New ESPN column today — here’s the link.
Meanwhile: Tired of looking at the scoreboard? Think Oregon’s football uniforms are too sedate? Easily and happily distracted by shiny objects? Have I got the uniform concept for you.
An Australian research team has come up with a prototype design for electroluminescent basketball uniforms, which display statistical information (points scored, fouls committed) and tactical info (which team is winning, when the shot clock has almost run out) right on the jersey. As this article explains:
The simple, coloured display panels are attached to each vest and connected to a small computer, about the size of an iPod, strapped to each player’s body. These computers communicate wirelessly with a central control system, installed at the side of the court, which keeps track of all relevant statistics as the game goes on.
Crazy? Maybe, but that’s probably what someone once said about the idea of a coach talking to a quarterback via a radio-equipped helmet. Unsightly? Sure, but no more so than, say, the Vikings’ or Capitals’ unis.
The big question about this innovation, of course, is how long it’ll take for electroluminescent advertisements to start showing up on the jerseys. This seems like a gimme, especially for the players who are sitting on the bench. With this and other fears in mind, reader Jason Borneman has forwarded two modest policy proposals to Uni Watch HQ: “1) Can we get a restraining order against Nike to never ever get hold of this technology? The damage that could be done is unimaginable. 2) Is this reason enough to justify bombing Australia? Pros: Eliminate this dangerous technology. Cons: No more wallabies.”
Quiz Update: Shortly after I posted the quiz results yesterday, several readers took issue with some of the answers, and a few other discrepancies bubbled up as the day went along. Here are the questions — or, rather, the answers — at issue:
• Question No. 4: I said that Steve Wallace and Mark Kelso were the only NFL players to have worn the ProCap helmet attachment. But it turns out that this article lists Don Beebe as a ProCap user. I’d never heard this before (Wallace and Kelso are cited as the only ProCappers in this Helmet Hut article), and I couldn’t find any photographic confirmation of it. But whether or not it’s accurate, I wouldn’t want to penalize anyone who came up with that article and used as the basis for answering the question.
• Question No. 6: It was my belief that the 1983 Cowboys had been the last NFL team whose captains wore “C” designations. But apparently I was off by more than a decade, as seen in these pics of the 1994 Patriots.
• Question No. 9: I have written many times about Elmer Layden being responsible for NFL’s rule requiring high socks. But he also mandated the use of helmets.
• Question No. 16: I had asked if 1940s NFL head linesmen had worn orange and white stripes and umpires had worn red and white, when this blog entry said it was the other way around. This made it seem like a trick question, when in fact the point of the question was simply whether the officials had worn color-coded stripes — I wasn’t trying to play “Gotcha!” regarding which official wore which color. But I see that it could have seemed that way.
Since the newly acceptable answers for these four questions could have resulted in a four-point swing in someone’s score, I went back and re-scored all the entries that had been within four points of the top ten finalists. That resulted in three people’s scores being elevated up to or above 21 points, which was the threshold for being in the top ten. Those three readers are Eric Sing, Mark Mayall, and Matthew Peters.
Instead of bumping any of the previously announced finalists, I’ve decided to add these three additional names into the hat, so we now have 14 finalists, including the wild card berth. I’ll draw the winner later today and announce his name tomorrow.
If you think your score was at least 21, and you’re not among the names cited yesterday or today, please get in touch as soon as possible.
Helmet Giveaway: In case you missed it yesterday, you can enter for a chance to win a free non-autographed college helmet from our friends at Gridiron Memories simply by sending an e-mail to helmetraffle at earthlink dot net (please note that this is not the usual Uni Watch address). One entry per person, but everyone who’s ordered Uni Watch temporary tattoos will automatically have their names put into the hat a second time. (To get in on this, PayPal $1 apiece for the first five tats, 50 cents apiece after that, with a five-tat minimum, to paul_lukas at earthlink dot net.) The winner will be announced next Tuesday.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Yesterday’s discussion of flocked batting helmets inspired Todd Davis to do a bit of photo research. He turned up this shot of a flocked Maury Wills in the minor leagues, but his best finds were non-flocked, like an old Baseball Resigster cover, a classic SI cover, and the stunning revelation that Rod Carew wouldn’t have been allowed to play for the Bulls. … The Mets traded for Ambiorix Burgos yesterday (which should result in some very entertaining mispronunciations from a certain mush-mouthed talk radio host). As you may recall, Burgos is the player who caused a minor stir back on Memorial Day by wearing his American flag cap patch upside-down and in the wrong spot. … Interesting point made by Randy Rollyson, who writes: “Looking back, I see that very few MLB teams used red as their primary cap color before 1950, when the Phillies introduced the precursor to their current uniform. They wore that cap for 20 years. You might find an occasional red cap for a team, or the use of red in the bill color, but nothing that lasted. The Reds didn’t stick with an all-red cap until 1967. The Cardinals didn’t introduce a red cap that lasted until 1965. The Senators wore a red cap from ’68-’71. Why? Was red dye more expensive? Did it tend to bleed more than other colors? Was there a health concern with having red dye that close to your head?” My initial thought was that it might be an anti-Commie thing, but even that seems unlikely, since Russia was actually our ally in WWII. Anyone..? … Thanks to USA Today‘s Mike Bambach, who recently conducted this Q&A with me.