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More Minnesota Musings

During the reporting for my follow-up piece on the origins of the Vikings’ uniforms, I interviewed the two surviving sons of Bert Rose, the Vikes’ original general manager (that’s him shown at right). One the sons, Scott Rose, told me a story about the team’s name that I hadn’t heard before. Here’s a transcript:

Coming up with the idea of calling them the Vikings was easy, with all of the Scandinavian background up there. So they were gonna be the Minneapolis-St. Paul Vikings.

And then somebody says to my dad — and you know, our family is not familiar with the Midwest at this point [the Roses had been living in L.A., where Bert Rose had worked for the Rams — PL] — they say, “Bert, I don’t know if you know this, but Minneapolis and St. Paul don’t really like each other. And the first time that the announcer says, ‘It’s Minneapolis’s ball on the 20,’ the people of St. Paul are gonna be on the telephone, and they’re gonna be saying, ‘You mean it’s St. Paul’s ball.'”

So my dad is sitting there thinking, “You know, I’m gonna do something that’s never been done before. I’m gonna name the team after the entire state.” He says not only will it put that to rest [regarding the rivalry between the two cities], but from a season ticket standpoint, maybe it’ll bring in people from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa — not Wisconsin, because they’re Packers fans and they’re gonna hate us anyway. Maybe I can get people to identify with the team, even though they don’t live anywhere near the Twin Cities, as long as they’re close to Minnesota.

And lo and behold, it worked like you wouldn’t believe. He got unbelievable amounts of season ticketholders from those three states. Of course, the Boston Patriots took it to the next level when they renamed themselves the New England Patriots.

This appears to check out. According to this Wikipedia page, Rose was hired on Aug. 5, 1960. The Wiki entry then says, “In an article on August 6, 1960, in The Minneapolis Tribune, it was reported that the team would use the name ‘Minnesota’ instead of ‘Minneapolis–St. Paul.’ The article also stated that several nicknames were suggested for the team, including ‘Chippewas,’ ‘Miners,’ ‘Vikings,’ and ‘Voyageurs.'”

I went to the Star-Tribune’s archives and found that article:

But had this really “never been done before”? After all, MLB’s Minnesota Twins, who had been the Washington Senators until relocating to Minnesota for the 1961 season, made their Minnesota debut about half a year before the Vikings did in ’61.

Ah, but did the Twins come up with their name before the Vikings did? According to this Wiki page, the Twins made the decision to go with the state name on Nov. 26, 1960 (no citation, unfortunately, and I’ve so far been unable to verify the date) — nearly four months after the Vikings had settled on the state name. So while the Twins were the first to play under the state banner, the Vikings were apparently the first ones to come up with the idea.

Ever since then, of course, all of the state’s Big Four pro teams — the North Stars, Wild, and Timberwolves — have likewise been named for the state, not for the Twin Cities.

A few other items of note:

• I also interviewed Scott Rose’s brother, Stephen Rose. He had this to say about the Vikings’ purple pants:

[My father] wanted purple pants on the road in 1961. He said that to [Vikings coach Norm] Van Brocklin, and Van Brocklin said, “For Christ’s sake, they’d look like Dreamsicles!” That’s a quote. So they wore white pants on the road. But Bert kept after him, and they eventually did wear the purple road pants the next year, and for the next few years after that. He got that idea from the Cardinals, who in the late ’40s and ’50s had worn red pants. Nobody else in the league was doing it. I thought it looked great!

• Remember how Karl Hubenthal’s uniform renderings included V-shaped sleeve striping? Stephen Rose said it was his father, Bert Rose, who nixed that. So instead the Vikes went with Northwestern striping — which is exactly what the Rams were wearing at the time. Bert Rose, of course, had worked for the Rams prior to joining the Vikings.

Stephen Rose also said his father loved the “leggings” on Hubenthal’s original sock design, but he confirmed that Van Brocklin had put the kibosh on that, as I had reported in my original ESPN piece.

• Meanwhile, if you’re interested in Hubenthal, here’s a good feature on him from the December 1976 issue of Cartoonist PROfiles.

Okay, I think I’ve now emptied the notebook on the Vikings stories. And all without once saying anything nasty about a certain color!

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Membership update: Several new designs have been added to the membership card gallery (including Matt Nachamkin’s excellent Manitoba Moose treatment, shown at right). The printed and laminated versions of these cards should ship out this weekend.

If you want a membership card in time for Christmas, I strongly urge you to sign up now. Remember, a Uni Watch membership card entitles you to a 15% discount on any of the merchandise in our Teespring shop. (If you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me.) 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, and you can see how we produce the cards here. Thanks.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: No photos yet, but it looks like the Brewers will be giving away a mini bullpen cart at some pont this season (from John Okray). … Just in time for Hanukkah: a baseball-themed menorah (from BSmile).

NFL/CFL NewsLast Sunday’s blizzard in Buffalo combined with the Colts’ all-white unis is giving coaches problems when watching film (from Phil). … Lots of uni oddities on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated, including some Eagles players in throwback unis (from Ignacio). … The Broncos will be wearing their Color Rash uniforms and throwback helmet logos tomorrow night, but players on the practice squad are wearing the standard helmet logos (from Michael Starbuck). … The Colts now have a uniform history page on their website (from Phil). … Which Cowboys uniform combination is your favorite? Vote here (also from Phil). … There are some uni-related tidbits in this listicle on 150 reasons to love the CFL (from Miles Filbert). … A fan is suing the Saints over the team’s national anthem protests.

College Football NewsIowa State has added the Liberty Bowl patch to its uniforms (from Sean Jankowski‏). … Reader and Florida State fan Dave Show is not a fan of the Seminoles’ new logo and uniforms, so much so that he made a whole video about it.

Hockey NewsMonday was the 35th anniversary of the first all-Cooperalls game between the Flyers and Whalers (from Benjamin Hochman‏). … Fox Sports Ohio used an old photo of Blue Jackets C Alexander Wennberg yesterday (from Anthony Yutzy). … Russ Levine spotted a center ice hexagon, instead of the standard circle, in a Champions Hockey League game between HC Kometa Brno and JYP Jyväskylä. … The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs of the Southern Professional Hockey League will wear Christmas sweater uniforms for their teddy bear toss game on Saturday (from Al Jones). … This is a good uni history of the various minor league teams from Indianapolis (from Mark Grainda). … The club team at the University of Vermont wants to use the athletic department’s logo but is prevented from doing so because that logo can only be used by varsity sports (from @VulpineVanguard).

NBA News: Not only are NBA teams selling ads on their jerseys, but some teams are now selling new ads on their virtual jerseys in NBA 2K18. Per ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the Cavs unis in the game will now feature a Hot Pockets ad (from Jim Brunetti‏). … The Cavs have posted a uni schedule on their website (from Tom Valentino). … According to the Hornets’ equipment managers, the team will wear the white version of their pinstriped throwbacks for some games during the 2018-2019 season (from Phil). … The Lakers wore gold at Madison Square Garden for perhaps the first time ever last night (from Kenny Kaplan). … 17 NBA organizations will be fielding affiliated eSports teams, and they all unveiled team names and logos yesterday (from Jason Hillyer). … Here’s a good Q&A with Steph Curry about his polarizing shoe line (from Brinke). … The Hawks still haven’t unveiled their throwback for this season, but it’s apparently available for sale in Europe.

Soccer News: It appears the Philadelphia Union will be using a lighter shade of gold in its crest moving forward (from Ian D.). … Louisville City FC of the USL has unveiled a new third kit (from Josh Hinton). … A number of soccer clubs from around the world have stolen — or at least were inspired by — crests from other teams (also from Josh Hinton).

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By the time most of you read this, I’ll be in the car and heading up to Connecticut for some ESPN meetings. Back late. Play nice while I’m away, yes? Yes!

Auction Action

Photo courtesy of Sonya Abrego; click to enlarge

As you may have noticed in our left-hand ad sidebar, our friends at Grey Flannel Auctions are running another catalog auction, so it’s time for another edition of “Auction Action.” But this one is different, because the catalog features a very special item that I’ve known about for several months now — the 1905 Princeton football gamer shown above.

This jersey — along with some very unusual pants, which I’ll get to in a minute — is being sold by my friends Sonya and Tony Abrego. They’re fashion historians and are very active in the vintage clothing world, where they buy and sell a lot of goods. In addition, Sonya has a Ph.D. in Design History, Decorative Arts, and Material Culture. She teaches at Pratt Institute and the Parsons School of Design, where I’ve twice been a guest speaker at her Fashion and Masculinity class.

As Tony and Sonya poke around in search of vintage clothing, they sometimes come across old uniform finds. Back in April, for example, Tony found this old New York Golden Gloves warm-up top (note the zippered sleeves, to allow for the boxer’s gloves). About three months ago they were at the Brimfield Antique Show, a huge multi-day event that takes place three times a year in Massachusetts, and Tony spotted the old Princeton uniform being sold by a new vendor who was mostly selling furniture and blankets. He immediately knew it was historically important, and probably worth a lot more than the vendor was asking for it. He and Sonya would rather not disclose what they paid, but let’s just say they got a steal. (Not ten bucks or anything crazy like that, but still a lot less than what the jersey is worth.)

When they brought the uniform home, Sonya showed me photos of it and asked me what I thought. I immediately recognized it as a Princeton jersey — that was obvious from the “P” and the sleeve stripes. I had seen old photos of jerseys with sewn-in padding, but I had never seen one in the present day. You can see the front view in the photo at the top of this page, and here’s the rear view:

I wasn’t sure of the exact year, but I figured it was likely from around the turn of the century. Sonya knew the key to determining the exact date was the Spalding label on the jersey, because the Spalding logo evolved over time:

That tagging helped Sonya determine that the jersey was from 1905. As you can see, the label also includes a handwritten name — “Tooker.” Sonya did some more research and found that the jersey had been worn by a player named Norman Tooker. He’s listed as a 1905 All-American selection, and she even found a photo of him — he’s No. 17 in this 1906 shot (click to enlarge):

Sonya later learned that Tooker got into sports medicine and ended up teaching at Princeton later in his life. He died in 1967.

Here’s an illustration, copyrighted 1906, of this uniform, or something very close to it, in action (click to enlarge):

The uniform also includes some pants or leggings, complete with pajama-like feet. Check it out:

I’d never seen anything like that before. I figured it was a base layer.

The pants also include a beautiful label from the local sporting goods shop that sold the uniform to Princeton — Alex Taylor & Co. of New York City:

Sonya and Tony wanted to sell the uniform and asked if I could offer any advice. I steered them toward a few reputable auction house contacts I have, including Michael Russek at Grey Flannel. They eventually decided to go with him, in part because Grey Flannel had sold another early Princeton jersey for nearly $70,000 back in 2010.

There’s no guarantee that Sonya and Tony’s uniform will sell for that much, of course, but we’ll see. The auction runs through Dec. 20. If you want to see more information or place a bid, you can do that here.

Meanwhile, here are some other noteworthy items from the auction catalog:

• This is pretty cool: a complete run of Yankees World Series tickets, from 1921 through the present.

• This 1976 A’s jersey, worn by Bill North, includes the team’s bicentennial sleeve patch.

• Speaking of sleeve patches you may have forgotten about, here’s a 1984 Orel Hersheiser Dodgers jersey with the 1984 Dodger Stadium Olympic Baseball patch.

• Can never get enough of the Astros’ old shooting-star jerseys.

• One more MLB patch: I’ve always thought that the Pirates’ Pittsburgh 250th-anniversary patch from 2008 was a bit underwhelming. So much blank space, no pizzazz.

• We all know that the Reds and sometimes the Pirates used really big NOB lettering back in the day. But check out this 1963 Milwaukee Braves jersey — huge lettering!

• I think this one may have come up in a previous edition of Auction Action, but once more won’t hurt: Here’s the uniform worn by Ken Griffey Jr. for the Reds’ “Father-Son Day” promotion in 1974, when Junior was only four years old!

• Oh baby, check out this amazing Team USA baseball uniform from the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Spectacular!

• Speaking of the ’36 Olympics, here’s an American uniform from the opening ceremonies.

• Love this Brooklyn Royal Giants cardigan sweater from the Negro Leagues.

• Speaking of cardigans, this 1960s Maple Leafs sweater is another keeper.

• Here’s an assortment of flannel jerseys — Dodgers, Giants, Phillies, Cardinals, and Braves — that were worn in the movie 42. (As an aside, here’s an ESPN piece I did back in 2013 on the making of the uniforms in that movie.)

• I’m not a huge soccer fan, but I absolutely love this 1977 New York Cosmos Pele jersey.

• Look at the beaded trim on the collar and armholes on this 1956-57 St. Louis Hawks jersey. Very subtle! Really nice.

• By now most of you probably know that I love old basketball warm-up tops like this late-1960s Cincinnati Royals beauty. Love everything about it, from the vertically arched chest lettering to the UCLA stripes.

• Two unusual things about the NOB on this 1988-89 Sacramento Kings: The NOB is below the number, and the Kings used nameplates instead of direct-sewn lettering.

• You don’t often see game-used XFL jerseys, but here’s one from the Memphis Maniax.

Want to see more? You can browse the complete auction listings here.

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A simple question: When an NFL team wears its throwbacks, as the Dolphins did for last night’s game against the Patriots (lots of additional photos here and here; note that they also updated their nose bumpers), there’s usually a chorus of voices saying, “They should wear these full-time!” and “Why did they ever move away from these?”

But that chorus of voices was particularly loud last night. I received a mountain of emails and tweets from people who wished the Dolphins would go back to their original look. (And I agree with them, of course.)

All of which brings up a question: Is there anyone out there — anyone at all — who prefers Miami’s current uniform set? If that’s you, don’t be shy. Speak up and tell us why in today’s comments. It would be interesting to hear from you.

For those who prefer the throwbacks, I ask that you please hold off from commenting. We already know that the throwbacks are popular. Let’s hear from the other side, if there is one. Thanks.

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Dot-dot-dot: The Steelers posted an interview with coach Mike Tomlin the other day, and it includes some very interesting info about the team’s green dot protocol, especially in the wake of linebacker Ryan Shazier’s injury:

Q: About the green dots on the helmets that designate the defensive players as being able to get communications from the sideline. I understand that only one guy can be getting calls from the sideline at a time, but because of in-game injuries or sub-package football, how many different guys have helmets with a receiver in them?

A: By rule, we can have three guys, because the NFL acknowledges that a second-level defender wearing the green dot, whoever he may be, is not an all-situations player. Sometimes you may have a guy who stands in front of your huddle on first and second downs, and he’s a Vince Williams-type, and on third down you might have an oversized safety standing in front of your defense. We’ve never had those issues because of Ryan Shazier. He’s an all-situations player. He wore the green dot. He was on the field at all times. As we adjust to his circumstances, he’s out, it requires us to rely on the rule a little more, and we have more flexibility there. You’ll see Vince Williams with the green dot on first and second downs. You’ll see L.J. Fort with the green dot in some passing situations, because it’s going to be more than one man replacing Ryan Shazier and his impact on the game.

Q: Would they have to change helmets?

A: No. They just can’t be on the field on defense at the same time. They can both be on the field on special teams at the same time, so if they’re covering a kick, for example, Vince Williams and Fort can both cover a kick at the same time, but they can’t both be on the field for defense at the same time if they both have a green dot on their helmets. If both guys happened to be on the field on defense at the same time, one of the guys would have to have an alternate helmet – that would be Fort, because you don’t want to inconvenience Vince. But that’s a non-issue. It’s just two helmets on the sideline being handled by the equipment people. It’s not the logistical thing maybe I just made it seem to be.

Q: Have you ever had, or considered having, a defensive back wear the green dot?

A: No. Nobody wants to take instructions from a little man in a huddle. Let’s be honest. Football is a big man’s job. We’re not going to stand Will Gay in front of Tuitt and them and tell him to tell the group to shut up because he’s going to deliver the information. That’s just the reality of it. That’s another element of football play that people ask about that I laugh when I get that question. Big guys don’t like to take instructions from little people.

Great info. Now, I can already hear some of you saying that the swapping of green-dot helmets must violate the one-shell rule, but remember, the rule is not designed to eliminate multiple helmets; it is designed to minimize multiple helmets.

(My thanks to reader Jerry Wolper for letting me know about this one.)

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Click to enlarge

Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Got a few collectible banks for you this week. First up is this nice-looking Buffalo Sabres hockey puck bank. Standing five inches tall, this is without any type of advertising logo, so perhaps it was a retail item, not a giveaway. Sabres logo on one side, and the NHL logo on the other.

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Here’s a 1970s A’s mini-helmet bank, still in the bag.

• Here’s another baseball bank, this one is from Louisville Slugger, with bats from all the 1960s National League teams.

• A rare 1970s shot of Reggie Jackson wearing Adidas! Reg was always a Puma guy as far as I remember.

• These glossy NFL medallions were quite cool around 1972-1974 or so. They were available for all teams — I still have mine for the Cowboys and Bengals. Here’s a Vikings medallion in perfect shape. They come with a little adhesive strip on the back for mounting. As I recall, once you stuck ’em up, they were hard to pry off!

• This Vikings poncho goes back to the 1970s, a promo giveaway from Northwestern National Bank. I would think it snowed more at the Met than it rained, right?

• We’ll file this 1970s photo of Bob Griese on the bench under “Had a bad game,” or perhaps he was out due to injury?

• Check out the helmets on this late-1970s NFL zip-top supply bag. NFC on one side, AFC on the other.

• This Maxwell House promo thermal cup for the 1970s-era Houston Astros is in good condition given its age “No cracks or chips,” says the seller.

• Fairly plain look to this 1970s Philadelphia Eagles jersey made by Sand-Knit.

• Going back to 1972 for this slick-looking Atlanta Falcons poster by George Bartell.

• And we wrap up with one from Paul: a 1975 MLB All-Star Game uniform bag featuring the Brewers’ Barrel Man mascot.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsGiancarlo Stanton will wear his familiar No. 27 for the Yankees. Coincidentally, Stanton’s high school coach, Tom Dill, has had a No. 27 Yankees jersey hanging in his office for years. Dill also coached former OF Chris Dickerson, who once wore No. 27 for the Yankees (from Brinke). … Speaking of the Bronx Bombers, Esquire has a good piece on how the Yankees cap revolutionized modern fashion (from Tommy Turner and Jason Hillyer). … Giants fans were outraged when it was reported that pitcher Matt Moore would wear Tim Lincecum’s No. 55 next season, but those reports turned out to be false (also from Brinke). … The Tampa Yankees are changing their name to the Tampa Tarpons, which has already led to an avalanche of tampon-related jokes on social media. They’ll unveil their new uniforms in January.

NFL NewsIn addition to the Dolphins’ throwbacks last night, the field was dressed up too, with a throwback midfield logo and classic argyle end zones. Finally, Miami’s social media team tagged all its photos from last night with a classic wordmark (from @QuintenHLVB and Robert Hayes). … In that same game, Patriots WR Bernard Reedy had his TV numbers overlap onto his shoulder stripe (from Michael Daley). … The backdrops of the Colts’ and Broncos’ websites indicate both teams will participate in Color Rash on Thursday (from Andrew Walker and Zeke Perez Jr.). … Packers LB Clay Matthews wore his father’s Browns jersey after Green Bay’s win over Cleveland on Sunday (from Ignacio). … Speaking of the Brownies, Cleo Macin spotted a Browns player (No. 20) wearing a wedding band following the 1949 AAFC Championship Game. “This isn’t game action, but based on the soiled unis, this has to be immediately after the game.” … We’ve seen this before, but it’s worth mentioning again: In 1990, the Falcons dropped one set of TV numbers for their 25th anniversary patch (from Russell Goutierez). … Vote for the best uni matchup of week 14 here (from Uni Watch Facebook Page).

College Football News: LSU has added the Citrus Bowl patch to its uniforms (from Phil). … Here’s a good breakdown of Auburn University’s marching band uniforms (from Clint Richardson).

Hockey NewsNHL writer Kevin Woodley gives out an unofficial Bunny Larocque award each year to the best back-up goalie. Now, the award has an actual trophy (from @GKG_77). … The British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association is requiring all its players to wear full-face protection starting next season (from Wade Heidt). … The Chicago Wolves of the AHL will wear jerseys honoring first responders on Jan. 20 and 21 (from Jonathon Cain). … The Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League wore special unis for their teddy bear toss game over the weekend (from Bruce Brodersen). … The Cleveland Monsters of the AHL will wear Captain America uniforms on Dec. 30 (from David Uhrin). … Markus Kamp was watching Soul on Ice, a documentary about African-American and African-Canadian hockey players. One section of the film focuses on a program that aims to make hockey accessible for inner-city youth, and features some sweat Rangers-inspired Harlem sweaters.

Basketball NewsIt was previously reported that the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars would keep their team name when they moved to Las Vegas next season. However, the league announced yesterday the team would change its nickname to the Aces (from @loneranger158 and @TheSkyShowCHI). … Check out these commemorative soda cans from the University of North Carolina’s 1982 National Championship (from James Gilbert). … Correction from Sunday: Middletown (Ohio) High School wore throwbacks in their final game at Wade E. Miller Gym on Friday, not Saturday. Incidentally, Middletown’s new gym has a pretty wild court (from Brian Henke). … Shortridge (Indiana) High School’s nickname is the Blue Devils, but they often used “Satans” on their uniforms in the 1970s (from @iufbcommenter‏).

Soccer News: Nike is set to introduce a line of keeper’s gloves that don’t include any straps or velcro (also from Josh Hinton). … Whoops. Sheffield United of the Championship spelled its own name wrong on its team calendar (from Josh Hinton). … The newest team in the United Premier Soccer League is Nebraska Bugeaters FC, who unveiled their new badge today. More info here (from Jonathan Collura).

Grab BagLots of speedskaters will be wearing blue uniforms during the Olympics this year. Why? Because blue suits “skate faster” (from Phil). … Tasman’s Rugby Union has clarified that the plural of its team name is “Mako,” not “Makos” (from Camryn Brown). …  Cincinnati high schools Mother of Mercy and McAuley will combine next school year and be known as the Mercy McAuley Wolves (from K.C. Kless). … Do you miss United Airlines’ old tulip logo? You’re not alone (from Edward Hahn).

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Happy Hanukkah to all who are observing tonight. And tasty latkes, too!

Monday Morning Uni Watch

The Bills wore their mono-red Thursday-night uniforms for a Sunday-afternoon game yesterday. That turned out to be a good thing, at least from a visibility standpoint, because this was a snow game for the ages. Meanwhile, the Colts wore their usual mono-white road uniforms, which at times rendered them almost invisible:

If you want still photos from this game, there are lots of them available here.

Speaking of the Colts, running back Frank Gore was apparently wearing trainer’s tape on his pants:

In other news from what was a very uni-eventful day around the league yesterday:

• Interesting-looking game at the Meadowlands, as the Giants wore their mono-white Thursday-night uniforms at home, complete with the Parcells-era helmet logos and the white facemasks, while the Cowboys paired their navy jerseys with their white Thursday-night pants (lots of additional photos here). It wasn’t a bad look for Dallas, but I prefer their silver pants.

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• The Cowboys/Giants game also featured two of the five players in the league who are now wearing the Walter Payton Award jersey patch (if you missed that news late last week, look here). Here’s how it looked on Giants quarterback Eli Manning:

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And here’s how it looked on Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (click to enlarge):

• In addition to Manning and Witten, Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis and Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald wore the Payton patch for the first time:

• Also, all 32 nominees for this year’s Walter Payton award — one from each team — wore helmet decals. Here’s how a few of them looked (if you can’t see the slideshow below, click here):

• The Texans wore their red alternate jerseys:

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• The Broncos wore their navy alternate jerseys:

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• The Jaguars wore their teal alternate jerseys:

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• One week after going mono-royal, the Chargers followed up by going mono-navy:

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• The Bengals went mono-black:

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• The Steelers saluted injured teammate Ryan Shazier, who is still hospitalized after undergoing spinal stabilization surgery following a collision in Monday night’s game, in various ways. First, 15 players wore Shazier-themed cleats during pregame warmups. Here’s a sampling (additional info here):

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Also, several coaches wore pullovers emblazoned with Shazier’s No. 50 as part of their sideline attire:

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Also-also, linebacker Vince Williams wore Shazier’s No. 50, instead of his own No. 98, on the back of his helmet (which is similar to Bengals defensive back Pacman Jones wearing No. 15 on his helmet as a tribute to Chris Henry):

• Speaking of the Steelers, running back Le’Veon Bell’s NOB appeared to be off-center, and he also had thigh pads with the Steelers’ logo and his uni number:

• Ravens tight end Vince Mayle had hand-warmer pockets sewn into his jersey, instead of wearing a strap-on pouch.

• Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs had a very unusual facemask design:

Suggs has apparently worn that mask before for pregame warmups, but not in a game:

• Two teams wore white at home: the aforementioned Giants and the Rams.

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

(My thanks to Addie Berube, Andrew Cairns, Andrew Kurzawski, L.J. Sparvero, and Ryan Ziegler for their contributions to this section.)

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ESPN/Vikings reminder: In case you missed it last Friday: Remember my recent ESPN piece about how cartoonist Karl Hubenthal designed the Vikings’ uniforms, and how he used purple and gold because those were the colors of GM Bert Rose’s alma mater, the University of Washington?

Several Vikings fans responded to that piece with counter-narratives — stories that contradicted the one I reported. So I went back and did a bunch of additional reporting (including an interview with former Vikings coach Bud Grant, who’s now 90 years old), in an attempt to sort which stories were accurate and which ones weren’t.

The result is a new ESPN follow-up column, which I think you’ll find very interesting. Check it out here.

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NBA Uni Tracking
By Collin Wright

This past week had the second-lowest percentage so far this season (42%) of games with the home team in white. (41% in week six was the lowest.) Season-long averages still show that home teams are choosing white most often, but that number has decreased for the past four weeks (click to enlarge):

One uniform made its first appearance this week, when the Kings wore their black alternates last night at home against the Raptors. That means only the Pistons, Timberwolves, and 76ers have yet to wear their alternates. The Timberwolves are scheduled to wear theirs this Saturday at home against the Suns.

On the color vs. color front, the Rockets and Celtics have both played nine such games, going 8-1 and 7-2, respectively. The Kings and Knicks are the only two teams yet to play in a color vs. color game.

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: The New York Post created a mock-up of Marlins RF Giancarlo Stanton in a Yankees jersey — but if you look carefully, the jersey has a 2009 Yankee Stadium inaugural season patch (from Eric Hoey). … Here’s one of the best looks ever at the facemask worn by Orioles OF Gary Roenicke after he got beaned in 1979. According to this story, the O’s staff went into the Colts’ locker room at Memorial Stadium and took the mask off of quarterback Bert Jones’s helmet (from Joanna Zweip). … Also from Joanna: The Reds gave former OF Reggie Sanders a No. 50 jersey for his 50th birthday. He never wore that number during his career. … Reader Tom Pachuta saw a clip of a 1967 Red Sox-Athletics game in which A’s 3B Sal Bando was wearing a white cap. The team usually wore green caps during their time in Kansas City. [A’s players also wore white caps in this 1967 game against the Tigers, which I wrote about back in 2011. — PL]

Football News: Here’s a look at the bowl patch for Virginia Tech (from Andrew Cosentino). … Ohio will wear mono-white for the Bahamas Bowl (from Ed Żelaski). … Former Patriots LB Willie McGinest’s rookie jersey had an unusual McNOB treatment.

Hockey News: The Canadiens have part of the team’s motto, “Nos bras meurtris vous tendent le flambeau” (“to you from failing hands we throw the torch”) inside the collar of their jerseys this season. The motto is a French translation of a line from the poem “In Flanders Fields.” It’s on both the red and white jerseys and (look carefully) the NHL 100 Classic jerseys. … In the Champions Hockey League (the hockey equivalent of the UEFA Champions League), the top scorer on each team wears a jersey with a blue back that doesn’t have a number, but does have several more advertisements (from @rpw822). Another league that does this is the Swiss National League, which adds a flaming yellow helmet. … The Senators don’t use a consistent font for the tarps covering their nosebleed seats (from @Jay_Pea_R). … The Panthers will retire No. 37 for team founder H. Wayne Huizenga on Jan. 19 (thanks, Paul).

NBA News: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Dan Tarrant was listening to a Hornets game on the radio and heard that the team’s final alternate uniform will be unveiled on Dec. 17 and worn later this season.

Soccer News: Bundesliga team Borussia Mönchengladbach have worn their black-and-white “third kit” for every home game bar one this season. As a result, this week’s opponents Schalke 04 ended up wearing Gladbach’s usual all white against them. … On the topic of black third kits, Scottish Championship (second tier) team St. Mirren have worn one several times, both home and away, for their 140th anniversary. … Staying in Scotland, Celtic used their 2016-17 third kit as their fourth (!) kit of this season. As I’ve mentioned before, Celtic’s clash kits this season are inexplicably both green, making their trips to yesterday’s opponents Hibernian a problem (Josh Hinton sent in more pictures as well). … If you like snow sports, you may be interested in the 1. FC Köln-SC Freiburg match from yesterday. Unlike other leagues that use full-time yellow balls in the winter, the Bundesliga’s orange snow ball only appears if it’s actually snowing. … Fans in the UK have a special disdain for match-commemorating “half and half” scarves, where each half is one team’s color. Accordingly, the Greater Manchester Police jokingly threatened to arrest anybody wearing a half and half United-City scarf at Sunday’s Manchester derby (from Willard Kovacs). Look here for an overview of the many issues with half and half scarves. … David Cooper followed up on his submission (see below) of a kit with mismatched socks: Scotland’s 2005-07 kits had a vertical stripe on only the right sock, and an accompanying stripe at the bottom of the shorts on the same side. … New home shirt for League of Ireland First Division (second tier) team Drogheda United (from Ed Żelaski).

Grab Bag: The Byron (Minn.) High School Bears celebrated the 50th anniversary of the wrestling program with 50 years of singlets (from Aaron Murray). … English rugby union team Harlequins’ prop Joe Marler had his socks on the wrong feet. The team has two different colored socks; note how they’re reversed from what his teammates are wearing (from David Cooper). As a bonus, that game was played in snow. … Wade Heidt has more NLL news: the Rochester Knighthawks’ colored uniforms are now purple; they used to be teal. … Calvin Klein’s chef was reportedly under instructions to match the color of Klein’s coffee to a Pantone swatch (from James Gilbert).

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

What Paul did last night Friday night: On Friday night the Tugboat Captain and I went across the river to Jersey City. Our first stop was Razza, a restaurant that New York Times food critic Pete Wells recently declared to have the best pizza in New York (even though it’s actually in New Jersey). We got a margherita and a pepperoni (see above) — both excellent. Was it the best pizza ever? Eh, maybe not. But it was very, very good.

Then we walked up to the avenue to Monty Hall, where we had tickets to see the always-amazing surf-rock band Los Straitjackets, who were resplendent as ever in their matching suits and non-matching Mexican wrestling masks. It was their annual holiday spectacular show, so they did Straitjackets versions of various seasonal standards, the best of which was their interpretation of the Vince Guaraldi classic “Linus and Lucy.” I didn’t record it, but here’s a video that shows them performing the song about two years ago:

After an hourlong set, the great rocker/songwriter Nick Lowe came out. He’s been collaborating a lot with Los Straitjackets in recent years, and he led them through four more songs. I’ve seen him many times over the years, but never in such a small room. Pretty cool to be just a few feet away from him (click to enlarge):

On the way back to the subway, I noticed that Jersey City has some really cool bike racks. I’m interested in bike rack design, and even wrote an article about it a few years ago, and I really like the simplicity of the Jersey City racks (click to enlarge):

Sunday Morning Army/Navy Watch

By Phil Hecken

The annual Army/Navy game featured two of the best looking alternate uniforms either squad has ever worn for “America’s Game,” (and they’ve worn alternate uniforms for a decade now). For a full explanation of the uniforms worn in yesterday’s game, and for a look back at the unis worn from 2008-16, please take a look at yesterday’s lede. It should answer any questions you might have about the unis you’re about to see.

Not only was yesterday’s game one of the best looking games, it was one of the best games in recent memory (decided on a last-second field goal attempt by Navy that sailed wide by about a yard), AND it was one of those rare SNOW games. Really, this one was a uni-watcher’s dream.

The game has all the usual pomp and circumstance. From the bands to the playful intra-military trolling, to the leading of the teams on to the field. Sometimes the hype exceeds the action. Not so yesterday. Did I mention there was snow?

The game itself was a sight to behold. Army wore the all white uniforms honoring the 10th Mountain Division who wore all white uniforms during the winter months of World War II. It was fitting camouflage for yesterday’s tilt.

Yes, they stood out against a dark background, but on a white field covered with snow…

I explained the significance of Army’s helmets in yesterday’s lede, but here are a couple good closeups:

Speaking of helmets, Navy’s helmets were depicted in the hype graphics as roughly the same color as the uniform. In a pleasing development, they were considerably lighter than the uniform, more appropriately resembling a Blue Angels’ helmet and flight suit.

Here’s a couple helmet close-ups. One detail I missed (because it wasn’t readily apparent) was in addition to the F/18 Hornets depicted on the helmet, there were also vapor trails!

The Commander-in-Chief often attends the game, sitting on one side for a half, and then joining the other side of the field for the second half. The current occupant of the White House was not in attendance at yesterday’s game (he did attend last year as President-elect), but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did attend. He’s seen below speaking with the referees before the coin toss:

With snow before and throughout the game, the groundskeepers were kept busy trying to keep the yardage lines and hash marks visible:

When we get snowfalls nowadays, TV graphics people usually superimpose the yardage markers on the field over the snow. At the start of the game, this was noticeably absent:

Unfortunately, it didn’t last long, as the superimpositions happened shortly afterwards:

The snow also messes with the “first down” and “line of scrimmage” graphics, because they have to account for a white, rather than green, background. When one team, such as Army, was wearing ALL WHITE uniforms, this made for some comical moments (actually, it occurred throughout the game):

Yeah, you could say Army was really camouflaged:

This was a nice treat. The ball used by Navy for this game was personally thrown and hand marked by none other than Roger Staubach (a former Middie):

There were no uni mishaps that I noticed or were brought to my attention — save for one: this Army player was missing his flag patch:

I understand not everyone reads Uni Watch daily (and there are even less on weekends). That explains why I received around a dozen of these tweets yesterday:

At least I got to refer them back to yesterday’s post where it was explained that the patch was period correct for the WWII period which the team was honoring. The flag code has since been amended, but at the time, this was the way the patch was worn on the right sleeve.

Navy went with Player NOB while Army wore “SNOB” (School Name on Back). Or you could just say they said “ARMY”

All in all, it was a great game to watch and one I always look forward to ever year. The snow only made things better, and Army couldn’t have picked a better year to break out all white uniforms honoring a winter military unit! I laughed when I saw this:

There’s just something about football in the snow. Army/Navy in gorgeous uniforms in the snow? Priceless.



And now a few words from Paul

In case you missed it on Friday: Remember my recent ESPN piece about how cartoonist Karl Hubenthal designed the Vikings’ uniforms, and how he used purple and gold because those were the colors of GM Bert Rose’s alma mater, the University of Washington?

Several Vikings fans responded to that piece with counter-narratives — stories that contradicted the one I reported. So I went back and did a bunch of additional reporting (including an interview with former Vikings coach Bud Grant, who’s now 90 years old), in an attempt to sort which stories were accurate and which ones weren’t.

The result is a new ESPN follow-up column, which I think you’ll find very interesting. Check it out here.

Also from Friday: When I recently announced that StickerYou had created a little Uni Watch shop on their website, several of you got in touch to say, “Stickers are great — but what I really want are magnets.”

I’m happy to report that your requests have been heard. If you go to StickerYou’s Uni Watch shop, you’ll see that they’re now offering three separate options: sheets of stickers, individual singles, and magnets. According to the StickerYou folks, this is the first time they’ve set up a shop like this for one of their partners. Nice!

Also, with Christmas fast approaching:

• If you want a Uni Watch membership card to be delivered in time for Christmas, I strongly urge you to order it now. (You can also buy a gift membership voucher, which your lucky recipient can redeem anytime.)

• If you want a Uni Watch mini-helmet in time for Christmas, you’ll need to here.

• Remember, our Uni Watch Ugly Sweater T-shirt has been revived for the holiday season.

Okay, that’s it. We now return you to your regularly scheduled weekend post.



Attention Graphic Artists/Photoshoppers!

I have a (somewhat) smallish project I’d like to undertake, but I need the skills of a graphic artist/photoshopper. If you’re interested and would like to have your work featured on Uni Watch, please drop me a line and I’ll give you the particulars.





Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: As you’re all (probably) aware by now, the Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani announced Friday he will sign with the Los Angeles Angels, and now we know he will wear the number 17 (from Mike Chamernik). Here he is at his presser wearing a goddam softball top alternate jersey (from Josh Claywell). … CROSSOVER ALERT (but not the good kind): Michael Franzman spotted this “hybrid” Chicago Cubs/Golden State Warriors wool(?) hat. Not sure if that’s intentional or a printing mistake. Also posted in hoops. … Here’s a great photo of Stan Musial wearing my favorite Cardinals uniform (from Bruce Menard). In fact, that *might* be my favorite baseball uniform of all-time. … OK, I admit, I LOL’ed at this (and Lids even replied!). From James Gilbert. … CROSSOVER ALERT II: KSR, a University of Kentucky athletics blog/website, is upset about ESPN using the UK-Monmouth game as a promo for MLB (from Josh Hinton). Also posted in college hoops.

NFL/Football News: The Eagles will be wearing green jerseys and white pants this week, on the road. That’s because they’re playing the Rams in LA, who wear white at home. The Eagles happen to be undefeated in green tops this year. … Up to 15 Steelers players got customized Shazier cleats for Sunday’s Ravens game, according to artist Corey Pane, who works closely with Antonio Brown. Check out some from the collection (from Al N. Kreit). … As you’re probably aware, the Dolphins will be throwing back on Monday. They used a cool faux-dot matrix scoreboard to announce it (from Robert Hayes). Even the coach wore a throwback logo on his hat yesterday (from Robert Hayes). Too bad it didn’t match the logo on his shirt or the background. … Here’s a look at Eli Manning’s color rash jersey with the Payton award patch (from Jamie Burditt). Also from Jamie, the “throwback” helmets will have retro visor clip logos. … Less than a week after the Maine Mariners revealed the logo and colors they’ll wear to play ECHL hockey in 2018, the folks who run Cross Insurance Arena introduced another minor-league sports team. This one will play arena league football in the same building (from Alan Shore).

College Football News: I didn’t really expect there to be any non-Army/Navy College Football news, but yet, the Wofford kicker was wearing glasses with his helmet. Photo is post extra-point during game with NDSU (from Adam M.). … There’s midfield logos and then there’s this. Texas A&M-Commerce has one GIANT LION at mid half the field (from Robert Hayes). … This photo of a Michigan player was shown without context. The Beer Baron points out that uniform doesn’t have TV numbers on the shoulders like the game uniforms. … Did you ever wonder why Baker Mayfield wears #6? Wonder no more.

Hockey News: On Friday night, the Michigan State Spartans hockey team wore these really nice script “Michigan State” sweaters (from Jordan Doddie). … You always wanted to see John Candy holding a cabbage patch doll with an Islanders sweater, right? Of course you did (from James Beattie). … Nice color-on-color action Friday night between the Danville Dashers and the Port Huron Prowlers (from @HockeytownSouth).

NBA/Basketball News: CROSSOVER ALERT (but not the good kind): Michael Franzman spotted this “hybrid” Chicago Cubs/Golden State Warriors wool(?) hat. Not sure if that’s intentional or a printing mistake. Also posted in baseball. … Yesterday evening, the Milwaukee Bucks G-League team wore throwbacks to Oshkosh’s CBA team, the Flyers (from Ryan Wozniak). Here’s an “action” shot (from Ray Barrington). … Jimmer Vilk‘s favorite hometown team, the Akron Aviators, wore white uniforms with white numbers yesterday. In a rare good “ghosting” development, they were also wearing ghosted TNAC (Team Name Across Crotch) shorts.

College/High School Hoops News: It’s bad enough when one team doesn’t wear school colors, but both? That’s what happened yesterday when Duke (BFBS) and Boston College (GFGS) squared off against one another (from Chris Howell). Here is another look (from Rex Henry). Boston College did have the Boston skyline on the back of their jerseys (from DukeStJournal). … Middletown (Ohio) High School closed the Wade E. Miller Gym last night after 65 years (Jerry Lucas played there). Middletown and their opponent, Hamilton, wore 1950s throwback uniforms (from Brian Henke). … The Oklahoma State Cowboys broke out throwback uniforms yesterday Here’s a look at them (from Dan Medina). … During yesterday’s action, #21 on Seton Hall had no name on his jersey and possibly different font (from @therealjoshf). …CROSSOVER ALERT II: KSR, a University of Kentucky athletics blog/website, is upset about ESPN using the UK-Monmouth game as a promo for MLB (from Josh Hinton). Also posted in baseball. … The University of Texas at Arlington had a pretty cool BFBS jersey yesterday (from Stephen Peters). … Beautiful color-on-color matchup yesterday between UCLA and Michigan (from Jon Deno). … Also a really nice color-on-color matchup: Minnesota State at Upper Iowa (from Myles Johnson).

Soccer News: The 2017-18 UEFA Champions League Group Stage is over, and with it the 16 participants for the first knock-out are definite. Here’s a look at the kit makers Champions League Round of 16 (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh Hinton, here’s a look at the kit makers of the Europa League. … One more from Josh: Here’s a look at every MLS Cup Final’s jersey. … Here’s a Cleveland Force (Indoor Soccer), program from the ‘81/‘82 season. This cover just screams “1980s” (from @History_Cle). … Charlton Athletic (red) wearing a special facsimile of their 1992 kit on the 25th anniversary of their return to their traditional home ground (from Michael Sprake).

Grab Bag: We can debate whether Santa is real (or even if he’s a white guy), but this one’s not up for debate: When Santa visits Chapel Hill, he wears Carolina blue (from James Gilbert). … “I went to the Pez factory in Orange, CT a few weeks back for a kids’ birthday party,” says Jim Brunetti. “Thought these might be Uni Watch worthy. Enjoy!” … The NLL (National Lacrosse League) opened on Friday night. Here are some notables from Wade Heidt: 1) 3 opening night games featured all the home teams wearing white. Last year home teams wore dark uniforms. Looks like the league has made switch to white at home (except Georgia who wear yellow as their light colour); 2) The jerseys now feature the league logo on the front just below the collar [I love those tiled stripes!]; 3) Previously the maker’s mark had been in that spot and league logo was at the hemline; 4) The Toronto Rock are wearing 20th Anniversary patches on the right side of the hemline of their jersey; and 5) The Vancouver Stealth added their secondary fox logo to the shoulders of their white jersey. There had been no shoulder patches on the white jersey last season.