but instead they gave them current powder blue alternates (click to enlarge):

• Out of 14 games, five teams wore white at home: the Panthers, Jags, Bucs, Rams, and Chargers.

• Here’s a list of players who protested during the national anthem.

(My thanks to Jerry Wolper and Lendel Martin for their contributions.)

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Sincerest form of flattery: Interesting development in college football, where the schedule calls for Arkansas to play Texas A&M at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium this Saturday evening. As it happens, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones went to college at Arkansas, where he was co-captain of the football team. So with the Razorbacks playing in their famous alum’s house, they’ve decided to honor him by wearing red uniforms based on the Cowboys’ blue-jersey uni. You can see the jersey above, and here’s a video clip with some additional views:

There’s additional info, lots of photos, and a longer video here.

The best detail, clearly, is that they’re including a red Dymo tape label on the back of the helmet, mimicking the blue label that’s been on the back of Cowboys helmets for half a century — a really nice touch.

I’m a lifelong Cowboys hater, and I’m certainly no fan of Jerry Jones. But I love this uniform move — it’s fun, it’s clever, it’s well-executed, and it makes sense given the unusual confluence of team, stadium, and alum. Nice job all around.

And yes, I’m aware that this isn’t the first time a college uniform has been inspired by an NFL uniform. Look at Iowa and the Steelers, for example. But that’s just a straight copy, while this is a color-shifted variation, which seems more interesting, at least to me.

One additional note: If you look again at the side-by-side jerseys at the top of this section, you’ll see that the Dallas jersey is rendered in Nike’s new template — complete with truncated collar striping, just like the Bills and Pats have). That’s a change from the preseason, when they wore the old version. So it looks like they’ll be updating to the new version of the blue jersey for the regular season.

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Where there’s smoke…: One of my favorite Chinese dishes is tea-smoked duck. But on Friday night I had dinner at a Sichuan place in Bensonhurst called Bamboo Pavilion, and they had something on the menu that I’d never seen before: tea-smoked spareribs (listed as an appetizer for $8).

They were good. Like, really good. Very smoky, agreeably succulent. They didn’t have the hoisin glaze that Chinese spareribs often have, but they came with some crushed red chili powder, which worked well when sprinkled on top. The one-two punch of smokiness and spicy chili was sensational. I don’t think it’s going too far to say that this is some of the best barbecue in New York.

Google reveals that tea-smoked spareribs occasionally show up in other restaurants, including Myers and Chang in Boston and Buddakan in Philadelphia. But to me they’re a revelation. I’ll definitely be back.

(Bamboo Pavilion, 6920 18th Ave, Brooklyn; 718-236-8088)

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NBA/ESPN update: As you’re probably aware by now, all 30 NBA teams released alternate uniforms on Friday night (including Golden State’s awesome “The Town” design, shown at right). Phil showed all of the designs in his Saturday post, and I’ve weighed in with my picks for the best and worst designs over on ESPN.

Going, going…: Today is the next-to-last day to enter the raffle for some cool Hartford Whalers memorabilia. Full details here.

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: The Braves wore Los Bravos jerseys for yesterday’s game against the Mets. … Dodgers SS Chris Taylor wore a cap with the New Era maker’s mark on the right side instead of the customary left side. Must have been one of the Sept. 11 caps, but it didn’t have the American flag on the other side (from @goldburgia).

Football News: Reader Jim Fletcher found an episode of the HGTV show Fixer Upper featuring the Baylor equipment manager’s house. Host Chip Gaines was duly equipped with a helmet and shoulder pads, with which he proceeded to run at a small brick panel. For good measure, his helmet decal started to come off. … Division II Wayne State wore U.S. flag-themed uniforms on Saturday to mark the 100th anniversary of the school’s athletics program. More info here (from J. Coleman). … New uniforms for Division III Wheaton (Ill.) College (from Philip Barbar). Cardinals DB Patrick Peterson’s Twitter avatar covers the Nike logo on his uniform with a small football. Peterson has an endorsement deal with Under Armour (from Tanner Liby). … Quick, what does the Oregon offensive line have in common with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins? Answer: They both have a Crosby and a Lemieux (from Moe Khan).

Hockey News: Reader John Keleman sent along a Facebook gallery of the Flyers in Cooperalls, including these two shots. Full gallery here. … Wade Heidt noticed that the Canucks’ sock stripes now match their sleeve stripes. The central green part was previously much thinner. … The Golden Knights’ helmet stickers are very reflective (from Ryan Wetstein). … Cross-listed from the football section: Penguins fans might want to start rooting for the University of Oregon’s football team, whose offensive line includes a Crosby and a Lemieux (from Moe Khan).

Soccer News: Scottish Premiership side Heart of Midlothian revealed a dark blue third kit on Saturday. … And so it has come to this: Everton’s new sleeve advertiser is Angry Birds. Additional info here (from multiple readers). … Speaking of Premier League sleeve advertisements, they’re always placed on the left arm. However, Chelsea midfielder Tiémoué Bakayoko had his on his right arm yesterday (good spot from Josh Carson). … Iain Landon sent us this set of vintage Soviet soccer posters. Two observations: While there are few identifying marks on the shirts, the player in the red shirt in the fourth poster has Spartak Moscow’s crest in a white chest band, which continued to be a distinctive feature of Spartak’s shirts up to now — until this season, apparently. Additionally, the goalkeeper in black in the first poster is reminiscent of the famously black-clad Dynamo Moscow and Soviet national team keeper Lev Yashin.

Grab Bag: The National Lacrosse League has awarded an expansion franchise to Philadelphia to begin play in the 2018-19 season, notes Wade Heidt, who hopes for the return of the Philadelphia Wings. … United Nations tour guides had their own fashion show featuring new uniforms the other day (thanks, Paul). … This is brilliant: a guide to the spider logo that has appeared on every version of Spider-Man’s costume (from @OlegKvasha).