Longtime weekend readers may recognize the above graphic, which was created by artist Gary Chanko, and one of many scoreboard images that ran for several years as a Saturday feature, “Classic Scoreboards.” Back in 2014, I did an extensive interview with Gary on his project. Back in 2016, Gary looked into turning the project into a coffee table book. Although that has (yet) not come to fruition, I’m pleased to introduce you to a new project which Gary has undertaken: the “DIY Classic Scoreboards” project. For all images, including today’s splash photo, you can click to enlarge.
What is that, you may ask? Well, a couple weeks ago, Gary got in touch with me and said, “I’ve finally finished my DIY Project after a year of delays and interruptions. [T]his DIY project is a scale model Shea Stadium scoreboard.
The project title: “Build Your Own Classic Scoreboard – Shea Stadium Edition.” I designed it as a DIY project for everyone. The assembly instructions and parts graphics to complete this paper model project are provided in two files for download. The Shea Instructions pdf file provides a description of the tools and supplies needed for the project, including a detailed step-by-step guide for assembly. The model components are part of the Shea Model Parts file.”
Intrigued, I asked Gary if he could go into more detail and to share the project with the readers. He was more than happy to oblige, and I’m more than happy to share that with you. I hope there is some reader interest in this and future scoreboard projects — please read through to the end for details and instructions. OK? OK! Here’s Gary…
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BUILD-YOUR-OWN CLASSIC SCOREBOARD
A DIY Project By Gary Chanko
The inspiration for this DIY project originated while browsing David Resnik’s amazing replica ballparks (stadiumsforants.com). I envisaged creating a scale model of a ballpark scoreboard utilizing the artwork from the Classic Scoreboards collection. [I have featured David’s work on Uni Watch on a couple occasions, and will have him back with new projects in the coming months — PH]
I have experience with paper model crafting and decided to make use of these techniques for the project. Rather than turning this into a one-off DIY project, my goal was to create a model that could be assembled by anyone.
The first step in the design process was to determine the model scale. Because the model parts were intended to be printed on a color inkjet printer, the graphics had to fit on standard letter/A4 size paper.
The Cyclotron, the massive white architectural element that provides the background for the scoreboard, was the largest model element. This piece fixed the scale which is approximately one inch equals twenty feet.
The published overall scoreboard dimensions were non-specific. For example, the height was listed as eighty-six feet. But was this dimension to the top of the scoreboard, the Cyclotron, to the Photorama? (my estimate is to the top of the Photorama)
Unfortunately I could not find architectural or construction drawings to provide dimensional data for the other portions of the scoreboard. The only definitive dimensions were the height of the outfield fence (eight feet), the width of the warning track (twenty feet), and the size of the Photorama screen (eighteen feet x twenty-four feet).
Essentially I was constrained to estimate sizes and relationships from photographs. This causes problems because photographs are likely to have perspective distortions. Estimating the curvature and vertical tilt of the Cyclotron was a headache. Similarly determining the angles of the Photorama structure and its intersection with the Cyclotron proved quite a challenge. However, despite some minor inaccuracies, I believe the end result is a reasonably accurate scale model.
Creating the Parts Graphics
Creating paper models typically begins with a 3D computer model. These models are then “flattened” in a computer into the 2D space of the paper. Finally the graphics, fold lines and glue tabs are added.
Because the Shea scoreboard model parts are basically rectangular boxes, I skipped 3D model creation and went straight to the 2D layout. Subsequently I did use the final 2D graphics to prepare a simplified 3D model for the instructions.
After the basic parts were created, and before any graphics were added, a prototype was built. The prototype helped tweak dimensions and resolve assembly issues. Once the dimensions and fit were verified the graphics from the Shea Stadium Classic Scoreboards artwork were scaled and applied to the parts.
Lastly the parts were numbered and arranged on nine individual sheets.
Preparing the instructions was more tedious than designing the model. I never prepared anything like this and was uncertain about the level of detail needed.
I settled on a detailed level of assembly instruction assuming the person building this model had little or no experience in paper model crafting. So the instructions include guidance on tools, supplies, and basic assembly techniques. Hopefully I succeeded.
I think the final product accomplished what I intended. It is presentable display model of Shea’s memorable scoreboard. And it can be assembled by anyone willing to spend the time and effort.
How long will it take to assemble the model? Really impossible to estimate because skill levels and experience vary widely. I’d guess 6-8 hours spread over multiple sessions is a reasonable time allotment.
Lastly, the project represents months of work. I’m pleased to share it and hope it is enjoyed by others, but please do not use the materials for any commercial purpose.
Another Model Scoreboard Edition?
This Build-Your-Own Scoreboard was labelled the Shea Stadium Edition. Will there be another edition? The answer is maybe. Let’s see what the response is for the Shea Edition.
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Thanks Gary! Wonderful stuff.
So, what about those plans, you say?
There are actually two sets of .pdf’s you can download, as Gary noted above (click here for the first set — the detailed instructions — and you can also click here for the second set — the graphics).
If for some reason you cannot access either or both of those, please let me know and either I or Gary can e-mail you the directions/graphics. Both of those links should work, and you can download everything directly from there.
Please let Gary know if you’re interested in this and if you’d like him to provide more DIY scoreboard project graphics and instructions. Just drop a quick note in the comments below!
Paul broke the news in yesterday’s lede, but yesterday we officially got full looks at the Pittsburgh Pirates new jerseys — one is gray and the other black — and both contain “Pittsburgh” in a script font that was previously used. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but it’s a change nonetheless.
Here’s the new gray (road) jersey (click on any image below to enlarge slightly):
And here’s the new black alternate (shown with gray pants as this will be a road alternate):
As previously reported by Paul, the Pirates are eliminating the Sunday Bumblebee kits, but keeping the camopander alternate.
It’s unfortunate the “Pitts/sburgh” bisects the button placket, which doesn’t bother me as much as it does some, but I’m surprised they went that way, since the “original” Pittsburgh script respected the placket.
Also, as Paul previously mentioned, the “i” in Pittsburgh is sans-dot.
I have much less of a problem with either of these two idiosyncrasies than the new addition of the giant honking swoosh on the chest. God that’s an eyesore. Seriously, how much better does this look:
Here’s a couple more looks from the Pirates, including a better shot of the new cap (which will be worn with the black alt):
Today’s scoreboard comes from reader Michael Emody. I don’t think I’ve ever stumped you guys, but Michael thinks today might just be that day.
The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).
Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):
Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.
And now a few words from Paul
Hi there. In case you missed it on Friday, I have a new article in The New Republic about the spike in how the sports world is fetishizing of the working class (including Eastern Michigan football coach Chris Creighton wearing a janitor-style work shirt during a recent bowl game, as shown above), which I view as little more than a class-based form of stolen valor. I hope you’ll check out the article here. Thanks.
Back to you, Phil.
The More Things Change…
Paul had a great observation yesterday, and while the tweet is pretty self-explanatory, I was struck by how little Eli Manning’s appearance has changed over the years. Like, he really doesn’t look like he’s aged much does he? Of course, Tom Coughlin and Ernie Accorsi, both pictured with Manning when he was drafted in 2004, and again at Eli’s retirement announcement, haven’t really aged that much either! The photos were taken SIXTEEN years apart. I know I had a lot more hair 16 years ago (and I’m sure I was about 30 pounds heavier) but I’m sure my face has aged a good two decades — these guys barely look like they’ve aged a day. Good for them.
But the gist of Paul’s tweet, shown below, wasn’t about the appearances of the figures in the foreground — it was, sadly, an apt commentary on how far advertising has come in sixteen years.
To use Paul’s phrase: “GROSS”
Gee, press conference backdrops sure have changed a lot during Eli Manning's career. All team/league logos when he started, a blur of advertising when he finished. (h/t @gregory_zitelli) https://t.co/HOD43yLkz8
Baseball News: It appears the Phillies’ red jerseys will have a white Nike logo, making it even more obnoxious. The eye goes right to it (from @FSBabyHuey). … To make matters worse, the Nike logo on the Orioles’ jerseys will be black. Yuck (from Paul Mancano). … And here’s our first look at the Nike logo on Rockies’jerseys (from Mac LaFrance). … At least the A’s Nike mark will be green (from Jakob Fox). … TheTwins and Tigers also gave us our first look at their Nikefied jerseys. … Nike logocreep is even making its way to replica throwback jerseys. Excuse me while I vomit (from Brad Crouter). … The Mets used a Majestic jersey to introduce Carlos Beltrán as their skipper in November, but had a Nike jersey for Luis Rojas’s introduction as skipper yesterday (from @PIITP and Gregory Zitelli). … The Beloit Snappers, Class-A affiliates of the Oakland A’s, have released renderings of their new stadium (from Kary Klismet). … This c. 1985 photo of Ramón “Diablo” Montoya of the Diablos Rojos del México wearing what appears to be a red version of the Mariners’ trident-m cap. “In this case being use as an M for Mexico and devil’s pitchfork/trident,” says @bryant_rf. … Beautiful new home pinstripes for Baylor (from Cody Edwards).
NFL/CFL News: Eli Manning’s No. 10 will be retired by the Giants (from Al N. Kreit and Mike Chamernik). … And also from Mike: here’s a YouTube video detailing the best player in each uni number from 1 through 99. Lots of great tidbits in there, like how Tom Brady took No. 12 because the No. 10 he wore in high school and college was taken by punter Lee Johnson, who would be released five games into the Pats’ first Super Bowl Championship season. … The Calgary Stampeders have released their 75th anniversary logo (from Wade Heidt). … There’s an NFL100 and Bengals logo on this Senior Bowl ball (from Devin Meyer). … Here’s an awesome — if short — video of the grounds crew painting the Hard Rock Dolphins Stadium endzones for the Super Bowl (from J.A. Scott). … Preston Feiler notes that next year’s Super Bowl logo, which places the Lombardi Trophy between the “L” and “V”, makes it look like “LIV” — this year’s game. Indeed, looking at some of my Pats’ Super Bowl gear, the addition of the Lombardi Trophy after the “L” makes “LIII” look like “LIIII”. Dear NFL: GO BACK TO UNIQUE SUPER BOWL LOGOS FOR GOD’S SAKE. … Also posted in the hockey section: Blues F Ryan O’Reilly wore a Chiefs helmet during warm-ups. The Chiefs gave vocal support to the Blues during their Stanley Cup run last year, and it appears the Blues are returning the favor (from @GoatJerseys and Jakob Fox).
Hockey News: Here’s the story behind Pens G Tristan Jarry’s Tom & Jerry mask (from @ClearFAL). … Oh man, check out this gorgeous handcrafted All-Star Game poster (from Dan Kennedy). … It’s so weird seeing an NHL player wearing No. 0, but that’s what the Whalers’ Neil Sheehy did in 1988 (from Jerry Wolper). … The QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts wore throwback unis last night, complete with throwback advertisements on the boards (from Wade Heidt). … Connie Durkin, a superfan of the Peoria Rivermen of the SPHL, has purchased a staggering 118 sweaters on auction. Buried in the article is new that the Rivermen will wear three different superhero sweaters in one game, changing each period (from Mike Lucia). … Last week, we talked about the special unis Waseca High were planning on wearing to honor fallen Waseca Police officer Arik Matson. Unfortunately, the Minnesota State High School League rejected the uniforms, as the league have rules to limit the size of mid-season uniform alterations (from multiple readers).
NBA & College Hoops News: One man was featured on the jumbotron of every NBA arena in 30 days. Impressive (from Sara Klein). … Wisconsin and Purdue men went color-vs-color last night (from Andrew Cosentino).
Soccer News: The NWSL Champion North Carolina Courage are asking fans to help pick their championship ring design (from Kary Klismet). … Chelsea has announced that Hong Kong-based telecommunications corporation Three will be its new shirt advertiser, starting next season. Three has one of the worst logos in major world industry right now and it looks especially ugly and confusing on sports kits, so good luck with that, Chelsea (from multiple readers). … A rendering of DC United’s new shirt has been released on The Athletic, so it’s behind a paywall. Here it is for those who aren’t Athletic subscribers (from Josh Hinton, Nate Rathjen and Ed Żelaski). … FC Porto of Portugal have added gold match print for their appearance in the Taça da Liga final. … As always, check out Josh Hinton‘s daily download for more soccer kit goodness.
Grab Bag: Here’s an article about how Yale’s new AD wants to standardize “branding” and aesthetics across the university’s athletic system (from Kary Klismet and Timmy Donahue). … The New York Times has a great article about monthly meetups of font nerds called “TypeThursday“. … A lot of people think the logo of the Space Force, just released yesterday, is ripped off from Star Trek‘s Starfleet Command logo (from many, many, many readers), though James Gilbertnotes that it was likely taken from the Air Force Space Command and United States Space Command logos. … Oklahoma has a new license plate design for women veterans (from D Hempel).
The Pirates are scheduled to reveal some new uniforms this afternoon. But as you can see in the Instagram post above, last night they jumped the gun on their own unveiling by posting a photo of a new black alternate jersey, which features a revival of the team’s old 1990s road script.
They also teased the unveiling of their new road uniform:
Now, assuming you got past all the Nike close-ups, it doesn’t take a genius to see that the new road jersey has a script chest insignia. And it doesn’t take even a dullard to deduce that it’s going to be the same script shown on the black jersey — anyone can connect those dots.
I’ve known about these designs for a few months now and haven’t said a word. When an accurate description of the designs (but no images) began circulating on Twitter a few days ago and people began tweeting it at me, I declined to retweet it or put it in the Ticker — why ruin the Pirates’ unveiling? But if in light of how much the Pirates have already given away here, I no longer have any qualms about showing you this (for this and all subsequent images in this section, you can click to enlarge):
That’s the new road uni they’ll be unveiling today. And here’s a better look at that alternate:
A few quick notes:
• Although that mock-up shows the black alternate being worn with white pants, it’s actually listed in the MLB Style Guide as a road alternate. I gather its status will be clarified at today’s unveiling event.
• The script is the same one they wore on their road uniforms in the 1990s — first on a basic grey uni (1990-1996) and then on a pinstriped uni (1997-2000; and yes, they also had a grey road cap at one point):
Since that script was designed three decades ago, I wondered if they might have tweaked it a bit — a nip here, a tuck there. But I compared digital versions of the original and revived scripts, and they appear to be identical.
• However! While the old and new script designs themselves are identical, the way they’re positioned on the jerseys is not. As you can see in those 1990s game photos, the jersey placket intersected the old script right between “Pitts” and “burgh” — a very natural break. But let’s look again at the new script:
• One interesting thing about that script is that there’s no dot over the i. That’s always bugged me a bit. But aside from that, I’m happy to see it back on the field — a nice move by the Buccos.
Finally, since we’re talking about the Pirates, here’s a little show-and-tell on something I’ve been playing around with — a reminder that food and sports, as always, are two great tastes that taste great together:
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Click to enlarge
Maybe pitchers and catchers should just stay home: As long as we’re talking baseball, spring training caps have started circulating on social media, and apparently they’re all going to have this weird logo-within-a-logo format.
Now, I’ve always said that I don’t care about spring/BP caps because they’re just a merch program masquerading as a uniform program. And has that ever been more obvious than with these designs? Even if you like them enough to buy them because you think they’re edgy or innovative or fresh or whatever (I wouldn’t describe them that way myself, but I realize some other people might), I hope we can all agree that they’re utter failures as on-field uniform elements, because they’ll just look like a jumbled mess, even on TV.
Why does MLB maintain this charade? Why not just market these designs as fashion caps and be done with it?
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For all photos, click to enlarge
NBA All-Star uniforms released: The NBA All-Star game is coming up on Feb. 16, and yesterday we got our first full look at both of the uniforms (at least one of the jersey designs had previously leaked). I’m told that they “draw inspiration,” as the marketeers like to say, from the transit system in Chicago, where the game will be played (there’s more info on that here), but to me they seem both unremarkable and unobjectionable — your basic all-star design that could be from almost any season in the past two decades or so.
Interesting that they added the David Stern memorial band. Here’s a closer look at the jerseys:
They also released the uniforms for the other games that are part of All-Star Weekend. Let’s start with the Rising Stars game:
Next up are the designs for the All-Star Celebrity Game:
And we round things out with the (deep breath, because this one’s a mouthful) NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Basketball Game:
And speaking of the NBA: This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this, but the combination of the Nets’ grey court, the Nets’ black/white color palette, and the opposing team’s colored uniforms can make for a striking visual effect — especially when the opponent is wearing something bright, as the Lakers were last night. See the video clip embedded above — weird! Twitter-er Ryan Pence described it as being like the 1998 movie Pleasantville, where most of the world is black-and-white but a few things are in color — a really good description.
I don’t know if the Nets intended to create this effect with their grey court, but it seems weird to repeatedly amplify the visual presence of the visiting teams, no?
ITEM! Most unlikely Uni Watch product placement ever: I’ve watched TNT’s Inside the NBA postgame show exactly (double-checks math, carries the two, solves for X) zero times. So I’m not sure why analyst Kenny “The Jet” Smith’s face was Photoshopped onto a screen shot of the great Hal the Hot Dog Guy wearing a Uni Watch cap from last spring, but several people on Twitter told me about it, and reader Shawn Baker got the screen shot of it that you see above.
I asked Shawn if he could provide some context. His reply: “After the Lakers’ win at Brooklyn, they showed LeBron talking to President Clinton. The next thing I saw was Kenny wearing the cap. But I was watching with the TV on mute, so I’m not sure what was going on.”
Fortunately, reader Ignacio Salazar filled me in: “Charles Barkley was roasting Kenny Smith because President Clinton was at the game and Barkley said Clinton would recognize him and Shaq but would ask Kenny for a hot dog.” Ignacio then found video of that exchange, which is pretty funny:
Charles Barkley roasts Kenny Smith "If President Clinton was at the game and he noticed me or Shaq he would come say hello, you can walk by and he might say come bring me a hot dog" pic.twitter.com/Xb2Ljfu0O0
Okay, so that’s why they depicted Smith as a hot dog vendor. But of all the vendor photos to use, why did they use that one? Someone in the TNT graphics department must be a Uni Watch fan and/or a Hal the Hot Dog Guy fan! (If that someone is reading this, I’d love to hear from you.)
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Pin Club update: The sport with the strongest tradition of commemorative pins is, of course, curling. As a curler myself, I love that reader Tim Wood has chosen to display his January pin from the Uni Watch Pin Club on his curling pin board. It’s great to see our pin in such good company, and I’d say it holds its own quite nicely!
If you don’t yet have the January pin, it’s available here. And if you’re not caught up on what the Pin Club is all about, that info is here.
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Working Class Wannabes™, continued: As you’re probably aware, I’ve written several times in recent weeks about the sports world’s fetishizing of the working class. Now I’ve expanded upon those thoughts in a new article for The New Republic. You can check it out here.
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The Ticker By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: The Brewers are going to have five different throwback unis this season, one for each decade of their history (from @JohnnyOeleven). … The Royals have added an extremely nice memorial patch for owner David Glass (from multiple readers). … Here’s our first look at the Nike logo on the White Sox home jerseys (from Dylan Bercu). … Larry Walker will be depicted wearing a Rockies cap on his Hall of Fame plaque (from multiple readers). … Did you know old Yankee Stadium had an autograph room under the lower stands? Apparently, you needed a special ticket to get in (from Russ Havens). … Michael J. Miller writes in: “Frank Thomas circa 1992 wearing wristbands around his ankles for whatever reason. Closer inspection shows that he generally wore MimsBandz with his own iconography on both his ankles and wrists. Also seems to have mixed in some Mizuno wrist, errr, ankle bands to pair with his Nike’s in his pre-Reebok days.” … NBC Sports ranked the names of all 30 MLB ballparks (from @titan4ever2488 and our own Brinke Guthrie). … Mexico has unveiled their jerseys for the Serie del Caribe (from Arty Curry). … The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Class A affiliates of the Brewers, will bring back their “Udder Tuggers” promotion in 2020 (from Brian Kerhin). … In the ’60s and ’70s, Chicago-area children’s show host Ray Rayner wore a Cubs/White Sox frankenhelmet while reading out baseball scores (from Tom Ekstrand). … New unis for University of Houston baseball, which include the same Texas flag patch that the Rangers use (from Ignacio Suarez). … New unis for Georgia Tech (from @MistaMaxG). … New uniforms for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, who’ve changed their outfitter from Majestic to Mizuno. They also have new batting helmets made by the Japanese lacquerware manufacturer Tohoku Kogei, including a nanocomposite layer to prevent UV damage (from @bigdaddy45_1969 and Jeremy Brahm).
Football News: With the Browns preparing to replace the uniforms they introduced in 2015, here’s a breakdown of the team’s record by uni combo for that set (from Patrick Gaughan). … The 2020 edition of the CFL’s Touchdown Atlantic game will be played in Halifax, Nova Scotia, between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Toronto Argonauts. The previous four editions were played in Moncton, New Brunswick (from Wade Heidt). … New unis for McMurry, a D2 school (from Jordan Hofeditz). … Reader Jordan Elo is the latest to perform a successful logo-ectomy, as he removed the New Era mark from his Chiefs Super Bowl cap.
Hockey News: The Sabres seriously messed up their ’90s Night jerseys, with misaligned logos and misspelled names for alums (from Kevin Musolino). … The ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones are having a “wizard weekend” in February, and here are the sweaters (from @labflyer). … EA Sports announced that Willie O’Ree — the NHL’s first black player — has been added to the NHL 20 video game, but their announcement depicted O’Ree in a Bruins uni he never wore. “O’Ree played for the Bruins in 1957-58 and 1960-61. The pictured jersey wasn’t incorporated until ’67,” says Kevin Rice. … A Peoria Riverman fan has a collection of 118 of the team’s jerseys. “Also that article says Peoria will soon be wearing three different superhero uniforms in one game, changing each period,” says Mike Lucia.
College Hoops News: Wisconsin men are wearing 2000 throwbacks on Feb. 9, in honor of their 2000 Final Four team (from multiple readers). … UConn and Tennessee women were color vs. color last night, with UConn in black. The Huskies’ unis were auctioned off after the game, with proceeds going to the Pat Summitt Foundation. A rare case of BFBS for good!
Soccer News: PSG has released their new fourth kits (from @mikedfromct). … Macedonian club FK Sileks don’t wear Adidas, but their kits are basically a repurposed version of an Adidas template, according to Ed Żelaski. … Manchester City will not renew their kit advertisement deal with UAE airline Etihad, which expires after the 2020-21 season. Etihad has been the primary kit advert for City since 2009 (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh, Leeds, currently in the second division of English football, have landed a kit deal with Adidas for next season (from Josh Hinton). … One more from Josh: New Galaxy FW Javier “Chicharito” Hernández is wearning No. 14, which he’s worn for the majority of his career, and his nickNOB, which he’s worn for the entirety of his career (also from Ryan Bugaj). … Another day, another MLS tease, this time for FC Dallas (from Pete Freedman). … New kits for Phoenix Rising FC of the USL Championship. The sleeves include the names of every city in Arizona (from Josh Pearlman and Jerry Wolper).
Grab Bag: Rich Township High School District 227 in suburban Chicago is consolidating all of its schools’ athletics programs into one district-wide program, and they’re in the process of choosing a new district-wide mascot (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: The University of Delaware is building an on-campus esports arena. … Alaska Airlines crew members have new uniforms, designed to top safety standards (from Timmy Donahue). … Female police officers in Kalamazoo, Mich., are getting new uniform pants tailored for women (from several readers).
When I recently did the 2019 year-end raffle, one of the prizes was an NFL helmet poster, which was eventually won by reader Charles Drake. That poster was designed by a guy named John Williams (that’s him above). In case you don’t remember the poster, here’s another look:
John originally shared his poster design on Facebook. From there, someone tweeted it at me, and then we mentioned/linked to it in the Ticker. At each step along the way, people asked, “Where can I buy that?” But John’s not an NFL licensee, so the poster has never been for sale — he just had a few printed for himself and to give away to family and friends (and in our raffle — thanks, John!).
Since the poster raised a bit of a stir, I decided to interview John about it. Here’s an abridged transcript of a phone conversation we recently had:
Uni Watch: First, please give me a bit of information about yourself. How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?
John Williams: I live in the Nashville area — Franklin, Tenn. I’m 49, and I’m a pharmaceutical rep. A drug-pusher, so to speak.
UW: You’re obviously very into NFL helmets. Are you strictly a helmet guy and an NFL guy, or are you also into other sports and other uniform elements?
JW: I’m into a little bit of everything, but first and foremost I’m an NFL guy. Growing up in Kentucky, the closest team was the old St. Louis Cardinals. One time my dad brought me to a Rams/Cardinals game, and I really liked the Rams’ helmets. I said to my dad, “Those helmets are cool! What are they supposed to be?” And he said, “Those are ram horns.” And that’s how I got started — there’s just something about a football helmet. I actually went to work for Riddell in 1996. I was living in Louisville, trying to finish grad school, and Riddell hired me to do some special-market stuff, working with teams and sponsors.
UW: How did you get the idea to do the poster showing all of the NFL helmets?
JW: Going back to my Riddell days, there was this poster for the NFL’s 75th anniversary, called “Evolution,” which showed uniforms for every NFL team, from the earliest days to the present. I still have it — in fact, I’m looking at it on my wall right now.
So I realized that the league’s 100th anniversary was happening and they didn’t seem to have any similar poster to mark the occasion, so I figured I’d make one myself, only with helmets, just to see how much history I could get in there.
The next thing I know, I’m dealing with all these questions, like, “Well, this team wore this helmet for only two years — do I include it?” Or “They only wore this facemask color for one year. Do I include it?” So I had to make some judgment calls. Frankly, it turned out better than I thought.
UW: Did you intend for it to be strictly a digital graphic, like computer wallpaper, or did you intend to print it out for yourself?
JW: A buddy of mine, he said, “Listen, man, I’ll print it. Don’t go selling it and getting me in trouble, but if you wanna put it up in your house, I’ll print it for you.”
UW: How many helmet images did you end up including?
JW: About 165. With Google Images, there’s a lot of stuff out there! But looking back, there’s a couple I missed.
UW: All of the helmets are just shown by themselves, not being worn by anyone. Was that your plan all along?
JW: I found that if I included the player’s face, it just looked a little too busy. And as you know, the helmet by itself looks really good aesthetically. So I just went for the helmet by itself.
UW: What software did you use?
JW: I used an app called Pages, which makes it easy to eliminate the background, so you just have the helmet by itself.
UW: Once you decided where to position a helmet, did you stick with it? Or were you constantly rearranging things as you went?
JW: The rearranging was almost nonstop. The 49ers are a good example. I did include the one-day helmet [actually six-day — PL] from 1991 — the one everyone went nuts about. But I sort of hid it, since it was never worn on the field, so there was some rearranging there.
UW: Did you ever use photos of mini-helmets, instead of full-size helmets?
JW: Yeah. I think the Buccaneers one at the top is a mini-helmet, and I know the white Texans design [another prototype that never made it onto the field — PL] is a mini-helmet, because that’s all I could find. Actually, I think that one-day 49ers helmet is a mini-helmet reproduction too, because it looked a lot better than the photos from the press conference. As you know, if you get up close to a mini-helmet, you can’t really tell the difference.
UW: How did you decide what to include or not include? For example, it appears that you didn’t include the Eagles helmet with the black tape on the wings as a memorial for quarterbacks coach Doug Scovil, but you did include a rear view of the Cowboys helmet, presumably to show their blue Dymo Tape label…
JW: Yes, that’s right. That was a must.
UW: … so what went into your thinking for those and other choices?
JW: For that Eagles helmet, I had plenty of photos of players wearing it, but I didn’t have any photos of the helmet by itself. I was actually thinking of just creating it [digitally], because it would be pretty easy to just add the black stripe. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought how there have been so many memorial decals and logos — if I do it with one, I have to do it with all of them. Although that one was unique, because they did it on the wings, on the team logo, but I just decided not to include it.
Two that I wasn’t sure about, but I did end up including them, were the Bills and Jets from 1994.
UW: Well, those were both worn on the field, so of course you included them!
JW: Right, they were worn on the field, but everyone always says how lazy they were. There wasn’t even a one-shell rule back then, but they didn’t even bother to use the proper helmet colors. So I did include them, but I kinda hid them a bit.
UW: Are there any Easter eggs hidden in the poster? Any little surprises or secret codes that you baked into the design?
JW: My nickname is Jinx, and I think I buried that in the Dickerson Rams helmet.
UW: Lately you’ve been doing team-specific versions, right?
JW: I did the Rams one for myself, and then I posted it and had a few people ask for other teams. And since I had all the helmet photos, it was basically just a matter of pulling them from here and putting them over there.
I also created a player-based version, sort of like the original “Evolution” poster, showing the teams’ old logos and then their current uniforms:
UW: None of these are for sale, right?
JW: Right. I post them on Facebook, and I’ve had some printed for for my nephew, for my sons, but I don’t have an NFL license, so I can’t sell these. But I’ve reached out to a company that does have a license to see if they’d be interested. Haven’t heard back yet, but we’ll see. It could be a fun side hustle.
And there you have it. After we spoke, John sent a video in which he discusses some of the smaller details within the poster. Enjoy:
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Pin Club update: Very nice project from reader Craig Holtzclaw, who’s made himself a display board for his Uni Watch Pin Club pins. Nicely done, Craig!
’Skins Watch: Here’s a good thread from a Native American journalist and former sports editor about the problems with the Chiefs’ team name and iconography (from Michael Rich). … A Utah state legislator has introduced a resolution discouraging high schools from discontinuing the use of Native American mascots without first determining consensus among local Native tribes. “This is like a bizarro-world reverse version of the NCAA policy requiring consensus among local tribes before a school can use Native-themed names and imagery,” says Kary Klismet. … Cheerleaders at McLaughlin High School on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in South Dakota wore red handprints on their faces on Tuesday night in memory of the Native American teenager Selena Not Afraid, whose dead body was recently found after she she disappeared on New Year’s Day. The red handprint has become the symbol of the MMIW movement, which stands for missing and murdered indigenous women (from Sara Klein).
College Football News: Florida State coach Mike Norvell says he’s open to mixing up the team’s uniform combos and is also considering restoring the white numbers on the garnet jerseys.
Hockey News: New cancer-awareness uniforms for Stevenson University’s men’s and women’s teams. … A new TV ad for Dunkin’ shows Bruins RW David Pastrňák with a Bruins-style “sweater” on his cup of coffee (from John Cerone). … Philly police are investigating whether the Flyers’ mascot, Gritty, punched a 13-year-old fan in the back (from @walbergLines). … You can see two late-’70s shots of NHLers protecting their broken jaws with fairly awkward-looking football-style facemasks by clicking here and then scrolling down for the second photo. … If you scroll way down to item No. 23 and 24 on this list, you’ll see that the NHL will be test-driving a new system to create digital ads on the boards during the All-Star Game, with an eye toward implementing the system league-wide in a year or two (from Jerry Wolper). … G.I. Joke cosplay is even extending to French hockey teams. “Cripes,” says Mike Lucia. … This is fascinating: I’ve read before that if court officials at Guantánamo think classified information is about to be revealed during a proceeding, they flash a red light and cut off the audio feed to the gallery where reporters and visitors are sitting. According to the third-to-last graf of this story, the red light is referred to as a “hockey light.” “Seems spot-on and out of place at the same time,” says Tris Wykes. … “The SJHL/MJHL Showcase is an annual tournament pitting the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League vs. the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. The teams basically wear uniforms like at an all-star game — SJHL in blue/yellow league colors and MJHL in black/red. However, the fourth game yesterday was different and featured lots of pink — a nod to event sponsor/advertiser Sasktel’s ‘Be Kind Online’ initiative.”
Obviously, school integration is a good thing. But as many segregated school systems integrated in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling, it was usually the black schools that were shut down, and their history — including their sports history — was often lost or forgotten.
At least one town has decided to do something about that. When Tennessee integrated its schools in 1965 (there, as in much of the South, it took an unconscionably long time before officials complied with Brown), the town of Greeneville’s black high school, George Clem School, was shut down. But for the past several years, Greeneville High School has celebrated George Clem Night to coincide with Martin Luther King Day. They invite George Clem alums to attend, and — here’s the best part — the Greeneville boys’ and girls’ basketball teams wear Clem throwbacks.
The photo at the top of this entry is an old team portrait of the George Clem girls’ squad (sorry, not sure of the date). Here’s how the current team looked in their Clem throwbacks on Monday (all game photos by Tate Russell of the Greeneville Sun):
Turning our attention to the boys, here’s a vintage Clem team photo (again, I’m unsure of the year, sorry):
And here’s how the Greeneville High team looked in their Clem throwbacks on Monday (I’m impressed that they included the numbers on the shorts; again, game photos by Tate Russell of the Greeneville Sun):
In a nice touch, even the cheerleaders wore Clem throwbacks:
As I’ve always said, throwback uniforms are history lessons, and this lesson is a particularly good one. Kudos to all involved. (Still, there’s some history that can’t be undone. According to a friend of reader Miles Cowther, who brought all of this to my attention, the Clem boys’ team was supposedly one of the best in East Tennessee but never won any state titles because black schools didn’t have a postseason. Sigh.)
As you’ve no doubt noticed, the Greeneville High teams are overwhelmingly white. That’s not surprising — according to Wikipedia, the last census indicated that the town’s population of 15,062 people was 89.1% white and only 5.6% black, so the teams’ demographics reflect those of the town. I think it’s all the more impressive that Greeneville acknowledges and honors George Clem School’s legacy given how small the town’s black population is. Again, kudos.
You can learn a bit more about all of this, and see the throwback uniforms in action, in this local TV news report:
(Super-duper thanks to reader Miles Crowther for telling me about this, and to his friends Josh Ealy and Rustin Jones, both of whom are Greeneville natives and told Miles about the throwbacks because they know he’s into uniforms.)
Super Bowl update: The Chiefs yesterday released short video clips showing two of their captains — quarterback Patrick Mahomes and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu — wearing jerseys that included the Super Bowl patch but did not include their captaincy patches (Mahomes shown above; Mathieu is here). This seemed to indicate that the “C” patches — which the Chiefs did not wear during the regular season but added for their two playoff games — would not be worn in the big game.
But promo/hype teasers don’t always match what’s worn on-field. So just to be safe, I checked with a Chiefs spokesman. And sure enough, he confirmed that the Chiefs will wear the “C” patches in the Supe. Since KC already wears the Lamar Hunt perma-memorial patch, that’s going to make for a seriously crowded jersey, at least for the handful of captains.
I asked the spokesman if he could show or at least tell me how the “C” patches will be positioned. He said he couldn’t do that yet but indicated that we might get to see by Monday. Stay tuned.
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Too good for the Ticker: Well, at least someone is wearing a throwback for the big game. Longtime Chiefs groundskeeper George Toma was checking out the Super Bowl field in Miami yesterday — and wore a 35-year-old uniform for the occasion! How awesome is that?
Meanwhile, the midfield logo that they were applying in that photo is now complete:
(Super-duper thanks to Matt Newbery for this one.)
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Pin Club reminder: We’ve now sold over 150 of the January design for the Uni Watch Pin Club. This is a limited, numbered edition of 350 pins, designed by Todd Radom.
Baseball News: The Blue Jays’ spring training caps have leaked (from Matt Gower). … The Phillies’ cream alternates will have a blue maker’s mark. The mark on their other jerseys is red (from @FSBabyHuey). … First reported a year ago and now official: After this season, the name of the Brewers’ ballpark will become an ad for an insurance company instead of an ad for a brewery. Paul wrote about the issues surrounding this ballpark’s name last year. … The Cubs and White Sox just announced they’re letting fans vote on the design of the new Crosstown Cup, which goes to the winner of the Cubs/Sox rivalry series (from Michael Mrozinsi). … The Florence Freedom of the Frontier League have renamed themselves the ““Y’alls.” The name is based on this local water tower and the interesting story behind it (from our own Alex Hider and multiple other readers). … Phillies RF Bryce Harper bats left-handed, but for some reason a new set of socks depicts him as a righty (from Caleb Mezzy). … New Hall of Fame inductee Larry Walker wore a Spongebob-themed shirt as he was announced part of this year’s HoF class (from James Beattie). … Speaking of Walker, here’s a weird coincidence: He now becomes the fourth hall of famer from a Colorado-based Big Four team to have worn No. 33 (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: Here’s a summary of all the logo and branding changes for minor league teams in the upcoming season. … A fan has DIY’d himself a Mets-style jersey that says, “Meh” (from @HitTheGlass). … New uniforms for Oklahoma softball (from Sam McKinley).
Pro Football News: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Following up on yesterday’s lede about 49ers defensive back Richard Sherman wearing his towel on a little loop added to his pants, reader/commenter Chris Hickey notes that former Packers LB Brandon Chillar appears to have had a similar towel loop added to his pants in 2009. … The NFL Draft is set for April in Las Vegas. The event’s red carpet will literally be on top of the Bellagio’s famed fountains, and picks will be ferried in (from multiple readers). … Looks like the XFL wide receivers can wear single-digit numbers, just like in college football. Based on the online rosters, the rest of the positions follow the NFL guidelines for now (from Alex Barth). … Paul reported yesterday about two XFL teams’ secondary logos showing up on a scoreboard. Here are a few more (from @xfl_updates). … Mini-helmet maven Blaise D’Sylva is shifting gears to a new project: throwback prototype NFL helmets. Here’s a collection of then-new 1927-29 NFL teams From left to right, starting with the top row: 1927 New York Yankees; 1928 Detroit Wolverines; and 1929 Boston Bulldogs, Minneapolis Red Jackets, Orange Tornadoes, and Staten Island Stapletons.
Hockey News: Blackhawks G Robin Lehner wore standard red/white/red striped black pants last night instead of the Winter Classic version (from Tom O’Grady). … The AHL has released the sweaters for its upcoming All-Star Game (from Jakob Fox). … Here are the sweaters for the upcoming NWHL All-Star Game in Boston (from @rindle247). … It was 40 years ago today that the Penguins pissed off the Bruins by changing their colors to black and gold. “As I recall, the Penguins actually ordered those uniforms through the Bruins’ pro shop,” says Jerry Wolper.
Basketball News:New alternates for the Syracuse Stallions of the ABA (from Shane Bua). … Color vs. color for TCU and Texas Tech last night (from Lance Escude). … Texas A&M G Jay Jay Chandler III has his NOB radially arched, while the rest of the Aggies’ NOBs are straight (from Timmy Donahue). … Color vs. color for Illinois and Purdue last night. Illinois wore throwbacks while Purdue wore GFGS (also from Timmy). … Iowa State’s coaches wore white sneakers with suits and head coach Steve Prohm wore a cancer awareness tie last night to support Coaches vs. Cancer (from Kary Klismet).
Soccer News: F Javier Hernandez, better known by many as Chicharito, just signed with the LA Galaxy. His press photo shows off the club’s new shirt. Here’s an alternate look, and the look of the back of the uniform, with Chicharito wearing his nickNOB (from multiple readers). … From Josh Hinton: Here’s a look at the Premier League uni matchups for this week. … Here’s why most of Paris Saint-Germain wore different numbers this week. … Inter Miami has struck an ad deal with the Qatari government to advertise the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Josh says, “Soccer leagues’ hypocrisy amazes me. Nobody wants to hear about how bigoted we are when you turn around and take $$$ from a nation with major human rights violations.” … The new Copa Del Rey Winners Badge has been revealed, and it will debut on kits when holders Valencia play Logroñés. … As always, you can keep up with the latest kit news from around the world by following Josh‘s Twitter feed. … NWSL Champions North Carolina Courage are letting their fans choose how their championship rings will look (from James Gilbert). … Here’s a look inside of — according to the store’s owners — the world’s largest collection of throwback shirts in Manchester (from Jeremy Brahm).