Talking Football with ‘Sports Mishmash’ Illustrator Alex Bennett

For all photos and illustrations, click to enlarge

Earlier this year we Ticker-linked several times to British illustrator Alex Bennett and his various sports “mishmash” posters, each of which shows the history of a team or sport in one detail-crammed, information-overloaded, “Where’s Waldo?”-style image. We also raffled off two copies of his then-new Gridiron Mishmash poster, which charts the history of NFL and American football.

I thought an interview with Bennett, focusing on the Gridiron Mishmash poster, would be a good ESPN piece for that slow NFL period in between the draft and the start of training camps, so we did a Skype interview in early June and I delivered the piece to my ESPN editor. For various reasons, its pub date kept getting pushed back, and then it basically went down the memory hole, so now I’ve reclaimed it and am running it here on the blog. Here’s how our discussion went:

Uni Watch: How old are you, and where do you live?

Alex Bennett: I’m 37, and I live just outside of London.

UW: How and when did you get the idea to do these “mishmash” illustrations, and which one did you start with?

AB: I do a lot of illustration work for soccer clubs, in their match-day programs, so I started with the European soccer poster, in 2013. It took me nearly 14 months to do. I keep a clock on my desk, and I tap it every time I start working. For that one, it was nearly 1,800 hours. Quite a daunting number, really. But I was struggling to get work at the time, so I thought I needed something that would put me on the map.

UW: When you did that first one, were you thinking all along that you’d do a series of them for other sports? Or were you thinking, “Ugh, this is taking so long, I’m never doing this again.”

AB: The second answer! Especially since I had no idea whether the first one would be successful. You’re working on it and you’re not getting any revenue from it. It was all a gamble, a shot in the dark. But it went well, and now it’s like a hobby that’s gotten out of hand.

UW: How many have you done?

AB: Eight. After European soccer, there was pro wrestling and rugby. Then I did the soccer club I support, Watford, and then West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur. I did those clubs because I also do work for their programs.

UW: Regarding the new “Gridiron Mishmash” piece, do you actually follow American football, and American sports in general?

AB: I must admit, I struggle with baseball. But I do enjoy the NFL. I went to see the L.A. Rams playing the Cardinals in London last year. And when I’ve been to Florida, I’ve seen the Buccaneers play a couple of times.

UW: How did you get into American football?

AB: As a 10-year-old, I went to the 1991 World Bowl — the London Monarchs versus the Barcelona Dragons, at Wembley Stadium in London. The attraction there was William “The Fridge” Perry playing for the Monarchs. So that really gave me the bug.

UW: When you’re doing one of these mishmashes, do you aim to have a certain number of people in them, or to document a certain number of scenes or moments?

AB: It’s very tricky to describe how it works. I start off, obviously, with an empty canvas. I always ask people on the internet which scenes they’d like to see included, so you get a sense of how busy it’s going to be based on that. This new one has about 800 to 900 people in it. The soccer ones are probably about double that.

UW: You mentioned that the first soccer mishmash took you nearly 14 months to do. Have you gotten more efficient since then?

AB: Yes. This new one took about six months, and 1,300 hours. See, I do my paid work during the day, and then I work on the posters until about three in the morning every night. I try to do at least four scenes every night. If I keep up that pace, I can have a good sense of when I’ll finish it.

UW: What’s your typical working method? Obviously, a lot of these illustrations are based on photos, so do you scan in a photo and work from that, or what? Is any of the work done by hand, or is it all digital?

AB: It’s all hand-drawn. I haven’t really caught up with modern-day methods. I usually start with a photo, and then I have these little miniature mannequins and I’ll position them for the angle I’m trying to capture.

UW: So you have these little plastic figurines, and you pose them like they’re catching a football, or whatever?

AB: Yeah, exactly.

UW: I guess they look more like some body types than others. They don’t look much like the Fridge, for example.

AB: For people who are a bit on the chunkier side, I actually attach modeling clay to them. It makes them look a bit bulkier.

UW: So what happens after you do a sketch?

AB: I’ll ink the sketch, then I’ll scan it and take it into Photoshop and Illustrator to add the colors, the logos, and so on. Once that’s done and I’m happy with it, I’ll drag it into the main image. That’s when the real wild work starts — trying to find a place for each drawing.

UW: Is it hard to make everything fit, and do you often end up having to discard certain ideas or scenes as you go along, just because there’s no good spot for them?

AB: Yes, that is the problem. I try to put things where they really occurred on the field, but sometimes it isn’t possible. For “The Catch,” with Joe Montana and Dwight Clark, I put that right where they were on the field. But there’s other stuff that doesn’t make any sense. I’ve got guys celebrating touchdowns nowhere near the end zone, just because it fills a gap.

UW: The NFL will be celebrating its 100th anniversary next year, so you had a lot of history to potentially draw upon. Did you try to distribute the content evenly throughout the decades, or focus more on recent history, or what?

AB: I usually try to start at the beginning. So I’ve got the Canton Bulldogs, and then I move forward from there. But obviously there’s a lot more from the last few decades.

UW: Do you try to include as many teams as possible, so there’s something for everyone?

AB: I made sure to include every NFL team, definitely. And then for colleges — to be honest, I’m not sure I should have gone down that road, because there are so many schools. I could probably do a separate poster just for college football. I find the college game more interesting, honestly. There’s something about the crowds.

UW: Are there any cleverly hidden details or anything like that that you’re particularly pleased with?

AB: I always put my son in the picture. He’s nearly five years old now, and he’s been in all of them.

UW: Really! Where is he in the American football poster?

AB: I couldn’t even tell you, honestly. He’s in the crowd, somewhere. In the first poster, the soccer one, I showed myself taking him to his first game, when he was a baby. That was based on a photo that someone took. And after I included that in the first poster, I figured he may as well come on this journey with me.

UW: You’ve included scenes of some famous injuries, like Tim Krumrie’s and Joe Theismann’s broken legs, and Chuck Bednarik standing over Frank Gifford after delivering a big hit. Were you conflicted about including those?

AB: I think the key thing is that you don’t want to be disrespectful. So for Tim Krumrie, for example, I showed him slumped on the ground, just trying to capture the drama of the moment. Still, some people weren’t happy that I included that. But that’s what you’re going to get no matter what — some people will be unhappy with the choices you make, for various reasons.

UW: Did you consider even more gruesome injuries, like Jack Tatum’s hit that resulted in Darryl Stingley being paralyzed?

AB: Yeah, I didn’t want to include that. Not sure why I felt differently about that one — maybe because I’ve watched it so many times. It’s just so horrible, isn’t it? I don’t know. [Pauses.] You’ve got to draw a line somewhere, I suppose.

UW: Are there any issues regarding licensing? You’re basing most of your work on copyrighted photos, you’re showing various team uniforms — does that cause any problems?

AB: There’s no issue with the soccer clubs, because I work with them. But for this latest one for American football, I spoke with a guy from the NFL very early on. I basically wanted approval that what I was doing was OK, and he said to go for it. I was prepared to pay a fee or something like that, but it never materialized.

UW: The poster includes a legend, or captions, explaining all the moments that are included. It’s sort of like an answer key. Did you consider not including that, because it sort of spoils the fun of people figuring out each scene?

AB: You can’t win with something like that. Some people would prefer to have it and others wouldn’t. But I think I made the right decision to include it.

UW: I see that the captions refer to the “pitch,” rather than the field. Is that just for the UK version? Do you change it to “field” for American customers?

AB: I messed that up, actually. It’s so ingrained in the way we talk about sport, I just missed it. I should have thought of it, but I didn’t.

UW: What do you think about American football uniforms now that you’ve had to depict so many of them?

AB: I’ll be very happy to never draw a football helmet ever again. Each face mask is different, and you can’t really show the features of the players’ faces. With the European sports, you can show their faces.

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Bennett is now working on a few more soccer club mishmashes, which will be followed by a hockey mishmash. His various posters are available here.

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The latest NBA leak: A source indicates that this may be the Bucks’ new Earned uniform (aka the Participation Trophy uniform). On the other hand, LockerVision had previously indicated that that uniform would be grey, not white, so who knows. (Update: Upon closer inspection, the lower part of the jersey does appear to be grey, so there you go.)

I’ll say one thing for this latest round of NBA uniforms: They haven’t released them in time for the holiday shopping season, so at least we can’t say it’s all about retailing. Or maybe they’ve just had some production snafus and couldn’t get them done in time.

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Welcome wagon: On the past four or five Tuesday evenings, the Tugboat Captain and I have walked about a half-hour to a bar where we are the only white people. One reason we’ve kept going back is that the bartender, whose name is Lily (or maybe Lilly, or Lili), made us feel welcome literally from the first moment we walked in the door — no small thing when you’re entering a place where you don’t necessarily belong, a place that other people call home. We’ve also made friends with some of the regulars, but Lily has been our ambassador, signaling to everyone that we’re okay.

Lily has a slight accent that suggests she’s from the Caribbean, or maybe Central America. (The bar’s owner is from Panama, so there might be a connection there.) She usually dresses very casually, but last night she wore red pants, a red plaid shirt, and red eyeglass frames, and even mixed herself a red drink! It was all so color-coordinated that I asked if she’d consent to a photo, which she readily did.

The guy next sitting two stools down from me said, “You’re lucky. She usually won’t let anyone photograph her.” He reached for his phone and turned to her: “Lily, how about a photo?” She laughed and walked away. I later learned that he’s the bar’s manager.

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The new HQ, continued: I’ve never lived in a house or building that displayed Christmas lights. So it was a surprise to come home from the bar last night and discover that our landlord, Jeff, had given our house the full treatment. The Tugboat Captain, who had already lived here for eight or nine years before I moved in with her a few months ago, says Jeff has never done this before. Not sure what inspired him this time around, but it feels like yet another way in which the new digs have been a major upgrade. Ho-ho-ho!

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The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

Baseball News: Lee Smith had a bit of a mishap when donning his Hall of Fame jersey yesterday. He buttoned his jersey incorrectly, leading to an awkward-looking photo-op (from Jeff Ash). … Here’s something you might not be aware of: Back in the late ’80s and ’90s, the Rangers had inconsistent batting helmet logos (from Chris Mycoskie). … Patrick Lavery owns a 1988 Starting Lineup figurine depicting OF Rickey Henderson during his days with the Yankees. Notice anything odd? Of course you do! Henderson’s figurine has an NOB, while actual Yankees jerseys do not. … The Las Vegas 51s, the Triple-A affiliate of the A’s, are now the Las Vegas Aviators (from Paul Szydelko).

NFL News: A bidder paid $36,150 for Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes’s jersey from the epic MNF game that the Chiefs lost 54-51 to the Rams in LA. Proceeds from the sale are going to California Wild Fire Relief (from Mike Chamernik). … This Bengals promo photo features both old and new Nike templates (from Kristofer Terrell). … Josh Callahan has started a petition for the Buccaneers to bring back their creamsicle uniforms.

College Football News: Here’s how the Military Bowl patch will look on Virginia Tech’s uniforms (from Andrew Cosentino). … Top college recruit DB Chris Steele is in this photo that combines all five schools he’s considering a commitment to (from Jorge Cruz).

Hockey News: The NHL unveiled the logo for the 2019 draft, which will be held in Vancouver in June (from several readers). … A dwarfism advocacy group is pushing for Alberta hockey teams to remove the word “midget” from age categorizations and league names (from Mike Styczen). … Arizona State has new black sweaters and gold sticks.

Basketball News: What’s even better than the Bucks’ original mascot logo? Seeing that logo rendered in chain-stitching (from @BeautyOfAGame). … The Harlem Wizards have new uniforms, and they were designed by reader Brian Begley! … The Windy City Bulls will be wearing canine-themed jerseys for Dog Night on Friday. Proceeds from the jersey auction will be donated to Anderson Animal Shelter of Elgin (from Steve Johnson). … Fun fact: Back in the early 1950s, LSU had sleeved jerseys.

College Hoops News: Georgia Tech men’s will wear “Ramblin’ Wreck” jerseys against Georgia on Dec. 22 (from @sonnylax). … Former Louisville coach C.V. “Red” Money, who coached the team in the 1930s, once pulled his team from the court to protest the officiating, resulting in a 2-0 forfeit. Among his complaints were that the opposing team changed jerseys at halftime and used lots of uni numbers ending in 6 (from Jason Collins).

Soccer News: Tottenham Hotspur of the Premier League have released a retro shirt based on the yellow shirts they wore from 1988-91 (from Richard, who didn’t give his last name). … VfB Stuttgart have released a 125th-anniversary kit to be worn on Dec. 22 (from Gabriel Hurl). … The Indy Eleven of the USL have a new kit (from Josh Hinton). … Atlanta United won the MLS Cup on Saturday. On Monday, a few players brought the trophy to a prominent Atlanta strip club to celebrate (from @rbchoopmas).

Grab Bag: The National Lacrosse League announced an expansion franchise on Long Island that will begin play in 2019-20. You can help choose the team’s name here (from multiple readers). … If you were placing holiday decorations on the big sign at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, where would you position each decorative item? It’s trickier than you might think (from multiple readers). … An artist who calls himself Tommervik has a vaguely Cubist painting style and has applied it to subect matter that baseball, basketball, tennis, boxing, and other sports. You can browse his full collection here.

I’m Glad I Lived Long Enough to See Sebastian Janikowski Go Mono-Neon

We’ve known for a while now that the Seahawks were planning to wear their mono-neon uniforms last night — the first and I believe only time they’ll be wearing them this season. This marks the third straight year they’ve trotted out this design, and a bit of the retina-searing novelty has now worn off.

But there was an important new element added to the mix for 2018: Sebastian Janikowski is on the team this year. And there’s something inherently funny about the sight of Sebastian Janikowski in mono-neon.

To be fair, nobody looks particularly good in Seattle’s neon uniform, especially men of a certain size and girth. And Janikowski, who’s now 40 years old and spent his previous 17 seasons with the Raiders, is certainly not the biggest player on the Seahawks. He’s listed at 6’1″, 260 pounds, which means he’s dwarfed by many of the team’s offensive and defensive linemen. Those guys look pretty funny in neon, too.

But not the same way Janikowski does. Part of it, I’m pretty sure, is that he’s just atypically large for a placekicker, which has always made him appear incongruous and sort of clunky. Another part is that he doesn’t wear thigh or knee pads, which reinforces his Everyman physique — the pad-less pants make him look less like a football player and more like some guy who was watching the game on his sofa and somehow got drafted onto the field. And part of it is that he’s never fully shed his image as the hard-partying guy from Poland who got into lots of bar fights during his time at Florida State.

Shoehorning a 40-year-old guy like that into the Seahawks’ sleek superhero costume is just too good (especially when he goes the extra mile by wearing a neon long-sleeved base-layer shirt, as Janikowski did last night). Much like Boog Powell in the blood-clot uniform, it’s such a massive mismatch of player and uni that it achieves its own kind of perfection. I’d say it might even justify the neon uniform’s existence.

Another atypical thing about Janikowski: He kicks with his left foot. That led Twitter-er @RF_1071 to compare him last night to another famously hefty neon-clad lefty — Jared Lorenzen:

None of this is meant to diminish Janikowski’s considerable skills as a kicker. He’s 10th on the NFL’s all-time points list (if he plays another season, he’ll likely jump to sixth), he has a whopping 105 career field goals of 50 yards or more, and he’s likely headed to the Hall of Fame (that should be a good induction speech). I hope for his sake he never has to wear the neon uniform again. But I’m glad I got to see him wear it last night.

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An excellent DIY project: Reader Scott Steffes’s office had an ugly sweater contest yesterday, so he and his family decided to make a different play on the word “sweater” by customizing his Wisconsin hockey jersey for the occasion. “The colors are perfect,” he says, “and it’s a great base jersey that allows for unique modification.”

Here’s the jersey he started with (for all of these, you can click to enlarge):

And here’s how Scott modified it for a fictitious team called the Wisconsin Reindeer:

As you can tell from the photos, Scott didn’t sew the graphics onto the jersey. “I was thinking about sewing it, he says, “but I wanted the changes to be temporary, as this is my favorite jersey. Found a roll of double-stick fabric tape that worked great. Everything is holding up pretty well so far.”

Nicely done. Here’s Scott wearing his finished design, followed by a shot of him and the other contestants at the small architecture firm where he works:

The two women in the one sweater were named the People’s Choice, the one at far left with the penguin on the front won for Cutest Sweater (Scott says he was in the running for that one), and the one at far right with the battery-powered mini-fireplace won for Most Innovative.

Despite not winning, Scott enjoyed making his sweater.”We really had some great fun coming up with it,” he says. “Makes me think of WaffleBored — though my skills are nowhere near his, I can certainly see the intrigue in making a custom design. Kinda makes we want to make a permanent custom jersey — either Wisconsin hockey or Milwaukee Brewers.” We all look forward to seeing how that turns out, Scott.

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Collector’s Corner
Brinke Guthrie

Gaaaaa, take a look at these! A pair of 1976 Cleveland Browns suede leather “cleated sport tennis shoes.”. Ponder why you need “cleats” on tennis shoes for a moment. Now, the tongue says, “NFL Action Footwear,” and these were from Sears and NFL Properties. You can see a similar style of these right here. If you wanna go full-tilt gonzo on retro Sears NFL stuff, I recommend this MeTV article. And for the ultimate in 1970s NFL insanity, WishbookWeb has it all. Be forewarned — you will kill an entire day looking through that site.

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Here’s a misspelled 1972 pennant for the Minnesota Nort Stars. One more for ’em — this 1970s hockey skate/puck/stick radio!

• Here’s a 1970s 7-Up store display with Hollywood Henderson of the Cowboys and Pat Haden of the Rams. The Henderson helmet and jersey are way off, while the Rams treatment looks accurate.

• Square Pan Pizza was your sponsor for this 1979 Padres thermal cup, featuring the Swinging Friar!

• This 1970s Pittsburgh Pirates buccaneer logo mug looks to be in perfect shape.

• Never seen these before: a collection of 1970s NHL logo trays. Rangers, Caps, Blackhawks, and North Stars here. Each measures 10-3/4″ in diameter. Points taken off on the seller for having the North Stars’ logo upside-down in the photo!

• This 1970s watch by Jubilee features a red helmet with the NFL shield.

• Speaking of timepieces, here’s a pricey stocking stuffer: This “Back to Back” Super Bowl Champs watch was given to 49ers personnel in the late 1980s.

• Another one for the Niners: This retro ski cap is from the Sears NFL Shop.

• Check out this Buffalo Bills draft day helmet phone! The seller notes the facemask is “very coveted,” although maybe you have to be a serious helmet or facemask aficonado to appreciate that. (Thanks to @HelmetAddict for the tip.)

• Way back when, this Magnetic NFL Standings Board was a great way to keep track of the the standings. You could move the helmets around from week to week. (Note that the Seahawks are included in the photo and the Bucs aren’t — Seattle was an AFC team at that time.)

• Want some outstanding early-1970s NFL poster art? Doesn’t get any better than this one for the Kansas City Chiefs.

• Check out the cover of this 1976-77 Knicks game program. Yes, kids, players really did wear their shorts like that back then. Side note: Clyde sinking the jumper wearing his signature Pumas.

• From reader Will Scheibler: We often feature NFL bedsheets here on CC, but how about a set of CFL sheets!

Seen an item on eBay that would be good for Collector’s Corner? Send any submissions here.

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Naming Wrongs update: Someone on Twitter asked me why we didn’t have any shirts for the Palace of Auburn Hills? Good question! Not sure why hadn’t done that one before, but we’ve now rectified that oversight. It’s available in blue and grey:

These shirts are now available in the Naming Wrongs shop (where card-carrying Uni Watch members get 15% off). My thanks, as always, for considering our products.

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ITEM! Hats almost sold out: The good news is that our efforts to generate some sales momentum on our flex-fit Uni Watch Alternate Caps have been successful! We now have fewer than 10 L/XL caps left. So if you want one, I strongly suggest ordering one now. The price is only $19.99. Update: L/XLs are now sold out!

The bad news is that we badly miscalculated how many of the S/M caps to make. We still have about 90 of those. Please feel free to order one! Thanks.

While we’re at it: All of our fine Uni Watch products, including a few that you may have forgotten about, are listed on this one handy page.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsReader Jake Jahimiak contacted the Rays and asked if they’ll be reviving their fauxbacks for 2019. The response: “At this time we do not plan on wearing on the fauxbacks again and will be wearing the same Devil Ray [throwback] uniforms as this season.” … Baseball card heads might know this, but for the uninitiated: Topps airbrushed the Angels’ lowercase “a” logo on Nolan Ryan’s baseball card after his trade from the Mets prior to the ’72 season (while leaving his blue Mets pinstripes intact), but the team actually switched to a capital “A” logo cap starting that year (from BSmile). … New logos for the Dupage County (Illinois) Pistol Shrimp of the Prospect League, a wood bat college league. … Here’s a great old shot of Orioles 1B Boog Powell with an orange Dymo Tape name tag on his sunglasses. … Always interesting to see the Reds’ odd-looking radially arched drop-down NOBs. William Luck got those screen shots from a video of Jim Maloney’s 10-inning no-hitter from 1965. … New Hall of Fame inductees Harold Baines and Lee Smith have now dutifully gone through the ritual of wearing those miserable Hall of Fame jerseys. As you may recall, Uni Watch readers came up with some much better designs early last year.

NFL/CFL NewsFormer Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck raised the “12” flag before last night’s game and wore an era-appropriate jersey for the occasion (from Mark Simoncelli Jr.). … Vikings WR Adam Thielen had cleats made featuring a coffee ad for last night’s game. Now, Caribou Coffee does donate 10 percent of proceeds for every sale of the coffee pictured there to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, but you’d think his cleats would just mention the hospital and not a coffee company. In any case, it turns out that he didn’t wear them in the game. Maybe just for pregame..? … Packers CB Bashaud Breeland had something wedged in between his facemask and visor, near his ear hole, on Sunday. Was that a mouthpiece? An extra chinstrap cup? A piece of plastic to prevent his eye from being poked? He also had it for Green Bay’s previous game, which appears to have been the first time he wore it. (from Taylor Warntjes). … Ayden Mahar noticed that ESPN’s playoff machine has some bugs that cause old logos to appear for some teams. … The CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers are letting season ticket holders try to win a chance for their last name to be on a player’s jersey during pregame warmups for a preseason game (from Moe Khan). … Bears coach Matt Nagy was asked about wearing a visor while being bald (from Mike Chamernik). … Judging by this 1973 screen shot, it looks like the Oilers’ nameplates were made from a different kind of fabric than the rest of the jerseys (from Mike Selock).

College Football News: Ohio State will wear its traditional home scarlet jerseys in the Rose Bowl (from Phil). … North Carolina A&T will wear all white in the Celebration Bowl this weekend.

Hockey NewsThe NHL Winter Classic will feature color-changing pucks that will indicate when the pucks get too warm and need to be replaced to reduce bouncing (from Jack Wade). … The Oilers and Flames have played each other twice so far this season — on Nov. 17 in Calgary and on Sunday in Edmonton. Both times, the home team wore vintage sweaters/colors (from Wade Heidt). … The upcoming U18 Women’s World Championships in Japan have a super-cool manga-style logo (from Stan from Manhattan).

NBA News Does this cap indicate what the Raptors’ “earned” uniform will look like? … New Nuggets guard Nick Young will wear No. 34, and new Suns F/C Eric Moreland will wear No. 23 (from Etienne Catalan).

Soccer NewsReader Bryant Ramirez noticed that Atlanta United had some patch placement inconsistencies during the MLS Cup Sunday. … The U.S. Soccer Federation Foundation and the U.S. Soccer Federation may sound like the same entity, but they’re different groups — and the USSF Foundation (a group advocating for the growth of the sport) is suing the USSF (the governing body of soccer in the US) seeking a declaration that its name and logo do not violate copyright law (from Ignacio Salazar). … Liverpool is selling a new line of “retro” shirts with no makers’ marks (from Gabriel Hurl and Alex). … Doncaster Rovers of England’s League One have a new third kit that includes a charitable ad for mental health awareness (from Jamie Rathjen). … These are all the uniforms that will be worn during the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup (from Josh Hinton). … New shirt sponsor advertiser for the Chattanooga Red Wolves (from Ed Zelaski).

Grab BagThese are the bibs the US ski jumping team will wear at the upcoming Continental Cup (from Jim Vilk).

Monday Morning Uni Watch

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It was a lovely day for one of the NFL’s worst uniforms, as the Cardinals broke out their BFBS alternates, a design that’s so wrong in so many ways. Lots of additional photos here, if you dare.

In other news from around the league yesterday:

• For the second straight week, the Dolphins wore their throwbacks (and running back Brandon Bolden doubled up on his sock stripes):

• Speaking of the Dolphins, linebacker Kiko Alonso was showing some serious male side boob, and also appeared to be wearing a crop-top jersey:

• The Chargers went mono-navy, which is clearly the worst look of all their possible combinations:

• The Panthers went mono-black — this time with black socks:

• For the second straight week, the Bucs suffered from the Rash:

• It looks like one of Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White’s numbers was peeling off:

• All 32 teams announced their nominees for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award last week. That page says, “All 2018 nominees will wear a Man of the Year helmet decal beginning Week 14 and continuing through the end of the season.” It was hard to find rear-view photos of all the nominees, but at least seven of them — Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, Saints running back Mark Ingram, Rams offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth, Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty, Packers defensive lineman Kenny Clark, and Ravens defensive back Brandon Carr — did indeed wear the decal. Some had it on the back-left side of their helmets and some on the back-right (click first six photos to enlarge):

Two other nominees — Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander and Bears tight end Trey Burton — didn’t have the decal on the back-left side. I couldn’t find any views of them from the other side.

If you want to go through the list of nominees and try to find rear-view photos of any of the ones I wasn’t able to account for, feel free to post the results of your sleuthing in today’s comments.

• Now that the weather’s getting cold, we have our first torn helmet decal of the season. Although the tweet identified the player as Rams defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, it’s actually his teammate Dante Fowler Jr.:

• The Browns made some tweaks to their field design. The numbers are now outlined in orange and the 50- and 20-yard lines are now bordered with brown striping (but still no midfield logo):

• Two teams wore white at home: the Browns and, of course, the Cowboys.

(My thanks to Robert Loeper and Jonathan Diesfor their contributions to this section.)

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’Tis the season: One of the best holiday traditions here at Uni Watch HQ is the annual arrival of a package from longtime reader Elena Elms, who always sends a batch of baseball uni-themed cookies (a few of which cracked in transit this year, but that’s okay).

Elena’s theme for 2018 is minor league teams with edible team names. In the top row, from left to right, we have the New Orleans Baby Cakes, the Chicago Dogs, the Hickory Crawdads, and the Kansas City T-Bones.

Middle row, left to right: Cedar Rapids Kernels, Charlotte Stone Crabs, and Toledo Mud Hens.

Bottom row, left to right: Carolina Mudcats, Modesto Nuts, and Montgomery Biscuits.

How awesome is that?! It is super-duper-special that Elena continues to do this each year. I can’t even begin to fully express my appreciation and gratitude to her. Big hugs and big love, Elena — you’re the best!

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Culinary Corner: We had a lot of shrimps in the freezer, so we decided to put some of them to good use on Saturday night. I wanted to try something new instead of one of our usual recipes, so I did a bit of googling and came across something called Shrimp Veracruz, which I’d never heard of before. It sounded weird but interesting, so we decided to try it, like so:

1. We chopped up two bell peppers and sautéed them in two tablespoons of olive oil for about seven minutes. Then we added a pint of halved grape tomatoes, two cloves of minced garlic, two tablespoons of minced pickled jalapeños, and two tablespoons of capers (some recipes call for olives instead) and cooked everything for another seven or eight minutes:

2. We added two tablespoons of red wine and about half a cup of seafood stock (you could also use water instead of stock) and cooked for another five minutes.

3. We added about two dozen shrimps and cooked them four minutes on one side and then one minute on the other side.

That’s it! We served it over rice. Not very visually impressive on the plate, but mighty tasty:

The Captain thought it was just okay, but I thought it was great! Recommended.

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Health insurance update: Back in October, I wrote about how my health insurance, which cost me almost $800 a month this year, was due to go up to $949 a month next year and that I’d therefore probably have to choose a different plan. Now that we’re nearing the end of the open enrollment period, a few of you have checked in to ask how that turned out for me.

The good news is that after a lot of stress and research and talking to friends and colleagues and looking at websites and poring over drug formularies and talking to English-as-a-third-language customer “service” reps, I’ve chosen a plan for 2019 that gives me a similar level of coverage as before, with the same deductible, for $700 a month. So I’ll actually be saving money over 2018.

The first item of bad news is that my current primary care doctor doesn’t take this insurance I’ve chosen, so I’ll have to find a new doctor. This will be the third new primary doc I’ve had in five years, which is fucking nuts and makes it impossible to maintain any consistency in my medical care. (As it turns out, even if I had stayed with my current insurance — the one that’s going up to $949 a month — that insurer is changing its network parameters so that my current doc is no longer in-network. In order to keep my current doc, I’d have to choose a plan that’s — get this — $1300 a month.)

The second bit of bad news is that since I’m once again changing insurers, I’ll once again have to go through a cumbersome pre-approval process for the specialty drug that I take for a chronic condition. This will be the third consecutive year I’ve had to go through this process, which involves going to a lab for a TB test, filling out lots of paperwork, and wasting lots of time on the phone dealing with bureaucratic nonsense. Even after all of that, there’s no guarantee they’ll approve the drug for me — they could say no. (I’m not sure what I’ll do if that happens.)

The big unknown is that this new insurer I’ve chosen seems maybe a wee bit sketchy. It’s a new-ish company, and there are some horror stories about it from people on Yelp (although the same is probably true of every insurance company). Two of my friends, both of whom have pretty low bullshit tolerances, have been with this company for a couple of years now and say that there have been some growing pains but that it’s mostly been okay for them, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

So that’s where I’m at. I’ll say this again: It’s insane that health insurance is treated as an employment “benefit” in this country, so that self-employed people like me are forced to fend for ourselves. Health insurance is a necessity, not a benefit, and it’s embarrassing that our country hasn’t figured that out while the rest of the modern world has. Fortunately, in the wake of last month’s elections, there’s some hope that my state — New York — may adopt a single-payer insurance system. Here’s hoping that happens From my perspective, it can’t come soon enough.

Speaking of New York State and health insurance: When I got the notice in October about my plan going up to $949, there was an “Public Comment” address where I could have sent feedback. I didn’t bother to do that, but lots of other people did, and the new episode of This American Life has a really entertaining and instructive segment about those people. Recommended listening, even if you don’t live in New York or have to buy your own health insurance — check it out here.

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Price drop reminder: In case you missed it on Friday, we’ve brought the price of our flex-fit Uni Watch alternate cap — which was originally $29.99, then $24.99, then $19.99, then back to $24.99 — back down to $19.99. And there it will stay!

We have fewer than 20 only 10 of the L/XL size left. So if you want one, move fast.

While we’re at it: All of our fine Uni Watch products, including a few that you may have forgotten about, are listed on this one handy page.

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: Harold Baines, who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame last night, has an interesting uni-related distinction: The White Sox retired his No. 3 in 1989, while he was still an active player, after they traded him to the Rangers. He later returned to the Sox in 1996, was traded away again, and returned to the Sox yet again in 2000. A bizarre history.

NFL News: Reader Brad Eenhuis was watching the A Football Life documentary on Washington QB Doug Williams and noticed that there were some number font variations on the team in Super Bowl XXII. … Some Falcons and Saints players ended up in the Tulane Stadium hedges during a 1970 game (from Mike Selock). … Here’s our worst uni nightmare: every NFL team dressed in black (from Dan Schwanger).

Hockey News: Goalie Mike DiPietro was traded from the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires to the Ottawa 67s last week, and played his first game for Ottawa wearing his Windsor mask and pads (from Wade Heidt). … Also from Wade: The QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix wore Christmas sweater-themed uniforms.

Basketball News: Julius Erving once appeared on the late-’80s TV show My Two Dads wearing an orange jersey with his last name on the front, just like a team or city name (from Willard Kovacs). … Speaking of Dr. J, here’s a shot of him wearing a very mod 76ers warmup top (from Bruce Margulies). … Check out this shot of the St Louis Hawks’ Bob Pettit playing with full cast on wrist (from Mike Selock).

Soccer News: Scottish Premiership team Dundee debuted at home a third kit, which for the second year in a row is military-themed, and this time is white and features a giant version of the insignia of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards military regiment. The kit supports the SSAFA armed-forces charity (also from Ed Żelaski). … English second-tier women’s teams Durham and Manchester United played each other twice last week. Neither team changed for the game in Manchester, but Man U changed to pink/black/black in Durham.

Grab Bag: Women’s cycling team Boels-Dolmans revealed their kit for next season, including variations for the team’s Dutch and Danish national champions. Men’s team Katusha-Alpecin revealed a sky blue and red kit with tiny NOBs. … Yesterday’s edition of the comic strip Stone Soup Classics lamented the spread of advertising (from Paul Dillon).

Army/Navy 2018 - A Good Lookin' Game!

By Phil Hecken

Yesterday the Black Knights of Army and the Midshipmen of Navy hooked up in the Annual (and 119th overall) Army/Navy game, and although the on-field action wasn’t stellar (though the game was close) the game itself lived up to the uni-hype. It’s more than just a game, of course, and the fact that for the past decade both academy’s have worn special uniforms costumes makes it all the more special for the uni watcher. If you missed all the “stories” behind the uniforms worn yesterday click here.

There wasn’t much especially uni-notable about yesterday’s game (well, save for the fact that each team had special game uniforms), but with a cool and crisp sunny day in Philadelphia, everything looked great.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, Army was outfitted entirely in black, while Navy was almost entirely in white — save for their blue helmets. It made for a beautiful contrast.

It wasn’t entirely clear from the pre-game hype photos, but Navy came out in a really sharp metallic finish helmet. I’m not normally a fan of shiny things, but this one was quite attractive. It was rendered in navy, but with the reflectivity, particularly in the first half sunshine, it almost appeared royal. The blue hats were bisected with a metallic gold/white/metallic gold stripe.

It was also unbalanced, having Bill the Goat (Navy’s mascot) on the right side of the helmets with numbers on the left side:

As you can see above, Navy’s jerseys had player NOB. The uni was plain — but not totally. The team had very attractive shoulder caps of navy and metallic gold, and single stripe (of navy/gold/navy) ran all the way (no truncation here!) down the leg. The top of the stripe was divided by six breaks, something Under Armour has been affecting since they got the Navy contract some years ago and which is a nod to the United States Navy’s original six frigates. If the team didn’t already have a standard road uniform, I’d almost argue this one should be made permanent — it’s that good.

And of course, as is the tradition, Navy featured the individual unit patches for each particular player on the upper left portion of the jersey (always a nice touch).

Army’s uniform was almost entirely black, although there were some ghosted features. The helmets were matte black with a red “1” (see backstory in yesterday’s article).

The red “1” was almost the only color (save for uni numbers) on the uni — the only other red was (of course) the Nike Swoosh but one other nice feature: the player name was placed in small lettering (military style) on the right chest. The team wore “ARMY” for NOB on the back of the jersey. The collar insignia replicate bronze collar disks worn by enlisted soldiers in the First Division.

[Thanks to L.J. Sparvero for those two pics above]

One feature that was not noticeable from distance but that you could see up close: Army had some pretty serious block shadow going on with their numbers:

I really enjoyed this one from a uni standpoint. Army looks really good in all black, and this one seemed to have both teams dressed well (not overdone, but special anyway). The rest of the non-uni part of the game is of course fun too. It’s all well scripted and planned, and it’s just one of those things that seems to put a perfect bookmark to close another college football regular season.

The pregame stuff is always great. From the flyovers…

…to the paratroopers…

…to the teams and flagbearers taking the field…

…to the Presidential coin toss (the President did not attend the 2017 edition of the game, but he did attend as President-elect in 2016).

All that pomp and circumstance (which I would normally eschew) is just so fitting for the Army Navy game. And Army, who had lost like 17 in a row before winning the game two years ago, have now won three straight. Even the final kneeldown to end the game felt right.

Of course, the game doesn’t end when the final whistle blows. There is one last tradition which never gets old. Both schools singing to and with their alma maters. And tradition dictates the losers sing first, followed by the victors. So for the third straight year, Navy had the honor of going first, followed by Army:

And there you have it. Army Navy to close the 2018 FBS season. We start the Bowl season next Saturday.


Kreindler’s Korner

I had the distinct pleasure of featuring the wonderful artwork of artist Graig Kriendler on two occasions over the summer and fall of 2017, and more recently, in August of 2018.

For those who don’t wish to click the links, Graig paints baseball heroes (and regular guys) from the past, and is an immense talent.

Occasionally, I will be featuring his work on Uni Watch.

Here’s today’s offering (click to enlarge):

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Title: “Idol”
Subject: Joe Jackson, 1913
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 34″ x 42″

The grand title of ‘the greatest natural hitter’ was in sole possession of the young Joe Jackson in 1913. The former owner of that moniker, Cleveland teammate Napoleon Lajoie, had left the claim up for grabs as his age began to rear its head in the early 1910s. Spraying the ball to all parts of the field, Ty Cobb used his speed, grit, and spread grip to take his bases. Detroit’s outfielder, though still in his prime and at that point the winner of five batting crowns, attributed his offensive success to scientifically breaking down the weaknesses of his opponents, always looking for the mental edge that he could use to exploit his physical abilities. Boston’s Tris Speaker was very much cut from Cobb’s own cloth, as he looked up to the hard-nosed Georgian as an offensive role-model. Though his stance in the box may have differed from the mighty Tyrus’, his penchant for exploiting chinks in the enemy’s armor was virtually unmatched. It seemed that the sheer will and determination alone of these two men placed them atop the league in most batting statistics.

On the other end of the spectrum, Philadelphia’s Frank ‘Home Run’ Baker liked to swing more freely. His nickname came from his performance in the 1911 World Series, in which he tagged both Rube Marquard and Christy Mathewson for home runs. That same year, he led the American League with 11 round-trippers, and then 10 the year after. Though, Baker’s control was not a paramount element of his swing, as he struck out more than most players with similar batting averages. Phillie Gaavy Cravath had similar methods and statistics to his cross-town rival, though his hefty home run totals were partially due to the tiny dimensions of his home ballpark, the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. Though only 22 years old at the start of the baseball season in ’13, it was abundantly clear that Joe Jackson was a different kind of hitter all together.

Jackson did not study opposing pitchers or keep mental notebooks of their patterns on the mound. Rarely did he alter his swing or approach to suit an opposing pitcher’s style. He relied on his impeccable hand-eye coordination and physical strength to power through the ball with the sweet spot of his dark 48-ounce bat. Jackson’s teammates always said that he never even knew whether the opposing pitcher was right or left handed, nor what kind of ball they had thrown, be it a curve, fastball or spitter. All he would say if he was asked was that the ball was ‘over’. ‘Over’ meant anything that he could reach. And when he could reach, he rarely failed to connect.

Ty Cobb himself wondered why Jackson did not strike out at least twice a game taking full cuts against doctored balls that precipitously sank. In that era, most players poked their bats in the direction of the ball to merely make contact. Joe used his bat to punish the ball. Pitchers claimed that his hits could break bones. Boston hurler Ernie Shore claimed that he could be blindfolded and could still tell when Jackson hit the ball. “It had a special crack,” he said.

Much like other players in baseball, Jackson was incredibly superstitious about his weapons, feeling that each one only had so many hits in it. Whenever he went into a slump, he discarded his current collection of bats and started a new one. His most prized bat, ‘Black Betsy’, was an exception to this rule. It was only used in dire situations, as he felt it had special powers that could not be wasted in the day-to-day game action it would see in the American League. Perhaps his most prized possession, the mighty bat was made for Joe by a local woodworker while he was still with the New Orleans Pelicans of the Southern Association. Its name was culled from the rich cherry-black hue it sported, after being darkened with coat after coat of tobacco juice. This special bat was used to model most of the professional models throughout his career, and like their predecessor, were creatively named, ‘Blonde Betsy’, ‘Big Jim’, ‘Ol’ Genril’, ‘Caroliny’ and ‘Dixie’. So well-known was his love for his lumber, that fans would shout, “Give ‘em Dixie, Joe!” Perhaps baseball enthusiasts took more to Jackson’s superstitions than other players because of his supposed eccentric Southern up-bringing and lack of education. Though these factors might have made him an easier target than most, they did nothing to hurt his popularity.

He had already become a celebrity in Cleveland, as he was frequently being stopped during his afternoon car rides by fans who wanted to shake his hand and take snapshots. His fame even extended outside of Cleveland and his home in the southern states. In one instance, he received a letter from a fan in Kansas City that had a yet-unnamed newborn who in his opinion would be a fine ballplayer. He asked Jackson what his full name was, as he wanted his 12-pound son named after the great man.

His biggest fans were undoubtedly the children of Cleveland. Many if them would follow Jackson from his home on Lexington Avenue to the ballpark, some of whom were lucky enough to carry his glove, bats and shoes to the clubhouse. A score of adoring young Cleveland fans – many of whom could not even afford the bleacher seat prices – would often wait outside of League Park to meet their hero after the game, where he would give them batting tips. It was no surprise that thousands of dirty-faced kids had began to emulate Joe on the diamond.

Off the field Joe began to see his popularity grow as well. He started to supplement his baseball salary with endorsements, ranging from tobacco, liniment and rifles to bats, garters and gloves. In marketing a brand of shoes, a slogan read, “When Shoeless Joe wears ‘em, he wears Selz shoes.”

With his star rising, he invested his money into a pool room in downtown Greenville, bought a larger house for his parents, and purchased himself a farm that he had hoped would be up, running and paying in short order. He would also earn extra money in the winter by holding exhibition games in the south. The newfound wealth would provide him with the means to purchase fancy clothes and many new cars. Baseball writers even dubbed him the team’s “Beau Brummell”, who was an arbiter of English Regency fashion credited with establishing the modern men’s suit, as well as being perhaps the first dandy.

Above all else however, were the man’s abilities. In his first two full seasons with the Naps, his batting average was an incredible .401, with his rookie mark of .408 being the highest ever. That same first year, he was in the league’s top ten leaders of home runs, runs batted in, runs scored and stolen bases – all of which lead to his fourth place finish in the Chalmers MVP award voting. In 1912 he continued his offensive tear, hitting just under .400 and leading the league in hits and triples, remaining on the leader board for those same statistics.

The youngster’s future with the Naps – and baseball in general – looked as bright as could be.

• • •

Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.

Gouache, continued…


Readers (may) recall last weekend, I featured a “Way Too Good For The Ticker” segment featuring the beautiful artwork of our pal Gene Sanny (that full post is here, scroll down) in which he briefly explained the technique of “gouache” painting.

Gene again contacted me this past week to explain a bit more the process, but also to share one of which he’s (justifiably) proud.

Check this out! Here’s Gene:

Ok, here is how a gouache painting, like the oilers one from the other day, is supposed to work out. This one I’m happy with. I started persuing this style because some of my favorite football illustrations when I was a kid was done like this… David grove was a master. I didn’t understand how it worked until recently, and I still have tons to learn, but it’s fun when an experiment like this works out.

Here’s the work in progress, from a blob of paint, to former Oakland Raider Otis Sistrunk.

And here’s the finished piece!

Thanks Gene!!!


Oh Baby (Cakes)!

Reader Trent Guyer sent the following e-mail to Uni Watch, and since it’s a bit too long for the ticker, I’m going to run it out below. It contains some great nuggets about the New Orleans Baby Cakes (a Minor League Baseball of the Pacific Coast League and the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. They are located in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans, and play their home games at the Shrine on Airline).

Here’s Trent:

There’s an interview this week in the Wichita Business Journal (paywalled) with New Orleans Baby Cakes owner Lou Schwechheimer.

Here’s the section of interest to UniWatch. I was particularly interested that changing the name and logo skyrocketed sales.

Q: People here have been talking a lot about the new nickname and logo and what it will be. What can they expect?

A: Part of our challenge in New Orleans was that the franchise, for the better part of 15 years, slipped in the public perception department in New Orleans. We realized that there wasn’t really an affinity for the team’s name back then, the Zephyrs. That name had come when the team moved to New Orleans from Colorado (in 1993). We decided to do something fun (before the 2017 season). If you know anything about the New Orleans king cake tradition, they bake a little baby in the king cake and it’s part of the 300-year lore of New Orleans. We decided to take that baby and put a bat in his hand as he’s smashing his way out of a king cake. We got a lot of feedback on that, some positive and some negative. We ended up going from last in the minor leagues in merchandising to the top 5 percent and we won Baseball America’s best logo national poll competition. What we want to do in Wichita, we’re going to announce a world-class design team that will create a classic, first-class elegant logo that represents the vibe and culture of Wichita. Todd Radom is on that team and he’s really a legendary figure in sports design.

Thanks Trent! And seconded on that Todd Radom praise!!

Heads up! Big cap savings on tap: Paul here, with news on how you can use your head and save some dough on some quality headwear.

First, our friends at Ebbets Field Flannels are offering free shipping this weekend with the checkout code SHIPIT. You can use that on any of their products, including our Uni Watch Classic Cap, which you can order here.

In addition, in case you missed it on Friday, we’ve lowered the price on our flex-fit Uni Watch Alternate Cap back to $19.99. You can order yours here.

While we’re at it, you can see all the rest of our Uni Watch products, including some that you may have forgotten about, here.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Phil-fest.

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: It was reported the other day that new Cardinal Paul Goldschmidt will wear 46 with the team (his old 44 is unavailable and the team has a lot of retired numbers, so 46 was “closest”). Here’s how the new jersey will look. … Chinese investors have their eye on Louisville Slugger — the all-American bat brand favored by legends like Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson — which is poised to get scooped up by a Chinese conglomerate (from Tom Turner). … Check out this pic of John Lennon (who was murdered 38 years ago yesterday) sitting in a Mets locker in Shea Stadium before performing! “Love his jacket” says Michael Malnicof. … Looks like the formerly-named Las Vegas 51s will be getting a new nickname (from Minor League Promos). And here’s a look at the caps (from sesaee).

NFL News: Keeping Big Blue…Blue? “I’ve been tired of seeing my favorite team’s uniforms for a while then I read your critique about too much red on the Giants road uniforms,” writes Anthony Paul. “It’s not much but just photoshopped a bit more blue without removing all of the red entirely.” … Very cool bit from Kenn Tomasch who writes, “I know the Rams’ red unis from 1949 have been discussed and few color pics exist, but here is a clip from the LA Times in preseason that year referencing the new duds and that the coach designed them himself.” He adds, “Just found it interesting, even if it’s not in color.” Kenn also found another section with even more description of the unis from the LA Times. Awesome! … Nothing uni-noteworthy here, but just feast your eyes on this December 1979 tilt between Houston and Cleveland (from 216 Sports History). Those colors just POP! No way is that December (and therefore not 1979) though. The Browns did wear orange pants between 1975 and 1983 so the timeframe is right. However, the Oilers didn’t get red facemasks until 1981, so that narrows it down (h/t MrMichael: Travelin’ Man). … Good observation from Frank McGuigan who notes, “So @pizzahut fixed the @Bengals and @buffalobills division placement error from earlier this year on their box. However, it remains incorrect on this cardboard advertisement standing in the restaurant.”

College Football News: Superb uni watching from Alex Bolton (via Dez Caught The Ball) who notes, “Was excited about this shirt until I realized helmet stripes are backwards going white-purple-white instead of purple-white-purple. Sometimes wish I didn’t notice details like this, but I really wish someone @UW licensing, @GearforSports1, or @ubookstoresea would have caught it.”

Hockey News: The Anaheim Ducks and Carolina Hurridanes wore color vs. color (both home unis) on Friday night (from Dan S. Walker). Our pal Chris Creamer has a good writeup on how that came to be. … As SRP91 said in yesterday’s comments, “During warmups the Canes came out in their red home uniforms and Anaheim came out wearing orange jerseys, then for the game the Ducks switched to their traditional black home jerseys. Pictures and video can be seen here. … On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was assassinated; Bruce Menard posted a photo yesterday of him holding a Montreal Canadiens sweater. I still remember hearing about Lennon’s death as a 14-year-old via Howard Cosell on MNF. … Yesterday, the Detroit Red Wings Jonathan Bernier broke out this cool holiday-themed mask (via Paul). … Rob Caplette (who many of you know as the “Tattooed Enigma”) reports, “Not sure if you guys have seen or mentioned this, but Anthony Stolarz has a dual-colour cage on his mask. Noticed it (yesterday) during the Flyers/Sabres game.” … The Pensacola Ice Flyers wore green/yellow elf outfits as uniforms and the goaltenders attired as Santa Claus for Saturday’s Christmas Celebration Night at the Bay Center against the Knoxville Ice Bears.

NBA/Pro Hoops News: We don’t give the G-league much attention (and probably rightfully so), but check out the holiday themed unis the Canton Charge wore last night (from RDUB).

College Hoops News: St. John’s will honor the late Hall of Fame basketball writer Jim O’Connell of The Associated Press with a patch on game uniforms Sunday at Madison Square Garden. … Hmmm, is Memphis’ Kareem Brewton Jr trying to start a new trend with the one leg rolled up look (from Jacob Boughter? … Yesterday, Northwestern wore purple at home (via Paul). … Yesterday the Xavier Musketeers and Cincinnati Bearcats engaged in a little color vs. color action (from B-Dubya and Jason Greenberg respectively). … HOLY WAR on the court: nice color vs. color matchup between Utah & BYU (from Trevor). … Are brown shorts in the works for Valpo? (via Paul). That’s affirmative. … More color vs color as it was Red v. Blue last night in Lincoln for Creighton-Nebraska (from David Durgo). … Kansas broke out a new “Winter White” uni last evening (via Paul). … In a move sure to make Jimmer Vilk ecstatic, looks like UCLA is moving back in the short shorts direction (from Matt Shevin).

Soccer News: Liverpool’s Adam Lallana wore a blank jersey to finish the match yesterday thanks to a nasty head gash (nice spot by @CoachKT). … According to Daniel Weimann, there is a vintage replica uniform on tap for VfB Stuttgart. … “This is pretty cool — the tunnel (players from both teams go through it to get from the dressing room to the pitch) at FC Schalke’s stadium is coal-mine themed,” says Josh Hinton. … Here’s a pretty cool look at the Portland Timbers heat pressing yesterday’s date onto a jersey before the MLS Cup (via Paul).

Grab Bag: South Africa’s rugby sevens team will wear a special jersey at this weekend’s tournament in Cape Town to pay tribute to former President Nelson Mandela, who would have turned 100 this year.