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What the H?

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Last week I Ticker-linked to a photo of Heritage High School in Virginia wearing the logo of the XFL’s NY/NJ Hitmen. That led to a bunch of people submitting similar instances of the Hitmen’s stylized “H” being used by high school teams. Add those to a few additional instances that I found in the site’s archives and you end up with a pretty substantial list:

• Hillcrest High in South Carolina wears the Hitmen logo on their helmet and jersey.

• Hebron High in Texas wears the Hitmen logo on their helmet.

• Hammonton High in New Jersey uses the Hitmen logo as the symbol of their athletics program.

• Hayti High in Missouri uses the Hitmen logo on their helmet.

•  Heritage High in Tennessee uses the Hitmen logo on their helmet.

• Wentzville-Holt High in Missouri uses the Hitmen logo on their helmet.

• Hidalgo High in Texas has the Hitmen logo on their field (which, as you can see, is dark blue).

• Headland High in Alabama uses a vertically extended version of the Hitmen logo on their helmet and their field.

•  Hoover High in California uses the Hitmen logo on their helmet and on banners.

•  A different Hoover High, in Alabama, uses the Hitmen logo on their Twitter feed, their cheerleader uniforms, their championship rings (yes, a high school has championship rings), and on the back of their jerseys. But hey, not on their helmets!

•  The fictitious Hudgins Hawks, who were beaten by East Dillon beat in the final episode of Friday Night Lights, used the Hitmen logo on their helmets.

• And just to show that the XFL consisted of more than one team, a youth league team in Nebraska is using the Orlando Rage logo on their helmet and sweatshirts.

Granted, if you’re going to poach someone else’s logo, it makes sense to choose a defunct team, since you can’t be sued by an organization that no longer exists. Still, I find this all a bit strange. The Hitmen existed for exactly one year (2001, when most of today’s high schoolers were still using crayons), and they stunk, going 4-6 and finishing third in the XFL’s four-team Eastern Division. How has their logo become the go-to “H” among so many high school teams? It isn’t even a particularly good-looking “H,” at least not to my eyes. Is there something I’m missing here?

Meanwhile, it would be interesting to know who designed the Hitmen’s logo (I’m assuming one branding firm handled all of the XFL team marks). Whoever it was, they’d probably be surprised to know that the HItmen design has had such a prolonged afterlife.

(My thanks to all contributors, including Doug Brei, Matt Dieckmann, David Jones, Daniel Smith, Rob Tate, Ben Whitehead, and Andy Zak.)

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Latest team going BFBS this weekend: Kentucky. Additional info here. Why not just make it a rule that every team has to have a black uni and get it over with already? … Speaking of black, Sean Moroney has created a black prototype helmet for the Jets. … Great buttons and tagging on this 1964 Milwaukee Braves usher’s jacket. … I’d totally buy this beeYOOteeful curling sweater, but it’s too big for me. … At least one Rangers fan out there is pretty damn clever (big thanks to Tim Perkins). … This is so great: a cigarette lighter that plays the Baltimore Colts fight song. Scroll down to see the video clip. “What can’t they make NFL merchandise this cool nowadays?” asks Triple-H. … Here’s the helmet that Ohio State will be wearing this weekend. … When I was working on my recent ESPN column on goalie gear, I didn’t know about this sensational PadsTracker page. “Basically it’s a table displaying the gear used by every NHL goalie who gets ice time during the season,” says Mathew Abraham, who manages the page (and who also came up with the arch-based grphic for Jaro Halak’s pads). “We update it daily and I create a mockup showing each goalie’s equipment.” Great stuff. … Here are the inaugurual uniforms for the D-League’s Canton Charge (from Tom Pachuta). … The White Sox are the latest team to get on board with bat knob number decals. That’s the design they’ll be using next season. … Veterans Day jerseys in the works for the Toledo Walleyes (from Ian Hoadley). ”¦ Here’s an odd one: a Colt .45 wearing an Astros cap. “Looks like it’s from spring training in Arizona,” says Scott Turner. ”¦ Check this out: White Sox organist Nancy Faust apparently had her own logo (from Jeff Ash). ”¦ Also from Jeff: Tons of beautiful color Packers photos from Picture Day, 1965. Jeff says similar galleries from ’66 and ’67 will follow later this week. ”¦ Brinke couldn’t wait until next week’s Collector’s Corner to share these NFL pencils and MLB marbles set. ”¦ Some guy tweeted a pic of an Arian Foster painting he’s working onm and in the painting Foster is wearing pink gloves. “Ugh,” says Nicole Haase. ”¦ Here’s a good one: Someone rescued a ton of old Philly A’s materials — ledgers, 16mm films, and other historical items — from a Dumpster (from Dan Cichalski). ”¦ “I was browsing the Leicester City kit selection for a Brit friend of mine and noticed a small very cool little detail,” says Stan Olechowski. “Each player, depending on his nationality, has a little LCFC fox head above his NOB.” ”¦ Overlooked detail from last week’s Northwestern game: The claw scratches on Dan Persa’s shoulders were oriented differently than everyone else’s (good batch by Richard Christy).

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Comments (123)

    The “1964 Atlanta Braves usher’s jacket” is a Milwaukee Braves usher’s jacket.

    Kentucky’s BFBS jerseys make the blue version of Neyland Stadium’s end zone checkerboards only that much more prominent.

    I think number on the usher’s jacket identifies the wearer or the jacket itself. I don’t think it indicates the year.

    My hypothesis:

    High school teams rip off pro/major college logos all the time. Since there are very few pro/major college programs that use an H logo (it’s early and the caffeine hasn’t kicked in, but not a single one comes to mind), so the Hitmen logo gets used by these schools quite a bit.

    Yeah, but how did they even know about the Hitmen logo? It’s not like it was widely popular. Must be showing up in sporting goods catalogs as a basic stock logo option. And *that’s* weird.

    Shot in the dark, but a lot of the kids could be wrestling fans. Thier coaches would be the right age to have been the target demo for the XFL, and there’s usually some sort of connection between pro wrestling and football (ie – ex-NFLers going to the ring and Aaron Rodgers’ “Big Gold Belt”). It seems plausable that any of the school admins and coaches knew the logos would be orphaned and up for grabs.


    The kids can’t remember it, but the coaches can. Coaches at the high school level receive a lot of communication from the high school sports segment, so I’m guessing it started with one school…and then word spread.

    The H may not be a great logo, but there aren’t many H logo variations that are eye pleasing. So, when one looks good, it spreads.

    Of course, this is all speculation on my part.

    Conceivably, all of these high schools have been around for a lot longer than 10 years… Are we sure none of them used this logo before the Hitmen did? My high school (and the other 3 in my home town) hasn’t changed their logo in like 30 years at this point…

    … “I was browsing the Leicester City kit selection for a Brit friend of mine and noticed a small very cool little detail,” says Stan Olechowski. “Each player, depending on his nationality, has a little LCFC fox head above his NOB.” …

    Also cool is that LCFC logo. Excellent design: trad but crisp. And the fox is a helluva mascot. Too many damn wildcats and tigers and eagles.

    That Leicester logo is def one of my favorites in English soccer if not all of soccer… the Aston Villa one is pretty sweet too but I am bias being a fan of AVFC.

    As for Morcambe their nickname is “The Shrimp”, also there is Southend United FC who have a shrimp in their logo their nickname is “The Shrimpers” (link)

    Luton Town has a pretty cool logo too plus the nickname “The Hatters” you can’t beat that: link

    Oh there’s quite a collection:
    Magpies (Newcastle and Notts County)
    Canaries (Norwich)
    Swifts (Walsall)
    Gulls (Torquay)
    not to mention the esoteric Chairboys (Wycombe – not Choirboys – Chairboys – they make chairs there)and the Silkmen (Macclesfield).

    But the best has to be the Monkey Hangers for Hartlepool. The tale is that in the Napoleonic Wars a ship broke up on the shore nearby and the only survivor was a monkey. The locals tried to speak to it, but as it couldn’t understand they decided it must be a Frenchman, and so hanged it.

    The story has an even better twist. The mascot (dressed up before the game) is Angus the Monkey. The guy who wore the suit stood for election to mayor of Hartlepool under the name of Angus the Monkey with no particular policies except free bananas for schoolchildren.

    Guess what? He won :) And despite being unable to keep his banana promise, he’s been re-elected twice.

    How could I forget Southends actual physical mascots Sammy T Shrimp (voted as the Ugliest Mascot) and Elvis J Eel (voted the Best Named Mascot): link. How do you know like that.

    I would venture a guess that all the XFL logos & insignia were designed in-house at WWE headquarters in Stamford.

    “… since you can’t be sued by an organization that no longer exists. ”

    Doesn’t matter if the organization no longer exists. What matters is if the copyright/trademark is still protected.

    Wow! Just looked it up. NY/NJ Hitmen is a dead trademark.

    So is XFL. I know the XFL was whack, but I’m surprised its stuff still isn’t protected still.

    He probably wants us to forget the XFL even existed, along with this thing called “wrestling”. But that’s a whole ‘nother subject.

    It used to be a saying, probably attributed to Mencken, Nobody ever lost money underestimating the taste or intelligence of the American consumer. Thanks to Vincent, we now have to say, Nobody ever lost money underestimating the taste or intelligence of the American consumer, except the XFL.

    Because if you claim you own an XFL team logo you may have creditors chasing you.

    When a team and/or league folds almost everything becomes public domain for that reason.

    Not exactly right – it usually eventually becomes public domain.

    When a team or league folds, their trademarks and IP follow are distributed just like the rest of the assets – through a trustee or receiver, maybe sold at auction or liquidated to satisfy creditors.

    Its only when the trademark isn’t used for a number of years (3 years in Canada, don’t know the length in the US) that it can fall into the public domain.

    There’s no statutory standard in the US; it’s up to the PTO (or, God help us, the courts) to decide when a trademark has become generic or is out of use long enough to lose protection.

    I thought someone still holds the USFL’s logos and trademarks and that’s why they’re no longer available in the team builder programs for Madden or NCAA Football. Aside from Donald Trump who would hold onto them?

    Well there was that group trying to start a “New USFL” league… though that seems to be dead in the water. Plus, there’s probably some decent money to be made now on “retro” clothing for the old USFL teams. You know Vilk would by a new Invaders or Stars shirt if they existed.

    Always wanted to start a line of LOST LOGOS teeshirts, similar to what they’re doing.

    Who wouldn’t want…
    FRESNO BOMBERS or OMAHA PACKERS (National Bowling League)
    FLORIDA FLAMINGOS (World Team Tennis)
    CLEVELAND WRENS (American Basketball League?)
    or even…

    So many really great forgotten team names and logos out there.

    ‘Tis true. The PD thing was an over-simplifcation.

    My main point was that to claim them without having purchased them is to possibly invite still-valid creditors to your call on you.

    There are hundreds of high schools out there that use “borrowed” logos from college/pro sports. Every once in a while you’ll hear about a team sending a cease and desist letter, but there are so many schools out there, most go overlooked.

    Interesting how the Ohio State helmet stripe configuration is apparently designed specifically for the contours of the Riddell Revolution Speed. Wonder what’s going on there…and what if some players wear Schutt?

    The Ohio State helmets are designed to mimic the old Macgregor helmets they wore in the 1960s that had a raised external pad (red pad on a silver helmet) – see this link:


    The shell of the Revo Speed makes it easy for them to mimic that look since it has that raised part in the center; we’ll just have to see how that works on the other helmet shells that tOSU wears. I haven’t watched them much this year, but I’ve seen players in Revos, Revo Speeds, Xenix, but I don’t really remember anyone wearing a Schutt helmet. I would think the other shells will just have a really wide red stripe that runs all the way to the back of the helmet instead of being truncated like on the Revo Speed helmets.

    Since unlike the NFL, they know it reduces their liability instead of increasing it and so are willing to enforce it, a lot of schools and conferences are starting to require either current-gen helmets or specific models. I noticed most of Ohio State’s players wear the Revo Speed when I was at my parents’ place in Cleveland a few weeks ago and watched a game.

    In my observation that appears to be the trend among major college programs, although I have no data to back that up. In fact, I’ve already gotten used to the look of the Revo Speed, so many players wear it.

    It’s a good looking helmet. I just wish common sense would have dawned on the designers when they put that vent right in the area where many decals terminate.

    This helmet does look good. I am not cray about how it tapers in the back though.

    Those early 60’s helmets have always intrigued me.

    Andy, those larger vents on modern helmets are to actually serve the purpose of keeping the head cooler which, I’ve read, is another factor in preventing concussions.

    My question is if a college could possibly void the warranty of a helmet by covering up too much of the vents with logo stckers. Triple stripes do the same thing on some helmets, too, I’ve noticed.

    Interesting fact about the Revo Speed helmets – I was looking at Riddell’s website and they actually have both the Revo Speed and something called the “Revolution Speed Classic” – if you look at the inside shots, this “Revolution Speed Classic” has a padding system that looks like the padding they have used since the early 1990s on both the VSR-4 and the original Revolution – although it has been modified and enlarged to fit inside the larger Revo Speed shell.

    I figure that is what a lot of the NFL players who switched to Revo Speeds over the past two seasons (particularly quarterbacks like Cutler, Shaub, and Cassell who had been wearing VSR-4s) are wearing since it would likely feel fairly similar. I’m not sure about Roethlesberger – since he has a history of concussion issues he might we wearing the “original” Revo Speed with the updated padding system.

    One of my biggest sources of inspiration is from extinct teams and sports leagues. I like the Hitmen insignia just fine, thank you, and can call out a dozen or so thriving organizations whose identities aren’t up to that caliber. Can anyone here tell me a tweaked Michigan Panthers’ uniform wouldn’t be superior to the Jaguars’ sorry excuse for a suit? Who thinks the Baltimore Ravens look better than the Las Vegas Outlaws? I’d swap the Hitmen uniforms for those worn by the Titans in a heartbeat. Just sayin’.

    There is actually still an Orlando Rage in Orlando. A semi-pro team has been using the name and logos since the XFL folded. link if you are interested!

    Looking at the Packers Picture Day photos reninded me how players often left the pads out of their pants for pictures…which they now do for games. It also cracked me up how there were standardized poses for publicity pictures of players for different positions. My favorite used to be the quarterback doing a “jump pass”. Often the pictures were unintentionally funny because of the poses. Someone should start a collection of these old “posed” publicity photos.

    The vintage-posed shots some teams (definitely the Broncos. maybe others) did for the AFL 50 promotion were great.

    and the Packers green jerseys sure look darker in those photos than the versions of today. almost a forest green back then. wish they still had the full set of stripes on the jersey and the striped sox too

    Yep…I also prefer the look of the old shade of blackish green the Packers used to wear. And the stripes, too. Very cool look…

    Ladies and gentleman, introducing the “Indo Edge” . . .

    Big stink a brewin’ on the game worn hockey jersey boards over this:


    Could someone quickly outline the differences between all the different Edge jerseys they talk about in that thread? I don’t know much about those things.

    From a Google search, it looks as though an “Indo Edge” refers to an “authentic” jersey manufactured in Indonesia. Which may or may not be to the same standard as those worn in games, which in turn may or may not be manufactured in Canada.

    The business about “Edge 2.0” and “Edge 1.0” seems to refer to a revamp in the Reebok jerseys to provide better ventilation.

    Beyond that man, it makes about as much sense as some of the French I heard spoken in Chicoutimi over the weekend. :)

    “…has a little LCFC fox head above his NOB”

    In England that statement would cause great tittering amongst a group of 14 year old lads ;)

    The best thing about those Canton Charge unis? Wearing Yellow at home. Oh, how I wish the NBA’d let teams go back to wearing light coloured home unis, even though it’ll never happen.

    I still don’t know why the Lakers were the only team grandfathered in back when they changed the rules in the 80s, especially as the Warriors had been wearing gold home unis for longer…

    I think the shell of the Bulwark has evolved into something that is cosmetically very similar the the Revo Speed. Nothing more. The shell design of the Revo Speed is the reason the Ohio State helmet looks how it does.

    If that’s the case, why didn’t the Revo Speed launch with that design style?

    Paul wrote an ESPN story on the Bulwark in January. It’s not a stretch to think that someone at Revell or Ohio read it and thought … “hmm. That’s a pretty sharp look. It kinda reminds me of the old design the buckeyes had in the 60s. Ya know? It would work on one of them Revo Speed helmets we got. Shee-oot, I say we go with it.”

    I just think that’s a huge stretch. The center of the Revo Speed is raised in a very similar shape that makes up the center portion of the Bulwark, which came to look like that after the Revo Speed. If you were going to put a wide stripe on a Revo Speed (almost no teams do, hence why the Revo Speed didn’t launch with that design), you would most certainly color the entire center section, naturally. Coincidentally, the Bulwark looks very similar.

    Riddell doesn’t design the decoration for the helmets anyway. That would have been part of the uniform design that Nike put together.

    I do hope that Bulwark shell makes it onto the field in the near future, though. Beautiful design. If we have to have helmets, then I’d pick that one.

    The idea of other teams using the logos from defunct teams and leagues sounds like fodder for more investigation. Aside from the XFL, I’ve seen the WLAF Birmingham Fire logo replicated many times, from arena football to high school.

    Going back even more, at least one Oregon college and high school used the Portland Breaker USFL logo. I’m assuming it’s possible some high schools or colleges once used(or attempted to) logos of the old WFL teams in the late 70s or 80s.

    Who knows, we might see the UFL logos resurface at some point, the UFL appears to have played its last game.

    Ditto! Color scheme was on point as well.

    I don’t know about Hayden Fox’s Orlando Breakers though. lol

    Love those Kentucky Unis….they need a black hat to go with it, or they wear the blue hat with blue socks and shoes.

    No…Kentucky’s BFBS uniforms are hideous.

    I hope the Cats lose and lose BIG so these atrocities will never see the light of day…ever again.

    Why doesn’t all of sport just abandon colors except for black and white completely since it appears that is what sells and it appeals to 17 year-olds?

    What is the location of the 1965 Packers photoshoot?


    The captions say the photos were taken at their practice field. However, there are two stadiums in the background. One, in photo 39, appears to be the Astrodome. Other pics show the outside of another ballpark. One thought is that these were taken on the fields surrounding the Astrodome which had opened in April 1965. The other field could be where the Colts had played. I checked the preseason schedule and the Packers did not play in Houston in 1965. They did have an exhibition game at Dallas. The NFL was considering placing a team in Houston when the Oilers did not come to terms on a lease for the ‘Dome and elected to continue playing at Rice Stadium. That expansion franchise eventually went to New Orleans.


    Morris – location of the photoshoot was Green Bay! Literally across the street from Lambeau Field – the domed building you see in the background is where UW Green Bay used to play basketball/volleyball, etc before the Resch Center was built next door- the open air stadium across the street in some of the pictures is Lambeau.

    My step brother and I LOVED the XFL back in the day! We were in high school. He liked the local team, San Francisco Demons, and I was a HUGE fan of the Las Vegas Outlaws because I loved their UNIFORMS!

    My favorite football teams are the San Francisco 49ers and Florida State Seminoles cause I love their uniforms as well, so it was easy when the new Outlaws came out it was love at first sight.

    I had all kinds of Outlaws gear and still on my tv stand, I have the Outlaws mini helmet on display right next to mini helmets of the Seminoles and the 49ers.

    I’ve watched some XFL on YouTube fairly recently and couldn’t believe how bad it was lol! Young and stupid!

    link for the boat game. Not bad as far as camo jerseys go. At least they kept the colors, which I think makes it feel more like an homage to soldiers than imitation of a battle uniform.

    Kind of looks like the old snow pattern with the white taken out. It definitely looks better than just plain camo.

    Yeah, but I think your first comment still stands. Feels more like an homage than an imitation. They’ll be basketball players dressed to play basketball, rather than military-age men who haven’t volunteered to serve playing soldier dress-up. Using school colors, even with a camo-esque pattern, makes a big difference.

    “Meanwhile, it would be interesting to know who designed the Hitmen’s logo (I’m assuming one branding firm handled all of the XFL team marks). Whoever it was, they’d probably be surprised to know that the HItmen design has had such a prolonged afterlife.”

    Probably the same firm responsible for the all the crappy, thick-bordered logos of the modern era.

    Turns out it was these guys:

    I’ve sent their main guy a note with a link to today’s blog entry. Hoping to hear back from him so I can follow up.


    Nice film about Chuck Wepner last night. But I resented the tone. Yes, Sylvester Stallone was inspired by Wepner’s fight against Ali. But the fight itself was only the premise of the movie’s climax scene. For Wepner (and the director) to suggest that Wepner IS Rocky…that’s ludicrous. If you spend enough time researching the Rocky story, it’s abundantly clear that the film is an autobiography of Stallone’s life. He merely used the Wepner vs. Ali fight as a vehicle through which to tell it. Watching Wepner running up the steps in Philly and wearing a gray Rocky sweatsuit was embarrassing. This guy isn’t Rocky, and he’s playing the victim card.

    Look, I have no problem with Wepner receiving financial compensation. Stallone DID use an important aspect of his life in the movie’s most important scene. But I think Wepner’s self-promotion is an affront to writers everywhere. Rocky won academy awards because of the detail Stallone put into the plot, characters, and story arc. The film is a prime example of screenwriting craftsmanship. Wepner can take his settlement. But this dude isn’t Rocky. So he can stop berating the writer whose concept actually is a work of art.

    I don’t know that it’s an overreaction. Maybe I’m using an inappropriate forum, though. But since you mentioned the film here yesterday, I decided to share my thoughts.

    It seems the film promoted an angle of “Stallone took my story.” I don’t think that writers, directors, and creative people should let this one slide. Every story recycles elements of previous stories. Like I said, I don’t have a problem with Wepner receiving financial compensation. But the “I’m Rocky” proclamations were kind of a farce.

    I don’t think he ever said, “I’m Rocky.” He said — and Stallone acknowledged — that he was the inspiration for Rocky.

    Some boxers I’ve known have had a tendency to romanticize what they do. I’m not a psychiatrist so I don’t know why that is the case…perhaps it is some sort of compensation for the brutal nature of their sport. But I’ve met a few of them over the years who fancy themselves as philosophers and poets…

    BTW, I used to be a big boxing fan around Wepner’s time and have been ringside for few big fights…at least one championship fight. Sorry I missed the Wepner documentary. My point was that, without even seeing the film, it wouldn’t surprise me if Wepner had a tendency to romaticize his career.

    Enjoyed the Wepner documentary last night, the producer cleverly used the Stallone/Rocky hook to beef up the story. For me, that angle would have been more effective had the settlement not be reached back in 2006. Otherwise, it appeared as though Wepner just wanted more money than he already received with the settlement.

    Strange they didn’t mention Wepner already fought(and lost)to George Foreman prior to Foreman winning the belt, it was certainly a big name opponent for Wepner.

    Was the Richard Christy who sent Paul the photos of Dan Persa’s claw marks, the same Richard Christy from the Stern Show?

    At a Tigers game after the Granderson trade I saw someone who had turned their Granderson shirt into an Austin Jackson shirt by ‘dividing’ Grandy’s number (28) by 2.

    I was stabbed in the foot by my brother with that same Seahawks pencil. I still have a chunk of graphite in my foot from it! Talk about a blast from the past.

    The one high school whose ‘H’ wasn’t beveled looked a lot better than the others. That shape works nicely for an ‘H,’ although it wouldn’t work as a full typeface.

    Kentucky took one step forward with the Secretariat checkerboard design, and now three backwards with BFBS. Even my alma mater–Western Kentucky–realized it’s over and had its provider (Russell) go back to red, white and grey combos with classic UCLA stripes. And as Jim Vilk’s graciously noted here on Sundays, they be sweet.

    I agree that UK has regressed into the black abyss with those BFBS jerseys.

    I also agree (it pains me to say this) that WKU’s uniform package does look great; classic colors and classic design.

    As an alumni of Eastern Kentucky University, even though EKU’s are made by Russell too, I have to give the nod to Western’s as the best in the state.

    I noticed in the Packers Picture Day slideshow, some of the players wore the newer jerseys, but most wore the pre-1965 version. Check out the sleeve numbers on the first two linemen on picture #35.

    In the picture of the team using the hitmen logo from missouri, the opposing team was using the mssouri block M. or michigan. whats the difference?

    Youngstown area had some minor minor indoor league football team called the Mahoning Valley Hitmen. They played a place close to me. We went to maybe 2 games. After touchdowns the Pa system played machine gun fire.

    Here is the logo


    I wish somebody would resurrect the New Jersey Generals five-star logo.

    “Jet Black”? Umm…no.

    (20 years ago, in fact)…

    “And we’ll see you…tomorrow night!”

    Any perceived Minnesota prejudice aside, among the most memorable calls of all time.

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