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Winging It: Helmet History Reconsidered

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Everyone knows Michigan football is famous for its winged helmet design. Many of you smartypants types also know that credit for originating the winged concept is usually given to Princeton coach Fritz Crisler, who came up with the design in 1935 and then took it with him to Michigan in 1938.

That version of the story is all over the web — on the Michigan web site, on the Princeton web site, at the Helmet Project (scroll down to the Princeton section), in this Daily Princetonian article, and so on. It’s the story I’ve always heard, and I’ve repeated it myself many times.

But now a counter-narrative has emerged. I first became aware of it a few weeks ago, when reader Chad Todd pointed me toward this Wikipedia entry. It states, “Michigan State College (now Michigan State University) debuted the winged helmet on September 30, 1933. The wings were a Michigan State College symbol two years before Herbert O. ‘Fritz’ Crisler ordered the helmets out of the Spalding catalog for Princeton University, and five years before they were introduced at University of Michigan.”

That was news to me, so I started doing a little digging. The Wikipedia claim appeared to be based on this Michigan State fan page. As you can see if you click on the photos on the right-hand side of the page, the Michigan State helmets aren’t exactly the same winged design we’re used to seeing — they have fewer stripes (sometimes none at all). But the winged crown is recognizable enough. Pretty convincing stuff.

So why has the Princeton/Crisler narrative become the party line over the years, and why has Michigan State been omitted from that narrative? To help answer those questions, I got in touch with Eric Greenwald, who runs that fan page. He and I ended up having several back-and-forths via e-mail. Here are edited versions of some of the questions I asked him and the answers he provided:

Uni Watch: How long has your page about the winged helmet been up on the web?

Eric Greenwald: I launched it back in April.

UW: Has it attracted any attention or sparked any controversy?

EG: Not yet — I haven’t had the budget to broadcast it as loudly as it deserves. My intention is to set the record straight. We constantly see the winged helmets on the field in Ann Arbor. Being a diehard MSU fan, I wanted to create a page explaining the facts and the history behind the winged helmet, proving that MSU was wearing that style before our friends in Ann Arbor.

UW: What’s your background? Like, are you an MSU student, or alum? Just a passionate fan? An amateur football historian? Do you live in Michigan?

EG: I did not attend MSU. My dad did for both of his degrees, and together we were season ticket-holders for basketball and football before I moved to North Carolina for a better job. I guess you could say I’m an amateur football historian and MSU memorabilia collector. I am very passionate about both.

UW: It’s great that you wanted to “set the record straight,” but how did you know that it needed to be set straight to begin with? The standard story for years has been that the winged design originated with Princeton — when and how did you determine that that wasn’t the case?

EG: If you look at this Michigan web page, which is linked from almost every web page that talks about winged helmets, you’ll see that it includes this line: “Michigan State had adopted its version of a ‘winged helmet’ several years earlier.” So it’s always been part of the story — that page is from Michigan’s own library! — but most people either overlook it or choose to ignore it, for whatever reasons.

UW: Wow — I’ve looked at that page many times, and linked to it probably dozens of times, but I’d never noticed that line.

EG: And there’s more. In the book The Tradition Continues — Spartan Football, page 515 has this: “In 1933, new Head Coach Charlie Bachman introduced the Spartans in gold and black. He brought gold to MSC [Michigan State College, the school’s original name] from his days at Notre Dame. The team wore gold pants and gold helmets with a black wing design. Jerseys were black with gold numbers. The helmets were eventually emblazoned with a black wing with a gold ‘S’ in the middle.”

And in the book Michigan State Football: They Are Spartans, page 32 shows a picture of a Michigan State College football game vs. Michigan from 10/6/34. Michigan State College is wearing winged helmets, Michigan is not. This would be one year before Princeton started wearing them. I have additional examples from reliable sources that make it clear that Michigan State College wore the winged helmets first.

UW: Anything else you want to add?

EG: Yes, there are a few items I would like to make clear:

• While Crisler didn’t invent the winged helmet, Michigan State coach Charles Bachman didn’t invent it either. My research indicates that Spalding came up with the design and Bachman was the first coach to use it.

• It is unknown whether MSU started to wear the winged helmets in 1933 or 1934. Bachman became coach in 1933, so it makes sense that the Spartans started wearing them that season. But the earliest photograph I’ve found of any team wearing the winged helmets is from 1934. Also, the team’s 1933 team portrait (which doesn’t show the helmets) indicates that they had a different uniform in ’33 than in ’34, so they may have had a different helmet as well.

• Many people have said, “MSU was one of many schools wearing winged helmets at that time, but they weren’t the first.” My response has always been this: “There’s pictorial proof that MSU wore the winged helmets in 1934 and I have yet to see proof from another college that predates that.”

– – – – –

For all I know, maybe most of you folks already knew all of this. But for me, it totally rewrites the book. Just another reminder that history isn’t always as neat and tidy as we think it is.

+ + + + +

Uni Watch News Ticker: Today is the 55th anniversary of the first zebra stripes worn by NHL officials, and Jeff Barak has marked the occasion by producing an excellent piece about the history of NHL refs’ jerseys. … Small item at the bottom of this page indicates that Wisconsin football will have “new uniforms for next season ”¦ similar to the ones worn by the New York Giants.” What exactly does that mean? Eric Yarolimek says it means “a lot of gray in the pants.” ”¦ Doug Keklak notes that Pitt wore their gold hoops uniforms for the first time this season on Monday night. ”¦ We all know that MLB teams wore a 100th-anniversary patch in 1969. But you might not know that Jim Beam whiskey also used the MLB centennial as an occasion to issue this commemorative bottle. Bill Scrowther found that in his parents’ basement. Love the stirrups, natch. ”¦ Now that FIU baseball player Garrett Wittels is facing a rape charge, lots of photos of him are circulating, which has led to the surprising revelation that FIU’s BP jersey insignia is a total Padres rip-off (as noted by Brady Phelps). ”¦ Tim Tebow isn’t allowed to cite Bible verses on his eye black now that he’s in the NFL. So he’s citing them on his play-calling wristband instead. Not sure if he’s being fined, but I’ve asked the league about it — will advise (with thanks to Aaron Scher). ”¦ Jake Keys scanned some old photos from his early-1980s youth in Barboursville, West Virginia. “This one is a basketball all-star uniform for Barboursville Midget League Basketball,” he says. “I loved the side panel of stars (it was a mesh panel). We also had matching whites for home games. And this one is a basketball uniform for Tower Grocery. As you see, this team of six players had three different uniforms, along with socks that varied in length, color, stripes, etc. Just a great mismatch photo.” ”¦ Here are the cleats Florida will be wearing in the Outback Bowl (with thanks to Dan Wunderlich). ”¦ You’ll probably be staying up late on New Year’s Eve anyway, so you may as well stay up until 2:30am Eastern, when the MLB Network’s “Prime 9” series will feature “the all-time top 9 unique uniforms.” They’ve already aired this at least once, and Dan Cichalski caught part of it: “I saw Nos. 5 through 1: mustard-and-brown Padres, A’s, Pirates, tequila sunrise Astros, and White Sox shorts and collars. Jerry Reuss comments on several (even if he didn’t wear them).” ”¦ MLB’s shortest NOB is Shea-bound. ”¦ Color-vs.-color alert. Okay, those are actually screen shots from a Three Stooges movie. You can see the corresponding video here (great job by Larry Bodnovich). ”¦ Who’s that guy in the pullover and slacks? None other than our own Terry Proctor, who was student manager for the 1964-65 Livingston Conference Champion Livonia Bulldogs. “The stirrups and shorts were both royal blue with orange stripes/trim, and the jerseys were orange with royal blue and white numbers and trim,” says Terry. “The jerseys were all made by King-O’Shea but were ordered in different years — that’s why the number fonts are different. Even pro teams ordered piece-meal in those days.” ”¦ Soccer note from Cort McMurray, who writes: “It’s been a cold winter in England, and since many Premier League players come from sunnier climes, a new accoutrement has shown up on the EPL pitches. They’re calling it a snood, but it’s really a neck-warmer with drawstrings, so you can make it as snug as you want. And it pulls high, Bazooka Joe-like, so you can cover your mouth, nose, and ears, if you’d like. Carlos Tevez of Manchester City is widely credited as the first player to wear one, but there are a bunch of guys sporting them. The Man City online store was selling them under the name ‘neck gaiter,’ but they sold out the day they went on sale.” ”¦ While looking for something else, I came across some shots of former NHLer Pierre Turgeon as a Little Leaguer (he’s the big kid standing next to the coach in the back row of the team photo). His team represented Canada in the Little League World Series. ”¦ Rafael Pereira da Silva of Manchester United had one of his uni numerals peeling off yesterday (screen shot by Leondrus Thornton). ”¦ The new Big 10 logo is already showing up in game broadcasts. Kyle Campbell took that screen shot from last night’s Champs Sports Bowl. ”¦ Mississippi State QB Chris Relf will memorialize former teammate Nick Bell by wearing Bell’s No. 36 in the Gator Bowl. Full details about halfway down this page (with thanks to Dan Cichalski). ”¦ Two notable things about this photo: First, Antoine Winfield, who was fined last week for wearing solid-white socks, has rediscovered the Vikings’ team colors. And second, it’s good to see Michael Vick wearing sewn-in pockets instead of a strap-on muff. ”¦ West Virginia wore their Amateur Armistice uniforms last night, and I can’t stop laughing long enough to give a shit. ”¦ Did you know players in bowl games get all kinds of swag? The funniest part is that participants in the Outback Bowl get a $150 Best Buy gift card but only a $25 Outback gift card. Genius! Further details here. ”¦ This is so freaking great: Remember Dave Robertson’s jersey with the wrong uni number font during the ALCS? That jersey is now owned by Uni Watch reader Carl Hacker, who recently bought himself a game-used Robertson jersey in an online auction and didn’t realize what he was getting until he opened the package. “I unwrapped the jersey, turned it over, and took one look at the number,” he says. “It was like being hit by a bolt of lightning — the wrong font. I almost fainted. I then remembered your article about this during the playoffs.” ”¦ Hey, remember when Chris Cooley walked around Redskins camp in his underwear? Now it turns out he’s a potter. All we need now is to find out that Cooley is also into Broadway musicals and I figure a few million macho NFL fans’ heads will spontaneously explode. … Check this out: a huge stash of NBA Hardwood Classics tube sox. ”¦ Big day here at Uni Watch HQ, as the cats and I will be getting a visit from longtime reader Michael Princip. He’s the man behind so many uni-related projects, including the Oregon “Duck Tracker” page, the Seahawks site Greenxoblue, the Illustrated NFL artwork site, and the Bulwark anti-concussion helmet. Looking forward to meeting you, Mike — don’t forget to bring your pick-axe, since some of the snow drifts are now turning to ice.

176 comments to Winging It: Helmet History Reconsidered

  • Andy C | December 29, 2010 at 8:40 am |

    They used the same clips of Jerry Ruess for the episode of “The Season: 1975” when they discussed the new uniform treds for 1975. They tend to reuse interviews in all their orginal programing on MLB network.

  • Terry Proctor | December 29, 2010 at 8:47 am |

    “Hu’s on first.”

    • ronnie poore | December 29, 2010 at 10:21 am |

      “that’s what i’m trying to find out!”

    • Teebz | December 29, 2010 at 1:26 pm |

      Saw him play last season with LA against Houston while I was in Texas. Definitely a serviceable shortstop with some decent speed and a good arm. Doesn’t have the bat that some NY fans will appreciate, but he played fairly well in the Dodgers’ loss to the Astros.

    • Anotherguy | December 30, 2010 at 2:23 pm |

      I knew it wouldn’t take long for a comment like this to get posted.

      (Get it?? Take LONG… short name…)

      Okay, never mind then. ;-)

  • Dootie Bubble | December 29, 2010 at 8:51 am |

    Wiscy is an Adidas school and they are going to use the NFL template next season. It’s a change in uniform pattern and fabric more than design.

    • Adam | December 29, 2010 at 8:53 am |

      Dootie Bubble is right. The ensuing quote reads “It’s this new technology and form-fitting,” Bielema said. “(Toon) was in one. He looked as pretty as they look.”

    • Rob S | December 29, 2010 at 9:26 am |

      I hope that’s all that means. The thought of the Badgers in gray pants… that’s just too Ohio State.

      • Chance Michaels | December 29, 2010 at 9:42 am |

        You’re right. Gray would be bad, but tan would be awesome.

        • The Jeff | December 29, 2010 at 10:30 am |

          …ly bad.

        • Chance Michaels | December 29, 2010 at 10:46 am |

          Hey, the football uniforms would once again match the letter jackets.

        • Matt B | December 29, 2010 at 11:41 am |

          Agreed. Sadly, the Red-white-black-tan color scheme has been .
          somewhat sullied.

  • Terry Proctor | December 29, 2010 at 9:09 am |

    I’m really surprised that the anal-retentive NCAA allows players to receive ANYTHING from the bowl sponsors. Tsk tsk, bad example here Indy.

    • Andy | December 29, 2010 at 9:48 am |

      I agree. It’s okay for the bowl sponsor to give away tons of swag to every player, but when the player scalps his or her own property for a little extra spending cash(I assume a college football player has no time for a part-time job) or if a tattoo artist offers you a little discount, you get to sit out 5 games? Do you get suspended if your waitress gives you a free dessert on your birthday? What about if you use a coupon at the grocery store?

      • Rob S | December 29, 2010 at 10:12 am |

        Not to mention the hypocrisy of suspending a player for five games, but not the upcoming bowl game.

      • Matt B | December 29, 2010 at 11:27 am |

        Allowing players to sell their gear would invite rampant corruption. Kids would be hawking their belly button lint to boosters for $1k a pop.

      • Birdlander | December 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm |

        Actually, by NCAA rule, I don’t think players on scholarship are allowed to have paying jobs, at least in-season, and perhaps year-round…

        • The Hemogoblin | December 29, 2010 at 2:01 pm |

          Well, that’s problematic, because an Oregon offensive lineman (I think it’s Mark Asper, but I’m not sure off the top of my head) is the manager of the apartment complex in which he lives. Unless that job is technically his wife’s, which would be an interesting way in circumventing the rules regarding that.

      • Jim TN | December 29, 2010 at 2:54 pm |

        The difference is whether or not a benefit is available to the general population, or more specifically non-athletes.

        If a tattoo parlor offers a 10% discount to all Ohio State students with a student ID, there is no violation if an athlete takes advantage of it.

        If I can get free dessert in a restaurant on my birthday, so can any athlete.

    • Terry D. | December 29, 2010 at 9:51 am |

      Maybe in ten years from now, players will get a free yacht (sp?) for playing in the Poinsettia Bowl.

    • Chris Holder | December 29, 2010 at 9:58 am |

      While I understand your point (I loathe the NCAA), I think it’s a nice reward from the players. Schools make a crapload of cash off those guys. *Most* of the players, we have to blindly assume, don’t receive a dime (unless you’re named “Cam Newton”). Bowls may draw the ire of most college football fans, but if a playoff were to ever be implemented, you can bet that kids wouldn’t receive a “Round 1 prize package”. I say these gift packs are a good thing.

      Of course, there’s the flip side of those kids being admired by millions and probably having the ability to sleep with a bevy of willing, young co-eds. So they’ve got that going for them, too.

      • Chris Holder | December 29, 2010 at 9:59 am |

        That should read “FOR the players”, of course.

      • Richard | December 29, 2010 at 10:36 am |

        Considering the bulk of schools lose money on their bowl appearances, the players are about the only ones coming out ahead from a bowl trip.

        • Jim TN | December 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm |

          As another bonus, players get a travel stipend for bowl games. Depending on the school and the bowl destination, players get a check for the cost of an airline ticket or a check for mileage from the school or their hometown to the bowl site.

          Players are then left to make their own travel arrangements and they get very creative. Pile 5 linemen into a small car and drive to the bowl site? Sure, split the gas costs and pocket the difference. You’re flying from Atlanta to Tampa and have to change planes in Seattle? Why not, if it means a cheaper flight and cash in the pocket.

        • Rob S | December 29, 2010 at 6:06 pm |

          Err… Atlanta to Tampa by way of Seattle? I don’t see how going by way of two cross-country flights could possibly be cheaper than a short-distance flight to an adjacent state by any stretch of the imagination.

          By way of Miami or New Orleans, I can see.

        • Jim TN | December 30, 2010 at 11:29 am |

          It’s a bit of an exaggeration. But I once shopped flights from Nashville to Norfolk, VA, and found the cheapest flight had a connection in Denver.

  • Hank-SJ | December 29, 2010 at 9:11 am |

    Colorizing the Stooges is another sign the Apocalypse is near. Total violation.

    • LarryB | December 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm |

      I have to buy that dvd of the Three Stooges colorized. I think the DVD has the clips in b&w and colorized.

      I think they did a great job colorizing those Stooges. compared to early attempts.

  • Shane | December 29, 2010 at 9:17 am |

    The Italian players were rocking those Neck Gator thingies a few years ago. Gianluigi Buffon from Juventus sticks out, I want to say he was rocking one way back in the ’03 Champions League final.

  • Dootie Bubble | December 29, 2010 at 9:19 am |

    I still have trouble seeing the BIG and the 10 simultaneously in the BIG 10’s new logo. If I try hard I can see it but I think it would be more clear if they had done something like this.

    • Andy | December 29, 2010 at 9:43 am |

      BIO? It’s just too cluttered and unclear.

      • Dootie Bubble | December 29, 2010 at 9:46 am |

        Those three colors blow your mind don’t they? Pretty psychedelic.

  • Michael | December 29, 2010 at 9:23 am |

    Adrian Peterson switched to the Riddell Revo Speed helmet last night. Bringing more attention to the split horn on the side of his helmet.

    • Chris | January 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm |

      Pretty sure he’s worn that all season. I noticed it when he played the Patriots.

  • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 9:24 am |

    cool pic…

    hey terry…what color are your pants and the coach’s jacket…in case anyone wants to, ya know, colorize this?

    • Dootie Bubble | December 29, 2010 at 9:56 am |
      • The Jeff | December 29, 2010 at 10:20 am |

        I thought he said Terry, not Mothervilker

      • Ricko | December 29, 2010 at 11:11 am |

        Ah-ha, same as the head coach at PeeWee’s Playhouse.


        • Ricko | December 29, 2010 at 11:13 am |

          Oh, wait, that’s, like, the trainer.
          Coach is front row center.

    • Terry Proctor | December 29, 2010 at 11:02 am |

      Great idea Phil. The pullover jacket, which were the team warm-ups, was White w/Royal trim and Orange stripes. The numbers were Royal w/Orange outline. My pants were a light knaki. The jerseys were Orange. The players’ pants were Royal w/Orange stripes.

      And thanks a lot Dootie. By any chance were you toking on a “doobie” when you did that?

      • Terry Proctor | December 29, 2010 at 11:05 am |

        Coach Baker’s jacket was Navy with an Orange “L.” His slacks were Grey.

  • Andy | December 29, 2010 at 9:39 am |

    While I appreciate anyone doing research and trying to set the record straight, I don’t know that I follow what’s happening with the Michigan State winged helmet proclamation. There are three reasons we know the winged helmet as the ‘Michigan helmet’ (or the ‘Princeton helmet’). One, it’s because of the front winged panel. Two, it’s the three stripes. Three, it’s the contrasting color that Crisler applied to the winged panels. Michigan State’s helmet only covers one of the three, and as a result, I don’t know that this claim holds much for me.

    The Michigan State lid is a winged helmet, but it’s not the winged helmet, like the one we’ve come to associate with Michigan and Princeton. Personally, I don’t really see why we even have to attribute the winged helmet to a particular school. I mean, wasn’t this really just a stock Spalding helmet that Crisler painted black and orange (and later maize and blue)? Couldn’t any team have ordered this style of helmet, whether they painted it like Crisler did or left it natural-looking like Michigan State did? If I had to make a comparison, let’s say a college team adopted Michael Princip’s Bulwark helmet. It would be a pretty revolutionary style statement, no doubt, given that the Bulwark has such a different aesthetic personality than any other helmet that’s out there today (by the way, great job on it, Michael), but we wouldn’t attribute that design statement with the team who adopted the helmets. We would attribute that look with the manufacturer or the designer, right?

    I don’t think the winged helmet should be attributed to Michigan or Princeton (or Michigan State for that matter) just because they were the first to order it out of a catalog. It should stay with Spalding (or whomever was the original purveyor of winged helmets). To me, the whole thing is like Michigan saying, “Last week, I became the first to eat clementines. Yeah, I bought the clementines from the guy who grew them, but you’ll forever know me as the originator of the clementine, because I’m a huge deal in the world of citrus…” and Michigan State retorting, “But I’ve been eating mandarin oranges for five years! Yeah, they have seeds but they taste almost the same! You can’t lay claim to that just because you’re a bigger name!”

    • Chance Michaels | December 29, 2010 at 9:49 am |

      There are three reasons we know the winged helmet as the ‘Michigan helmet’ (or the ‘Princeton helmet’). One, it’s because of the front winged panel. Two, it’s the three stripes. Three, it’s the contrasting color that Crisler applied to the winged panels. Michigan State’s helmet only covers one of the three, and as a result, I don’t know that this claim holds much for me.

      Two of the three – Michigan State’s 1934 helmet had a black wing. The only thing missing is two of the stripes, which is to my eye the least important element.

      Your point is well taken, though. This was a stock helmet created by Spalding, and not created by any of the schools which lend their name to it now. What I’d like to know is who was the first person to paint the panels in different colors – was that Spalding as well, or was it one of the coaches? If it was not part of the standard Spalding catalogue, I think that’s about the only legitimate claim to “ours” that a school could have.

      • Andy | December 29, 2010 at 11:03 am |

        I thought the stock colorway was black wings on brown leather, or at least I’ve seen a few vintage pieces that looked as such. I could be wrong, but that’s why I didn’t consider Michigan State’s lid to have been painted up in the contrasting school colors like Michigan’s and Princeton’s.

        I think the coolest thing about the Michigan State helmet is that S. It looks like it’s debossed or something on the old photos. I’d love to see an actual helmet from that season.

    • Paul Lukas | December 29, 2010 at 10:16 am |

      I don’t necessarily disagree with any of Andy’s analysis — indeed, it’s extremely well-stated and -reasoned — but I think it underplays the extent to which the Michigan State info adds new depth to this chapter in uni history. Maybe I overstated things when I said it “rewrites the book,” but it’s certainly more than just a new footnote.

      • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 10:39 am |

        exactly…we’ve pretty much ALL been referring to the design as “crisler’s” — and to this day, much of the uni/helmet history attributes it to him

        so to have this fairly major revelation IS very important in the annals of uni-history

        it would be as if someone were to discover that the original bronco wasn’t really brown…not necessarily earth shattering, but certainly a myth-buster on a scale of this

        • Klaus | December 29, 2010 at 11:12 am |

          For what it’s worth, Ohio State wore a wing version as early as 1930 (a red? helmet with a gray wing and those gray “earmuffs”).

          Also, Indiana in 1933, with a black? helmet with a white wing AND the 3 white stripes. Not to mention a small black? “I” on the front of the wing. This helmet looks exactly like the Michigan/Princeton/Michigan State version we all know and predates MSU by a year.

          Their were A LOT of teams that wore the spalding wing helmets back then and you can see some of them on my site. I would attribute the wing design to Spalding.

          Hopefully, Paul will add a permanent link to it soon.

        • Andy | December 29, 2010 at 11:16 am |

          Don’t get me wrong. It’s certainly important, and I love these kinds of research-laden myth-debunking hunts, I just don’t think the general public understands that Crisler isn’t really responsible for the design of the winged helmet. He painted the winged panels in contrasting school colors, but that’s really about it.

          It certainly became a signature look because his teams adopted that look while he carried it with him, and he should be credited for that, but it’s not as if Crisler had this great vision of how to apply a fantastic winged design to the headgear, which seems to be what a lot of people think (not uni-watchers, of course). It was designed by a helmet manufacturer, and then Crisler basically ‘color-by-numbered’ it.

          It’s not like when Fred Gehrke designed and painted the ram horns freehand onto his team’s helmets, which I think is the the most important event in the visual history of football. It’s something that’s more extraordinary (from the perspective of helmet design) and just as iconic as the Michigan wings, but never seems to be held in quite the same regard for some reason.

        • Ricko | December 29, 2010 at 11:20 am |

          And I say that for the first two Viking exhibition games in 1961 the team wore forest green helmets, even though it makes no sense at all.

          Now, until someone proves me wrong, that’s a fact.

          Right? That’s how it works when you go on the Internet and declare something to so 40 years after the fact, isn’t it?


        • Klaus | December 29, 2010 at 11:47 am |

          I agree with you, Andy.

          I have photos of the early Spalding wing helmets from actual college yearbooks. I would send them to this section but I don’t know how they get posted.

          Funny you mention Fred Gerke. I just mentioned him on my newest blog regarding early (pre-1948) helmet logos.

        • timmy b | December 29, 2010 at 12:58 pm |

          While I can’t speak from a college basis, I can say that the Giants definitely wore a “winged” style for a number of years starting in 1937. AND, while I can’t tell if these saw game action or not, I have come across mug shots of the Bears (Nagurski and – I think – Grange) in what certainly appears to be a “winged” style that may pre-date 1933.

        • Klaus | December 29, 2010 at 1:09 pm |


          Will you contact me through my site:

          I have been wanting to talk to you for quite some time



          It would be cool to see the photos of the Giants and the Bears!

        • timmy b | December 29, 2010 at 1:14 pm |

          Like this on Grange:

          Certainly before 1933.

        • LarryB | December 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm |

          Yes Klaus is correct. Ohio State had a sort of winged front helmet and as he called them earmuffs
          In 1930 the Buckeyes wore those. I have a few pictures of the Buckeyes from that era. I even bought a replica of that helmets that was as close as Past Time Sports could do. It is scarlet and gray.

          The 1930 helmet looks darker than scarlet and gray as do the Buckeye jerseys. But learning from this site about filters for old pictures it is hard to say for sure what color the 1930 helmet was

        • MPowers1634 | December 29, 2010 at 8:40 pm |

          Could we please just find someone associated with that damn team and ask them already?

    • John T. | December 29, 2010 at 2:41 pm |

      According to Jay Shelton at his Southwest Conference Helmet History site (, similar winged designs were worn by at least three SWC teams in the 1930s. These include Texas A&M:; Texas:; and Arkansas: I think this lends credence to the idea that this was a reasonably stock helmet design (Spalding?) with the essential difference being painting schemes.

      • Klaus | December 29, 2010 at 4:52 pm |

        Yes, Jay has good stuff on his site. I like the Texas Longhorn helmet as the wings don’t really protrude out like many others. It’s like they align with the stripes.

        Two others wing helmets from that era are Miami and Tennessee. I wish I could post a pic but they both have 2 stripes instead of the familiar 3 or 1. And the wing has a small point above each side of the wing joining the stripes.

  • Geeman | December 29, 2010 at 9:46 am |

    Memo to colleges and uniform makers like Nike: Stop messing with schools’ uniforms. Please! West Virginia looked horrible last night. No school identity. Another Oregon in the making. They wore gray in a bowl game and in basketball they wore black in the Final Four. The school colors are blue and gold. Please, stop the nonsense.

  • Dave | December 29, 2010 at 9:48 am |

    Glad to see Wisconsin changing uniforms in some way as they would have been very similar to new Big 10 member Nebraska…

    • Geeman | December 29, 2010 at 9:54 am |

      So maybe Nebraska should change. What’s Wisconsin changing to? They look great now.

    • The Jeff | December 29, 2010 at 10:02 am |

      Shouldn’t Nebraska be the one changing? I mean, they’re the new team to the conference afterall.

      • Perry | December 29, 2010 at 10:38 am |

        Exactly. And why gray? That’s not a Wisconsin school color. It IS an Ohio State school color, indeed the scarlet and gray is pretty much synonymous with OSU, and to have Wisconson wearing red jerseys and gray pants… well, I can’t imagine why they’d want to do that.

        • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 10:42 am |

          if you read the earlier comments, i think it has been ascertained that wisconsin is changing to the NFL cut…not wearing gray pants…

          and why the hell should they change just because they’re entering the same conference as sconnie? will they both be wearing red tops and white bottoms at the same time? no? then i think we’ll be able to tell them apart

        • JTH | December 29, 2010 at 10:53 am |

          Nebraska shouldn’t change just because of the conference move. They should change so that they’re actually wearing their school colors — scarlet and cream.

        • DJ | December 29, 2010 at 11:09 am |

          Nebraska is also an Adidas school, and they may very well be wearing that tight-fitting cut next year.

          For the record, Northwestern, Michigan, and Indiana are also Big 10 schools — Michigan is already wearing it.

        • Andy | December 29, 2010 at 11:20 am |

          Actually, Michigan did not wear the new jersey. It was developed and advertised that they would be wearing it, but they never actually made the switch. Maybe they weren’t happy with them.

        • JTH | December 29, 2010 at 11:24 am |

          I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t be happy with them.

          So next year, the Nike to adidas ratio of the Big Ten will be 7 to 5. Is there any other conference that’s as close or closer?

        • DJ | December 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm |

          Yes — Andy is correct about Michigan. Thanks for the correction.

        • LarryB | December 29, 2010 at 2:11 pm |

          Interesting about Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin. On an Ohio State message board there is a thread about OSU bringing back the transitional gray sleeves. I wish they would.

          One guy posted this picture of the 3 red jerseys and how similar at a fast glance they are.

        • LarryB | December 29, 2010 at 2:11 pm |

          well I see the link only showed Wisconsins

  • Randy Rollyson | December 29, 2010 at 9:50 am |

    Wow, Vince Keys! I used to shop at Tower Grocery when I lived in Ona, WV. Went to Barboursville High School in the late 70’s, playing baseball and basketball. And to beat all, isn’t that a young looking Dennis Herrenkohl coaching in the Tower Grocery picture?

    • Randy Rollyson | December 29, 2010 at 9:51 am |

      Sorry, Jake. I used to know a “Vince Keys.”

  • JTH | December 29, 2010 at 10:01 am |

    Neck “gator” = neck GAITER.

    • Paul Lukas | December 29, 2010 at 10:21 am |

      Duh. Thank you. Will now fix.

      • JTH | December 29, 2010 at 10:40 am |

        Oh, I wasn’t trying to say it was wrong in the ticker.

        I mean, if that’s what they were calling them on the Man City online store and all.

        • Cort | December 29, 2010 at 12:52 pm |

          It is indeed correctly spelled “gaiter”, but the product that the Man City souvenir shop has been selling is called “The Neck Gator”. I haven’t seen the label, but I’m guessing that it involves a cartoon alligator…

  • The Jeff | December 29, 2010 at 10:18 am |

    “Tim Tebow isn’t allowed to cite Bible verses on his eye black now that he’s in the NFL. So he’s citing them on his play-calling wristband instead.”


    I hope they fine him. There’s no reason for any of that during the game. You wanna pray before or after the game, in private? Fine. Great. Do whatever you want, but keep that crap off the field.

    • MN | December 29, 2010 at 10:25 am |

      I agree with The Jeff. I am so tired of this clown shoving his religous beliefs down our throats. He should be fined just as much, if not more than some guy showing too much of his knees.

      • Perry | December 29, 2010 at 10:41 am |

        Geez, kinda hostile, aren’t we? Would anyone have even been able to see it if it wasn’t freeze-framed and blown up? Big freakin’ deal.

        • Chance Michaels | December 29, 2010 at 10:45 am |

          If it’s no big deal, then the clown should have no problem keeping it off the field.

        • The Jeff | December 29, 2010 at 10:48 am |

          Someone noticed it to decide to freeze frame & blow it up…

          Why even do it at all? I mean, how shallow can you be that you can’t go 3 hours without being near some symbol of your faith? Obviously there’s a ton of players that happen to be religious… and you don’t see any of them needing to wear crosses on the field or cover their equipment with biblical references.

        • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 10:54 am |

          you don’t see any of them needing to wear crosses on the field


          well…except for this guy

    • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 10:35 am |

      keep that crap off the field


      better watch it, THE…

      i got crucified when i posted “where’s your messiah now?” (a movie line, parodied by the simpsons, no less) in ref. to timmah

      • The Jeff | December 29, 2010 at 10:42 am |

        Well, I did survive 3 weekends of color vs color posts, what’s one more angry mob?

        • MN | December 29, 2010 at 11:32 am |

          I dont think I am being hostile. I just think Tebow and his religous beliefs are crap, and have no place in sports. I also think we as sports fans need to be very careful how much praise we heap on atheletes.
          Just becasue you can throw a football,or hit a fastball doesnt mean your a good person, it just means you have athletic ability.

          Tiger Woods or Mihcael Vick ring any bells? For all we know Tebow is snorting lines and banging hookers.

          I would also like to ask how fast the NFL would act if some NFL player came out sporting a wristband with “INSERT YOUR RELIGION HERE” reference written on it?

        • Aaron | December 29, 2010 at 11:41 am |

          My opinion of Tebow might actually improve if he were snorting coke and banging hookers. I just hope he’s better at it than Denny Neagle.

        • Paul Lukas | December 29, 2010 at 11:51 am |

          You’re going overboard here, MN.

          Nobody (Tebow included) has claimed that Tebow is a wonderful person, either by virtue of his Christianity or for any other reason. Nobody has said that his citing of Bible verses makes him immune to “snorting lines and banging hookers,” or whatever we each may characterize as a moral failing.

          Tebow likes his Bible and like to makes sure we all know it. Personally, I find that super-annoying. And if you’re gonna make sure everyone knows about your personal relationship with the Supreme Whatsis, then you shouldn’t be surprised by comments like “Where’s your messiah now?,” which strike me as perfectly fair game.

          HOWEVER, I honestly don’t think Tebow has ever claimed that being BFF with the Supreme Whatsis makes him “better” than anyone else, nor do I think this claim has been made on his behalf. He’s just another religious believer/enthusiast/zealot/crackpot (take your pick) who I wish would give it a rest already.

        • aflfan | December 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm |

          I have a pitchfork and torch concession set up.

        • Adam | December 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm |

          Bottom lIne: If the NFL has a problem with it, they’ll fine him. If they do, and Timmy thinks it is that important, he’ll pay the fine. I’m fairly sure he can afford it.

        • RsD | December 29, 2010 at 5:43 pm |

          “If you are fortunate enough to spend five minutes around Tim Tebow, your life is better for it.”

          Actually, Paul. That pretty much blows your first paragraph there out of the water. Thom Brenneman did exactly all of those things.

      • Ricko | December 29, 2010 at 11:54 am |

        Let’s see if I have this straight.

        One guy has exhibited (and admitted to) clearly sociopathic behavior (hanging dogs, drowning dogs, electrocuting dogs…real Jeffrey Dahmer stuff), goes to prison, comes back and plays well and everyone embraces him, apparently buying that something akin to, “I used to be a rapist but I’m better now” makes everything okay.

        And another guy is playing pretty well considering his level of experience, but because he goes a bit overboard concerning a show of his faith he’s an asshole?


        • The Jeff | December 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm |

          Can’t they both be assholes? Surely there’s varying degrees of assholeness, aren’t there?

        • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 12:05 pm |

          who says vick is still anything but a piece of shit?

        • Aaron | December 29, 2010 at 12:05 pm |

          I feel like I have to point out that I was definitely joking, I don’t really have ill-feelings towards Tebow. I would agree with Paul that it’s more annoying than anything, but to each their own. Definitely doesn’t make him an asshole by any stretch.

          As far as Vick is concerned, he did some very messed up things, paid his debt to society, seems contrite by his public image and those who know him say he has learned his lesson as well. We can (and it has been argued) what might have caused him to get into such a racket (product of the culture, just a bad apple, etc.), but if you’ve paid your debt and seem to have matured and changed, what else can you possibly do to make it right?

        • Paul Lukas | December 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm |

          I fail to see what one has to do with the other. Bringing Vick into this discussion just muddies the water.

          Bottom line: Tebow pulled a “Look at me!” move by modifying his uniform with a message of personal expression. We tend to frown on that here, whatever the content of the message. All the other stuff is extraneous.

        • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm |

          holy shit…me speak good english…not

          what i meant to say was … something like, “vick is still a piece of shit — who says differently?”

        • Ricko | December 29, 2010 at 12:23 pm |

          And I’m agreeing that in the grand scheme of things Tebow overdoes it, yes, and probably someone should quietly speak to him about it (I’ve known plenty of people I’ve wanted to have that conversation with myself).

          Bringing up Vick was totally valid because my point was that there are far more significant things that ought to still rankle society…that there are levels of annoyance.

          I have a friend who helps people sell businesses. He says in a negotiation is critical to identify the difference between the “piss-offs” and the “dealbreakers”.

          What Tebow does is a piss-off. When it sounds like it’s being treated as a dealbreaker it just seems a bit much.


        • Ricko | December 29, 2010 at 12:34 pm |

          More to Vick that just the criminal convictions, though.
          There is/was a viciousness there that isn’t really covered by any statute. Because the offensive, scary behavior cannot be precisely defined as a violation, then neither can the amends to be made for it.

          He have a total personality transplant in jail?
          Of course not. We just have to wait and see.

          Though I guess to some, having a great year as an NFL QB makes amends for having a frightening, semi-anti-social mind.

          Y’know, now that I think about it, a “frightening, semi-anti-social mind” probaby covers a lot of pro athletes. They just haven’t got caught yet.


        • MN | December 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm |

          I would choose crackpot, but thats me. I think extreme behavior in any one direction is very dangerous for everyone. Life has taught me if anything sounds too good to be true it usually is.

          I brought the Woods example into the conversation to illustrate my point that athletes are too often glorified as great people until they screw up and everyone acts all surprised. Vick is a prime example of a guy who has had his criminal past all but forgotten about because he has thrown a few touchdowns.

          From a Uni Watch perspective my point was that the NFL has to fine him for this, or they would not have a leg to stand on if the aforementioned player showed up wearing said wristband.

          Getting off my soapbox now.

        • MPowers1634 | December 29, 2010 at 8:51 pm |

          Again, you must all read “The Lost Dogs”.

          “Where’s your Messiah, Now” was a very interesting day.

      • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 12:50 pm |

        Vick is a prime example of a guy who has had his criminal past all but forgotten about


        by whom, exactly?

        a few steakhead ex-athlete announcers?

        check me if i’m wrong, but isn’t vick still doing PSAs for PETA (king) or the humane society? didn’t he lose a shitload of endorsements and all of his signing bonus? im pretty sure he may have even had to file for bankruptcy protection…

        he was, and will always be a piece of shit for what he did, but im also pretty sure no one has forgotten…do i wish douchebag gruden would maybe bring it up occasionally? absolutely…do i wish they’d stop with this “well, he served his 18 months so his debt to society has been repaid” nonsense? you betcha

        but i really don’t think anything has been forgotten…perhaps forgiven…but not forgotten

        after all, wouldn’t timmah want it that way?

        • MN | December 29, 2010 at 12:57 pm |

          Phil well put. I guess reading the Obama comments put me in a bad mood today, the country is in the toilet and the leader of the Free World is patting this clown on the back ugh, I am moving to Canada…………..

        • Geeman | December 29, 2010 at 3:50 pm |

          Don’t knock Obama for saying people need second chances. Most people are redeemable, however terrible their conduct may have been at one point.

          Don’t lionize Vick just because he’s kept his nose clean for two seasons. He’s got a long way to go.

          And don’t demonize Tebow because he has a sincere belief in God. Just make him follow the rules like everyone else on the field.

          Everything in moderation, my friends.

        • Kyle Allebach | December 29, 2010 at 7:09 pm |

          Also: he still pays a nice chunk of his check to the bank.

        • =bg= | December 29, 2010 at 10:00 pm |



    • pflava | December 29, 2010 at 1:01 pm |

      I hope the league steps up and tells Tebow to knock it off with the personal messages as well. I kind of doubt Jesus would be as ME ME ME LOOK AT ME as Tebow. That said, I don’t think he’s trying to be a douche with that stuff and probably thinks he’s doing his part to spread the word. Like a lot of hardcore Christians, he lacks subtlety and self-awareness.

      And like Ricko said, it’s hard to say what Vick’s actual punishment should be because of the gruesome and vicious nature of his crimes. I believe what he served time for were the Federal charges involving gambling and running the ring, not for physically torturing and killing dogs. So the whole “paid his debt” thing is a murky area. There’s no debt he can really pay when you take all his actions into account, and no matter how much he turns his life around he’ll still be a POS.

      • pflava | December 29, 2010 at 1:07 pm |

        My bad, actually I read now where he was directly accused of physical involvement with killing some of the dogs. My above point still stands though.

    • Kyle Allebach | December 29, 2010 at 7:08 pm |

      Quick Question: do those towels count? ‘Cause I remember Favre wearing a backwards 4 on his when he last played.

  • mike hart | December 29, 2010 at 10:26 am |

    Cooley was an art education major at Utah St.

  • the rAKe | December 29, 2010 at 11:00 am |

    Francesco Totti of AS Roma in the Italian, Serie A has been wearing a “snood” for years. This is from AS Roma’s team store, 06-07 season teamwear.

    • Cort | December 29, 2010 at 1:09 pm |

      Tevez introduced them to the EPL.

      There’s a cultural dimension to this. An Italian manages the English national team. The best players in the EPL are from Argentina — Tevez — Serbia — Vidic — and France — Samir Nasri. The only young English player doing well at all is Andy Carroll, and there is a lot of pessimism about the state of the game in England.

      Top tier English football has always prided itself on its toughness: it wasn’t long ago that players were mocked for wearing long sleeved shirts at wintertime matches. A lot of people see the snood, or gaiter, or “neck gator” as a symbol of the de-Anglicanizing of the EPL. (It’s a little like when Martin Amis spent $35,000 on repairing his teeth, and critics scoffed that he had abandoned his “English heritage.”)

  • DJ | December 29, 2010 at 11:11 am |

    Carlos Tevez of Manchester City is widely credited as the first player to wear one, but there are a bunch of guys sporting them.

    No one from cross-town rival Manchester United, though, as Sir Alex Ferguson has banned them.

    • Perry | December 29, 2010 at 1:01 pm |

      A couple of weeks ago Kolo Toure was wearing one for Man City and the ESPN announcers (Darke and McManaman) were making fun of him a bit. The he scored two goals* (he’s no scorer as a rule) and they said “It must be the snood!”

      *One was technically an own goal, it hit the post and then went off the keeper’s back and in.

      • Cort | December 29, 2010 at 1:14 pm |

        It was Yays, Kolo’s brother. They are teammates. McManaman is a former City player, but he harbors an unreasoning hatred of the club.

        the Toure brothers both sport FOB: “Toure Yaya” and “Toure Kolo”. I don’t know why it’s last name first: it may be an African thing, that I just don’t understand…

  • bill | December 29, 2010 at 11:39 am |

    I wish I would have received one of those NHL referee sweaters from the 1940’s for Christmas. Maybe it should be my first DIY attempt.

  • LarryB | December 29, 2010 at 1:04 pm |

    Paul, I enjoyed today’s column with Eric. But I have found proof that another Big Ten team, the Indiana Hoosiers wore winged helmets in 1933. So if there is no pictures showing MSU in 1933, the Hoosiers could have been the first team to wear winged helmets.

  • timmy b | December 29, 2010 at 1:08 pm |

    Kudos to Jeff Barak for that piece on NHL Officials uniforms.

    For whatever reason, game officials historical attire is way too neglected, even in these parts.

    I’m just trying to figure the exact year the NFL refs went from varying stripe colors (black/white, red/white, green/white, orange/white, etc.) to a universal black/white.

    I’m thinking 1948.

  • pflava | December 29, 2010 at 1:10 pm |

    It’s always a treat to be reminded of Matt’s Illustrated NFL artwork site. I always end up clicking through those fantastic posters for half an hour.

    Over the weekend I went through boxes and boxes of my old stuff at my parents’ house and found some old programs, including a Pro Magazine from a 1981 Oilers-Falcons game. Fantasic stuff in those!

  • Frank | December 29, 2010 at 1:14 pm |

    The bowls can give the players all sorts of swag; but if a booster or a coach bought one of the players a slice of pizza they’d probably be ineligible.

    • pru | December 29, 2010 at 7:51 pm |

      unless they were playing in a BCS bowl for Ohio St…then they’d only be ruled ineligible for the easy part of the next year’s schedule.

  • Pat | December 29, 2010 at 2:26 pm |

    Several things…

    First, I love the fact that Chris Cooley isn’t the normal run of the mill football guy. I think it’s great that he’s found an outlet other than video games and hitting the club. More professional athletes need to find things like pottery or whatever to occupy their time off the field.

    Second, if Troy Polamalu and Mike Singletary can express their faith through symbolic gestures without being fined then Tebow should be able to do the same. I am a Christian so I totally understand Tebow’s line of thinking. Yes, he does it in part to “spread the word”. I believe that perhaps the more important reason he does it is to remind himself that there are more important things in life than football. To call him an “asshole” without ever meeting the guy or him ever giving any indication that he actually is an “asshole” seems a bit over the top if you ask me. Frankly to call anyone that based upon their Faith is somewhat ridiculous.

    Third, while I abhor what Michael Vick did I do believe he deserves a second chance. To use the argument that because of what someone did in his past that makes him forever a horrible person is really sad. So what about us if we were rude to someone or did something more fowl does that mean we have no second chance?

    Fourth, why in the world would Wisconsin want to switch to the same cut of jersey as the Giants. They have the worst looking super stretchies out there. I mean armpits and illegible numbers and super large leg striping. What are you thinking?

    • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm |

      Second, if Troy Polamalu and Mike Singletary can express their faith through symbolic gestures without being fined then Tebow should be able to do the same.


      it’s my understanding the only reason polamalu gets away with it is because he has that giant head of head-and-shoulders induced coiffery that keeps it hidden; singletary isn’t a player

      however, neither should have religious iconery on their uniform…and both should be fined if timmah is … but if you’re going to fine someone $10K for having a pair of solid socks, then you better fine someone for writing messages (no matter WHAT they say) on their accoutrements as well

      mike vick has a second chance…that doesn’t make his past actions any less reprehensible or his acts any less dispicable…but no one, to my knowledge, isn’t giving him a “second chance” — but giving someone a second chance and saying they are a piece of shit aren’t mutually exclusive…even pieces of shit can get second chances

    • Chance Michaels | December 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm |

      I don’t know if Tebow’s proselytizing makes him an “asshole,” but at the very least it makes him a boor.

      Expressions of faith are not somehow above criticism. If he wants to be a classless jerk about his faith, then I reserve the right to call him as such.

      • Ricko | December 29, 2010 at 3:11 pm |

        As long as…

        1. We don’t somehow make it sound as if that’s as heinous and disturbing a personality as one that tortures something just to watch it suffer before it dies.


        2. We would be as upset if Mark Sanchez insisted on having “Go, Troans” on his wristband, or a player wanted to add a U.S. flag patch to his sleeve.

        The latter because they’re uni violations, that is.

        Certainly the content of such violations would be relevant, and that’s probably the reason to prohibit all such things. Not because of any particular beliefs involved, but because such things are better left to, say, the rear bumper of vehicles.


        • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 3:45 pm |

          and i still don’t get why you keep bringing mike vick into this…

          i see how you might be upset at what you believe to be vick’s getting a “free pass” from the neanderthals who happen to do sportscasting and color commentary but yet you perceive people being upset with tebow’s marring his uniform as somehow bashing his faith

          hoewever, one has nothing to do with the other…if mike vick starts writing “bad newz” on his cheatsheet…

          then we can have this discussion

        • Chance Michaels | December 29, 2010 at 3:47 pm |

          Ricko, you’re the only one comparing Vick and Tebow. Nobody is saying that Vick is any less a disgraceful human being just because Tebow is a boorish nut.

          And yes, I think most people here would respond to any message delivered in this fashion.

          It’s not about his religious beliefs, it’s that he pimps those beliefs to draw attention to himself. Would be the same if he was pimping his old area code, his girlfriend’s initials, or his favorite radio station. They’re all equally inappropriate on the field.

        • Ricko | December 29, 2010 at 5:13 pm |

          I’m comparing them because I’m watching the apparent level of indignation and offense taken, the comparable ire they seem to engender.

          And in all fairness, yes, one does involve a uni violation and one does not, making one of them fair game for UW. As I also said, though, that’s well and good so long as the angst is equal to, say, that generated by Reggie Bush’s shoutout to USC. If not, then people ARE objecting to that fact that Tebow’s “billboarding” involves religion.

          Personally, I agree that Christianity’s “Great Commission” (if you don’t what that is, do some research) does not include “…making heavy use of billboard advertising and/or being generally obnoxious and intrusive about it”, a point I have discussed at length with enthusiastic (you can read that “over-zealous” if you choose) Christians I’ve known.

          Also, if someone’s life is totally defined by such things as their political party, sexual preference, personal faith or, yes, favorite team, then they need to take a step back and see the whole field, because their life view is WAY too narrow.


    • Chris Holder | December 29, 2010 at 3:02 pm |

      As a Christian and a Broncos fan, I’m fine with Tebow displaying the Bible verse, as long as the NFL doesn’t tell him not to. Of course, I think a lot of Tebow’s antics are just him liking the attention he draws to himself (and yes I get the irony of me being a hypocritical, judgmental Christian). I really wonder how people would feel if another player did the same thing, without expressly displaying his beliefs off the field/in interviews/etc. Would it be shrugged off? Who knows.

      Personally, I think a church sign displaying Bible verses on a busy highway is probably seen/read by more people than the verse on Tebow’s wrist. Not that it changes things when it comes to Timmy, but still. Too many people (of all faiths and non-faiths) get bent out of shape over things they should just ignore and move on.

      • Kyle Allebach | December 29, 2010 at 7:20 pm |

        In my interpretation, it’s not who will read your message, it’s the fact it’s a uniform, and there are certain standards you have to follow as an athlete. The point isn’t that he wrote a Bible verse on his wristband, the point is he wrote on his wristband, which you aren’t supposed to do.

        I mean, if he wrote the spell to summon Chuthulu, more people would care.

  • Chance Michaels | December 29, 2010 at 2:54 pm |

    I don’t see this having been mentioned (been out of pocket since the weekend), but Aaron Rodgers has a new helmet. He previously wore a standard Riddell shell. The new helmet appears to be a custom job, padded to help avoid another concussion, but does anyone recognize the shell?

    Best thing about this – one less corporate logo on the field.

    • Kyle Allebach | December 29, 2010 at 7:18 pm |

      It’s probably a Schutt or some other brand that isn’t allowed to be shown on the front bumber of the helmet. I know DeSean Jackson switched to a Schutt when he got knocked by Duanta Robinson.

      • MPowers1634 | December 29, 2010 at 8:59 pm |

        Schutt Air XP.

    • JTH | December 30, 2010 at 12:47 am |

      Seems to me that he just swapped one corporate logo for another.

  • Pat | December 29, 2010 at 3:00 pm |

    So what would make him classy in expressing his faith? Being quiet about it is not a form of expression nor is it classless or jerky to tell someone what you believe. If it was then why would this message board exist to express opinions on sports uniforms. Techinically that is a belief that we hold on whether a uniform is nice or not. Frankly, I like the Denver Broncos uniforms although they’d be better if the alt orange was the primary jersey. However there are lots of people who’d disagree with that belief. Does that make me classless or a jerk for expressing that. I do agree that he should be fined as long as the fine other players who do the same(Troy Polamalu) and not just single him out. As for Mike Singletary being a coach, they have a dress code too. Is it really a second chance if you hold Vick’s past against him? Or is it just a “I’m waiting for you to screw up again so I can call you on it”?

    • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 3:24 pm |

      i think you’re reading into my being upset that timmah has a bible verse on his cheat sheet that i’m somehow opposed to his being a devout christian

      i have no problem with that

      i just don’t think ANYTHING belongs on the uniform but the number, the team name (and i don’t even think that’s necessary) and the NOB…all the makers marks, whether they be the reebox on the jerseys and pants, the shoe maker…all the NFL properties garbage…don’t belong there either, but at least they’re consistent…bible verse, area code shout outs (see: bush, reggie, usc), sanchez’ “Go, Troans” (whatever that means, ricko)…don’t belong there…and that includes flag patches and stickers

      so, this is not some anti-tebow rant…

      im fine with timmah’s beliefs as long as the doesn’t wear them on his uniform

      • RS Rogers | December 29, 2010 at 4:08 pm |

        Or as every good youth sports coach in history has said at one time or another:

        “You play for the name on the front of your jersey, not the name on the back.”

        Personal expression is for personal time, or for individual sports. For the three hours a week that a football player actually spends doing his job, he is supposed to set aside his precious little ego and represent his team. If that’s too much for your fragile self-esteem to take, then go play tennis or golf and wear whatever the heck you want.

        I blame all of today’s me-me-me uni sins on the introduction of player names on back. It’s not even a slippery slope; it’s a single short step from putting a player’s name on his uniform to players strutting around the endzone with insipid messages written on their towels (or wearing their pants stapled to their heels or untucking their jerseys or whatever).

        • DJ | December 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm |

          Names on the back started with the 1960 Chicago White Sox, which were added for the benefit of spectators like ourselves. Self-aggrandizing behavior by athletes took a long time after that to manifest itself, and is evident among even teams that do not wear names on the backs of their uniforms.

      • Phillip | December 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm |

        Feel the same about underbill stuff in baseball?

        • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 4:41 pm |


    • Andy | December 29, 2010 at 4:06 pm |

      Faith is a personal endeavor. It does not need to be expressed externally. Thus, being quiet about is the only acceptable form of expression. He should be expressing his faith to himself and himself alone, unless he is in his own lair or a house of faith, and I don’t think he needs to display trinkets of his faith outside his body to do that.

  • Pat | December 29, 2010 at 3:30 pm |

    I agree with Ricko.
    Military Bowl Breakdown:
    Mascot Edge: Pirates vs Terrapins. Don’t pirates eat turtle soup?
    Uni Edge: both aren’t particularly pretty and I hate to say it but Maryland has the advantage here.

  • Pat | December 29, 2010 at 3:37 pm |

    Thanks for clarifying Ll Phil.

  • Ricko | December 29, 2010 at 3:58 pm |

    OH, NO!

    Daniel Snyder is pissed about the benching of Donovan McNabb. Hadn’t heard that.

    Damn, and the guy DOES have quite the record for being a knowledgeable and insightful NFL owner, especially on personnel matters.

    (As Albert Haynesworth loads another wheelbarrow full of money into his SUV and drives off).


  • aaron | December 29, 2010 at 4:14 pm |

    the big issue with the tebow bible verse (and the crosses that singletary and polamalu wear) is that they’re obvious and blatant violations of the rigorously strict nfl uniform codes, but the league seems to look the other way becuse they’re religious symbols. if the league isn’t going to fine these guys and make them stop wearing them, it’s because they’re afraid of the backlash and potential public relations nightmare that could result. many would say it’s an example of the christian privilege that’s rampant in this country…just replace that bible verse with “allahu akbar!” or “there is no god” and see how fast the league drops the hammer.

  • Johnny O | December 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm |

    I don’t recall if I posted this, but with the mention of the pro-cut Wisconsin unies, I thought it would be as good of a time as ever.

    The final game of the season versus Northwestern, I noticed that John Clay had the different Adidas pants that I know were shown on here before:

    I thought it was kind of weird that only he was wearing them. He was still somewhat hurt, and only ran the ball a few times. To my knowledge, this was the only time he, or any other Badger, wore those pants this year. Maybe for the Granddaddy of Them Allâ„¢

  • aflfan | December 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  • ALK | December 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm |

    Wouldn’t Fu Te Ni of the Tigers actually have the shortest NOB. An “N” and an “I” take up less space than an “H” and a “U”.

    • aflfan | December 29, 2010 at 4:35 pm |

      Ni is no longer on the Tigers major league roster.

  • Ricko | December 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm |

    Ken “Snake” Stabler had a little yellow “smilie face” decal on the back of his Raider helmet in the late ’70s.

    Would something like that get people as worked up as Tebow’s “extras”?

    I’m guessing not. And that, when you come right down to it, is the core point I’m making.


    • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 5:37 pm |

      maybe…maybe not

      the point, i think, being made is that whether tebow feels he is “above” criticism or can merely escape it because he has a ‘religious’ message, or that anyone on UW or anywhere else who criticizes it, is somehow anti-christian, doesn’t mar the fact that he has altered his uniform, in a “look at me fashion”

      stabler’s addition of a smiley face, however innocent that may be, is also a “look at me” uniform alteration

      anyone who writes a message on his underbill is also doing the same, although it’s debatable whether that actually counts as the “uniform”…same thing with anyone who draws a fish on his cleats, or writes the initials of his dead girlfriend on his helmet, or puts an unauthorized memorial somewhere

      we tend to “overlook” these personal affectations because they are seemingly genuine, although still “look at me” gestures — and the guy who wears his injured teammate’s number? is that ‘honoring’ him or engaging in yet another ‘look at me’ move? it’s a tough call — that’s not quite the same as altering the uniform or marring it, however

      i hate the yankees for their over the top memorials, but at least they are ‘uniform’ (meaning everyone has one) and have been doing it forever…but honestly, to me, that ruins the look of the uniform

      now — does teebone’s “IN YOUR FACE” christianity rub some people the wrong way, making him more of a target? perhaps so — but that doesn’t lessen the fact that he’s doing it…and i think paul and UW have been very consistent in pointing out EVERY single “look at me” gesture” so it’s not like tebow’s being singled out either, at least not on here

      teams are made up of individuals, sure…but no individual is bigger than the team…not michael jordan, not wayne gretzky, not babe ruth…and certainly not ken stabler, tim tebow or mike vick

      but until vick alters his uniform, lets keep the comparisons to his “getting away with murder” and “poor tim’s persecution for merely expressing his religious beliefs” separate, k?

      • Ricko | December 29, 2010 at 6:01 pm |

        Again, was responding to, and comparing, the apparent levels of indignation.

        And suggesting that content does get considered.

        For example, I’d wager that a fair number of those out demonstrating with the Tea Party in the past sat at home bitching at the TV about how annoying and stupid the tactics of anti-war protesters were, “All that sign-carrying an’ shit.”

        It shouldn’t matter whose ox is getting gored.

        But it almost always does, unfortunately.

        Which is why “Tebow-boarding” shouldn’t be allowed. Not because of it’s content, that’s irrelevant. It’s simply out of place and inappropriate…regardless of the message.


        • Kyle Allebach | December 29, 2010 at 7:29 pm |

          I don’t see “Tebow-boarding”; I see people making a point that when you to an illegal altercation to a uniform, you deserve the punishment.

          If you read that article about Tebow’s bible passage, you would have seen that Kenny Britt got fined 5K for writing #10VY on his towel. If we replaced Tebow with Britt here, would we be “Britt-boarding”?

        • Ricko | December 29, 2010 at 7:40 pm |

          just meant that sort of thing.

        • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 7:58 pm |

          It shouldn’t matter whose ox is getting gored.

          But it almost always does, unfortunately.


          of course it does…just as there are three sides to every issue; and, this should come as no shock, but those on “your” side of the issue are almost always viewed in a better light than those “opposed” to you views

          so a fervent and passionate christian might feel as tho tebow is only expressing his faith as only he knows how, while a disadvantaged youth might side with mike vick and feel he’s been set up, wronged, and generally being made an example of

          all depends on which side of the fence one sits

          take tebow and the reverend reggie white…both are (or were, RIP, reggie) strong men of faith … but i don’t ever hear reggie getting ripped for his beliefs — what’s the difference? besides skin color, reggie generally wasn’t an in-your-face d-bag about it…and he never marked up his uni

          there are many men in the nfl whose beliefs in god and christ are probably just as strong or stronger than tebow and we don’t hear about it on a constant basis…we GET IT timmah…you’re god’s gift to humanity and the sporting world…now STFU and play football

          basically THAT is why tebow may be slightly more reviled than your average choir boy

          again, i have no problem with tebow’s personal beliefs, or his missions or his turning water into wine…i just don’t need him reminding me of it at every turn

          quite frankly, it’s annoying

  • LarryB | December 29, 2010 at 6:17 pm |

    I know Eric mentioned it in the interview, but not much talk here about the Spartans wearing black and gold for a while under Bachman the former NZD guy.

    Black and gold for MSU is strange but they did it.

  • Pat | December 29, 2010 at 6:58 pm |

    Andy this is a uni board so I don’t want to get into it but when one of tenets of your faith is to share your faith then it wouldn’t be a genuine faith if you didn’t talk about it. Otherwise how would anyone find out about anything with that line of thinking. As for his display of faith on his armband. Until the NFL tells him otherwise then it doesn’t really matter. It’s not how I would go about sharing my faith but to each his own.

  • Pat | December 29, 2010 at 7:01 pm |

    Texas Bowl Breakdown:
    Mascot Edge: Fighting Illini vs Bears. Native American warriors hunted bears so advantage Illini.
    Uni Edge: Illinois get slight edge. The pants lose it for Baylor.

  • Kyle Allebach | December 29, 2010 at 7:24 pm |

    I think Tebow should have just used Luke 2:10. Much more fitting for Denver. (“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”)

  • Jim P | December 29, 2010 at 8:21 pm |

    Sounds like Washington will be going with their BFBS uniforms tomorrow:

  • Pat | December 29, 2010 at 8:31 pm |

    I get that it can be annoying to some. As for marking up your uni… thats what Polamalu does. It’s an armband. Now what I don’t understand is all the hatred towards a guy who is a class act and a hard worker. Would you or would you not want a guy like Tebow on your team. I understand the annoyance but the general hatred that is sent towards him is a little disconcerting.

    • LI Phil | December 29, 2010 at 8:48 pm |

      I don’t understand is all the hatred towards a guy who is a class act and a hard worker.


      who says he is? tebow?

      the guy may be a great teammate and a hard worker, both fantastic traits and probably i guy i’d like to have on my team…but i don’t know that, and you don’t know that…we only know that because he tells us so

      he has, like so many in the look-at-me league, an agenda…there are many guys in the league, ocho-cinco being a prime example, who i don’t like — i could certainly use him in the flank on sunday, but that doesn’t make him any less of a d-bag

      face it — you’re taking everything i say against tebow as an affront to his beliefs — this is simply not so…guy like jeremy shockey, one of the best tight ends in football and member of the giants (until a few years ago) — was another huge a-hole…would i rather have him catching passes than kevin boss? yes…

      but one has nothing to do with the other … i don’t like “look at me” athletes, no matter how good they are (and tebow’s NOT THAT GOOD) and no matter what message they are bringing…but it has nothing to do with his faith or belief in christ or the almighty

  • the rAKe | December 29, 2010 at 8:33 pm |

    Ken “Snake” Stabler had a little yellow “smilie face” decal on the back of his Raider helmet in the late ’70s.

    He wore it on the front of his helmet.

  • Pat | December 29, 2010 at 11:17 pm |

    Alamo Bowl Breakdown:
    Mascot Edge: Cowboys shoot and kill Wildcats.
    Uni Edge: Zona all the way. I like their striping pattern that ends halfway. It’s unique and classic at the same time.

  • Pat | December 29, 2010 at 11:28 pm |

    Honestly there is a place in sports for look at me guys. Pretty much every super stud athlete is a look at me guy. Name me your 5 favorite athletes and at least 2 of them are look at me guys. I actually don’t care for the most part if you attack him for his beliefs. He is a class act because everyone who meets him says so. If he was doing anything negative the media would pounce in it and we’d know. You’re free to think of him as a “d-bag” if you want but it’s your loss.

    • LI Phil | December 30, 2010 at 12:16 am |

      besides “everyone who meets him says so” … what makes him a class act? the homeschooling? … the “first” tebow rule which allowed him to play on their local school team despite not being enrolled in the school? … the missionary work in the philippines? … the first espn special, where in his segment, he was called “Tim Tebow: The Chosen One” (and you thought that was reserved for lebum)…the “I AM A VIRGIN” declaration? … the “first” and “second” tebow bills, which spread the homeschooling mandate in other southern states? … the “second” tebow rule declaring no more messages on eye paint? … the best-selling NFL rookie jersey? … or maybe the “prolife super bowl ad” that once again placed him squarely in the middle of a controversy?

      do any of these things, in and of themselves, make him a d-bag? no…but add them all up and this chosen one has made quite a career out of making himself the center of attention

      if he was anywhere near as good as ruth/jordan/gretzky, i might feel differently — but he’s not that good, and he’s certainly not the second coming of christ he’s willingly made himself out to be

      notice — not one of those “traits” i mentioned had anything directly to do with his faith or beliefs…but everything to do with him

      now, is he a “better” role model than say, mike vick? absolutely…but that still doesn’t give him (or anyone) the right to put shit on their cheat sheet…or the back of their jersey…or their helmet…or their shoes

  • Pat | December 30, 2010 at 1:01 am |

    I agree about uniform thing as long as they call everyone else on it. As for the pro life and I am a virgin stuff. It wasn’t him it was everyone else that made that a big deal. As for the homeschool rule that’s existed in my home state of Washington got a very long time. So there is a precedent. He may not be Gretzky, Jordan or the like but he is arguably one of the greatest college football players to ever play. I don’t think he’s ever claimed to be the “second coming” but the term Christian means “little christ’s” so he is supposed to be His representative on Earth.

  • odessasteps | December 30, 2010 at 2:32 am |

    If the NFL made Jon Kitna stop wearing his Cross Hats, then telling Tebow to ditch the bible verse seems consistent.

    And as long as the league continues to allow the mass prayers after the game at midfield (do they still do that), I dont think people could accuse them of being anti-religious.

    I do wonder, as alluded to above, if some of the Muslim players prayed toward Mecca on the field, how the league and the fanbase would react?

    (admittedly, I’m an atheist, so I’d rather not see any of it.)

  • JonJon | December 31, 2010 at 11:53 am |

    Regarding the Tebow wristband messages, I’d be surprised if they didn’t at least issue him a warning. As ironic as it seems now, given his recent history, Ben Roethlisberger used to writ PFJ on his wrist tape, then later his shoes. I don’t believe he was ever fined for it, but he was warned and ultimately stopped doing it. Maybe that’s to blame for his recent transgressions!

    Big Ben also wrote 40 on his shoes to honor Pat Tillman, and wore a yellow LiveStrong bracelet during a few of his first games, until the league told him to remove both of those as well.

    Here’s the story out of Pittsburgh on the warnings issued to Roethlisberger, from 2004:

  • JonJon | December 31, 2010 at 11:54 am |

    My apologies, I neglected to mention that PFJ means “Play for Jesus”.

  • Chris | January 1, 2011 at 6:02 pm |

    “MLB’s shortest NOB is Shea-bound.”

    I think he’s Citi Field-bound, not Shea.