Well, that was fun while it lasted.
Last Tuesday I agonized over whether I should FedEx an American flag decal to Ladainian Tomlinson (for those who’ve been under a rock, his helmet has been flag-free all season). I never did send it, and now Tomlinson has made the matter moot, because he finally wore Old Glory in yesterday’s game against the Vikings, thereby ending the NFL season’s most entertaining uni-related storyline and bringing our weekly “Will he or won’t he?” game to a conclusion.
But a new game may be afoot. Several posts in yesterday’s comments section reported that Chargers wideout Chris Chambers was flag-free yesterday. No pics yet, but I’m looking. Not sure if Chambers wore a flag last week (which was his first game of the season), but it sounds like someone on the Chargers’ equipment staff is either asleep at the switch or else has a good sense of humor.
In other NFL notes from yesterday:
• Remember this? Something vaguely similar happened yesterday to Kansas City defensive lineman Tamba Hali, who delivered a big hit that sent part of his chinstrap sailing through the air. Not quite as cool as the flying number decal, but still something I’ve never seen before.
• Randy Moss’s numeral 8 was upside-down again.
• What do you get when you combine artificial turf, one team wearing solid black, and another team wearing solid black below the waist? Pretty much the ugliest game ever.
• The Eagles wore white at home last night to force the Cowboys into their “bad luck” blue jerseys. Didn’t quite work out the way they drew it up.
(Special thanks to Randy Williams and James Wortham for their Tomlinson screen grabs and to Blaine Williams for the Hali pics.)
Big Papi? No, Little Poppies!: With November 11th approaching, Canadian-born coaches and coaches of Canadian teams are starting to wear poppy pins on their lapels (for futher info on this phenomenon, look here). As it happens, I was in Toronto over the weekend for a wedding and saw lots of poppy-clad people all over the city. At one point I was talking about the poppies with one of my Canadian friends, and she mentioned something very Uni Watch-ish: The current poppy pins have a black center, but until a couple of years ago they had a green center.
That raised lots of questions: When exactly did the color change, and why? And who makes that decision? Like, is there an executive poppy committee somewhere in the governmental bureaucracy, or did the pin manufacturers just run out of green felt? Also, since real poppies have black centers, why was green ever used in the first place? What about the other British Commonwealth nations, which also wear poppies — do they go with the black or the green? My Canadian pals couldn’t answer any of these queries. Anyone..?
Other things I learned about the poppy pins: They tend not to stay on very long, because they have no backing clip; the lack of a clip also makes it fairly common for the wearer to get pricked; and apparently it’s customary to pick on the dorkiest kid in the class by covering him with as many poppies as possible.
I had hoped to buy a poppy pin myself (I was told to look for “the oldest, stooped-over-est old man you can find — he’ll probably be selling them”), but I didn’t come across a vendor during the course of my weekend. Dang.
Sock Summit: Longtime readers know I’m a huge fan of the pseudonymous sock savant known as Witesock (whose admirably obsessive web site is here, plus there’s a lengthy interview with him available here). So it was a big thrill for me, after years of false starts and missed connections, to finally meet the man himself over the weekend. I’m happy to report that he’s a peach of a guy. Over plates of chicken teriyaki and bibimbap (which he generously paid for), we spent the better part of two hours talking about socks, collecting, travel, socks, work, socks, and more socks. We probably could have kept going for a few hours more, but he had to get back to work.
Naturally, we compared socks: I was wearing my usual basic striped tube socks while Witesock had a twofer: black rugby hose over a pair of Miami Dolphins socks (to go with the jersey he’d worn for the occasion). “But doesn’t wearing two pairs of socks make your shoes a bit too snug?” I asked. To which he replied, “Oh, I usually buy my shoes half a size too big, to allow for that.” Now that’s dedication.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Interesting primitive facemask on display in this 1930 photo (with thanks to Kevin S. Whisman). ”¦ Speaking of primitive facemasks, look what Jared Wheeler found up for auction. ”¦ Interesting bit of uni lobbying on display here (as forwarded by Jacob Reed). ”¦ Ewww. ”¦ Now here’s a uniform category you don’t often see: Iranian women’s rugby. Details here (with thanks to Peter Chambers). ”¦ “Converse has resurrected its 1933 All-Star, which was the team shoe of the legendary Harlem Renaissance basketball team,” writes Steve Eschenbach. “They had to resort to eBay to get an original to work off of.” Details here. ”¦ Andy Enright, who says he works in the sporting goods biz, contributed a mother lode of insider info the other day: “Both the Schutt Ion and XP will not be offered in XL for 2008. Schutt does have the capability to make XL for NFL and college players when needed. Both helmets are fitting a little smaller than their counterparts, the DNA and Air Advantage. All Schutt large helmets are sized to fit 7 to 7-1/2, but I tried both helmets on today, size large, and both were a little tight, even though I wear a 7-3/8. The molds for these helmets cost about $200K each, so Schutt is waiting for public demand before moving forward on the XL size, probably late 2008 or 2009. Also, Eli Manning will wear the new helmet probably next year or later this year. They are having issues installing the radio earpiece. Schutt will also have a signature shoulder pad featuring Reggie Bush as well as Eli Manning, for use at the youth level. The individual pads will be in Saints and Giants team colors. Also, I’ve attached some pictures of LT’s new cleats to hit stores in April ’08, both the molded as well as the detachable. Didn’t take Nike long to replace Vick.” ”¦ Interesting logo creep placement here (as spotted by Jeremy Brahm). ”¦ Take a look at this (which was sent my way by David Soline). Did the Bulls really wear pink warmup jackets? ”¦ The Pacers debuted their yellow alts on Friday. ”¦ These high school football socks would be awesome if not for, y’know, obvious reasons (big thanks to Michael Orr, who also sent along a rare high school example of FNOB). ”¦ I’m sure his parents are proud. ”¦ The Islanders brought Al Arbour back to coach one last game on Saturday night — the 1500th of his career — which occasioned lots of uni-related news items: (1) The team wore white at home. (2) They wore a special jersey patch. (3) As Mike from Queens points out, the patch caused a logjam with the “A” and “C” designations. (4) Arbour’s “retired number” banner, which had been No. 739 (his number of coaching wins) was replaced with a new banner. (5). Since the Isles won, the new banner will reportedly be replaced with yet another banner — No. 740. ”¦ Good info on the UMich hockey uniforms here (courtesy of Craig Barker). ”¦ Florida went with solid blue on Saturday. ”¦ And Oregon realy outdid themselves. But here’s a confession: As a big yellow/green fan, I kinda liked what the Ducks were doing on Saturday. All the diamondplate nonsense still rankles, natch, but I thought this was one of their better mix-and-match combos. ”¦ Great article here about a guy who works in Riddell’s helmet-testing facility (with thanks to Matt Lindner). ”¦ NHL jersey update here (with thanks to K.C. Kless). ”¦ In happier hockey news, good update on the NHL Winter Classic here (as forwarded by Sean Leahy). … And the Rangers continue to look much better with their straight-hemmed jerseys. Kudos to whoever made the modification decision. … I used to think the Quad Cities Swing were the only team with unevenly sized numerals (well, unless you count this), but that was before Blair Hough pointed me toward this photo of two ringette players. … Doug Linder spotted UCLA’s Luc Richard Mbah a Moute wearing some very unusual leg sleeves during a preseason game Friday night. Also, some of the UCLA cheerleaders suffered from Adidas logo creep, while others did not. ”¦ Reprinted from last night’s comments: Nice ad in yesterday’s Boston Globe. ”¦ I’m going to be busy until at least mid-afternoon. Vince will be minding the store until then.